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Regulator Warning!!!


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Martin Weller

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Hi all,

 

Having just returned form hols in France, I thought I'd pass on a warning.

 

I use propane gas and used a new cylinder for my trip. on my first stop during the journey, I turned on the gas and lit the fridge. I could hear a 'roaring' sound and investigated further, eventually lighting the gas ring. To my horror, the flames were about 3" high and roaring!

 

To cut a long story short, I found that the regulator that I had been using was duff. When I opened it up out of interest (I was throwing it away anyway), I found the spring on top of the diaphragm was completely rusted through allowing the regulator to remain open well past the usual 37mbar. Our travelling companions had a regulator with them but we found theirs was the same!

 

I was very lucky as my daughter was flying out a few days after we arrived and was able to bring a replacement (it appears that they are not generally available in France).

 

Moral of the story is to replace your regulator on a regular basis as the top is open to the atmosphere (it has to be) and water vapour eventually rusts the inside. I now intend the replace mine every couple of years (the defective one was at least 6 years old!)

 

Martin W

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  • 1 month later...

Just a question.

 

On a standard regulator, isn't there a small pin hole? I was under the impression that was there to let condensation/water out, and the hole had to be pointing downwards?

Or am i mis-informed?

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Just a question.

 

On a standard regulator, isn't there a small pin hole? I was under the impression that was there to let condensation/water out, and the hole had to be pointing downwards?

Or am i mis-informed?

13782[/snapback]

I'm not an expert, but I believe this hole is to allow the diaphragm to work (let the normal air pressure in/out)

It's this hole that can cause damp air to get at the spring within, allowing it to rust. I don't really see why the regulator shouldn't work upside down. Maybe we need expert advice anyone?

 

Martin W

Discovery D3 HSE + Coachman VIP 575/4 2016

www.pennplanning.co.uk

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It's my belief that the regulators will work correctly in any orientation since the diaphragm is controlled by the spring and not gravity (see http://www. towler-staines. co. uk/single-app. ..-regulators. htm for some pics).

Obviously the clip-on ones mounted directly to the bottle have their orientation fixed by default as the bottles should ALWAYS be used in an upright position.

I replace my propane regulators every two years, but I wonder how frequently the new installed regulators we now see on caravans will be replaced? Does anyone know the recommended life of these units?

Gordon.

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan and Motorhome Talk.

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Interesting report - I have a propane plumbers kit and that is now some 35 years old and it is still on its original regulator, which of course it mounted direct onto the bottle.

 

As a BTW it does not get used a lot these days but it was still OK a couple of weeks ago when I did a bit of plumbing in my new flat. :huh:

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I wonder what the difference in cost would be if the manufacturer fitted a stainless steel spring? Can't be much.

 

Just like the screws holding the awning rail to the van - stainless steel screws are cheap enough these days!

 

There's really no excuse for this.

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It's my belief that the regulators will work correctly in any orientation since the diaphragm is controlled by the spring and not gravity (see http://www. towler-staines. co. uk/single-app. ..-regulators. htm for some pics).

Obviously the clip-on ones mounted directly to the bottle have their orientation fixed by default as the bottles should ALWAYS be used in an upright position.

I replace my propane regulators every two years, but I wonder how frequently the new installed regulators we now see on caravans will be replaced? Does anyone know the recommended life of these units?

Gordon.

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Hi Gordon,

 

Yes all simple (relative to atmospheric) regulator diaphragms are spring controlled,but gravity will reduce or increase the effectiveness of the spring. The spring will have less work to do in pushing the diaphragm down as it is aided by gravity, and if inverted, be less effective in pushing the diaphragm up as it is working against gravity. :)

 

Frank

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If the regulator were mounted upside down would'nt there be a possibility that liquid propane could build up inside the regulator?  Just a thought.

 

keith

14002[/snapback]

 

Nope. There is only gas at the top of the gas bottle (assuming that it is upright).

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I wonder what the difference in cost would be if the manufacturer fitted a stainless steel spring? Can't be much.

