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Propane "bottle" torch won't stay lit

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Hi, All. Trying to do a small plumbing repair and I bought a propane torch kit. It doesn't want to stay lit. I have it on very low and use a sparker to start up and it seems to blow itself out. Even when I get it going for a bit and increase the pressure a touch it blows out shortly after. Any ideas?

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Is it a "Bernzomatic" type screw to a small bottle commercial torch or is it one of the more professional models with a hose that hooks up to a 20lb or larger propane bottle?

If it's the first type and being a kit, I think it probably is. Are you using a new propane bottle?

Does it have an adjustment on the torch itself?

Does the torch show any damage at all? Is the hot end screwed on tight? Having a little slop in the output end is the most common problem I've seen, next to a nearly empty bottle that is.

Can you describe the flame in more detail?

However, if it isn't one of the common problems: low pressure from a nearly empty bottle, loose hot end or misadjusted flame setting, my recommendation is take the receipt and kit back for a trade or return.

When I asked about a flame description there are a VERY FEW problems with this type of tool I MIGHT be willing to offer advice on self repair. These things can be REALLY DANGEROUS and I will NOT encourage anyone to take unwarranted risks.

Frosty the Lucky.

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Frosty, yes Benzomatic commercial kit. There is no sign of damage. It's a new bottle with adjustment valve on the nozzle which screws directly onto the bottle. The hot end was loose but I tightened it before lighting. I decided to take a break and eat lunch AS I was getting frustrated. I came back and it worked like a charm. It is breezy today and that may be a factor. Plus, I had to work pretty low to the ground and I think that a lot of the propane doesn't have time to fully gasify. My theory is that after using the bottle and emptying it a bit it the gas flowed better. Just a theory, though.

Oh, the flame was impossible to see in the daylight but in the smithy was a beautiful blue.

Grant, I think that's the same reason it can't be used upside down.

Thanks for the input. It may have been just one of those things. :(

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They do tend to be sensitive to breezes, sometimes adjusting the intensity helps but not if there's much breeze.

Another thought just occured to me, a little manufacturing debris may have been lodged in it restricting or disrupting the gas flow's shape which makes inducer type burners not work well if at all.

Upside down isn't a good thing as the bottle will spit liquid propane and these torches aren't intended to burn liquid fuel. It is possible to design an ejector type inducer burner to burn liquid propane but you need to be ready for some serious action.

Frosty the Lucky.

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Frosty's tips are right on - My Bernzo has been cranky since day one - open it all the way up and maybe after 5 or 6 tries it'll light - keep it absolutely vertical and she makes a great candle - tip it at all and out she goes . . . that is unless it's Tuesday, after 3 pm with an 8/10th's full bottle and while doing just a bit of a jig while holding it over my head - then it works every single time . . .

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They won't tolerate much breeze and you cannot tip the cylinder unless it's nearly empty... this means VERY LIMITED uses only. For slightly more you can get one with a short hose that works very well. With the hose you can keep the cylinder upright and still direct the flame as you need to. It still won't tolerate much breeze. I've done a LOT with these torches and for just slightly more you can get a trigger light model and if you run MAPP gas in it you can do a lot more yet. The hose is essential though unless you are pretty well using it as a bench tool where it can always be in the upright position.

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These torches are NOT TOYS either! When I was a firefighter I was called to the scene of an explosion caused by a guy trying to light his fireplace with one. He apparently turned the valve in the wrong direction and emptied the tank into his living room... when he next tried to light the torch the explosion lifted his ceiling a foot and burned off his bangs and eyebrows!!! He was kinda stunned and deafened too. His neighbor described him walking out with his arms held out and a zombie like stare just like Wile E. Coyote in the old roadrunner toons! He just had one of the small quart sized bottles too. We had a farmer that hooked up his own propane to his furnace (and this was a 400 gallon bulk tank) and didn't realize that he needed a regulator on the line. Fortunately his basement was quite small and he just blew a 10 foot diameter hole through his floor and roof... knocked the chimney over onto the babies crib, but the baby wasn't in it at the time. Minor injuries and a few thousand dollars damage to the house (flames were ten feet above the roof as we arrived). I know lots of us on here LIKE to do it ourselves and most are capable too... BUT ONE bad mistake can cost a hell of a lot.

