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refilling propane tanks - new gadget. is it worth it?

It's $19.99.I know you can build your own. But for those of us who are not DIYers.

"Easily fill up your standard 1 lb. camping cylinders at home from a 20-50 lb. bulk tank (like for your BBQ) quickly and easily with the NEVER-ENDING PROPANE REFILLER. This adapter allows you to connect your 1 lb. propane cylinders directly to a 20-50 lb. tank for a safe and easy refill in about one minute.

Adapter features female cylinder thread on one side and soft nose P.O.L. connection on the other to work with both old and new style bulk propane tanks. Comes with instructions for safe and easy refilling. For personal use only."
I'd like to give myself a few negative ratings, because I am such a big meanie. The forum won't allow it. Feel free!

Cyndi (made it across the cattle guard)

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BradKW (02-07-2016)
Here's one on eBay for less than $8 including shipping. That doomsday site says that the 1lb bottles cost as much as $8 but I've never paid over $3.

"We're all bozos on the bus, so might as well sit back and enjoy the ride."

Wavy Gravy

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JoRow (07-08-2016), cyndi (02-07-2016)
Looking at the machine marks and blueish thread protector it looks like the same made in China generic one I got off eBay for around $8.
Mine has an excess flow ball valve that will shut off the flow of liquid if you open the OPD valve too fast, very annoying. I don't like refilling these 1lb coleman tanks but the cost savings and practicality is great. Refilling these tanks has already saved me from being locked out of my van a few times(frozen doors)
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cyndi (02-07-2016)
Maybe the $8 thing is for when you are forced to buy the 1lb canisters in pairs. Those guys are probably selling the same China product, doubling the price, and telling you it's on sale.
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Cool idea! I hate the idea of all those empty cans going in the trash.

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I've seen this done, I think. Long, long ago in SoCal, in the days of the dinosaurs (1960s), there was a hippie-type guy with a primer-black little old truck with a 'thing' in the back. It looked like some kind of stove. I didn't even know what it was, really, until I was at a stop light and the guy ahead of me called to the black truck stopped beside him. He yelled, "Wood, right?" The black truck yelled, "Yeah! Works great as long as I keep the wood dry!" And then the light turned to green. I saw him around maybe a dozen times.
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I've used a one of these devices to fill green 1 lb tanks.  A couple of observations:
  • Not all green bottles reseal well.  Some will leak propane as soon as you remove it from the big tank, some will leak after you use it a couple of times.  For this reason I don't trust storing them inside a vehicle without a sealing cap.
  • You can get brass caps for the tanks.  I use these on any green propane bottle that has been used and is stored inside:
  • You need to invert the 20# tank to get liquid propane into the green bottle.  If the 20# tank is upright you only get a couple of minutes worth of propane gas in the bottle.
  • There are a number of good you-tube videos on using this device to fill the 1 lb bottles.
 -- Spiff
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cyndi (08-01-2016)
I see nobody mentioned it's illegal to transport the small bottles if you refill them. having said that I have one of those adaptors I only use it on rare occasions. highdesertranger
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rvpopeye (08-01-2016)
I don't know how they could tell.

I use re-filled bottles for heating my ice fishing shack.  Usually take two with brass caps to the lake, a full one lasts ~6 hours.  I'm usually done after 4 hours.  They save me a lot of money ($0.60 refill vs. $2.50+ new).  I get about 4 or 5 refills before the bottle won't seal.

 -- Spiff
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Some you tube videos show how to get the 1 pounder full.  If you just screw it on, turn the assembly upside down, open the valve, wait a minute, close valve, and unscrew the green can it will be about half full.  It takes a lot of effort to get it full.  Here's why you don't want to do that.  If the can weighs 8 oz more than empty then you have it half full of liquid and half full of gas.  If the tank gets warmed and the liquid expands it compresses the gas and the pressure goes up a little bit.  If you chill the can and get it full of liquid it will weigh more than 1 pound more than empty.  When it gets heated and the liquid expands the pressure will go up a lot.  You want gas space to accept liquid expansion with reasonable pressure.  I accept half full as assurance that there is plenty of space for expansion.  It is not like I am paying for a pound and getting only a half pound.

I use a silicone based o ring grease on all of my o rings.  Before I connect a green can i use a bit of paper towel and clean and lightly lube the fitting that goes into the can.  I have had good luck with continued use of the o ring seals in the tops of the cans.  I have had one can leak after refilling.  I took the adapter off the 20 lb bulk tank and attached it by itself to the can and let the can drain completely.  Be careful, it comes out very cold and very flammable.  Instead of dumping it the better approach is to quickly attach that can to a stove and use it.  Then throw it away when empty.
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