Item 1: My new Bayfield has a propane cooking system. It used to have a propane water heater, too; but I didn’t find it worth the trouble and removed it (eBay, soon). Propane works, it is convenient, it is already installed, it is staying (for anyone thinking about talking me into kerosene or alcohol). The tank lives outboard on the stern pulpit.

Item 2: I’ve been so frustrated with a phantom drain of amps in the boat, I decided to redo the entire electrical system. It is now much improved (and almost done). I’ve used modern, properly sized boat wire everyplace. I’ve broken circuits out into a couple different panels. I have a battery monitor. I’m happy. Or at least I was…

The problem: I finally got around to hooking up the xintrex S-2 (preëxisting) propane sniffer/solenoid control to house power this past weekend. As expected, the solenoid burns about one amp, which is totally acceptable. What is less acceptable is the propane sniffers (one in the bilge, one in the cabinet directly under the stove) burn around .5 or .6 amps. Now, given that you’d think that the sniffers should be turned on whenever the boat is occupied (and maybe always, depending on your philosophy), I find that the 12 amp-hrs or more a day, just for monitoring, to be an overly serious drain on my limited battery (and charging) capacity. THIS is clearly a big contributor to my phantom battery drain.

The solution: As far as I know, sniffers are not required equipment. However, they do seem rather prudent. I’m thinking of wiring the Xintrex control/sniffer system up to a spare switch on the circuit breaker panel. I figure a decent compromise might be to throw the switch whenever the valve on the tank is on. When I’m well done with whatever cooking I’m doing, I could close the manual valve, and kill the Xintrex at the panel. This has the advantage of saving some electrons and giving me a third place to kill the propane if necessary (at the xintrex control panel, at the tank, and now at the electrical panel). It has the disadvantage of losing full-time monitoring.

I think with the tank at the rail, the solenoid at the tank, and the new propane line entering the hull through a vapor tight-fitting, that I’m covering the important safety bases. Am I missing something?

Whatcha thinkin'?