Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Any general items, polls
Mixin
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Re: Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Post by Mixin » Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:19 pm

Like chrisg mentioned, they are a great source of cheap butane for portable soldering irons & small heat blowers (for heatshrink).


I **had** one of those portable blowtorches that fit onto the disposable canisters. I say "had" because it's long gone now.

A bit of a debacle - neighbour's kid (red P-plater) lost it coming around the corner too hot on a Saturday night, trying to impress his mates.
He went up the kerb, and and ran over my water meter.

Water shooting out beyond the tap - and the tap broken off too. But there was a small stub of brass sticking up, so I could get the vice-grips onto it & turn off the water. No chance of having a shower in the morning unless I get a plumber out ASAP to replace it all.

Ringing around on Sunday morning, nobody wants to come out, or if the do, they want $750 just to turn up.
Kid's flat broke buying tyres for his shitbox, so he's not paying.....

I figured I could do a temporary repair by bending it back up a bit, and soldering the copper pipe where it was split from being folded over.

As the ground was still saturated from the deluge 12 hours earlier, i got a few old towels to sit on whilst working - this was a somewhat good idea in hindsight.
They soaked up the water pretty well, and although it was wet, at least I had a clean surface to sit/lay/kneel on.

I filed it back to fresh metal, got the flux & solder ready, and went to fire up the canister blowtorch.


I turned on the gas, clicked the ignitor, and a fan of flame shot out around the top of the can, between the can & torch.

I dropped it on the ground, and feared the whole can would explode. I quickly threw the wet towels over it - thinking I could smother the fire, but all they did was blew up like a balloon with the gas trapped under them - until the gas bubble escaped out the side in a big "woooof". This repeated every few seconds.

I grabbed the hose, but realised I couldn't turn the water on, thanks to the idiot who ran the water meter over....and the can was dangerously close to where I'd have to kneel and work the vice-grips 1/4 turn at a time....

I figured there was nothing more I could do, and ran away from the area.

At the last minute I remembered the watering can in the garage, which I'd filled previously. Thankfully the can was still under the wet towels, so I was able to pour that water over the lot, and douse the fire.
When I removed the remnants of the torch from the can, it was still hissing gas out of the can. I left it on the verge where there was plenty of breeze to disperse the gas, until it finally ran out.

I was very lucky that it didn't end up a whole lot worse.


I can understand if you buy a cheap Chinese thing off ebay, or it's many years old, but this was a near new product bought from an Australian bricks & mortar chain store. After inspecting it carefully, it turned out, that unbeknown to me at the time, the O-ring that seals around the nipple on the canister had perished & split. O-rings should have a shelf life of 10-15 years, not be perished after 6 months.

When processing my "exchange or refund"(I took the refund option) they checked the shelves they found new ones in the packets with the perished & split O-ring problem as well.
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urbangriller
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Re: Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Post by urbangriller » Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:30 pm

Gasmate just sent out a suspension of AGA approval notice for these, so they will be withdrawing then across the country.

Chris
Common Sense is so rare these days it should be a Super Power!

Keeper
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Re: Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Post by Keeper » Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:09 pm

Mixin, thanks for that story. I can picture the calamity especially the "towel balloon"

I've had one of these for years. I have no idea what brand but I use it occasionally for boiling water and cooking on a cast iron frypan. Never had a problem but I've always used it outside and once I'm finished cooking it's turned off and the gas canister disengaged. I use it outside so there is airflow but maybe my older one is built differently to these banned ones?
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urbangriller
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Re: Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Post by urbangriller » Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:24 pm

There has to be hundreds of thousands of these already in circulation!

I've got two, had them that long, I have no idea where I got them!

Chris
Common Sense is so rare these days it should be a Super Power!

chrisg
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Re: Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Post by chrisg » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:56 pm

:)

They always seem to look much the same, my pair I've likewise had for years. They do not get a great deal of use, mostly when I just need one extra burner during a big meal - never had a single problem with them but can see where using them to light coals in a chimney could be a problem.

I didn't know whether to laugh or get worried after reading your tale Mixin, I do most all of my infrequent brazing with a cantop blowtorch that I've had for seriously more than a couple of decades. Just hauled it out to check, the O ring is fine, reflex action that my father taught me maybe 50 years or more ago, Vaseline on all O rings :) Think I'll pick up a replacement spare though, easy to overlook these things.

