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Portable Gas Cookers and Cartriges

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  • Portable Gas Cookers and Cartriges

    Just about everyone has at least one. I’m talking about the little portable cooker than runs on the Butane cans . They come in their own little case and take up bugger all room in the fourby. So besides making sure the cooker you buy, or the one you have now has the Australian Gas Association sticker approval number on it you should be honky dory.

    Well that is partially right!. Have you ever thought about those Butane cartridges that feed them? Sure they all look the same but are they really? Anyway I delved into it and found some interesting safety aspects of these cans along the way whilst testing them. I will get to that further in but what I wanted to do was get an idea of if there was really any difference between the brands. A bit of research told me the proportion of Butane and Propane in these cans vary with mostly 85% being Butane (Iso Butane) and the remainder being Propane. Propane in these being the better gas as it will burn hotter and is not affected from the cold as much as Butane. And although these gases are combined we find that the Propane will burn out of them first leaving just the Butane . That explains why at lower temperatures the flame on your cooker will gradually reduce even though the can still has plenty in it. The portion of Propane in the can will burn off first.
    Now I wanted to find out if these different brands of Butane cans all had the same proportion mix of Butane/Propane . Generally as a guideline the spec sheet I did get from Gasmate was the one suggesting the 85% / 15% mix but I believe that was only for that particular brand.
    So I went and chased up six different brands of these Butane cans to put to the test. I wanted some that hadn’t been sitting on the shelf for a while so purchased at high turnover shops where sales of them would be consistant.
    Now with six different Butane cans and a 24 pack of 375ml bottles of water we were ready to do some testing.

    How it was done
    The testing criteria for these cans were the same throughout and taking about three hours to complete. All cans were weighed at start and finish on digital scales. Electronic timer was used for each boiling session. Temperature was a consistent 16.c throughout.
    A pot of about 2 ltr capacity with two bottles of 375ml tipped in to make 750ml. A piece of flat aluminium angle placed on top of the pot across the rim with a hole drilled in it for temp probe. Probe sat in approximately 40mm of water . Can weighed with cap on then installed and timer set on ignition of burner. All cans timed to boiling point of 100 celcius. Can then pulled out then weighed again with cap on.

    With the test results on paper we can see the weights of the cans are all over the shop with up to 5 grams difference between them. I wouldn’t imagine the weights of the cans would be the factor here so can only suggest the amount of gas in them does vary. ( Note two cans were not CRV type )

    Brand cost per cylinder start weigh t finish weight time to boil Purchased

    Progaz N/A 323 g 300g 7.33 N/A
    Wild Country $2.15 328g 304g 8.05 Rays Tent City
    ISO 97c 326g 303g 8.10 Supercheap
    Gasmate 96c 323g 305g 9.10 Bunnings
    Primus/companion $1.98 324g 297g 9.20 Rays Tent City
    Campers Collection N/A 325g 298g 9.50 N/A

    A winner
    Time difference of 2 minutes 17 seconds between testing of the six cans suggests to me the varience in Propane proportions is noticeable in the boiling times. The Progaz went straight to boil (100c) whereas some of the others tended to hang around the 90c mark a bit longer before reaching our target. Also noted is in each case around 23 – 28 grams was used to boil the water and really is a good indicator of how many cuppa’s we will get out of a can . I think if you work on around 8 boil times per can that should cover you.
    Is there a clear winner here? Yes but not so much in the sense that the testing of cans gave us different results but more so the discovery of the safety aspects of the Butane cans themselves. When we look at the test results it tells us the Progaz was clearly a winner. I had this can in my garage for a while and whilst looking through retail stores to purchase again they were nowhere to be found. I think by memory it was purchased at Supercheap but are now replaced by the ISO brand. Most certainly the same people distribute both ISO and Progaz to Supercheap.
    The second placegetter in the Wild Country brand was purchased at Rays Tent City. In a pack of six for $12.95 ( $2.15 per can) they did not represent value at well over double the price of some of the other brands.
    Third placegetter was the ISO brand from Supercheap and I believe Masters hardware stores stock these as well (Two of the Masters stores I visited were out of stock of these when comparing prices). Although performing reasonably well these cans are CRV approved and basically near the cheapest out there.
    Fourth placegetter was the Gasmate. Reasonable in the time it took and the cheapest out there. Purchased from Bunnings they are not CRV approved containers and should be banned from selling to the general public.
    Fifth was the Companion/Primus purchased from Rays Tent City and another that was overpriced for the performance. At $1.98 per can it doesn’t represent any value for us happy campers and another non CRV container used..
    Last was the Campers Collection. Taking the most time and near most amount of gas it really doesn’t rate any mention of value.

    Well with the Progaz brand not being found anymore and the second placegetter Wild Country being twice the price of of the ISO brands third placegetter I am declaring the ISO brand to be the better value here. In a CRV approved container and with a price around 97 cents per can they are a reasonable performer and represent great value.

