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Filling propane from big tank

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agentorange
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 117 Pacific Northwest
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2004-03-07          79195


Not that I would encourage this of course: But why couldn't a guy, with proper fittings and in a concerned manner, fill a BBQ size tank from his larger (500g) propane tank?

-ao

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Filling propane from big tank

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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1539 Moravia, NY
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2004-03-08          79201


You could IF you have a fitting for the bottom of the tank and a pump. Sometimes if it was warm enough outside my Dad could fill his tank in the car without the pump. (Car ran on propane permenent mounted).

A simpler solution: Why not run a line from big tank to BBQ? Thats how mine is. ....

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Filling propane from big tank

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2004-03-08          79208


I too grumble about the price per gallon we pay for LP in the little tanks and the fact that your shiny new tank dissapears forever at those tank swapping cages. Remember what you're handling, a high pressure, highly flammable substance. I used to handle lots of Anhydrous Ammonia, pumping it from tank to tank, etc. and have had some close calls. Anhydrous ammonia will not burn or explode, but it will kill you if you inhale enough of it by freezing your lungs, or blind you by getting a shot in your eyes, so even tho I growl about paying a zillion bucks a gallon for LP in the tiny tanks it just isn't worth the safety risk. Frank. ....

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Filling propane from big tank

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7155 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-03-08          79223


Billy is right, if maybe not clear enough, the line off your big tank (or any tank for that matter) that leads to an appliance is a vapour only line. It comes off the very top of the tank and in fact usually has liquid blocking valve inside it to prevent liquid going to your appliance.

You would need to have a means of accessing the liquid propane. I have seen lots of plumbers who (quite illegally) regularly refill those little 16 oz. 'disposable' tanks by means of a pigtail made up with the two fittings ?(tank and bottle) but no regulator. They hook the two together then invert the BBQ tank and open it's valve, the vapour drives some liquid down into the bottle until the pressure equalizes. You don't get a full bottle, but it's obviously FAR cheaper.

If you use your BBQ a lot it would make more sense to change the ine set to a longer one and use a 100 lb. tank instead, they have a 'liquid fill valve' and are filled by the gallon not the pound.

Best of luck. ....

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Filling propane from big tank

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2004-03-08          79234


It is also common here. A farmer friend of mine, who died recently (in his 80's) had all his tractors on propane (aging back to the 40's IH). He had a large storage tank and a smaller one on a trailer. He could take the smaller one around the property and fill any tank.
Vapor pressure was used on all the tanks to transfer liquid. It is slower but less problematic than with a pump. ....

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Filling propane from big tank

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7155 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-03-08          79239


Eric, it's funny you mention LPG-powered tractors. In the early 80's the Gov. was really pushing LPG-powered vehicles and diesels were not yet popular. There were big tax incentives to convert, including no sales tax on purchases of converted vehicles.

Several local farmers converted their older gas tractors, one in particular though, a pig farmer, had a really novel idea. He built an enclosure to hold the manure, then a vapour extraction / collection system, and finally a compressor which filled a storage tank. It collected the methane gas from the pig manure which he then used as fuel for his tractor.

The system worked fairly well, except, the tractor's exhaust smelled distinctly like that of the pigs themselves.... LOL.

Best of luck. ....

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Filling propane from big tank

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realman21502
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 48 Maryland
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2004-03-11          79559


Go to harborfreight.com they have a fitting to fill the propane bottles. (10-15 bucks) LP and Propane are same C3H3 chemilcal formula. ....

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Filling propane from big tank

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7155 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-03-11          79565


LP or LPG is an acronym, it means Liquified Propane, or Liquified Propane Gas.

So yes, propane is the same as propane. ....

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Filling propane from big tank

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
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2004-03-11          79567


That propane fitting from Harborfreight is for filling small Coleman style tanks from a 20lb tank. It is not for filling 20lb tanks from your big pig tank. ....

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Filling propane from big tank

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blizzard
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 282 Central Maine
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2004-03-11          79570


Propane has the formula C(3)H(8)
bliz ....


Link:   Propane_LPG

 
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Filling propane from big tank

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jeff r
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 428 burton. michigan
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2004-04-10          82614


Guys, what you are forgeting is that small fitting that sells at harbor freight says you must put the small tank in the Freezer before you fill from a bigger tank. Then when you fill from the big tank the little tank at room "sucks the liquid propane from the big tank when the big tank is turned upside down. That is how it works. If you do it any other way all you get is gas and no liquid. Why do you think there is a pump at the LPG filling station to fill tanks?????? IF doing it the way you said it is done a pump wouldnt have to be used would it? Propane is sold by the gallon and the last time I checked a gallon is a liquid measurement. Remember too that a 500 gallon propane tank is ALWAYS ONLY filled 80% to allow for expansion. The only way a BBq cound be filled fron a 500 tanks is the BBQ tank would have to be put in the freezer and the 500 gallon tank would have to be flipped upside down to get the propane to flow as a liquid. A valve at the Top of a propane tank only releases propane as a gas NEVER AS A LIQUID. ....

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Filling propane from big tank

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2004-04-10          82626


Jeff
If you have a line running from the bottom of the tank then the vapor pressure in the large tank will pressurize the system and allow you to fill the tank. You need the proper fittings and to drain the pressure out of the smaller tank. There a valve at the top of the 25 and 50 lb tanks. You turn the valve with a small screw driver. The danger is over pressurizations as you can over fill the tank if not careful.
Like I said a friend at the end of the road ran butane in all the tractors and there are tanks all over his place like this. Another friend sell propane, home delivery and has is 500 gallon tank set this way. ....

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