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[How-To] Basic Propane Meter

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[How-To] Basic Propane Meter

Unread postAuthor: mark.f » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:17 pm

Materials

You are going to need a few things to get started.

    Teflon tape
    Two crescent wrenches (pipe wrench optional)
    Vise grips
    BernzOmatic torch head
    1/4" MNPT x 1/4" OD compression adapter
    Pressure regulator
    1/4" x close pipe nipple
    1/2" x 6" pipe nipple
    Two 1/2" female couplings
    Two 1/2" x 1/4" bushings
    Two 1/4" ball valves (male x female)
    Optional: 1/4" street elbow
    1/4" male auto coupling

These materials are shown below.

Image

Instructions
You need to start by adapting your torch head to 1/4" pipe threads for connection to your propane meter. To start off, grip the torch head's base with a crescent wrench, and the torch shaft with a pair of vise grips or a pipe wrench. Turn counterclockwise to remove the torch shaft from the needle valve. Next, remove the nut and olive from the 1/4" NPT x 1/4" OD compression fitting and wrap the straight (7/16"-24tpi) threads with teflon tape. All of your connections for this meter need to have a few wraps of teflon tape to seal completely. I use the pink "heavy duty" tape, but yellow gas tape will work as well. Do not use white water tape in gas connections. Finally, thread the adapter securely into the needle valve with a pair of crescent wrenches.

Image Image Image

You can buy a throwaway tank adapter which covers the above for you, however, they are difficult to track down. I found this one in an adapter designed to convert throwaway cylinders to normal tank threads (like for your BBQ pit).

Image

Now, simply thread the 1/4" threads of your adapter into the inlet of the pressure regulator. This is denoted by an arrow on the bottom of the assembly, usually. You should also aim to line up your fittings evenly throughout the construction of your fuel meter...

Image


Now comes the majority of your pipe fitting. Thread the two 1/2" couplings onto the ends of the 1/2" x 6" pipe nipple. Do this by gripping the ridges on the couplings with a a crescent wrench and turning both counterclockwise simultaneously. Repeat this step for the two 1/2" x 1/4" bushings in the ends of the 1/2" couplings. Finally, repeat this procedure to attach the two ball valves to either end, again, trying to line them up evenly.

Image Image Image


If you've never attempted joining two female components by a close nipple, it's best to wrap the nipple in teflon tape, start it into both components, and then tighten the connection using the two components themselves. This nipple has a hex in the center for grasping with a wrench, but not all do...

Image Image

Last step. I added a street elbow to this part of the meter to make attaching the meter to the cannon a little more ergonomic. You can simply thread the auto coupling directly into the last ball valve if desired.

Image

That's it!

EDIT: TinyPic randomly deleted an image. Fixed.
EDIT 2: Reformatted for the new version of Spudfiles... a long time overdue.
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Last edited by mark.f on Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:09 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Unread postAuthor: Lockednloaded » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:44 pm

very nice tutorial to get your website on its feet.

No suggestions for the tutorial, but the launcher page on your website just doesn't do your spudding career justice, so a bit more on that would be great
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Unread postAuthor: mark.f » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:21 am

Thanks. I plan to fill in that section a little more but I'm focusing more on theory pages and tutorials for the time being.
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Unread postAuthor: metalmeltr » Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:01 am

This is probly the best way to set up a meter, more people should do it this way.
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Unread postAuthor: mark.f » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:05 pm

Well, I wouldn't say it's the best, nor even the simplest. The simplest would be to eliminate the regulator and the first ball valve, then add a pressure gauge with a T fitting or by tapping threads into the meter pipe itself. Then, pressure can be controlled by opening the needle valve slowly and watching the gauge.

Most people build meters to suit their cannons, though. The most common deviation from this plan I've seen is the addition of a hose for easier onboard mounting.

Then you can get into three-way valves for one-touch injection and so-forth... :roll:
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Unread postAuthor: jimmy101 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:47 pm

Following up on mark's comments...

No need to remove the main pipe from the torch valve. Just unscrew the mixer (not the pipe, see the left side of the image below) and use pressure hose + hose clamp to attach the valve to the rest of the meter. (Put a hose nipple on the pressure regulator.)
Image

Done this way you loosen one screw clamp, remove the valve, screw the mixer back on and you are back to a usable Bernzomatic torch head.

This approach also makes it easy to fold the propane tank back along the meter pipe without a ghetto mixture of fittings to do the 180 degree bend.

EDIT: Oh yeah, probably want to use pressure hose that is rated to at least 200 PSI (which is about the max that a propane tank will ever develop).

EDIT2: This is a great write-up though. How about converting it to a wiki page? You could add it to the page at http://www.spudfiles.com/spud_wiki/inde ... ased_meter, which is pretty short on details.
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Last edited by jimmy101 on Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread postAuthor: mark.f » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:50 pm

Good point Jimmy. I wasn't really concerned with disassembling my torch head for this tutorial because I got a better one earlier when I was doing a bunch of soldering. :roll:
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