Win a t shirt by helping me solve this problem! Really!

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djdawg
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2012/10/03 02:48:31 (permalink)

Win a t shirt by helping me solve this problem! Really!

SEE MY LATEST ENTRY AT THE END POSTED ON 3/23/13
 
I'm at my wits end with this issue and done everything that I can to figure out the problem but I coming up with nothing...for what it's worth (and it's worth a lot! ha ha)  I will award a Wicked Dogs t shirt (not for sale so they are valuable!) to the first person that comes up with the answer that solves the problem.  I ask that you read everything so you can see what I've tried, what's been happening, etc. 
 
The symptoms....When I have both burners going and then turn on the hot water/hot water heater, in most cases the water only gets luke warm.  When I turn off the burners the hot water will get scalding hot....the hot water heater runs on propane.
 
Here's what I've done....about 3 days ago, I bought a new regulator thinking that the one I had might be bad and installed it.  It actually came with a "y" connection with two hoses running off of it so I thought that was pretty nifty.  After I installed it I noticed that my burners were burning hotter than ever before.  (and I've noticed I actually need to add water now to my spillage pan during the day!)  I put everything together, checked all connections with a soapy bubble solution, filled the water tank and turned everything on.  Burners were going full blast.....water was very hot WHILE the burners were going.  I thought I was good to go....
 
Then yesterday it started up again....argh!!!!!  It was not really that windy, I have all the adjustments in the right place on the Eccotemp L5 water heater (and also have made probably a dozen calls to their customer service) changed the batteries on it, blah blah blah.  I have even done a hose test on the L5 and the water gets hot.  I installed a new 50 psi pump on the thing BEFORE I installed the new regulator so I know the psi is good.  At first I thought it was the heater but the fact that it does work when it's the only thing using the propane line leads me to believe that it's not the heater.  I'm not operating at high altitudes either.  I have read something somewhere about a high pressure regulator but I'm not sure if this will help....I only have freakin' 4' of copper tubing running through this thing so this can't be brain surgery but it's driving me crazy....
 
Who's ready to win a t shirt!  : )
post edited by djdawg - 2013/03/23 16:04:47
#1

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    djdawg
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    Re:Win a t shirt by helping me solve this problem! Really! 2012/10/03 02:52:33 (permalink)
    In addition....I have swapped out propane tanks multiple times.....
    Also, I'm using 3/8" copper line.....
    post edited by djdawg - 2012/10/03 02:59:35
    #2
    RodBangkok
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    Re:Win a t shirt by helping me solve this problem! Really! 2012/10/03 04:46:00 (permalink)
    If I'm reading it correctly the gas pressure is dropping when you have both on.  You may want to try and adjust the regulator pressure, here's one link on doing it:
     
    http://www.ehow.com/how_7...propane-regulator.html
     
    If its a fixed pressure regulator, and that works, then you may want to get an easy adjustable regulator that will make it easier to adjust the output pressure to get a balance from when the water heater is off to when it kicks in.  Play with the settings on all 3 to get a balance or happy medium.
     
    post edited by RodBangkok - 2012/10/03 04:48:25
    #3
    edwmax
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    Re:Win a t shirt by helping me solve this problem! Really! 2012/10/03 08:02:04 (permalink)
    I agree, you are  having a gas pressure drop when  the table burners are on.
    Question: when was the last time the lp tank was filled and what is the liquid level in the tank now?   The reason I asked, is if the tank was over filled there may not be enough head space for vapor to form. Thus, the two burners are using ALL the vapor as fast (or faster) as it make.  You did was say the table burners are hotter after the new burner installed.  This shows the burners were also starved for gas. As the liquid level drops the problem will go away.  So you could just blow-off a little gas to lower the liquid level.
     
    A good check for this problem would be to hook up a lp tank that is 1/2 full. Then see if the problem still exist.
     
    Possible solutions:
    1. Try reducing the pressure at the tank regulator to slow down the gas draw from the tank.  Pressure is too high.
    2. You indicated the new regulator has a y-connection.  Install a 2nd regulator on the line to the table burners and reduce the pressure to them.  This will make more gas available to the HW heater.  This should solve your problem assuming the LP tank is also the correct size..
    3.  If there is (are) secondary equipment regulators, check them.  you may need to reduce their pressure.   (???)   You don't need item 2 above if these exist.
    4. What size is you LP tank?   I'm assuming a 20lb tank.   Install a second LP tank, both tied together though the same regulator.  This will increase the available vapor.   ... A 20lb cylinder @ 60 deg F supplies about 24000 BTU.    What is the total burning BTU of the 3 burners?    I think you could be exceeding the vapor capacity of one tank.  Also, as the weather gets colder this problem will increase as vapor supply will drop.
     
    *** If the regulator(s) are set at the proper pressure and the LP cylinder is not over filled, then you need a 2nd LP cylinder (item 4). ****
    post edited by edwmax - 2012/10/03 08:13:02
    #4
    edwmax
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    Re:Win a t shirt by helping me solve this problem! Really! 2012/10/03 10:12:53 (permalink)
    Just check the spec for the L5 HW heater. It is 37500 BTU.   This exceeds the general supply capacity of the 20lb LP cylinder.    Also, I believe you have stated before the burner under the steam table is the 15000 BTU Harbor Freight stove.  Total BTU stove & HW heater is 42500 BTUs.
     
