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Hunting Main Board => Just Jawin At Camp => Do It Yourself ! => Topic started by: Big58cal on June 16, 2010, 09:37:06 AM

Title: Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY
Post by: Big58cal on June 16, 2010, 09:37:06 AM
Like the other stuff, I didn't come up with this on my own.  ;D  But why try to reinvent the wheel, right.  :wink:  I lifted this off of the Excalibur discussion forum.  It was done by a guy that goes by Pydpiper.  He's pretty smart, even if he is from Canada.  :roll: ;D O0



Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY

by Pydpiper Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:53 pm

My first few attempts I tried a second valve in the bottom of the cartridge, it did work, but I wasn't comfortable with it.
So, I grabbed a 6 pack, my Dremel and headed to the shop. I have run three of these empty so far, it has worked flawless so I figured it would be safe to share.
Tools- 1/8" drill bit, pliers, small chunk of wire and butane.

First, you need to pull the brass valve from the canister, a pair of pliers works just fine, careful not to damage the O-ring. A simple tug and it should slide right out

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/Pydpiper/P6080395.jpg)

Now you can see the check valve when you look inside, it prevents you from refilling the canister. Use the 1/8" drill bit and drill it out carefully, there is a layer of plastic, then a thin layer of aluminum. You have to drill pretty deep, lots of stuff in there, about 3/4". Once done you can see in to the canister, shake out the drilling debris.

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/Pydpiper/P6080396.jpg)

Now the valve gets pressed back in, easy as pie! You could add super glue at this stage, but I don't think it is nessasary.

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/Pydpiper/P6080397.jpg)

Now it is ready to be filled, the brass valve is very similar to the valve on a car/bike tire, there is a small nipple in there that needs to be depressed to allow fluid to pass through it. My technique is a bit primitive, but worked like a charm! I cut a small tidbit of wire and dropped it in to the brass valve, once the butane is applied the pressure opens the valve and allows the transfer of fluid.

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/Pydpiper/P6080398.jpg)

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/Pydpiper/P6080399.jpg)

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/Pydpiper/P6080400.jpg)

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/Pydpiper/P6080401.jpg)

I filled 7 in about 5 minutes, the fluid exchange takes about 4 seconds to go from empty to full. Seven refills did not noticeably affect my big butane can. I use Ronson butane, I like the good stuff because I have had clogging issues in the past with off brand butane with other projects. I am going to retrofit a filling nozzle to avoid the chunk of wire, but it sure worked well.
Just like that it is over, an inexpensive way to enjoy the Thermacell for pennies. We run ours almost daily, between my work, picnics, the pool and camping every weekend they see a bit of abuse.
I hope this helps someone!



Title: Re: Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY
Post by: John Andrews on June 16, 2010, 09:48:33 AM
  O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 That's really slick, BC! I have a Thermacell and need to give that a try when my canisters run empty.
Title: Re: Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY
Post by: Big58cal on June 16, 2010, 10:58:38 AM
In doing more reading on this, I found more info.  O0

Here's part 1 & part 2 of a video on YouTube about how to do it.  This guy makes a hole in the bottom and installs a check valve in there.  Gotta love a little redneck ingenuity.  O0  Also required for this is the standard Bush Light.  :wink: ;D

How to make a thermacell refillable-part 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKb4YX_6Iw4#)

How to make a thermacell crtridge rifillable part 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efgo4IztpdY&feature=related#)


As for the mats, here's some on Ebay.  They're a little pricey though.

THERMACELL MOSQUITO REPELLENT MATS LOT OF 12 FREE SHIP! (http://cgi.ebay.com/THERMACELL-MOSQUITO-REPELLENT-MATS-LOT-12-FREE-SHIP-/370269011114?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5635c0bcaa)

THERMACELL MOSQUITO REPELLENT MATS LOT OF 12 No Reserve (http://cgi.ebay.com/THERMACELL-MOSQUITO-REPELLENT-MATS-LOT-12-No-Reserve-/330436849430?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4cef922f16)


As far as "what" the repellant is, this is from ThermaCell's web site.....

Quote
A mat saturated with Allethrin, a copy of a naturally occurring insecticide found in chrysanthemum flowers, is placed on top of the metal grill.


Here's a link to the MSDS info for the ThermaCell pads.....

MSDS (http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/Documents/174_msds.pdf)

Title: Re: Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY
Post by: bohicajuan on June 16, 2010, 03:40:43 PM
SWEET!! O0 O0 O0 O0 O0
Title: Re: Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY
Post by: jeffhas on June 21, 2010, 04:43:53 PM
After hearing from some buddies how great these things are, I bought one for me and one for my father in law for fathers day, thanks for the post! hoping I can use it!
Title: Re: Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY
Post by: Big58cal on June 22, 2010, 08:55:38 AM
I looked around at Lowes to see if they had any pencil torches for me to steal the valve out of.  Of course they didn't.  >:(

I guess I'm going to have to put in an order to Harbor Freight and get a couple to steal the valves from.  Figured drilling out the bottom and installing a valve in there would be better than pulling the other valve out.  :wink:
Title: Re: Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY
Post by: Big58cal on September 20, 2010, 08:11:42 PM
Finally remembered to put an order into Harbor Freight.  O0  Got 2 pencil torches and some epoxy.  I found an old screw driver and ground a notch in the end, and am in the process of emptying 2 of the ThermaCell butane cartridges.  I had 2 that just had a little bit in them, so they're going to be my guinea pigs.  O0 ;D  Figured I'd stop tomorrow and get a can of butane.  Picked up the mosquito coils a few weeks ago.