    The Safety Aspect
    Some aspects of this report you might notice I mention CRV pertaining to the Butane containers.
    CRV is abbreviated for Countersink Release Vent. Recently a company in Korea invented this safety can for the application of use with these Butane cans. Basically what they will do is vent the gas through perforations in built around the rim of the can when extreme heat or pressure is too much and the gas needs to escape. Non CRV cans will simply explode with damaging results.
    To tell the difference between the non CRV and approved CRV cans is easy. CRV approved cans will have the certification marked on the can and packaging. Also just to confirm look at the outer rim on the top of the can. They have a light blue tinge and you will notice the small perforations where they will vent under pressure. Non CRV approved cans will just have a plain outer rim and no markings on the cans. Noticibly two of the cans tested were not in CRV approved containers. A worrying aspect as one being the popular Gasmate brand in the green can sold through Bunnings and the other the Companion /Primus through Rays Tent city. What you will notice is these are from China and not from Korea. Most of these cans have warnings of storage above the temperature of above 50 celcius. You can imagine how hot it can get in your vehicle in summer and storage of these in vehicles of these non CRV approved cans can be a bomb waiting to go off. I believe the non CRV approved cans should be banned from sale in Australia period!
    All cans should also have the compliance of UL147B and/or EN417 clearly marked on the can for the sale of these in Australia as well. All the cans I tested have them but it pays just to glance over them to make sure they are on the brand you buy.

    So there you have it. The winner here I believe is the ISO blue tainted Butane can. Just a bit cheaper than a buck a pop and reasonable performance from the CRV approved container.
    Dave Howard
    Technical Officer
    Pajero 4WD Club of Vic
    NX Pampas Cat GLS MY16
    Member 1228 Pajero Club

  • #2
    Great read Dave, well done! Will be checking out the little cartridges at home and throwing them out if not CRV approved!
    2009 NT GLS DiD 5spd - ARB Deluxe bar, Tigerz11 12,000lbs Winch, Airtec Snorkel, ARB Front Locker, TJM Rear Locker, Hankook AT-M 265/70/17, Bilsteins, Lovells HD 50mm, Bushskinz Intercooler, Sump, Trans & Transfer Case Guards, Brown Davis long range tank, Pioneer Head Unit, ARB Dual Battery Tray, Redarc SBI12, GME TX3440, Lightforce 240 Blitz, Stebel alarm & car horns, Rhino Pioneer Platform rack, DIY (Rear Shelf, Sliders, Fridge Slide), Ultragauge, 3" Exhaust


    • #3
      Great write up and interesting report Dave. I have been using the ISO cans for a while now and find them to be good. I did purchase a pack of red cans from supercheap once a while ago so presume they were the progaz but can't remember, I didn't like them as I seemed to burn through them very quickly compared to the ISO branded cans. Thanks for the info.
      02 NM 3.5v6 auto Exceed, seq gas inj,265/75/16 Wild Peaks,16x8 Ballistic alloys, 2.5" cat back, wild cat headers, Lovells HD/TJM Gold Series,30mm coil spacers in rear, dual batt, TJM/bushskinz, 4x4 equip axe & shovel holder, rev cam, 50L Waeco, Megapulse, poly airs, Safari snorkel, K&N, MM alloy b/bar, Roo Lite's, 21" light bar,remote mount UHF, extended breathers, ARB comp, Maxtrax, RTT, Batwing awning & much more!

      my videos


      • #4
        That's a very interesting read. I'm just about to buy one of these stoves and some gas canisters so I'll make sure it's the ISO branded ones I get. Thanks
        2005 NP Platinum 3.2 DID Auto, Lovells HD springs, Bilstein shocks, Firestone Airbags, ARB bar, Warn XD 9000 winch, IPF 900 Xtreme Sport lights, Bushskinz intercooler & sump guards, Outback Accessories rock sliders, GME 3200 UHF, CTEK Dc to Dc Dual Battery system, 265/75/16 General Grabber AT2 tyres, Torque Converter lock-up kit, Safari snorkel, Taipan high performance exhaust, LRA 66lt long range fuel tank.


        • #5
          Good read, Dave - thanks for the write-up.

          I noticed with my cooker that it won't boil my billy when the cylinder is about half full - you might've just explained why. Fancy taking one of your high rated cans and repeating the boil test a few times, to track boil times as the can empties?
          NT Platinum. DiD Auto with 265/70R17 ST Maxx, Lift, Lockers, Lockup Mate, Low range reduction, LRA Aux tank, bull bar, winch, lots of touring stuff. Flappy paddles. MMCS is gone!

          Project: NJ SWB. 285/75R16 ST Maxx, 2" OME suspension, 2" body lift, ARB 110, 120l tank, bullbar, scratches, no major dents. Fully engineered in SA. NW DiD & auto in place - a long way to go....

