full gas bottle not work right

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Original poster
Jan 1, 2007
Syracuse, MO
I donâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t know if anyone else as had this problem, but I was smoking a turkey breast this morning to warm up later for sandwiches and ran out of propane. So I changed bottles relit the smoker and noticed the bottle was making a whistling noise and the smoker wouldnâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t get up to even 200*. I have a level gauge that I hook between the tank and regulator, it was showing that the tank was empty (but I know it was full because of the weight). So I grabbed another bottle that I just had filled yesterday it did the same thing. I pulled the gauge out of line and temp still didnâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t rise like it should and the flame didnâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t look right. Now Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m really getting mad, the smoker worked great till I changed bottles now it wonâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t even hold 200*. I hook the one of the full bottles to my deep fryer and ran it for a while. The flame didnâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t look right at first but soon cleared up. I reattached that bottle to the smoker and everything work great. I watched the guy fill the bottles yesterday and he filled it using a scale but rather than the needle being balanced it was against the top stop. The new bottles have a shut off valve to prevent overfilling, I think that they were a little over full and that valve was restricting the flow tell the level was low enough to open the valve. Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m going to put my gauge on when I try the bottle that I didnâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t hook to the deep fryer, and see if the gauge will raise as the flame clears.
I have heard too that the new gas tanks have flow restricion valves that wont allow them to operate if overfull. I also know on my weber grill if you open the valve on the tank too quickly or it doesn't ignite right away it shuts off the flow of gas. I don't know if smokers use that same technology.
If you got both bottles filled at the same station there could be a slight chance of a contamination issue...

The important thing is that you were able to clear the issue and get your smoke completed.
You have to charge or pressurize the burner's regulator before you turn the regulator's valve open, or it won't work. In other words, make sure the regulator (at the end of the smoker's hose) is shut off, attach it to the bottle, open the bottle, then use the smoker's valve to let in gas.
If you know all this and I'm being simple, forgive me.
My siggestion would be to get your next refill at another dealer. And I agree with the overfill remarks. Also, please bring this to the attention of the owner of the place where you were filled. Could ne a training issue.

I know this is an old thread but I have been working in the Propane industry since 1994.

The new valves do have an OPD (overfill prevention device). This only stops the flow of gas into the tank.

Also built into the valve is an excess flow prevention device. The porpose of this device is to slow the flow of gas if you were to burn through the hose or something. I does have the quirk that if you open the valve to fast when the smoker or grill lines are empty the device "slugs off" & prevents the gas from flowing into the grill or smoker fast enough to work properly.

If you open the tank valve VERY slowly it should be able to fill the gas lines on the smoker slow enough that the excess flow doesn't slug off.

John D.
Since this thread was brought back up I thought I'd tell ya I had the same problem. I too had the gauge that said it was empty when I knew it was full. I removed the gauge and hooked directly to the bottle and the unit started working correctly from there.

Volunteered for future reference - hope it works the same next time.
This is the problem. I was about ready to throw a brand new grill away before I learned this several years back.

Also be sure you cut off the grill/smoker/fryer before cutting off the tank. If you leave the valve on the appliance open and cut the tank off, it will trigger this and next time you go to use it, the flow will be restricted.
I have had the same thing a few times. when switching in the middle of a smoke forget to turn the regulator off.
I've had the same problem before and on two different grills. The first grill was a Weber and the answer to the problem was in the owner's manual. It seems I caused this to happen when I changed the tank and left the grill's vavle open, then opened the vavle on the tank. DOH !!!
Did the person filling the tank open the side valve and let the air out as it filled???

These tanks won't fill up correctly or burn right if they are not bled out.

This will cause the flames to look orange and make whistling sounds since its air not propane being regulated.

Filling the tanks needs to be done with the side orifice open slightly. You will know immediately when it is full since the white vapor will come out. Then you turn the valve closed with the screwdriver and you have a full tank of propane instead of a mixed gas fill.

I won't take my tanks to be filled to anywhere this is not done.

By the way, New tanks require this or you will not get the full 20 lbs of gas.

This little item is incredibly important.

The part of opening the main valve slowly when attached to the grill is also important.

The only time you need to purge the air out of a propane tank is when it is new. They come from the factory packed with air. We use a purge pump (vacuum pump) to suck the air out. Once the air is out the tank never needs to have the air removed again as the propane is under pressure & air can not get in. If it was not properly purged from new it could be the problem. The new tanks with the OPD valve have a safety device built in so if the valve is opened to fast with no pressure in the gas line it will "think" there is a leak in the line & activate the excess flow valve which will prevent gas from flowing thru the valve properly. Open the valve slowly to fill the gas line to the the control valve slowly. Once pressure equalizes, the control valve will need to be closed for this to happen, then the valve on the tank can be opened fully & should work properly.
The tanks I have on my mosquito magnate will fill with air when I am not home to shut them down when they run out. I watch the guy filling the tanks and they do vent air out when filling.
What you are seeing is propane vapor escaping at first. The white mist is when the liquid propane reaches the outage (spitter) gauge , indicating that the tank is at 85% full which is legally full.
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