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Thread: Propane Lanterns

  1. #1

    Default Propane Lanterns

    I go camping with the Scouts all the time and carry beeg containers of propane for cooking unless we are backpacking. The propane powered lantern of choice appears to be the COleman dual mantle job....

    I'd love to have something VASTLY brighter and I have a pole that keeps it about 3 feet above the propane. Any ideas??? Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    Do you mean the 5 pound or 12 pound or 20 pound tanks? Or do you mean the small disposable tanks?

    I use a dual mantle lantern that is fed from a 20lb tank, with a 10 foot hose. It adapts the larger 20lb size connector down to the disposable size connector. As you noted it is great because you can put the light much higher and light up a MUCH larger area. I also think it runs brighter due to larger tank (maybe I am crazy).

    If you do use disposable tanks you should get one of those re-filers from a larger tank, it is WAY cheaper then buying new tanks all the time, not to mention all the small tanks in landfills.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    I have the Coleman that can run off the disposables but has the hose and I run it off the 20 pound tanks when we have "drive up access"

    But what I want is a way better lantern than just the dual mantle job. Maybe a different technology? Maybe a better design?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    Our troop bought two Coleman Northstar single mantle lanterns last fall and have been VERY pleased with them. They just about double the light output over the double-mantle jobs. We really like the piezo-electric starter, too.

    Northstar lantern

    We've used Coleman distribution trees for years and don't know how we'd get along without them. Each tree is a 30" piece of pipe that attaches to a 20-lb. propane bottle. It has 2 take-off valves for stoves or other use and a screw on valve is on top for a lantern.

    Distribution tree

    Being in Texas, you probably get to deal with wind. If you'll stick the propane bottle in a milk crate, it'll stabilize everything and prevent knock downs that mean replacing globes and mantles.

    YIS

  5. #5

    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    Thanks for the hint on the one mantle job, I will get one and compare. We do use those trees and they are great. I even have rigged a "Y" connection at the base so we can take off the higher rates for the fryers and 55000 BTU jobs. Going through the tree restricts the flow somewhat. The Scouts are a bit more willing to clean if we can generate hot water FAST.

    But we do need those photons, so thanks for the input.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    Ditto on the fryers, and the "Y" idea is a good one that we'll have to try out ... been hooking up direct (one bottle per) and the Y will mean one less bottle out and about.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    Brock - "re-fillers from a larger tank".
    Do tell about these, as I'm afraid I'm unfamiliar with this device, but am intrigued. Can you point me to one?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    A friend of mine has one he bought off ebay. I have never used them myself, but he swears by them. I can't find them on ebay right now. He has filled some tanks for me so I know it does work.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    After some investigation, I find the refillers are in fact illegal in most places. Seems the seals for the wee green tanks dry up after use and given 2 or 3 more refillings they are likely to spring a sudden and rather dangerous leak.

    Bummer. I hope I am wrong on that, but my source is usually pretty definitive.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    I'd put another vote in for the Coleman NorthStar. I have the white gas/petrol version which flares up a little at start up, but that doesn't happen a lot, or for very long if I keep everything nice and clean and prime it properly. Pre-heating also helps alot.

    The NorthStar is by far the brightest lantern I have ever seen. And that electric starter is very convenient.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    Yes, the refill adapters are not legal for use with the green tanks. Red beefed up 1Lb. cylinders are available for refill $20-$25 each. They feature a HD valve and a side brass bleader valve ( used during the fill process ).To fill the red cylinders, hook up the adapter, invert the 20Lb. tank, attach the refill tank, open the valve to the 20#, with a brass wrench open the bleader valve on the 1# a crack, when liquid propane spits out of the bleader turn off the 20# and close the bleader. IT STILL SCARES THE HELL OUT OF ME WHEN I FILL.

    When camping, I enjoy turning the lights down to a bare glow to enjoy the experience - not the bright city lights. How does the single mantle handle being throttled down very low?

    I want my flashlights bright and the campsite dim.

    R. BROCK

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    As long as we are on propane right now, does anyone know what’s up with the new connectors on 20lb tanks? I head they won't fill the older style anymore. Can we just replace the valve or is it a new tank design? I have lots of the old style tanks and 2 100lb tanks for working in my garage.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Brock:
    As long as we are on propane right now, does anyone know what’s up with the new connectors on 20lb tanks? I head they won't fill the older style anymore. Can we just replace the valve or is it a new tank design? I have lots of the old style tanks and 2 100lb tanks for working in my garage.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I believe just the smaller tanks (like 20 and 30 pound) require the new overflow protection valve. When I first looked into this I heard the valves were $20 or so.

    What I ended up doing was going to places like Home Depot and exchanging my tanks for full tanks with the new valve. I think that cost about $14 per tank that way, and you can get nicer looking tanks if yours are rusty.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    That exchange service only works for the 20# tanks. If you have larger tanks as used in RVs, you either have to buy new tanks or take your old tanks in to have the OPD valves installed and the tanks recertified. I'm in that bind right now. My opinion is that the OPD is just another intrusion of the government to protect us from ourselves. I've never had a problem with the older tanks in nearly 40 years of RVing, even when they were filled by the gallon using the 10% valve. Propane is a rip-off at most places that use a scale to fill them anyway. If you don't bring in a dead-empty tank, you overpay since they have a flat rate charge and the scale only indicates when the tank is full -- not how much was pumped. If your supplier isn't metering the propane by the gallon, he's a thief.

    OK. Off my soapbox now.

    I'm deeply in love with white gas Coleman lanterns. Propane is more expensive to operate and you have the hassle of all those danged bottles, both full and empty, to drag around and dispose of. One lantern, one gallon of white gas and a funnel and I'm good for two or three years.