Hopefully, this time tomorrow night I'll be able to tell ya'll if it's worth messing with or not.
Title: Re: Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY
Post by: John Andrews on September 21, 2010, 09:08:19 AM
  O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 That's great, BC! We will be looking forward to seeing how that works out for you.
Title: Re: Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY
Post by: Big58cal on September 22, 2010, 09:24:30 AM
OK, I know this is going to be hard to believe, but it's not as easy as the guy in video makes it look.  :roll: ;D

Project 1 - Find small straight screwdriver to grind notch into.  Check!
Project 2 - Grind notch into screwdriver with Dremel tool.  Check!
          * Note - Have one of the pencil torches and/or valve in-hand so that
               you can use it to measure how wide and deep your notch needs to be.
Project 3 - Remove valve from torch with your screwdriver.  Check!
Project 4 - Drill holes in canister with 11/64 bit.  Check!
Project 5 - Use magnet & screwdriver to retrieve ball out of canister.  Check!
          * Note - That ball is tiny!  And it doesn't necessarily want to be
               taken OUT of the canister!  A long piece of stiff wire with a bend in
               it works better at getting that little sucker out.
Project 6 - Screw valve into bottom of canister.  Check!
          * Note - The bottom part of the valve will fit into the 11/64" hole that
               you drilled.  The threads are a different story!  It's a PITA to get that
               thing in straight, and you have to put quite a bit of torque on
               it when screwing it in.
Project 7 - Go find another screwdriver, one a little more substantial this time, to
     grind the notch into because you broke the first one from the amount of
     torque required to seat the valve.  Check!
Project 8 - Mix 2 part epoxy.  Check!
Project 9 - Apply epoxy around sides of valve.  Check!
          * Note - It's best if, when you're doing this, that your hands aren't
               shaking.  Otherwise you may get some on the valve.  :roll:
Project 10 - Allow epoxy to set up.  Check!
          * Note - If you accidently got any epoxy on the valve from where your
               hand was shaking, every few minutes take something and depress
               the center plunger on the valve to make sure it stays free.
Project 11 - Fill canister about 1/2 way with butane (after epoxy has set) and
     draw a small mark on the canister to check for leaks and leave set
     overnight.  Check!
Project 12 - The next day, check the level of butane in the canister.  Check!


If everything worked right, the level of butane shouldn't have changed.  O0  Hope this helps anyone else who tries this.  :wink:

Title: Re: Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY
Post by: J-BUCKS on September 22, 2010, 11:28:55 AM
BC, pics of what you did would be much appreciated! I am not good at written instuctions, but give me a picture and I am all over it!  ;D
Title: Re: Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY
Post by: Big58cal on September 22, 2010, 12:45:55 PM
BC, pics of what you did would be much appreciated! I am not good at written instuctions, but give me a picture and I am all over it!  ;D

Just watch the 2 videos near the start.  O0
Title: Re: Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY
Post by: Pydpiper on November 21, 2010, 10:04:09 AM
Like the other stuff, I didn't come up with this on my own.  ;D  But why try to reinvent the wheel, right.  :wink:  I lifted this off of the Excalibur discussion forum.  It was done by a guy that goes by Pydpiper.  He's pretty smart, even if he is from Canada.  :roll: ;D O0

It is amazing what you can come up with when you Google your own name on a boring Sunday morning. :)
In my defence, I am American, I just live in Canada.
Title: Re: Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY
Post by: Big58cal on November 21, 2010, 07:30:56 PM
It is amazing what you can come up with when you Google your own name on a boring Sunday morning. :)
In my defence, I am American, I just live in Canada.

At least I did have the decency to give you credit for it.  O0 ;D  Besides, these fellers would have known that I wasn't smart enough to figure it out on my own.  ;D
Title: Re: Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY
Post by: Pydpiper on November 22, 2010, 08:25:53 AM
You sure did, and thanks!
It's worth noting that I did try quite a few other ways to get that cylinder refilled, a few were experiments with epoxy and second party valves. I just couldn't get comfortable with the concept, although they all appeared to have worked. I would have preferred a threaded valve.
The valve in the canister is a fine one, no need to remove it. The check valve you bypass is only there to prevent us from refilling, it is not a safety valve. by-passing the internals to add a second part valve has potential to fail. My thermacell spends 90% of it's life on my lap, absolutely not the place you want a fill valve to fail beside an element. :)
Title: Re: Beat the Thermacell butane cartridge, cheap and EASY
Post by: Big58cal on November 22, 2010, 09:14:03 AM
My thermacell spends 90% of it's life on my lap, absolutely not the place you want a fill valve to fail beside an element. :)


Yeah, I don't think I'd be very comfortable having it sitting there, knowing that it could potentially fail.  :shock: