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Butane, propane or white gas...

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:47 pm
by slowcowboy
So, what's ypur preverance, butane , propane or white gas???..i found this winter when lighting my shop stove a butane flicker will light up at near zero temps but my propane camping torch from Wal-Mart won't even fire a lick.as I am a coleman stove and lantern collector with a high case of colemanitize. I normally dig into my collection of white gas to go camping...so what's everyone's preferences????.....slowcowboy

Re: Butane, propane or white gas...

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:54 pm
by MtnDon
Maybe there is something wrong with the Walmart lighter as propane has a much lower boiling point (-42. C = -44 C) than butane ( 0.4 C = 32 F). Propane is the preferred fuel if you are a cold weather hiker/camper. Or maybe the Walmart lighter really is fueled by butane. I have some butane lighters I keep at our mountain cabin. I know they use butane because they don't work in winter when we get there unless I warm them in a pocket first.

I use butane in a small torch I use for some silver soldering. Indoors it is great to use.

I don't use white gas appliances anymore as liquid gasolines do not keep well long term. Propane and butane store indefinitely.

Re: Butane, propane or white gas...

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:29 pm
by QueticoBill
White gas fan. Several stoves and a lantern. Never had a problem using fuel several years old. Just dont pour in any dregs from bottom of can.

Re: Butane, propane or white gas...

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:48 pm
by MtnDon
Storage life may vary.... even Coleman recommends using a partially used can of their fuel up within 2 years, preferably a year. http://coleman.custhelp.com/app/answers ... C2%AE-fuel Of course they are probably covering their butt.

But I also should have added that I prefer to not store liquid fuels for other reasons as well. Plus Propane just seems to be much handier to me. I am not placing any part of my preference on price. My propane is in 20# bottles mounted to the trailer the cookstove, etcis used on so transport is also not an issue to me. For times we have 120 VAC we use an induction "hotplate" in place of the propane. .

Re: Butane, propane or white gas...

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:39 pm
by McDave
I have experienced the same phenomena as Slow on several occasions. I believe that this isn't so much liquid/ vapour issue, but a stoichiometric ratio or metering issue. My guess is that our geographics and enviromentals are very similar in Wyoming and Montana. It's not really a "gas" issue but an air density/ Oxygen issue. Extreme cold temps + relatively low altitude, (2700 ft ASL) make for high air density. So it is tough to get a rich enough mix at the ignition point with propane. The vapour temp point may actually be working against you. Butane is a richer fuel to begin with and has a higher vapour point , so the cold temp would richen the mix much like a primer shot. The only option for the propane start mix ratio issue is to choke the air or pre- heat it some how. You can try to open the valve WFO to release a crazy amount of gas but there is a danger of fuel building up and when ignition does occur the stage is set for explosion as the ratio suddenly becomes correct. At higher altitudes the extreme cold would be offset by the less dense air, keeping the mix ratio closer to ignitable. White gas has drawbacks but you can light it almost anywhere, anytime. Alcohol as stove fuel is also an alternative worth looking into, just be careful. Enough said.

McDave