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I came here looking for a solution to my own torch blow-out problem, and some of the comments got me thinking ...

I have a couple of genuine 25-year-old BernzOmatic torches, the kind with bent brass blowpipes, thumbwheel valve, that screw directly onto a disposable or refillable propane cylinder. The smaller torch tends to stay lit a bit better than the large one, but neither one is satisfactory. In fact, whenever I solder copper water pipes, I use the flame spreaders, as that's the only way I've been able to keep the torches lit fairly consistently.

One thing I noticed while experimenting with them is that they tend to stay lit better after a period of preheating, when the tip of the torch gets so hot that you can't touch it without burning your fingers. How to keep them lit long enough to accomplish this is the problem. If I use a piezo spark lighter or "gas match", it seems the flame blows away from the torch tip and then goes out, no matter what the gas flow is. However, if I use a flint spark lighter, the kind with a cup over the flint and steel, and put it up close to the torch tip, it's a different matter altogether. By placing the cup over the tip, it traps gas and creates a local enriching effect, and it also forces the flame into the torch tip. Once the flame is in the tip, it burns quieter and begins heating up the surrounding brass. It is also helpful at times to occlude one or more of the air holes in the torch with my fingers, to reduce air entrainment and cause the mixture to be richer during ignition.

As some have commented previously, the best solution for all-position heating and soldering is a torch with a hose, but if you can adequately preheat the tip, get the flame to "seat" in the tip and trim the gas flow to an optimum setting, the standard BernzOmatic propane torch can be used in a fairly wide range of orientations.

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Huh. I've never had a single problem with my bernzomatic in any orientation. Did I just get lucky with a better valve/torch assembly than typical? I'm a little surprised to hear how many people have finicky torches.

With regards to Phil Cooper's post above, I always use a flint/cap on that torch, so maybe that changes things. *shrug*

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I've never had issues with one of these torches until I bought the one I'm using now. the only way Ican get it to light is to turn it on, then back off and as the gas is slowly coming to a stop light it. then if I turn it up too high it flames out. Too high seems to be any size flame that is usable. I feel your pain.

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Huh. I've never had a single problem with my bernzomatic in any orientation. Did I just get lucky with a better valve/torch assembly than typical? I'm a little surprised to hear how many people have finicky torches.

With regards to Phil Cooper's post above, I always use a flint/cap on that torch, so maybe that changes things. *shrug*

Ia'm with you on this one. I have a few torches older than a lot of members here. Only issues are with the newer ones. I use um verticle or horizontal. I have trigger starts and match starts and mix and match torches. Branded tanks and tank adapters for 20lbers.
Ken.

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I have several of the torches, some brand new and some over forty years old. I find that on some of them I have to just crack the valve open to get it to light. After warming up for a while it will run higher. If the bottle is new, it seems to like the barely cracked position the best. When I use the long hose to a 20 pounder there is no problem. When the valve is barely cracked, (full flame though) I can use the bottle in any position. It seems that new disposable bottles are when I have the most problems. Probably due to higher pressure when full. Of course none of them work very well when solder drops into the nozzle end... :o

The problem could be they are putting too much ethanol in the gas..... :rolleyes:

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The problem could be they are putting too much ethanol in the gas..... :rolleyes:


You funny!

I have had several newer ones. Don't drop them, the break.

I have had consistent performance from most, but if they acted up I would light in a protected area like a garage, and carry the lit torch to the work. This is for outside work of course.

Some would light high. some low, some don't care. Never had a problem with position on a hot torch, only when first lit, and then rarely.


