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Auto Changeover LP regulator failures

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The park model trailer at our home base has two of the tall LP tanks and within the space of two years, we have had the Auto Changeover LP regulator fail. Rather than buying another one of these fifty dollar disposables, I am considering getting two single two stage regulators and 'T'ing them in. I don't really see a downside since we don't use there auto change over function anyway and the original LP regulator on our 99' Foretravel still works. A bit of web searching on reviews on different brands at Amazon indicates that these Auto Changeover LP regulators are problematic. One side of the regulator or the other failing to pass gas (we all know how painful that can be:rolleyes:) even when the tanks are full. I can only surmise that there is a delicate mechanism that gets gummed up or? Anyway, the price of two single regulators is about the same as one of the auto changeover ones. I am assuming of course that the standard single two stage regulators have a check valve in them so you can unhook a tank without letting a bunch of air in the system when taking a tank off to get filled... can anybody confirm this?

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Don,

Can't address the single stage vs two stage regulator--  don't know what pressure (column inches of water) your park model takes or whether regulations on a park model require a 1 or 2 stage regulator.

But, can see (from each tank): a ball valve, regulator going into a  "T" OR ball valve,  then "T" and then a single regulator (suspect 2 stage like you have on the motorhome).

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I am going to bet on the 2 stage regulator.  I think Brett has a good idea in using 2 ball valves so you can isolate either tank. That way you can run on one tank till you need to take it to be refilled then just switch to the outher tank. It will still be automatic in that you will automatically change the tanks if you are cold.:D

Bill

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Auto change over regulators on fuel gases have always been a issue due to low pressures. The welding industry has been trying for years to produce one but haven't been successful. At least it was still an issue when I retired 6 years ago. Many welders tried the units used for fuel tanks on RV's without success. 

Herman 

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20 minutes ago, wolfe10 said:

Don,

Can't address the single stage vs two stage regulator--  don't know what pressure (column inches of water) your park model takes or whether regulations on a park model require a 1 or 2 stage regulator.

But, can see (from each tank): a ball valve, regulator going into a  T.

Thanks Brett, that is similar to what I was thinking. Ball valves would eliminate the need for a check valve on the regulator input. Just more plumbing... As far the requirements, should be the same as our coach I would think. The park model (Woodland Park) has a 40,000BTU Atwood LP furnace (that runs the electrical on 120VAC rather than 12VDC) but otherwise looks like a standard Excalibur, and the water heater is a standard Atwood 10 Gal XT model (I can't find the BTU spec on it) that I added a 120VAC to 12VDC converter, as there is no DC system or batteries in this trailer. I have to admit here that I am not sure what the significance of the regulator being two stage or single stage. I thought that the purpose of using two steps to convert the high pressure at the tanks to the low pressure required by the appliances thus insuring a more constant flow as the tank empties.

Don

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52 minutes ago, WILDEBILL308 said:

I am going to bet on the 2 stage regulator.  I think Brett has a good idea in using 2 ball valves so you can isolate either tank. That way you can run on one tank till you need to take it to be refilled then just switch to the outher tank. It will still be automatic in that you will automatically change the tanks if you are cold.:D

Bill

Yep, I am extremely reliable "auto" changeover mechanism. I hardly even need the extra motivation my better half provides:huh:

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I have used three of the auto changeover regulators and paid big money for the last two, never again. Doesn't take two minutes to change between the tanks with opd anyway. Here is a nice alternative. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Propane-Two-Way-Valve-Tee-for-Two-Tanks-LP-Gas-Manual-Changeover/163358103865?hash=item2608e6d939:g:LVAAAOSwiylXBFf~:sc:USPSFirstClass!35023!US!-1:rk:25:pf:0

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On 11/13/2018 at 8:54 AM, kaypsmith said:

I have used three of the auto changeover regulators and paid big money for the last two, never again. Doesn't take two minutes to change between the tanks with opd anyway. Here is a nice alternative. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Propane-Two-Way-Valve-Tee-for-Two-Tanks-LP-Gas-Manual-Changeover/163358103865?hash=item2608e6d939:g:LVAAAOSwiylXBFf~:sc:USPSFirstClass!35023!US!-1:rk:25:pf:0

Thanks for that link. That is kind of what I had in mind. Originally, I was thinking of using two dual stage regulators, one for each tank for redundancy. Since the one our coach (a two stage single input/output regulator) has lasted for nearly 20 years, I decided to go with one. It would be nice to have single T valve, but these two WOG compatible ⅜" ball valves were only about $15 at our local Ace hardware. With the regulator and the other plumbing bits, it is a bit more than the $50 auto changeover dual regulator, but it will be more modular. I will get a spare regulator just in case.... maybe put a new one in the coach and keep the old one around as a spare for either the trailer or the coach.

