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Used low mile 2018 159
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got the Propex 2800 installed and ran inside tubing to future location of locker.
Preparing to build rear under bed mounted locker.
Space heater is only propane device, all else electric.

Before I mount N.C. solenoid valve inside locker was wondering if this is a good idea?
An explosion proof solenoid is quite pricey and for my needs overkill.

But what if there is a fitting leak inside locker near or even at the solenoid valve body. All in a sealed space. Could be a while before leaked gas finds it's way down to the floor drain hole. I realize this is worse case scenario and that gas concentration plays a role but.

Anyone see a problem with installing solenoid shutoff immediately outside locker ?

I have yet to see this brought up with a locker storage design.
 

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As you said, I would think that the connection outside the locker defeats the other safety items you have in place. I’d say inside locker if possible to prevent a leak at the connection.


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Used low mile 2018 159
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
As you said, I would think that the connection outside the locker defeats the other safety items you have in place. I’d say inside locker if possible to prevent a leak at the connection.
Good point. Inside solenoid mount would mean I would have just one in-cabin connection at the heater and that is a flare connection.

Unrelated rant: Why Propex sends a compression fitting with their heater is beyond me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the reminder RV8R.
Was aware of the British made propane fitting being BSPT and ordered what you show long ago from McMaster.

Am familiar with BSPT as I have owned many British automobiles going back to the 60s. What disappointed me was it was a compression fitting.
I see many of you warned forum readers on NOT using compression fittings with propane.
 

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Van #2 2021 EXT
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Thanks for the reminder RV8R.
Was aware of the British made propane fitting being BSPT and ordered what you show long ago from McMaster.

Am familiar with BSPT as I have owned many British automobiles going back to the 60s. What disappointed me was it was a compression fitting.
I see many of you warned forum readers on NOT using compression fittings with propane.
You are Welcome @Soon2Retire (I had a 1968 GT6 when I was a kid - loved that car).

I am no expert, but I do not like the compression fitting - they might be fine - personal preference.

Regarding the solenoid valve; I did not have one in my 2018 build. My understanding is these valves go between the tank and the regulator or the high pressure side. If this is the case then I would want the valve to be as close to the tank as practical or at least with as few of joints as possible.

So in that case I suppose you could take the high pressure outside and have the regulator outside. I might put a solenoid valve in my new build.

Another thing I was "told" by an RV shop is in Canada a new regulation came out a few years back regarding placement of the regulator. They want the regulator mounted higher than the tank valve. The reason was to eliminate the possibility of liquid propane from entering the regulator. I have not researched this, but it made sense to me & I mounted my regulator above my tank in my 2018 build. So with an interior propane locker that is vented at the floor, that means the regulator and "solenoid valve" would have to be in the propane locker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Regarding the solenoid valve; I did not have one in my 2018 build. My understanding is these valves go between the tank and the regulator or the high pressure side. If this is the case then I would want the valve to be as close to the tank as practical or at least with as few of joints as possible.

So in that case I suppose you could take the high pressure outside and have the regulator outside. I might put a solenoid valve in my new build.

Another thing I was "told" by an RV shop is in Canada a new regulation came out a few years back regarding placement of the regulator. They want the regulator mounted higher than the tank valve. The reason was to eliminate the possibility of liquid propane from entering the regulator. I have not researched this, but it made sense to me & I mounted my regulator above my tank in my 2018 build. So with an interior propane locker that is vented at the floor, that means the regulator and "solenoid valve" would have to be in the propane locker.
Thanks for the additional insight RV8R. Excellent points you and Dtp2c11 have made.

Makes sense the solenoid shutoff is on the high pressure side, eliminating all but one threaded connections -> potential leak. Hi pressure outside the locker not going to happen.
It also makes sense the regulator be higher than tank outlet due to potential liquid splashing out of tank.

We will only open the N.C. solenoid when heater in use, then allow it to close, via switch with indicator light in plain sight, just before driving out. In other words Propex heater will not be used while driving.

Will allow additional room for two, or more, 1 pound "camping" size spare cylinders. Will calculate spare 1 lb bottles run time should 20 pound tank run out and in need of a fill up.

Will plan on installing as described above but at least run solenoid wires outside the box and terminate there. Still not sure about the coil in such an environment but I guess it is what it is.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Will be researching 12v solenoid valves now. A quick look earlier this morning showed that when energized consumption was 1amp on one, and only model, I briefly looked at. Don't know if that is typical, will find out tonight and likely order.