Phil

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The problem seems to be "Benzomatic" I do quite a bit of copper work in the U.A.E. and there I thought that we would treat ourselves and we bought some of these Benzomatic torches they and their consumables were expensive and what a *^$$!!* let down. We then reverted to our 'standard' of small camping gas canisters and their torches wich are cheap(less than $10 and $2 for 3 canisters), they work at any angle exept inverted and are hassle free.
Just my 2 cents worth!

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You may have a clogged torch. Check the part that is a metal tube where the gas comes out.

If you look down in there (with the torch off) you will see a 3-pointed star where the gas come out.

If anything is blocking that the torch will just go out and behave oddly.

Turns out I had some solder (I was doing plumbing) that fell into the torch when I aimed it up from under a valve I was working on.

As soon as I knocked this solder ball out of the torch (the part that is a metal tube) it worked great again.

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Google Bernzomatic torch repair.  I had one quit burning like yours and found some links, both descriptive and youtube that show how to repair/adjust the torch.  I thought I had saved the links, but could not find them.  Sometimes it only requires re-bending a small metal part.  WARNING!  If you try to disassemble the torch without reading one of the repair descriptions, there is a very small spring that can pop out and you are then you are pooched!

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Ok Propane works off of pressure that is formed by evaporating Propane, this is why they dont fill up propane tanks all the way. There must be room for vapor pressure to build up. If you tip the tank upside down then liquid propane spurts out the end, the liquid is not what burns but it is the gases created from evaporation that burn. Propane has a boiling point of about -40 degrees F. If it is below -40F there will be no pressure for propane and it will remain a liquid with no evaporation, thus no vapors to burn. Having said this, I have a peculiar problem today and think I may be stuck in a dream right now. I have Four torches, two handheld tanks of propane, and two handheld tanks of mapp gas. I can not get any of my four torches to light in any combination with my four fuel containers. I am using a lighter to light them so I have an open flame. I tried them on low and on high. I tried them right side up, even tried them upside down and sideways. I actually had flames burning out the sides where the air is suppose to be drawn from but there is no torch that ignites. There is only flames pushing away from the torch. You know how a torch has a torch tip when it is lit and the torch sound? There is none of that. The torch tips are newer. The bottles are less than a year old. I can only get this weak flame that keeps going out or it just blows air at my lighter and pushes the lighter flame away but no ignite. I gave up trying to start a fire tonight. This is unreal. I can only imagine that the oxygen in the air has disappeared, or I am on some alien planet right now. I have not taken any drugs for a long time. Am I going crazy? I don't think there is a shelf life on propane or mapp gas but could there be some contaminant in it. Did the company start putting something in it so it expires? What is going on in this crazy world?

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Well newer bottles do have a flow control system that can get stuck in the "closed" position.

Also tiny, very tiny clogs in the nozzle can cause that problem---to you have a set of torch tip cleaners that will work with your propane torch?

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1 minute ago, ThomasPowers said:

Well newer bottles do have a flow control system that can get stuck in the "closed" position.

Also tiny, very tiny clogs in the nozzle can cause that problem---to you have a set of torch tip cleaners that will work with your propane torch?

I think I do have a torch tip cleaner out there somewhere, I could try cleaning it. I do have flow coming out the end though. 

My torches did sit out in the shed all winter, I had two of them freeze up and had to heat them up to get the check valves unstuck a while back. I wonder if the freezing has damaged the check and I am getting too much propane or not enough. I might be below or above the LEL (lower explosive limits) or UEL (upper explosive limits)? 

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I have a couple of regular propane/MAPP torches without ignition.  They have to be lit with a striker or a flame source.  I have found that if I open the control knob all the way in order to light the torch, the gas is coming out too fast to light (don't ask my why not).  If I turn the flow down to nearly off, then the torches light easily; I can then turn the flow wide open.  Try lighting your torches with minimum flow first.

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Howdy guys,

I don't know how helpful this will be, but I figured out that if a barbeque lighter is lit while the torch is off, and then put right next to/into the nozzle (without smothering the flame, of course), the torch will light if the gas is turned on slowly enough. After doing that, I haven't had any problems with it going out again.

Hope that helps.

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