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Old 01-22-2017, 03:34 AM   #31
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This is helpful information / discussion. A couple of random thoughts (verbosity alert)..

It is easier to assume that a big (20 lb) cylinder is dangerous (and yes, under the right circumstances it could be deadly). OTOH, how dangerous could a small 1 lb cylinder be? How dangerous if I refill it myself and it leaks? This could be either a small, barely detectable leak, or a more significant leak. (I have had both on self-refilled 16.4 oz cylinders.)

And just to be thorough and consider a few more angles, it is worth considering that you can have a propane leak at either end of the path. The place most people think of when considering a leak is at the source (tank). Yes, if the tank is in a sealed / vented box that would be an improvement. A propane detector also improves your odds. A leak on an outside mounted tank would pose less risk to the occupants (though outside, the tank is more exposed to damage).

What should also be considered is that there could be a leak at the other end- at a device inside the van. For this, a 'master' shutoff valve would help reduce risk ..IF one uses it religiously (I am thinking how many times have I forgotten to close the tank valve when I am done with the gas grill in the yard).

Of course, that would only apply when the device is not in use. Also, the more components you add, the more potential points of failure in the system.

Cooking can be done outside, and for more limited amounts of time. Heating seems to me like it poses greater risk. Heating is often done for hours at a time (compared to minutes for cooking). Some use heating overnight while sleeping. I think that would compound your risk in so many ways (fire and asphyxiation) that this could be a thread unto itself.

Not trying to judge anyone else's set up or decisions. I am still in the 'evaluating' stage, chewing, and considering how I want to proceed. The best way to make a sound decision is to have as much information and evidence as possible. While I am not trying to poo-poo the story, scientific evidence will always trump anecdotal evidence. (Anecdotes are most useful for 'illustrative purposes'.)
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Pretty much everyone will step on their 'willy' once in a while.
I usually make it a point to stop and put on my golf shoes first..
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Old 01-22-2017, 07:49 AM   #32
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I have the adapter for fillling small tanks from a 20 and have used it a lot. I do agree that it's really not ideal. The 1 pounders are cheaply made and not only cheap valves but the uncoated metal at the top rusts quickly and start to seep at the threads after they've been around for awhile. I would say 1 year tops on refilling them. I need to start putting dates on the 10 or so I have floating around.

I have a 5 pounder as well that is great for sitting on the ground or using a tree on a table for lantern, stove and whatever else. I have never tried to fill it from a 20.

Back on the topic of welding I never took a course and consider myself quite an amateur still but you can't go wrong with a $100 flux core welder from Harbor Freight. You can get all supplies you need there to get started and it is really fun. All you need is an open space (detached garage/carport) since welding makes smoke and smells, a cheap welder, quality gloves and auto darkening helmet, a grinder or band saw to cut material and some disposable clothes. You can get everything you need (minus garage, clothes and material) for $200 or less and it is really fun to just melt some metal together into something you can use. Here's an example of a very early project of mine mentioned above. It fit perfectly in an EB (I think I gave this to Larrie to go back on the same van) and kept propane and mud caked leveling blocks out of my van. It worked fine.
*I did learn, however, that leveling blocks are more or less useless. Everywhere I've ever needed them I could find a rock or some wood to level the van on. I almost never used them because you get so dirty fooling with them. YMMV.




A friend of mine in Atlanta (ultralite here) takes his son to a Maker's Space and they love it. It's a great idea. I have a maker's space with beer, though, so I tend do just experiment here.

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Old 01-22-2017, 08:46 AM   #33
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For me, learning welding+beer=911

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post
...you can't go wrong with a $100 flux core welder from Harbor Freight.
.......
I have a maker's space with beer
I had considered that route a few years back. I assume a smallish 120 amp flux welder would work on a 'normal' house outlet of 120v, 20 amps (or even 15a?) hopefully without constantly blowing breakers. The real question is whether a cheap $100 HF special would last. (My M.O. is that there are usually 2 questions- one tangent, and one at the heart of the matter.)

I generally like HF's simpler hand tools (acceptable quality at a bargain price), but after poor experiences with their Chicago Electric house brand in the past, I am generally a bit suspicious of the quality / durability of their electric / electronic goods. Their prices are great, but I assume they source from Chinese vendors with the lowest unit cost.

I must admit though, this idea is seriously tempting..
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'08 E-150, std roof, wb, 2wd - basic cleanup done. Working on rough layout of 'furniture'.

Pretty much everyone will step on their 'willy' once in a while.
I usually make it a point to stop and put on my golf shoes first..
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Old 01-22-2017, 02:19 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E-rex View Post

And just to be thorough and consider a few more angles, it is worth considering that you can have a propane leak at either end of the path. The place most people think of when considering a leak is at the source (tank). Yes, if the tank is in a sealed / vented box that would be an improvement. A propane detector also improves your odds. A leak on an outside mounted tank would pose less risk to the occupants (though outside, the tank is more exposed to damage).

What should also be considered is that there could be a leak at the other end- at a device inside the van. For this, a 'master' shutoff valve would help reduce risk ..IF one uses it religiously (I am thinking how many times have I forgotten to close the tank valve when I am done with the gas grill in the yard).

Of course, that would only apply when the device is not in use. Also, the more components you add, the more potential points of failure in the system.

Cooking can be done outside, and for more limited amounts of time. Heating seems to me like it poses greater risk. Heating is often done for hours at a time (compared to minutes for cooking). Some use heating overnight while sleeping. I think that would compound your risk in so many ways (fire and asphyxiation) that this could be a thread unto itself.
Some folks sleep in their vans with a ceramic (Mr. Heater buddy for example) or catalytic heater.....we all slice up risk in different ways. The Mr Buddy has a tip over sensor and a low oxygen sensor....personally I'm not willing to risk my life on those two features that consist of $5 worth of parts (I've disassembled a Mr Buddy and done a fair bit of analysis on one for a BBQ design project last year)...not saying that they aren't robust..they worked fine on my sample.