          Scorpro Explorer Box


          • #6
            We had one can explode on a double gas cooker with the hot plate on top while we were cooking some snags early this year. Like this,


            My wife subsequently spent the next 3 days in intensive care at the burns unit in concord hospital after being airlifted from woolongong hospital with seviere burns to the upper portion of her face.
            We will never go anywhere near one of these cheap cookers again, or near anyone else who is using them.
            The old school sepaerate bottle with a long flexible tube and cooker on a stand method for us only now.
            Having the fuel source so close to the heat source never made sense to me, how they are allowed on the market full stop is a mystery to me....


            • #7
              Most of these stoves have warnings on them against placing anything on top that may cover the gas bottle compartment.
              Heat build up under a frypan or hot plate is immense, and obviously a serious injury risk.
              Saucepan or billy only for safety reasons.

              Great write up Dave, lots of time and thought has gone into it and the info will help many.
              Well done mate
              2005 NP Platinum Edition, DiD Auto
              2009 VW Crafter motorhome


              • #8
                Nothing was placed on top that covered the gas compartment.

                People choose to take out of the story what they will, if it saves only one person from going through what we had to then its a win.


                • #9
                  No implication of wrong doing on your part spider, just a warning to all of the risk involved with any butane type of appliance. Most will also see your post as a warning I'm sure.
                  We all hope Mrs Spider recovers well without any longterm complications
                  2005 NP Platinum Edition, DiD Auto
                  2009 VW Crafter motorhome


                  • #10
                    Hey Spiderpig, sorry to hear about the accident. Do you know if the butane cannister was a crv type and if not would it have turned out different if it was?
                    Deceased: 2002 3.5 GLS auto, ECB alloy bullbar, ECB alloy tubular sidesteps, Mickey Thompson ATZ 4 ribs 265/75/16, Reverse camera, Alpine stereo, 2 inch sd lovells springs + lovells shocks, custom 3mm steel sump guard, freebie 220mm spotlights, rola roof racks, oricom uhf. Claimed by a dodgy Kangaroo Island road and an inexperienced and remorseful girlfriend.

                    Now driving a prado 120 gxl and secretly missing the paj!


                    • #11
                      I wouldn't recommend these things to anyone, I had one malfunction in my hand while it was being used as a light, it was as a result of poor manufacture. They are cheap n nasty and many accidents have happened as a result of them.



                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Catchin Jack View Post
                        I wouldn't recommend these things to anyone, I had one malfunction in my hand while it was being used as a light, it was as a result of poor manufacture. They are cheap n nasty and many accidents have happened as a result of them.

                        Still waiting to hear the outcome on this story......
                        MY16 NX GLX5 with just a few bits added. MY14 D-max spacecab, also with a few bits added.

                        My Journeys


                        • #13
                          These are awesome - best stove have ever used, including home stoves. Awesome grunt.


                          Coleman Duel Fuel
                          2015 NX, ARB Bullbar, Bilstein / Lovells HD Front and Kings SP Rear, Polyairs, 17" NP Exceed wheels, D697 LT265/65/17, STEDI Cree 24" 120Watt light bar, Tracklander 2100 Roof Cage, Bushskinz side steps and bash plates, 200AH of Batts under rear floor via Redarc 40 Amp, cargo barrier with custom rear shelf up high, TC mod, EGR mod, catch can, iPhone4 with OBD app, USB ports in all 3 rows, custom storage in rear passenger guard.


                          • #14
                            Just checked my jackaroo brand cans from k mart and they don't appear to be the crv type
                            Deceased: 2002 3.5 GLS auto, ECB alloy bullbar, ECB alloy tubular sidesteps, Mickey Thompson ATZ 4 ribs 265/75/16, Reverse camera, Alpine stereo, 2 inch sd lovells springs + lovells shocks, custom 3mm steel sump guard, freebie 220mm spotlights, rola roof racks, oricom uhf. Claimed by a dodgy Kangaroo Island road and an inexperienced and remorseful girlfriend.

                            Now driving a prado 120 gxl and secretly missing the paj!


                            • #15
                              Thanks Dave for taking the Time and Effort to Test these Fuel Cans, I have used these stoves indoors a few time and wondered about there Safety, now I know I had reason to worry, I will be Sharing this imformation to anyone who is interested. I am sorry about your wife S/P and pray that she fully recovers from that Terrible Accident. I know some people even use these stoves full time in their homes! I will be making them Aware of the Potental Danger of these Fuel Cans and Stoves to their Families.
                              NP 05 Platinum Edition, 3.2 DiD Auto, Extra H/D 50mm Kings, Garmin GPS, Waeco 40, Turbo Smart Boost Gauge, Lambwool Covers, Kumo Tyres, Rock Sliders Pending, Surrey Downs Adelaide Sth Aust.


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