    BTW, Dad designed a really neat (but a little bulky) padded, wooden case for the double-mantle lantern and gave one to us one Christmas. Even with all the jostling around in the trailer, we've only had to replace one mantle in 20 years. It's either the padded case that does it or it's Murphy's Law since I have four spare mantles in the box with the lantern -- if you have 'em, you won't need 'em.

    Just bought an identical, new, unused double-mantle Coleman lantern at a flea market last year for 15 bucks. Guess if is isn't propane, folks don't want it. Ever try starting a camp fire by dumping propane on it?

    Dean

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    Here's an apparently legal adaptor for refilling 1lb. green propane tanks:



    I haven't tried it, but it doesn't require any wrenches or tank inversions according to Cabela's.

    I'd be interested in any more information about this, as I go through a lot of the 1lb. tanks myself.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    I couldn't get the direct link to work. Go to Cabela's via the link above and search "E-Z propane filler".

    BTW, where do you get the beefed up red tanks?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    The adapter may indeed be legal, possibly more of a converter for hoses or distribution trees? However read the warning on the little green canisters. I know..."They're just trying to get me to buy more and spend money supporting the economy..."

    You ever see one of those little bottles blow up? I have and fortunately no one was close to it when it went. After witnessing that event, I WOULD NEVER put anyone's safety in jeopardy by doing that...but that's just me! I wouldn't want to be responsible for some permanent personal injury...How many times does it have to happen? Once is too many! Sorry, I get on the safety box now and then, but the majority of accidents are preventable and as I've said, I saw one blow up.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    Sigman,

    Do you know what caused it to blow up?

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    My guess is that it was exposed to some sort of heat source for too long. Some one could have punctured it but that doesn't seem logical and as Sigman says no one was close to it when it blew.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    I can think of a way. Propane stored in a tank is mostly a liquid, with some gas. As the temperature goes up, the liquid expands, and the gas pressure goes up a little. If there's no gas, but just liquid, there's no room for the liquid to expand, so the pressure goes WAY up. That's when a safety relief valve, if present and working, pops, blowing out liquid propane at high speed...

    This is the reason for the warning about overfills. There needs to be enough gas room left for stuff to expand without the pressure going to high.

    I want one of those lamps, now, though. Where do you get one of the spiffy red tanks?

  21. #21
    * The Arctic Moderator * Sigman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    The new valves have overfill protection to leave enough space inside the cylinder (for the bigger tanks)as you've stated.

    The little disposable ones don't have that, so either someone overfilled it and/or it was a defective cylinder. I just don't want to jeopardize anyone's safety (especially mine if I'm the one up close filling it!)...who knows, maybe it will "never" happen again???

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    All this talk of explosions is making me think I should switch to white gas. I don't really use lanterns, but I bought a Coleman dual fuel stove, and I'm gonna see how it goes.

  23. #23
    * The Arctic Moderator * Sigman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    Probably not a big deal if you merely use the disposable cylinders (then throw them away), or use a 5 lb refillable cylinder with an adapter/hose assembly, or distribution tree. Someone made manufacturers put those warnings on there for a reason (and in this case I don't think if was specifically for making a dollar).

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] switching from propane to white gas for safety is like cutting down on drinking by going from whiskey to vodka. Seriously, propane is fine as long as you treat it right, as is white gas. They're both highly volatile hydrocarbon fuels with low flash points - i.e. dangerous. Just the vapor pressures are different and one's a liquid at room temperature.

    With white gas, you have to watch spilling, especially getting it on you or your clothing, as well as the flare ups, which means you have to be very carefull about flamable things close to them (like hair and some clothing) With propane, you have to watch the stuff collecting in low areas, as it's heavier than air, but you don't have flare ups (usually!), and it won't get on clothing.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    Originally posted by fracman:
    I'd love to have something VASTLY brighter and I have a pole that keeps it about 3 feet above the propane. Any ideas??? Thanks
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Well, it's not propane, but have you ever checked out a PetroMax? Roughly 4 times as bright as a Coleman dual mantle and will burn any liquid fuel you can pour into it (even mixed!). Standard (and supposedly, brightest) fuel is kerosene, but diesel, gasoline, and Coleman fuel all seem to burn equally well.

    Go to http://www.britelyt.com for more info.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    I second the suggestion about the Petromax. I've gotten rid of all my propane lanterns and have three of them now. Two mfg. with the Britelyt name and one labeled for Wenzel. (I think the "Petromax" name is open game nowadays.) They are identical in every respect except the Wenzel is 20-30 $$ cheaper and comes with a wooden box. Britelyt gives you a tear down/rebuild video in case you ever drop it off a cliff. You can find them all over e-bay. Field strippable and Bombproof, Nickel plated brass. They come with spare parts and tools, mantles, etc. WAY, WAY Brighter than any Coleman or any other propane lantern I've ever seen. They'll even burn salad oil!! I use K-3 kerosene though, sometimes mixed with Citronella oil.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    Do they make a stove?

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    Originally posted by Lux Luthor:
    Do they make a stove?
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Yes, they do. They also offer an EZ cook adaptor that fits on their 400 Watt (equiv. output) lantern.

    Petromax is the Mercedes Benz of liquid lanterns. [img]graemlins/icon14.gif[/img]

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Propane Lanterns

    A man jumped out of an airplane from 13,000 feet with an experimental parachute. After free falling for a few thousand feet, the man pulls the rip cord; but nothing happens. The man pulls on the rip cord again; but nothing happens. Frantic, the man begins yanking on the ripcord; but nothing happens. The man looks down at the fast approaching ground and sees a Scout Master coming toward him! At 3,500 feet, as the two men are about to pass each other, the man with the parachute hollers over to the Scout master. "Do you know anything about parachutes?" he asks. "No" replies the Scout Master. "Do you know anything about Coleman lanterns?"

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