I have a Propex HS2211..the one that you can mount outside or inside. i was originally planning on mounting it under the van....but ended up mounting it inside. When I first tried it out, I had a propane leak at the heater......detector went off.....and you could smell it.

Yes, mounting the Propex outside significantly reduces propane risks inside the van...under the van propane, intake and exhaust air are all completely outside the van.

I religiously turn off the valve at the tank when not using the heater (my only propane device).....yes there is some risk that the device itself (internal valve) could malfunction and leak while using the device. This risk is mitigated by the manufacturer testing to applicable specs of CE, UL, VDE, etc. depending on the market the device is sold into.....and installing a propane detector (CO detector is a very good idea as well).....again we all evaluate risk in different ways....

I sleep with the propex running....that's why I bought it.....

One more thing on safety specs and testing of propane tanks...they come in two flavors ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and DOT...for different applications






Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post

Back on the topic of welding I never took a course and consider myself quite an amateur still but you can't go wrong with a $100 flux core welder from Harbor Freight. You can get all supplies you need there to get started and it is really fun. All you need is an open space (detached garage/carport) since welding makes smoke and smells, a cheap welder, quality gloves and auto darkening helmet, a grinder or band saw to cut material and some disposable clothes. You can get everything you need (minus garage, clothes and material) for $200 or less and it is really fun to just melt some metal together into something you can use.

I bought a 220V Harbor Freight MIG welder off of Craigslist with a small cylinder and regulator for a whopping $60. The gun sucked bad.....ended up buying a gun on Ebay for $80 that bolted right up...huge improvement.

Of course when I went to the welding gas place for more gas the cylinder was expired but for $25 they did an exchange for another cylinder that was recently hydrotested and recertified. Using gas results in much cleaner welds...no slag. 220V welders allow welding up to 1/4" steel.....a bit more than 120V units.

If money is no object, buy a Miller 220V unit or a Lincoln from a welding supply house. The Lincolns sold at Home Depot and Lowes are special models with plastic wire feed mechs. They work fine for casual use, but again if money is no object.....

I consider myself a hack welder......but there are some good tutorial vids on youtube.
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Old 01-22-2017, 02:23 PM   #35
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Quote:
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While I am not trying to poo-poo the story, scientific evidence will always trump anecdotal evidence. (Anecdotes are most useful for 'illustrative purposes'.)
huh? anecdotal? The sales rep was burned badly over most of his body from transporting a propane cylinder in a car.....I dealt with him for years.....he wasn't my buddies uncles friend...Perhaps me telling the story here is anecdotal...but it's very real to me.
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Old 01-22-2017, 02:45 PM   #36
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Fwiw - transporting refilled 1-lb bottles is illegal. It's even stated as such on the bottle.

Storing tanks Ina. Vehicle is dangerous. Even if nothing is bumped or normally leaking, filling up on a cool morning then letting the van heat up in the sun could allow the pressure relief valve to vent. RV makers are not allowed to install propane tanks in a camper for this reason. Also, in most states it's illagal to sell a vehicle with a propane system not installed by a licensed fitter.
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Old 01-22-2017, 04:29 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder View Post
huh? anecdotal? The sales rep was burned badly over most of his body from transporting a propane cylinder in a car.....I dealt with him for years.....he wasn't my buddies uncles friend...Perhaps me telling the story here is anecdotal...but it's very real to me.
Will try to explain my logic, but hoping it does not come across as engaging in debate / argument. From what I read, I picture you as being what I call 'engineery'.. fact based, scientific method, etc. I tend to be that way. I prefer a somewhat empirical method. An example of anecdotal evidence would be something like: 'My uncle smoked for 80 years, and lived to the ripe old age of 103. He shows that the claimed risks of smoking may be overstated.' (I am not talking about smoking with that example, but of a method of proving a case.)

Anecdotal proof usually involves a small statistical sample (often one). A valid scientific study could involve a sampling of hundreds, even thousands of cases. Again, not trying to dismiss your story, or suggest doubt that is happened, or why it happened. Sorry if my take came across as dismissive.

At the end of the day, I will make my decision, and I may accept more risk than one person (and less risk than another). My goal here is to gather as much information and evidence as I can, to at least make a well informed decision. Apologies if I am pissing off (or at least annoying ) anyone, but I am finding this thread to be very informative (even if I am driving it all over the road..)

When I looked into learning welding a few years back, I started by looking at Harbor Freight gear, then compared that with a known brand (I think it probably was Lincoln), and I was stunned by the steep increase for a 'comparable' model!. Ironically, I probably did look at Home Depot, not even considering that they could be offering a cheapened version of a Lincoln welder.

I don't see myself needing to weld 1/4" steel plate, so a small 'hobbyiist' level setup could work. In selecting equipment, it is so easy to make any number of mistakes as a noob. One possible approach might be to get something cheap to start, and hoping it lasts a bit. I could get my feet wet, then mebbe take a few classes to be able to produce acceptable (if somewhat amateurish) results. Then, if the hobby were to 'take root' and I found myself doing a lot of work, I could consider upgrading as I progressed.
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'08 E-150, std roof, wb, 2wd - basic cleanup done. Working on rough layout of 'furniture'.

Pretty much everyone will step on their 'willy' once in a while.
I usually make it a point to stop and put on my golf shoes first..
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