Don

B

IMG_0442.jpg

Edited by acousticart
Edited for clarity

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12 hours ago, acousticart said:

The park model trailer at our home base has two of the tall LP tanks and within the space of two years, we have had the Auto Changeover LP regulator fail. Rather than buying another one of these fifty dollar disposables, I am considering getting two single two stage regulators and 'T'ing them in. I don't really see a downside since we don't use there auto change over function anyway and the original LP regulator on our 99' Foretravel still works. A bit of web searching on reviews on different brands at Amazon indicates that these Auto Changeover LP regulators are problematic. One side of the regulator or the other failing to pass gas (we all know how painful that can be:rolleyes:) even when the tanks are full. I can only surmise that there is a delicate mechanism that gets gummed up or? Anyway, the price of two single regulators is about the same as one of the auto changeover ones. I am assuming of course that the standard single two stage regulators have a check valve in them so you can unhook a tank without letting a bunch of air in the system when taking a tank off to get filled... can anybody confirm this?

Read this description of a 2 stage regulator: https://www.rvupgradestore.com/Marshall-2-Stage-Automatic-Changeover-Regulator-p/66-9377.htm

" Cylinder Exchange: Prior to removing the empty cylinder, position the black changeover lever so that it points to the alternate cylinder that is now supplying the regulator. Close the valve on the empty cylinder and remove. After the empty cylinder is refilled and reconnected, slowly open the cylinder valve. The new cylinder is now the reserve cylinder. The indicator at the top of the regulator will turn green."

This is the regulator that came OEM for our last 5er w/ 2 30# cylinders. I followed the directions and never had a leak when the empty was removed - IF i had the black lever in the correct position.

 

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Seems to be some confusion in this thread. A two-stage regulator and an auto changeover regulator are NOT the same thing.

Single-Stage Regulator
A single stage regulator is one that adjusts the pressure inside the tank to a usable pressure in one step. As the pressure in the tank changes due to temperature or the amount of fuel in the tank, the outlet pressure will vary. Towards the tail end of the tank the outlet pressure will drop, and for some appliances this lowered pressure can create problems, particularly for appliances which are fussier and don't tolerate low pressure situations. Some countries no longer permit installation of single stage regulators in RVs due to increased danger from failure.

Two-Stage Regulator
A two-stage regulator adjusts the pressure out of the tank to a usable pressure in two steps. The output pressure will remain more stable regardless of the fuel level in the tank. The first stage does the bulk of the pressure reduction, and then the final stage fine tunes the low pressure output to a level usable by the appliances inside the RV. There is some increased safety on a two-stage regulator, since the first stage does the majority of the work and the low pressure side (with the more delicate parts) isn't being asked to handle the high input pressure coming from the tank. There is also some evidence that a two-stage regulator will last longer.

Auto Changeover Regulator
These are designed for situations in which two tanks are present. As the pressure in one tank drops below a usable level, the auto changeover regulator will automatically change the input from the empty tank to the full tank. This can be convenient since the operator doesn't have to go outside and manually switch from one tank to the other. Usually a flag or other indicator will appear so that you know one tank is empty. If you inspect your tanks daily, you'd see that one tank is empty and be able to get it filled before the other is empty. However, if you just let the system operate until both tanks are empty then there is no advantage to having an auto changeover regulator. Might as well just leave the valves on both tanks open on a traditional single or two stage regulator and run the system until both tanks are empty.