    You need 2 20lb LP cylinders to supply 50,000 BTU.  Also, in cold weather you may need a tank heater.  ... Keep your regulator pressure setting to the minimum pressure needed, about 10 psi. No more.
    #5
    djdawg
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    Re:Win a t shirt by helping me solve this problem! Really! 2012/10/03 11:24:02 (permalink)
    Thanks guys....first thing I'll do tonight is see if I can adjust the regulator...I didn't see any knobs, etc to do anything...it's an el-cheapo type from Home Depot (well, not cheap/crappy but you know what I mean) but I'll look at it closely.  I've heard of someone mentioning a red capped high pressure one??
     
    I hear what you're saying edwmax...the one thing though is that hundreds - if not thousands of people that have made their carts have had no issues running this exact stove and heater off their diy cart.  I'm googling btu's for 20 lb propane and I'm seeing 430k??
    http://www.ehow.com/how_6016598_size-propane-tank-is_.html
     
    Does anyone think a larger diamter copper line would help?
    #6
    quad104
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    Re:Win a t shirt by helping me solve this problem! Really! 2012/10/03 12:47:16 (permalink)
    adjust the setting on the heater
     
    turn the gas setting up and the water setting down
     
    more gas heating less water = hotter water   easy to try before you go out and buy supplies
    #7
    edwmax
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    Re:Win a t shirt by helping me solve this problem! Really! 2012/10/03 14:10:36 (permalink)
    djdawg

    .....
    I hear what you're saying edwmax...the one thing though is that hundreds - if not thousands of people that have made their carts have had no issues running this exact stove and heater off their diy cart.  I'm googling btu's for 20 lb propane and I'm seeing 430k??
    http://www.ehow.com/how_6016598_size-propane-tank-is_.html

    Does anyone think a larger diamter copper line would help?

     
    430k is total Btus in a full tank of gas.   What you need to google is "LP cylinder vaporization capacity".    You should find a link to Generator Joe http://www.generatorjoe.net/html/PropaneNGUse.html   the bottom table is what you need to look at.    Another indication of what I have described as being the problem is frost on the line or top of the tanks.   ... Another good reference is the LP - Gasman Service Manual at http://gameco.com.au/files/24.pdf    Which explains vaporization and has pipe sizing charts.    A 3/8" dia. line less than 20ft. long can supply about 380k Btus; a 100 ft of 3/8 will still supply more than 3X's what you need. So I don't think this is your problem.
     
    Hundreds of Cart guys maybe running the same set up as you. But they are not testing the burners at full flame as you indicated above.   Once the steam table gets hot those burners will be at minimum flame. One burner is usually off.   ... Next I think the HW heater puts out much more water flow than you need and thus require more heat than your need.   Reduce the flow and then reduce the flame size.   I don't know what the controls are but the flame can be reduced by reducing the gas pressure.   So yes, I think you might be able to get your setup to a passable operation for a 20lb cylinder by reducing the gas pressure to the burners.   But you will still have problems in cold weather.
     
    ....  Also, this time of year we get plenty of vendors having problems with low heat/flame on their burners as the temperature drops and frost forming on the tanks & lines.
     
    Just hook up two cylinders by a manifold and see if the problem still exist.  A simple test.   You have already stated the steam table or the HW heater will work fine by its self, but not both together.    If you need to operate the burners and HW at full flame, then the gas cylinders must be able to produce 50, 000 BTU per hour.  ... One 20lb cylinder can not.
    post edited by edwmax - 2012/10/03 14:14:28
    #8
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Win a t shirt by helping me solve this problem! Really! 2012/10/03 16:03:50 (permalink)
    I bet they're boys t-shirts. Booooo.
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    Uncle Groucho
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    Re:Win a t shirt by helping me solve this problem! Really! 2012/10/03 17:15:47 (permalink)
    Look inside the Y fitting, it may be choked down to a smaller size like on a garden hose Y fitting.
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    Tristan225
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    Re:Win a t shirt by helping me solve this problem! Really! 2012/10/04 00:50:59 (permalink)
    I think he wears the low cut Spandex ones with spaghetti straps.
    post edited by Tristan225 - 2012/10/04 00:52:14
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    djdawg
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    Re:Win a t shirt by helping me solve this problem! Really! 2013/03/23 16:17:04 (permalink)
    At the risk of embarassing myself, I wanted to post an update on this...in case anyone else is just as stupid as I am. 
     
    I've continued to have the same issues with my hot water heater since when I started this thread....when the stove is burning, and I turn on the hot water at the same time, sometimes I get hot water, sometimes I don't.  I finally came to the realization that I have a weird set up and accepted it's on again/off again behavior.  I was out in the sticks the other day with my cart and decided to swing by an actual propane place (servicing homes and also has parts) thinking there might be an expert that could give me some tips.
     
    He came out and looked at my set up and the first thing he told me is when turning on the tank to start by turning it on verrrry slowly for about 3/4 of a turn then turn it up.  Apparantly if you turn the tank on really fast it can lock the valve with the newer tanks which can really restrict the flow or gas.  (I'm sure this will be debated among the more knowledgable propane folk here)
     
    The next thing he told me completely floored me....and this is where my stupidity reared it's ugly head.  He asked if I was turning on the tank all the way.  I replied no....big mistake.
     
    I don't know why....maybe it was my dad teaching me....but when we would fire up the gas grill in the backyard he always told me that you really only need to turn the tank on 1 full turn and maybe a bit more to do the cooking....that any more would just make you use more gas....that it's not needed.
     
    So guess what I have done the last 4 days out?  Turned up my tank all the way after slowly turning it on....and also guess what?  I've had scalding hot water every single time WHILE my burners were also firing.  Now I'm not sure if I have to open them up COMPLETELY but obviously my propane conservation has severely limited my burner and hot water heater tank working together at the same time properly. 
     
    So if you are also having issues...maybe your tank valve isn't opened up far enough?  Learn from me the moron.  LOL
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