I can't be reaching into the locker to turn on and off when touring in cold climate. I certainly don't want the line from locker to heater unexpectedly leak into cabin due to failed fitting, tube or due to road accident. This is why I am considering a solenoid shut off valve.

A gung ho owner, not me, could interlock the solenoid to ignition voltage. This is what Ram does with the swivel seat. If not facing forward van won't start. It's simple to let van start but force valve to close. A point of interest only as I have no plans to do this.
 

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2020 136" High Roof Based in Central IL
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Before I mount N.C. solenoid valve inside locker was wondering if this is a good idea?
An explosion proof solenoid is quite pricey and for my needs overkill.
Of course this is just my opinion, but I would not want an electrical device inside that locker unless it was explosion proof. That's exactly the scenario an explosion proof solenoid is intended for.

I understand they are pricey and it's likely to not be needed, but.....

Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Of course this is just my opinion, but I would not want an electrical device inside that locker unless it was explosion proof. That's exactly the scenario an explosion proof solenoid is intended for.

I understand they are pricey and it's likely to not be needed, but.....

Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
I totally agree with you JerryW. What throws me off is that this seems like accepted practice for LP lockers ! What am I missing ?
I have spec'd and supervised many explosion proof electrical installations in industry in lesser explosive environments.

I know propane is heavier and will flow out the bottom but at a rate fast enough to keep overall locker concentration under explosive limit? Hmmm.
Chances coil will spark is likely remote and needs a propane leak to do harm. It's a remote risk only the van owner can make.

Hoping to learn more about this application. Anyone looked at this before ?
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi,
Don't want to talk you out of a safety feature, but a couple things to consider on whether the solenoid is needed...

The pressure on the outlet side of the regulator is 11 inches of water, this is only 0.4 psi - really low. The copper line and flare fittings normally used are probably good for well over 100 psi. The copper pipe and flare connections are very robust.
I guess its always possible the regulator would fail in such a way as to put full tank pressure in the line, but I've had two regulators go out over the years and both just resulted in no flow - so, maybe this is the way you design regulators?

You have such a simple setup - potentially only one fitting outside the propane locker. And, you can be very careful when you do the installation to support the line well and make sure there are no places where contact with other things could abrade the line.

Of course, the propane is odorized, so small leaks will make themselves known.

I've had 4 RVs over 50 years, all with propane and none with a solenoid. Never had a single mishap on plumbing inside the RV - so far :)

Again, not trying to talk you out of it - just adding a bit more data.

Gary
 

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I know propane is heavier and will flow out the bottom but at a rate fast enough to keep overall locker concentration under explosive limit?
Even with a proper stoichometric air/fuel ratio inside the locker you'd still need an ignition source. Seems that the shutoff valve could ironically be the problem instead of the solution. Personally, I'd put my money into a quality propane alarm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi,
Don't want to talk you out of a safety feature, but a couple things to consider on whether the solenoid is needed...

The pressure on the outlet side of the regulator is 11 inches of water, this is only 0.4 psi - really low. The copper line and flare fittings normally used are probably good for well over 100 psi. The copper pipe and flare connections are very robust.
I guess its always possible the regulator would fail in such a way as to put full tank pressure in the line, but I've had two regulators go out over the years and both just resulted in no flow - so, maybe this is the way you design regulators?

You have such a simple setup - potentially only one fitting outside the propane locker. And, you can be very careful when you do the installation to support the line well and make sure there are no places where contact with other things could abrade the line.

Of course, the propane is odorized, so small leaks will make themselves known.

I've had 4 RVs over 50 years, all with propane and none with a solenoid. Never had a single mishap on plumbing inside the RV - so far :)

Again, not trying to talk you out of it - just adding a bit more data.

Gary
GaryBis, thoughtful reply, thank you.

Yes my LP set up is simple unlike the ones I owned the past 50 years. As you well know, only fossil fuel can properly heat these campers. It was between propane and gas/diesel heaters. Propane won for reasons already discussed on this forum.

