Introduction: Propane Camp Stove Regulator Repair
Propane Camp Stove stopped working? Started fine last time, you simply shut off and now absolutely no gas flow to burners? You're certain your bottle isn't empty... The issue we'll address is a possible cause which occurs in many of the small propane stove regulators on the market. This is a simple fix requiring very few tools and much preferable in lieu of going through the hassle of returning/exchanging the stove, trashing it entirely, or ordering an expensive replacement part subject to the same weakness...
Please understand I'm no expert in stoves or gas systems... Any ideas you gain from my words and experience is purely academic and any undertaking you embark on is fully your own responsibility...
Step 1: The Problem
This and similar simple propane stove regulators have a certain weakness but first let's be sure to isolate the problem to the regulator itself before assuming this is the culprit in your case. I removed the regulator/supply line assembly from the stove and with full gas bottle attached, then depressed the stop valve at the stove end of the supply line. At this point, no gas flow would likely mean the problem lies between the bottle and this valve, basically within the regulator...
Disconnect the bottle and inside the bottle side of the regulator you'll find a fitting something like this. Mine needed a 13mm deep well socket which I didn't have a few day's ago when I completed this repair here in camp. Thankfully my 13mm shallow socket worked, I just placed it on the fitting first & then there was just enough depth for the ratchet drive to get a bite in the socket to remove it. Once it's out, on the other side of this fitting you'll find another valve similar in appearance to a tire valve. I'm sorry I'm still camping and not very keen on the idea of disassembling a working regulator again for photos of the internals. Along with this you'll see a small plastic button. The original idea is that the nipple of this button would fit in the socket of the spring base. That's the metal disc you see the bottom of through the threaded hole you removed the fitting from. Basically above this disc resides a spring providing appropriate force to regulate propane pressure as necessary. This force is transferred to the valve stem in the fitting you removed via the plastic button. The problem being this button can come out of it's socket and shift to the side so the valve will not be engaged and gas flow stops here... I found a tip in a review posted on a retail website for similar stoves. This suggested to glue the nipple back into this hole to hold it in place. A perfectly fine solution except I had a few hungry mouths waiting for breaky and didn't want to wait. After fiddling with and examining things, it seemed the displacement of this button is virtually identical oriented up or down. It also seems that the hollow nipple fits perfectly down over the valve stem of the fitting and this relationship appears to provide enough capture to keep the button in place. I'd say it'd be a good idea to use thread sealant on the fitting threads upon reassembly if you have it. I didn't have any at the campground but feel the rubber gasket will keep gas from escaping to atmosphere outside the system which I think is most important. Whatever gas that may leak past the fitting threads, bypassing the regulator to the stove supply lower pressure side should be negligible. I also think some buttons may have a solid nipple so you'd likely need to resort to glueing in this case. In my case I held the fitting vertically with the button sitting on top around the valve stem and very carefully screwed the regulator body/supply tube assembly down onto it finally tightening the fitting fully with the socket and ratchet...
Step 3: Function Restored!
Working again. This stove has now been going fine for 3 days of regular use at this point. In the factory orientation it seems that upon shutdown is where the button would pop out of position as the valve cycles quickly and then subsequent startup would reveal the problem. So far since my repair, I've tried fast and slow cycling from full on to off and it always starts up again fine. I hope this helps someone else in need and hope that being subjected to my first instructable hasn't been an overly painful experience for you ;-)
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I have the opposite problem...my tank suddenly leaks uncontrollably at the regulator. Would it be a similar fix, fiddling with that fitting? Thanks for any help.