Coles seem to have been very quick off the mark, was in a local store here in WA just an hour ago, removed and the shelf ticketed as do not re-order. Butane cans still there though, five bucks each - total rip-off :)

Cheers

Mickvr
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Re: Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Post by Mickvr » Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:22 pm

I have 2 butane canister type stove rings that I use, one is gas mate, the other is u-bute. The gas mate single burner I use in the truck, the u-bute double canister, double burner I use in the boat.
I also use 45kg bottles for my hot water service at home.

In any gas connection situation, whether being my portable canister burners, or my 45kg bottles, I use diesel as a lubricant/sealant. Everytime I connect/disconnect a bottle/canister I give the orings a spray with diesel/heater fuel. It's soft enuff to lubricate the o-rings in gas situations while not being harsh enuff to crack the o-ring seals. Also the viscosity of diesel allows just enuff surface tension to let you know that you got probs.

I

meatnveg
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Re: Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Post by meatnveg » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:18 am

gotta few & had a couple, never had a problem. i work in the steel game & i know some people have bought plate to chuck on the top as a portable bbq not a good idea to put a sh**load of heat over a can of butane. use mine all the time for sauces etc with a cast iron pan (not over the can)no dramas.

AussieBBQSmoke
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Re: Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Post by AussieBBQSmoke » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:39 pm

I spoke to a Manager at Gas Mate Headquarters last Fri, he said there is no Recall of the Butane Cookers, shops have put them away until the Warning is clarified. If there is a Gov recall, they and all other Retailers will file a Class Action lawsuit against it as there is no defect or danger if the Product is used for the purpose that it was designed. The Warning was issued after a Woman put lava rocks on the burner and cooked on top of it like a BBQ! Obviously it got super hot and exploded the gas can underneath. The Retailers may possibly include more specific instructions for their usage, and may change the cutout of the burner to prevent heat radiating down, but the current models are not defective and can continue to be happily used..

Buccaneer
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Re: Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Post by Buccaneer » Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:10 pm

I've had and used one for twenty years, and I can tell you after having lived in Asia for so long, the number of these in common use in domestic houses would be in the billions.
Not a typo. B. Billions.

Instead of seeing our society suffer as their numbers grow, I propose we encourage the herd's natural self culling! :lol: :lol:
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beaver
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Re: Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Post by beaver » Mon Mar 23, 2015 2:38 pm

Buccaneer wrote:I've had and used one for twenty years, and I can tell you after having lived in Asia for so long, the number of these in common use in domestic houses would be in the billions.
Not a typo. B. Billions.

Instead of seeing our society suffer as their numbers grow, I propose we encourage the herd's natural self culling! :lol: :lol:
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Smokey
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Re: Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Post by Smokey » Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:41 pm

Ah the truth, Figures it was one idiot.
What an anticlimax :roll:

Would have been more fun if she piled heat beads on top rather than lava rocks.
If trees screamed when we cut them down, We wouldn't. If they screamed all the time we would.
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chrisg
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Re: Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Post by chrisg » Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:40 am

:)

Make anything idiot-proof and someone procreates a better idiot...

I agree with Bucc, these things are like everywhere :)

Cheers

urbangriller
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Re: Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Post by urbangriller » Tue Mar 24, 2015 3:21 pm

Yes, the lowest common denominator is getting lower every day! ....and we are paying these idiots to breed!
Common Sense is so rare these days it should be a Super Power!

Buccaneer
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Re: Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Post by Buccaneer » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:26 am

It irks me greatly that we all have to have our pleasures and entitlements savaged because the view is taken that we have to protect imbeciles (or people just being imbeciles) from harming themselves, it really does.
When I was young and stupid I should have accidently carked it a few hundred times because there were no protections, that is just how it goes...
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urbangriller
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Re: Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers

Post by urbangriller » Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:39 pm

This from Gasmate today:

Dear Valued Customer

Sitro Group Australia Pty Ltd is undertaking a voluntary recall on a selected range of our Twin Portable Burner Cookers. The recall notice is attached for your reference, please see the link below.

We are asking consumers to contact us to arrange return of their stove for replacement. A replacement unit is currenlty being tested and finalised and will be ready shortly. Should any consumers contact your store, please refer them to contact Sitro Group Australia directly via phone 1300 174 876 or email [email protected]
Common Sense is so rare these days it should be a Super Power!


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