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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 11-08-2018, 12:23 PM   #1
SmoothBoarBBQ
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Default Converting propane warming box to butane?

Hey All,

So when I bought my food trailer the fabricator built me a warming cabinet that was mounted outside on the porch. It's powered by a very solid propane burner and works decent enough when there is little to no wind. I took my trailer back to them a couple of days ago to make some modifications and they added some wind-blocking panels to help make this thing work better. The big problem is that to keep the temp below 200° the flame has to be very small...almost like a pilot light. Any kind of wind comes through and it blows out that flame.

The wind-blocks they mounted on help a bit, but in 10MPH or better it still blows out the flame and renders my $1k warming box useless. I certainly got duped on this piece of equipment, but I'm thinking of ways to make it work better. I was thinking maybe replacing the propane burner with a butane burner. Is anybody familiar with this kind of thing or have any experience with propane and butane that could chime in?

I'll grab a couple of pics of what I have no and post them here in a minute.

Here's the link to the pics :
Edit : Here's a link to an Imgur Album showing the box.
https://imgur.com/a/H5WFfAx
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Old 11-08-2018, 05:17 PM   #2
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How about a lower BTU propane burner to replace the one you have now? Ex. Say, if it's 10,000BTU, replace with 5,000BTU burner. Would run at a higher flame and less heat output. Seems cheapest, unless you truly need its "highest" capability often too.
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Old 11-08-2018, 06:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crpngdth2001 View Post
How about a lower BTU propane burner to replace the one you have now? Ex. Say, if it's 10,000BTU, replace with 5,000BTU burner. Would run at a higher flame and less heat output. Seems cheapest, unless you truly need its "highest" capability often too.
I don't know much at all about this stuff, but I will look into this. That could be a more reasonable and prudent solution than trying to completely change everything. If I put in a lower BTU burner would I need a different regulator hose?
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Old 11-09-2018, 07:42 AM   #4
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Worked for a company back in the 70's delivering propane. I can't remember the exact pressures, but propane has about twice the psi as butane.

We were taught never to put propane in a butane tank unless tank was buried underground. So with butane having a lower psi I don't think that would solve your problem and I don't know if you can even get propane now
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Old 11-09-2018, 10:30 AM   #5
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Is electric an option? I'd investigate a heating element with a thermostat like a Cookshack. My small Cookshack is 500 watts, wouldn't be much to power off an inverter or generator.
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Old 11-09-2018, 01:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kack View Post
Is electric an option? I'd investigate a heating element with a thermostat like a Cookshack. My small Cookshack is 500 watts, wouldn't be much to power off an inverter or generator.
This is actually a pretty good idea...definitely something to look into. Thanks!
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Old 11-09-2018, 03:07 PM   #7
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In the 60's my folks had to replace the butane tank because they quit selling butane and went to propane. The propane tanks are rated at more pressure. I don't remember needing to change the appliances and the folks were a lot happier because the propane didn't freeze and make us go hungry because we couldn't cook. I wonder if you could get a auto relight valve for your burner, that might even come with a thermostat.
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Old 11-10-2018, 07:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boggie View Post
In the 60's my folks had to replace the butane tank because they quit selling butane and went to propane. The propane tanks are rated at more pressure. I don't remember needing to change the appliances and the folks were a lot happier because the propane didn't freeze and make us go hungry because we couldn't cook. I wonder if you could get a auto relight valve for your burner, that might even come with a thermostat.
Auto-relight valve sounds like it would easily solve my problem. Thank you very much for the suggestion and I'll look into it.
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Old 11-10-2018, 10:00 AM   #9
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I know when converting from Natural Gas to Propane, due to pressure differences the Propane connections always had reducers in the lines with tiny orifices. If you connected the system without the orifices you'd create a monster fireball and usually blow the guts out of whatever you just installed. (I did pool heaters for a while) On the other side, if you had an orifice in the line for propane, but were hooking to natural gas, you'd just have a small gas leak and nothing would light, until enough built up in the appliance, then it detonated... (No I never made this happen, but the safety videos from the manufacturers were entertaining when we went to the schools)


Not sure about Butane... I honestly think your problem might get worse if you converted. I'd lean towards a different burner (regulator should be sold with it) or electric as mentioned above.
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Old 11-10-2018, 10:20 AM   #10
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I think by far the easiest solution is going to a smaller btu burner so it would run at a higher flame and be a lot less likely to blow out. I've seen several propane smokers that had the same issue and had to go with a smaller burner. Going with a gas valve, standing pilot and thermostat would be great but a lot more involved and expensive. Can you post a pic of the type of burner that you have?
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