High or Low Pressure...? Can we finally get the record straight ?

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by q dawg, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. q dawg

    q dawg Smoke Blower

    Okay...!!! Is there someone out there that can set myself and a few other lay persons straight once and for all on this high and low pressure subject ? THIS NEEDS TO BE ANSWERED IN SIMPLE TERMS...!!!

    FOR EXAMPLE....Can you determine whether a burner is high or low pressure by its' BTU rating if not stated anywhere else.....?

    Can high and low pressure regulators be interchanged while only effecting the efficiency of the burner...NO SAFETY PROBLEMS....?

    Can both be operated off of a standard 20 lb propane tank ?

    Are adjustable regulators a good idea ?

    Without memorizing a whole bunch of terms and numbers and facts...are there any general rules of thumb that could make life easier for the common lay person when dealing with these subjects.....?

    Q Dawg
  2. nickelmore

    nickelmore Smoking Fanatic

    Curious as well, so far I have only used low pressure and the needle valve mod. Curious what a high pressure reg would do as well.
  3. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't know all the technical info behind the low or high pressure regulators. I have one smoker with a high and one smoker with a low. As far as I know they can be interchanged and both will work on a regular 20lb LP tank. I was looking for a low pressure regulator to swap out my high pressure one but couldn't find one with the right fittings so I just installed a needle valve on my highpressure burner to tweak the flame if I needed to. Hopefully someone with the knowledge will be along soon to put this debate to bed.
  4. garyt

    garyt Smoking Fanatic

    Part of my job is being a boiler operator and taking care of 2 process evaporators and the only thing I have to say is I wouldn't use any modifications including a needle valve to decrease gas flow. It all works fine until that one time it doesn't. and after that you will have a lot to worry about
    or other nothing ever to worry abut ever again if you get the message. it is not something to mess with, they were engineered that way for a reason. Call the manufacturer and ask for a smaller burner, do it right and stay alive.

    I have seen where a hot water heater modified by accident blew up half a grade school.
  5. graybeard

    graybeard Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Propane regulator facts, propane facts, propane 101, high pressure and low pressure, types of propane regulators, and a word about propane tanks...

    Pressure in a propane tank, large or small, can range between 100 and 200 psi. This propane pressure must be reduced and regulated for use in a home, motor home, camper, or an outdoor gas appliance. Typically, a residential application will require a low pressure regulator which reduces the gas pressure to 6 ounces (10.5 inches water column). This low pressure regulator will be located on or near the main tank supplying gas to the home, motor home, or camper. Outdoor gas appliances may access low pressure propane gas through a gas convenience outlet located somewhere after the low pressure regulator or from a separate, portable tank like the kind you see at Home Depot or Lowes. Portable tanks also require propane pressure regulation. Sometimes a low pressure regulator is built directly into the gas appliance and sometimes one must be installed on the portable tank itself. Check with your gas appliance manufacturer to see what propane pressure the appliance requires at the inlet on the gas appliance.
    Some outdoor gas appliances, such as high heat cast iron burners, require the use of a high pressure regulatorbecause they need more volume of gas than a low pressure regulator will deliver. A high pressure regulator will regulate the output pressure from 1 psi to as high as 60 psi. There are a number of different high pressure regulators available. Some high pressure regulators are "preset". That is, the propane pressure is fixed at, for example, 10 psi or 20 psi. Further attenuation of the gas delivered to the appliance may be done by use of an inline ball valve or needle control valve located either on the hose or built into the appliance. The other common type of high pressure regulator is an "adjustable" high pressure regulator. Adjustable high pressure regulators are available in 0-20 psi, 0-30 psi, and 0-60 psi versions and have an output pressure adjustment control built directly into the regulator. Depending on the number of btu/hr that the gas appliance(s) require, one chooses the adjustable propane gas regulator which gives the required number of btu/hr. Choose the propane regulator that is the closest match. There is no advantage of having a propane regulator with a lot more btu/hr than you actually need. As you increase the btu/hr output of a propane regulator, the degree of control that the internal propane regulator valve has over the gas output decreases; i.e., turning the valve an 1/8" in a 0-60 psi adjustable propane regulator has a lot more effect than turning the valve an 1/8" in a 0-20 psi adjustable propane regulator.

  6. nickelmore

    nickelmore Smoking Fanatic

    Gary I am working on a "home brew" model, so I really did not "modify" anything.

    I have a number of low pressure regulators, a number of different burners, etc.

    Not meaning to hijack this thread, I think there is a few that are building smokers.

    I for one consider safety as a first. I do not like the fact that I get worried about the flame getting blown out if it is windy or if I close the door too fast.

    That is why I was wondering if a high pressure regulator may help.
  7. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Excellent Info Greybeard, fooling with a regulator is dangerous business, regulators are cheap, buy the right one for your application and burner.
  8. nickelmore

    nickelmore Smoking Fanatic

    I will probably end up buying an afterburner rig because of the safety problems I am having.

    Side grill burner with a low pressure regulator and valve (same grill) works great wide open, but still have to watch the way you close the smoker door, It is a well sealed unit, but the air input is directly in line with the burner if it is windy it has to be running wide open to stay lit.

    I have hung foil to act as a wind buffer move the smoke etc.

    I could probably get a way with a Bunsen burner to heat the box I have. I am just curious if a "high pressure" regulator/burner may work.
  9. mgnorcal

    mgnorcal Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    High pressure LP supply isn't going to help.

    What exactly is your target temp in the smoker?

    If you want real cold smoking, then you want an external cold smoke generator or the cheap soldering iron in a can setup.
    In my gasser like yours, I've had success with the soldering iron smoker for doing cheese.

    I've also tried a bunsen burner and a small camping burner that screws on a little propane bottle. The camping burner is far superior and you can keep a tiny flame without it blowing out. These options would be good for jerky or something where you want a temp of 120-150.
  10. nickelmore

    nickelmore Smoking Fanatic

    my target temp for gas I guess would be 180 to 225. I could/and do use an electric element for smoking sausage.

    I do have an external smoke gernerator similar to an oversized smoke daddy.

    I have not found anyone that can point me in the right direction for the correct burner, I think it will be trial and error. I have used a burner out of a GOSM and the results were the same or worse.

    I still do not know if any one answered Q dawgs original question about how to tell the differnece etc

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