gas burner losing flame over time

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by orsmokerinaz, Nov 27, 2014.

  1. orsmokerinaz

    orsmokerinaz Fire Starter

    I have just built a VRF smoker and using a BBQ side burner for heat with cast iron pan.  

    Problem I am having is the flame just keeps getting lower over time.  I can have it run maybe an hour before flame gets too low and then goes out.  I have switched bottles but I suspect the regulator is flaky.   The good news is the wood chunks keep the cook box temp from dropping temp too much when it goes out but it is a pain in the toosh.  Comments - suggestions appreciated  appreciated.   
  2. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    It can be a few things. A faulty regualator or a loss of oxygen. My bet is loss of oxygen here....You need air flow cross the burner to keep it lit..... does the burner light right back up when you open the door and relight
  3. orsmokerinaz

    orsmokerinaz Fire Starter

    It does relight but takes a couple clicks of lighter and I needed to increase control.  I have left the fire box vents open and within 20 nin or so the flame is down by 25% or more.   What I was wondering that as bottle goes down maybe the regulator is not compensating.  Seems unlikely but it's a pain.  I have played with the damper and the inlet gates but nothing seems to work. The lack of oxygen should show on the flame but it is a nice blue.  As it stands the smoker is ok if I keep the box running at 240 but that's a bit hotter than I like.   Especially if I do fish so I need to get this under control.  I can open the damper to allow smoke out more quickly but that also fuels the firebox so it's not the best approach.  I need to be able to throttle down the burner.  Another thought is to go to a Northern tool type of burner with the three needle valves on the burn so you can select the appropriate burner fire.  Unfortunately The neck from the air intake to the burner is not very long and I need to have 12" or so.  I guess I could use flex hose to the burner but that put's the air-fuel adjust inside the firebox.  Not Good!    I have another BBQ regulator I could try as I have some fish to smoke tomorrow.  Just need to keep a low flame going for a long time as the box has a lot of mass and insulation so when I get to temp it holds very well.   Hate to go electric as it's slow to get temp up for this size/mass of box.

    Thanks Much for your response

  4. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Try running the burner out of the smoker. If it burns fine then its most likley an oxygen issue which I too am betting on. Another thought is try running it with the door wide open.
  5. orsmokerinaz

    orsmokerinaz Fire Starter

    yes-I think it's worthwhile as I can watch the flame more easily with door open. Moving the burner outside is a bit more difficult as I have to split the extension tube to the burner from the air fuel jet inlet mechanism.  doable but open door is easier although I had the vents wide open and they are large vents plus the firebox has been gasketed yet so the door has leaks.  I had planned to rtv after a few runs to be sure aal was well.  will keep you informed.   

    thanks again for the help

  6. orsmokerinaz

    orsmokerinaz Fire Starter

    Hi,  Well did a couple things that help.  Opened firebox vents wide and gave the regulator a small tweak.

    Maintains low flame ok.   Box settles out on middle shelf at 175 without wood -- 220 on high.  Been running for an hour.   Problem will be wind so I built a cover with an open top that can be adjusted.   I am trying to block the wind from blowing out flame yet keep it low.   ALSO -  I have the flue damper wide open as well.

  7. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I had a problem like this at the north florida gathering. If the flame starts to go out or slows shake the propane tank and see if the flame increases. I assumes it had something to do ith the temperature outside. It was cold that night. The gas was flowing and the tank was freezing on the outside, For some reason when I shook the tank it would increase to normal. Dont know why this happened but I assumed it had to do with temps of the tank, outside temp and boiling point of propane and maybe the regulator freezing up

    My 2 cents
  8. orsmokerinaz

    orsmokerinaz Fire Starter

    Thanks much for the info.  Looks like mine is a mix of regulator and oxygen deprivation.   Left the fire box vents 90% open and it will stabilize flame.   Now need to do a wind break so gusts don't blow it out and figure out a way to keep temp down so I can cold smoke as well.    Looking at making a 2 section burner where I can use one for hot and the other for cold.   Going to check HD later today.  Thanks again all.

    BTW - did some catfish last night and they are quite good.   Used a salt/soy brine with some cajun spice.    I did the fish whole and it took 3 hours which was a bit surprising so I'll filet next time.

    Cheers and have a great holiday season


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