13941[/snapback]

Probably a couple of pence to the manufacturer but a few quid to the customer!
Hi Gordon,

Yes all simple (relative to atmospheric) regulator diaphragms are spring controlled,but gravity will reduce or increase the effectiveness of the spring. The spring will have less work to do in pushing the diaphragm down as it is aided by gravity, and if inverted, be less effective in pushing the diaphragm up as it is working against gravity. :)

Frank

13946[/snapback]

Sounds perfectly logical Frank but will the effect of gravity significantly change the regulated line pressure? I wonder?

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan and Motorhome Talk.

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Sounds perfectly logical Frank but will the effect of gravity significantly change the regulated line pressure? I wonder?

14121[/snapback]

Considering that regulators like everything else will have a manufacturing tolerance,any difference in pressure output due to orientation will be insignificant. If you want to negate the effect of gravity,you could always mount it on edge, :lol:

 

The Gaslow regulators on our van fitted to 6kg propane bottles are mounted on edge to enable the contents gauges to be easily seen.

 

Frank

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If you want to negate the effect of gravity,you could always mount it on edge, :lol:

14140[/snapback]

Is that what's known as lateral thinking? :rolleyes:

Gordon.

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan and Motorhome Talk.

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I have found the following on a USA RV site. Bear in mind that they are considering LPG tanks and regulators that are externally mounted.

 

"Because the regulator is constantly "breathing", it is equipped with a vent. It is very important that the vent stays clean and free from obstruction. Clogging from corrosion, dirt, insect nests or other debris is the most common cause of regulator malfunction. Even a small piece of material that finds its way into the vent can result in improper pressure in the system and possible dam age to or failure of components. The regulator is mounted so that the vent is facing downward and is protected from water and dirt by a water-resistant cover. Be sure the cover is on at all times. If the vent becomes clogged it can be cleaned with a toothbrush. If corrosion i evident, contact a qualified LP gas service technician fo a replacement regulator."

 

So according to the above it is OK to invert or mount on its side depending on the position of the vent. :)

 

Frank

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Guest Hobbybod
I have found the following on a USA RV site. Bear in mind that they are considering LPG tanks and regulators that are externally mounted.

 

"Because the regulator is constantly "breathing", it is equipped with a vent. It is very important that the vent stays clean and free from obstruction. Clogging from corrosion, dirt, insect nests or other debris is the most common cause of regulator malfunction. Even a small piece of material that finds its way into the vent can result in improper pressure in the system and possible dam age to or failure of components. The regulator is mounted so that the vent is facing downward and is protected from water and dirt by a water-resistant cover. Be sure the cover is on at all times. If the vent becomes clogged it can be cleaned with a toothbrush. If corrosion i evident, contact a qualified LP gas service technician fo a replacement regulator."

 

So according to the above it is OK to invert or mount on its side depending on the position of the vent. :)

 

Frank

14240[/snapback]

Frank's quote is quite correct, AFAIUI. The small 'hole', whether visible or slightly covered is so that the 'external' side of the regulator is at ambient atmospheric pressure.

 

The orientation of the regulator will not affect it's performance, BUT obstruction of the vent hole will, hence the precautions suggested in the quote.

With the vent hole at the bottom, moisture/dirt ingress is minimised.

 

In foggy, misty conditions it is possible to get condensation on gas bottles and regulators, especially if kept outside the 'van, as somefolks with larger gas bottles do. If the temperature then lowers, this moisture may then freeze, possibly occluding the vent hole; . . . . . . . . . you don't want to do that!!!

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  • 10 years later...

I'm not an expert, but I believe this hole is to allow the diaphragm to work (let the normal air pressure in/out)

It's this hole that can cause damp air to get at the spring within, allowing it to rust. I don't really see why the regulator shouldn't work upside down. Maybe we need expert advice anyone?

 

Martin W

correct the diaphragm needs to dispel the air on the non gas side to work

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Yes an old thread, having lived in the van for eight years, we had this problem in the winter, the regulator kept freezing up, took it off, thawed it out, put back on, next day no gas, same procedure, but this time put it back on upside down, end of problem. Nos

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