Safety Warning
Each tank should have a valve which can be used to switch between tanks. Simply close the valve on the first (empty) tank and open the valve on the second. By installing a T with two ball valves, you're introducing needless hardware and many more potential leaks. There should be no need to install extra shut-off valves, except for situations were the shut-off valves are difficult to access. (And that in itself would be a safety concern - shut off valves should always be accessible.) Also, the ball valves used for gas applications are not the same as used for water plumbing. If you are going to install ball valves, be certain that you buy ball valves rated for use with LP. They should be marked on the label.

_______________________________________________________________

The difference in cost between a single-stage regulator and a two-stage regulator is minimal. A good quality two-stage regulator can be purchased for about $30. If there is room in the storage bay for the two-stage regulator, I can't think of a good reason not to use one. It will provide a more stable output pressure, and will provide a higher level of safety.

The auto changeover regulators can be more expensive. Whether they are worth the expense only depends on how valuable it is to you to have an indicator show when the first tank is emptied and the tank switches over to the second tank. I monitor my tanks daily when using LP. It's as simple as looking at the gauge on each tank to see what the fuel level is. If I miss the first tank emptying, the worst case would be having to relight my appliances. Alternatively, I can just open the valves on both tanks and let them run, but then they'd both be empty at the same time. If I run only one tank at a time I can take the empty to be filled while the other runs the heat.

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4 hours ago, richard5933 said:

Seems to be some confusion in this thread. A two-stage regulator and an auto changeover regulator are NOT the same thing.

Safety Warning
Each tank should have a valve which can be used to switch between tanks. Simply close the valve on the first (empty) tank and open the valve on the second. By installing a T with two ball valves, you're introducing needless hardware and many more potential leaks. There should be no need to install extra shut-off valves, except for situations were the shut-off valves are difficult to access. (And that in itself would be a safety concern - shut off valves should always be accessible.) Also, the ball valves used for gas applications are not the same as used for water plumbing. If you are going to install ball valves, be certain that you buy ball valves rated for use with LP. They should be marked on the label.

I understand the difference between a two-stage regulator and an auto changeover regulator. My issue is that after two short lived auto changeover regulators and no real need to have the 'auto' function, I couldn't find a regulator designed with two inputs and therefore two check valves in the regulator body to allow either tank to be removed for filling without letting the magic out of the other tank. Of course each tank naturally has a shut off valve on it, but that doesn't help if the other tank is removed and there is no valve to seal off the disconnected whip. The valves I got are stamped "WOG" (Water, Oil, & Gas) at 600PSI. The only red handled "gas" valves would have required extra plumbing bits and therefore more connections. I am not concerned about more leaking possibilities as long as each connection is done properly. My coach has an LP manifold made out 3 'T's, several nipples, and a couple of elbows. The little construction I made for the park model trailer has far fewer connections and I am confident that can seal them. The T-valve in the link posted by Kaypsmith earlier in the thread would have eliminated a few connections and served the purpose of sealing off the unhooked whip while allowing propane to flow from the full tank, but I wanted to source locally.

Don

IMG_0444.jpg

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Good points. On my setup both tanks are connected to the regulator through a T fitting. The T fitting used on mine has the check valve built into it so that one tank can be removed and the other can still be connected and supplying fuel to the regulator.

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All's well that ends well, glad that you have it going to your satisfaction.:rolleyes: That's an interesting piece of music by Stravinsky, do you play it, and on what instrument?

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33 minutes ago, kaypsmith said:

All's well that ends well, glad that you have it going to your satisfaction.:rolleyes: That's an interesting piece of music by Stravinsky, do you play it, and on what instrument?

Actually, the music is a movement from a Bach violin partita, BWV1004. I transcribed it for classical guitar. Played the whole suite at my master’s recital back in 95’. Trying to work it up again...

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Great work! I would love to play the violin, and thought that is what the score was written for, most renditions were in 3/4 not 12/8, that's what makes it interesting to me. I played the trumpet in younger year then moved to the organ. 

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On 11/14/2018 at 11:05 AM, kaypsmith said:

Great work! I would love to play the violin, and thought that is what the score was written for, most renditions were in 3/4 not 12/8, that's what makes it interesting to me. I played the trumpet in younger year then moved to the organ. 