My installation is solid, I am not concerned with cabin leaks. There will be an alarm and as you stated propane is odorized. Perhaps I am overthink the risk of having propane spill out of line from tank to heater in event of an accident. This is where the easy to flip solenoid valve electrical switch, that isolates the tank just before hitting we hit the road, comes in. Problem is that device (solenoid coil) has the potential to be a greater risk than a fire due to a road accident. It's a pick your poison situation, get blown up or burn in a fire. Have not found a true explosion proof valve with a smallish body that fits and not cost a small fortune.

I appreciate you reminding me that in 50+ years no safety issues. I did not either starting with my first van build in early 70s running propane lines all over the van. Worse, back then I was not half as careful with solid build practices as I am today. Your words became a much needed reality check. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Even with a proper stoichometric air/fuel ratio inside the locker you'd still need an ignition source. Seems that the shutoff valve could ironically be the problem instead of the solution. Personally, I'd put my money into a quality propane alarm.
Roach711 I can't control the stoichiometric air/fuel ratio in event of a leak inside the locker. It's the locker's job to remedy that via floor drain. What I can control is whether or not I introduce a potential spark in an an enclosed environment. As much as I like the idea of easily isolating the tank from the rest of the system by means of an electric valve, I now find it harder and harder to justify it's use.

I am glad I brought this up and appreciate the talent and critical thinking this forum offers.
It's members like you, GaryBis, RV8R, JerryW and Dtp2c11 offering thoughtful and logical advice that makes this forum so successful. Thank you.
 

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Roach711 I can't control the stoichiometric air/fuel ratio in event of a leak inside the locker. It's the locker's job to remedy that via floor drain. What I can control is whether or not I introduce a potential spark in an an enclosed environment. As much as I like the idea of easily isolating the tank from the rest of the system by means of an electric valve, I now find it harder and harder to justify it's use.

I am glad I brought this up and appreciate the talent and critical thinking this forum offers.
It's members like you, GaryBis, RV8R, JerryW and Dtp2c11 offering thoughtful and logical advice that makes this forum so successful. Thank you.
Hi @Soon2Retire

I tend to agree with @GaryBIS (on most things here) & with @Roach711 on a less “spark capable” system.

I have thought of an electric valve, but only briefly. My focus on my new build is to keep it simple. When I consider my last fridge was spec’d @ an average of 0.87 amps so less than 24 Ahr in a 24 hour timeframe, the solenoid valve would use a fair bit. But mostly I am concerned with the “spark”aspect. In my 2018 it was a thought when unlocking the doors to the van, but with a propane locker vented thru the floor I consider the risk minimal.

Not knowing your exact design of locker or the difficulty of manually turning the propane tank’s valve on, I wonder if some sort of knob could be fitted to the outside of the tank that could remotely turn the tank’s valve on & off ? A mechanism that could be gasket sealed somehow.

Our lockers & tanks are under the rear part of the bed in our 2021 design with easy accessibility to the hatches, so turning a tank on manually is not really a big deal.

That “regulator higher than the tank valve” requirement I cited was for Canada & I did not research it for USA. That being said, maybe it is possible to come off the tank with the hose, up higher for a distance & then down thru to floor to an outside solenoid valve & regulator. Caveat; I have not researched USA standards for such an installation. I also do not believe having liquid propane come up the shut off valve float activated in some tanks in a tank only max 80% filled and shaped with a high side center tank valve, up a line that immediately heads higher before diving thru the floor is very probable (anything is possible I guess).
 

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Propex & 37mBar 🙄

37mBar “thanks UK” is just under 15WC. I was told by Propex “Canada” the NA Propex requires 13WC (I do not necessarily believe that). NA standard regulators are supposed to be set @ 11WC & like @GaryBIS stated that is low like 0.4 psi. I have purged 3 Propex HS2800 systems now & performed the initial fire up. You can block that 0.4psi on the copper tube with your finger.

I was also told by Propex to use a “good” 2 stage regulator. FWIW.

All 3 Propex HS 2800 have run with no issues so far. So I believe the 11WC works just fine with them, but maybe less BTU output.

If you have the Digistat controller great 👍 If not you may want to look into it. On the initial setup if you can not get the unit to fire up - then you need to reset the unit by “paperclip” & 2 taps on the reset button in the hole in the Digistat. The Propex is smart & goes thru a quick diagnostic before allowing propane into the burner. If you do not purge the propane line to the back of the heater prior to initial fire up it will probably run an error code and shut down - hence the “reset”.

Good Luck !!
 
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