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Old 01-16-2014, 05:49 PM   #1
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Question Add pigtail after auto changeover valve

Hello,

I have a Forest River Salem Ice Cabin fish house/toy hauler/RV. It has two propane tanks behind an door on the side of the RV. There is an auto changeover valve between the two tanks, with the output of that going into the RV for the furnace and stove.

I have a portable gasoline generator that I'm considering converting to use propane or gasoline or natural gas. I'd like to be able to connect to the two tanks on the RV to run the generator off propane rather than hauling around another tank and I'd rather not have to disconnect one of the tanks to connect it directly to the generator whenever I need to use it.

Is there a way to add a pigtail (quick connect) after the auto changeover valve, such that I still have a hose going into the RV, but also have the extra hose for connecting other equipment? I need some sort of Y/Tee adapter after the regulator, but I'm not sure where to get such a thing.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

David
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:05 PM   #2
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Something like this?

Amazon.com: "LP Gas Extend-A-Stay Tee Adapter Type 1 ACME 1""-20 Inverted Flare Kit System": Automotive
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:53 AM   #3
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Kinda depends on what pressure the genset carb kit needs. You may need to supply it with tank pressure. On most change overs you can not separate the change over head (10psi out) from the second stage (11"wc out) A little more info would be helpful.
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:19 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by gasman6674 View Post
Kinda depends on what pressure the genset carb kit needs. You may need to supply it with tank pressure. On most change overs you can not separate the change over head (10psi out) from the second stage (11"wc out) A little more info would be helpful.
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:20 AM   #5
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If it will run on the low pressure side of the regulator, this what I did. Sorry for no pics but bear with me. Followed the metal pipe coming from the tanks leading to camper to the elbow-removed the elbow and replaced it with a "T", then I assembled fittings to come out below the side of camper and installed kwik connects with the all-in-one cut-off valves. I actually have 3 kwik-connects to run just about everything I have that runs on low pressure LP. Hope this helps. Steve A. Dagro
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Old 01-17-2014, 11:13 AM   #6
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Thank you for the reply! For others reading this, here is a picture of the adapter from the above link:


Name:   extend-a-stay_tee_adapter.jpg
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I believe that would work if I wanted to attach directly to one of the tanks and if I had a regulator in the line to the generator. What I'm trying to do is share the regulator that is already being used for the tanks, which also happens to be an auto changeover regulator/valve. By tying in after the regulator, I can still switch tanks as usual by only removing the connection to the tank (the adapter above would allow for this too), *and* I can run the generator no matter which tank is the active tank (the adapter above wouldn't allow for this).

In other words, just like I don't have to worry about whether I am running my furnace or my stove and don't have to worry about whether one tank is active or another, I'd like that same ability for the generator.

It will probably be easier if I attach some pictures, so I'll take some and add to the thread.

Thanks again,
David
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:09 PM   #7
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Kinda depends on what pressure the genset carb kit needs. You may need to supply it with tank pressure. On most change overs you can not separate the change over head (10psi out) from the second stage (11"wc out) A little more info would be helpful.
Thanks for the reply. The fuel controller used in the conversion has a max input pressure of 8 ounces, therefore I need a low pressure source (11" water column is just over 6.3 ounces). This is why I want to hook in *after* the changeover regulator, so that I can share that low pressure regulator when using the generator with the RV and take advantage of the auto-changeover without needing to move the generator to the second propane tank.

When I am using the generator without the RV, I'll have another hose rigged up with a hand tight adapter, low pressure regulator, and hose with a quick connect end, so I can easily hook it up to a stand-alone propane tank and snap onto the generator.

I will take some pictures of my tank set-up and post them.

Thanks again,
David
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Old 01-17-2014, 01:04 PM   #8
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In that case if you already have a quick disconnect plumbed into your system use that, If not I would plumb it as close to the outlet of the regulator as feasible the use the biggest id hose you can find. I have a little concern for the regulator btu capacity as I do not know what the max flow on these import unit are. Try it if you have frosting issues or low flame in the unit report back
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Old 01-17-2014, 01:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by sdagro View Post
If it will run on the low pressure side of the regulator, this what I did. Sorry for no pics but bear with me. Followed the metal pipe coming from the tanks leading to camper to the elbow-removed the elbow and replaced it with a "T", then I assembled fittings to come out below the side of camper and installed kwik connects with the all-in-one cut-off valves. I actually have 3 kwik-connects to run just about everything I have that runs on low pressure LP. Hope this helps. Steve A. Dagro
Thanks for the reply. I don't have a metal pipe or elbow. However, assuming it is the same type of connection of the flexible hose I have attached to the bottom of the changeover regulator/valve, this does sound like what I need. I just need to know where to get the tee and the fittings for the tee. I was hoping this was a somewhat standard adapter and that there were others who have wanted to run multiple things after the low pressure regulator, but that I just didn't know the name of the adapter. Seems like it is a custom job, but again, I just need to find where to get the right sized tee/y.