Thanks! Doc Severinsen (from the Johnny Carson tonight show band) recorded an arrangement for trumpet and orchestra of the last movement of the Bach Partita #2  BWV1004. Not my ideal version, but impressive in a way. I like best on solo guitar, but I may be prejudiced.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHVQtZ0h5N8

To bring this back on topic:rolleyes:, I found a couple of ⅜" gas valves at Lowe's and though the other WOG valves would have been fine, I got these instead. Hopefully this set up will go the distance!

IMG_0447.jpg

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See if you can get a plug to replace tank end so no one can turn on and vent gas 

or add a one way check valve for your protection 

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That is for outdoor use as in bbq or tiger torch not your RV with a gas valves that have max pressure of 14in wc 

that is 1/2 PSI

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Looked at the website. Reviews bad for the company and not on the product. The one problem that the welding industry had was with the "Low Pressure". That is where the issues were for the auto switch over.

Herman 

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On 11/14/2018 at 7:14 AM, richard5933 said:

Seems to be some confusion in this thread. A two-stage regulator and an auto changeover regulator are NOT the same thing.

Single-Stage Regulator
A single stage regulator is one that adjusts the pressure inside the tank to a usable pressure in one step. As the pressure in the tank changes due to temperature or the amount of fuel in the tank, the outlet pressure will vary. Towards the tail end of the tank the outlet pressure will drop, and for some appliances this lowered pressure can create problems, particularly for appliances which are fussier and don't tolerate low pressure situations. Some countries no longer permit installation of single stage regulators in RVs due to increased danger from failure.

Two-Stage Regulator
A two-stage regulator adjusts the pressure out of the tank to a usable pressure in two steps. The output pressure will remain more stable regardless of the fuel level in the tank. The first stage does the bulk of the pressure reduction, and then the final stage fine tunes the low pressure output to a level usable by the appliances inside the RV. There is some increased safety on a two-stage regulator, since the first stage does the majority of the work and the low pressure side (with the more delicate parts) isn't being asked to handle the high input pressure coming from the tank. There is also some evidence that a two-stage regulator will last longer.

Auto Changeover Regulator
These are designed for situations in which two tanks are present. As the pressure in one tank drops below a usable level, the auto changeover regulator will automatically change the input from the empty tank to the full tank. This can be convenient since the operator doesn't have to go outside and manually switch from one tank to the other. Usually a flag or other indicator will appear so that you know one tank is empty. If you inspect your tanks daily, you'd see that one tank is empty and be able to get it filled before the other is empty. However, if you just let the system operate until both tanks are empty then there is no advantage to having an auto changeover regulator. Might as well just leave the valves on both tanks open on a traditional single or two stage regulator and run the system until both tanks are empty.

Safety Warning
Each tank should have a valve which can be used to switch between tanks. Simply close the valve on the first (empty) tank and open the valve on the second. By installing a T with two ball valves, you're introducing needless hardware and many more potential leaks. There should be no need to install extra shut-off valves, except for situations were the shut-off valves are difficult to access. (And that in itself would be a safety concern - shut off valves should always be accessible.) Also, the ball valves used for gas applications are not the same as used for water plumbing. If you are going to install ball valves, be certain that you buy ball valves rated for use with LP. They should be marked on the label.

_______________________________________________________________

The difference in cost between a single-stage regulator and a two-stage regulator is minimal. A good quality two-stage regulator can be purchased for about $30. If there is room in the storage bay for the two-stage regulator, I can't think of a good reason not to use one. It will provide a more stable output pressure, and will provide a higher level of safety.

The auto changeover regulators can be more expensive. Whether they are worth the expense only depends on how valuable it is to you to have an indicator show when the first tank is emptied and the tank switches over to the second tank. I monitor my tanks daily when using LP. It's as simple as looking at the gauge on each tank to see what the fuel level is. If I miss the first tank emptying, the worst case would be having to relight my appliances. Alternatively, I can just open the valves on both tanks and let them run, but then they'd both be empty at the same time. If I run only one tank at a time I can take the empty to be filled while the other runs the heat.

Re-read the link I provided; it is a two-stage, automatic changeover regulator.

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29 minutes ago, RAYIN said:

Re-read the link I provided; it is a two-stage, automatic changeover regulator.

Wasn't trying to be critical of your post. I was just posting information since there were a few comments in the thread that seemed to be mixing things up a bit between a two-stage regulator and an auto changeover regulator.

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