You said you have 3 quick connects, but earlier you mentioned a single Tee. If your main line for the RV is on one side of that Tee that would allow for one quick connect on the other side of the Tee. How are you hooking up the other 2 quick connects? I ask, because although I don't need it now, if I did want to run multiple low pressure appliances outside the RV in the future, being able to have multiple quick connects would be good.

My portable Coleman stove (Roadtrip model) has a built in regulator, so if I wanted to use it in the future, I'd need to connect directly to one of the tanks (possible use for the adapter that was first posted above) *and* have the correct hose to adapt to the connector that comes with the stove, which is made for connecting to 1 lb propane tanks.

My less portable triple burner cooker stand (Tejas Smokers) has its own high pressure regulator, so I'd connect that directly to the propane tank as well. Looking more and more like that adapter will still come in handy, just not for the generator.

What other low pressure gear do you have running outside the RV?

Thanks again and I will post some pictures to make this more clear.

David
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Old 01-17-2014, 02:50 PM   #10
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In that case if you already have a quick disconnect plumbed into your system use that, If not I would plumb it as close to the outlet of the regulator as feasible the use the biggest id hose you can find. I have a little concern for the regulator btu capacity as I do not know what the max flow on these import unit are. Try it if you have frosting issues or low flame in the unit report back
I don't have a quick connect plumbed into the system yet. That's what I'm trying to do.

I too worried about the BTU requirements. Looking online at what others have posted, it is looking like about 30,000 BTU with the generator running at full power (it has an eco mode too, so can run at a lower output as well). My furnace is 20,000 BTU input. Not sure about the stove, but let's aim on the high side and say 3x9,000 BTU and 9,000 btu for the oven too. That's 36,000 BTU. So if I wanted to run the generator on high, all three burners on high, the oven on high and the furnace, all at the same time, I'd be at 86,000 BTU.

I haven't been able to find a changeover regulator that looks like the one I have on the internet and don't know what make/model mine is. However, looking on the internet, I wasn't able to find a changeover regulator less than a 130,000 BTU rating. They are probably assume if you are wanting to use them with multiple tanks, you are probably running a number of devices on them and will need the extra BTUs.

Having said all that, I'm most likely safe from the BTU perspective. However, as you pointed out, frosting is a problem and I believe it to be my biggest problem. I've never been able to find a vaporization rate table for 20 or 30 lb propane tanks online. I've always had to extrapolate based on charts that show rates for a 25% full smaller tank compared to charts that show rates for 100 lb tanks at various fill levels.

Doing this math again, I find that a full tank puts out *roughly* 2.8 times as many BTUs as a 25% full tank (temperature and tank size will affect this, but I'm just trying to get rough numbers). Using the charts that show BTUs for 20 lb and 30 lb tanks, I find that if I use a 20 lb tank, at 25%, at 0 degrees F (again, this time of year, this is being used for ice fishing, so 0 degrees is not unheard of and isn't even the worst case scenario), I'm at only 7,500 BTUs. 2.8 * 7,500 BTUs = 21,000 BTUs. 2.8 * 10,000 BTUs = 28,000 BTUs for a 30 lb tank (what I currently have in the RV).

Obviously, a tank is only 100% full for a short while once it is used, but it does give me a range of 28,000 BTUs when full on down to 10,000 BTUs at 25% and then lower before the tank is regarded as empty by the changeover regulator/valve and the switch is made to the other tank.

This means my furnace will not be able to run at full force and I'm not sure how it will handle getting less than 20,000 BTUs input. Any ideas? Will it cut out when we reach the max vaporization level of the tank at a rate under the 20,000 BTUs the furnace can handle, or will it just run at a lower input/output? I've seen space heaters turn off when they are set at a high output and the tank can't supply that output (due to being low or due to the cold, or both). Before doing the math, I hoped they had figured all this out and that it wouldn't be a problem using the furnace in cold weather. I have to hope the furnace can handle a lower BTU input and will just run longer, but I'd love to hear any information anyone else has on this.

Now, add in the generator, pulling another 30,000 BTUs at full power, and I'm probably going to have serious problems running in cold temps. I could get a regulator that allows me to use both tanks at the same time, doubling the surface area, and increasing my max BTUs. That kind of defeats the benefit of an auto changeover regulator, but if that's what I have to do in the winter, so be it.

Another option would be to use one of the propane tank heater products. They are quite spendy. And, of course, using electricity to run the power for the tank heaters would reduce my effective generator capacity and burn more propane.

All of this won't prevent me from converting the generator over. It may just mean that I can't run it off propane in the winter time on the same tanks that are running the furnace for the RV. If I have to carry around a separate tank (or tankS, considering I may reach a single tank limit quickly in cold weather if I'm drawing a lot of power out of the generator) in the winter and run the generator on that, I guess it is either that or retrofitting the generator to run off a larger gasoline tank. I'm just trying to avoid the gasoline if possible, for a number of reasons.

Thanks again for your insights.

David
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