Propane Torch problems - Bernzomatic etc

I have been trying to use my Bernzomatic type propane torch for some soldering, and it has been so frustrating that I have been grabbing my
Oxy-acetylene torch instead. The propane torch keeps going out, especially when I invert the torch to solder something below the torch.
Is it typical to have problems if the bottle is above the torch?
Do I need a better torch? I am not sure about the brand of what I am using, can't find a name, maybe a bad sign.
Would I be happier with a torch with a long hose connected to a large bottle of propane? I have such a bottle in my shop, I have seen this type of torch used by plumbers and others.
I am soldering sheet copper, around 0.020 inch to 0.040 (0.5mm to 1 mm) thick, if that makes any difference. I do occasionally solder copper pipes as well.
Thanks in advance, Richard
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I had all sorts of trouble with mine until I realized that the gas valve wasn't opening all the way... if you just open it until you feel resistance, it will be about 1 turn short of fully open. With it fully open, mine works upside down, stays lit in the wind, lights right away, etc. David

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When you turn it upside down, you are getting liquid propane instead of gas. Get an extention hose and leave the bottle on the floor or stand.
--
Anthony

You can't 'idiot proof' anything....every time you try, they just make
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I gave up on Bernzomatic. I went to a plumbing supply house and bought a torch made by Goss. It is a lot louder and much, much hotter.
I don't use handheld propane torches in my shop that much. I have a Magnum rosebud that I use quite often. Those are great. They have a regulator, a 30' hose, and a trigger you pull to put the thing into hyperdrive. Really kicks. I use it for general heating (e.g. welding preheating or heating forged items prior to applying an oil or wax finish) and also to burn weeds. The ability to burn weeds has removed some barriers for me. Soon we plan to take out over 500 square feet of lawn and replace it with pavers. We hadn't done this before because we didn't want to deal with weeds between. Now I look forward to those little suckers coming up. Burn 'em and they don't come back!
Grant Erwin
Richard Ferguson wrote:

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Once the torch head has heated up, I don't have any problems using it inverted.
John Martin
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On Mon, 05 Apr 2004 18:47:22 GMT, Richard Ferguson

You might consider one of these http://www.cornerhardware.com/item_211452/Plumbing/Plumbing-Tools/Torches/Trigger-Start-Torch-Kit.html
Very slick, works upside down, spark and gas on the same button. I think I paid $40 at WalMart. There's a better model with a control valve as well if you need to be able to throttle it down. I have one with a separate bottle also, but I never use it.
Wayne
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I have a good Bernzomatic I bought in Canada. I had the same experience with an all brass Bernz. This one is a swirl flame, loud, and very hot. The nozzle is stainless and gets orange/red hot with extended use (probably why I have not seen it in the local hardware stores). Electronic starting with the nozzle 90degrees from the axis of the cylinder, called a "trigger start 5000". It's pretty slick, the trigger turns the gas on and ignites it with no adjustment necessary (flow knob on top can be adjusted to match the job), just screw it on a cylinder and go. Sweating pipes takes a lot less time with a swirl flame. Works with the cylinder upside down from a cold start. I guess it's obvious I like mine. =)
No idea why they don't sell stateside, other than the scalding hot tube thing.
StaticsJason
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The hand held torches have a very small orfice that can get clogged. You might take it apart and do your best to clean the little bit with the hole that is not visible to the naked eye. Carb cleaner or an ultrasonic cleaner is what I would recommend.
Dan

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This sounds like one of the first propane torch designs from the '50s like the original Turner or Bernzomatics that had a large sleeve on the head and multiple orfices inside. Designs have changed a lot since then. All of the ones with disposable bottles screwed into the heads will flare up if they're turned upside down, liquid propane gets spewed out and has to vaporize before it burns.
For soldering sheet copper seams, nothing is as good as a large soldering iron. I'm talking the large, several-pound, plumber's soldering copper here. You can use a propane torch to heat it up. Once it's cleaned, up to temp and tinned, you can do a lot of work before it cools down. Trying to use a flame for soldering seams can be really frustrating, you're oxidizing your joint surfaces at the same time you're trying to join them.
There's some newer design torch heads out there that really put out the heat, one of those is worth several of the older design. The one I have is a Bernzomatic head with a built-in ignitor, the burner head is integral with the bent supply tube, flame diameter is about half the size of those old heads and it is really hot. Works very well on plumbing joints as-is. If you have to use the head inverted, you're going to need one of those extension tube kits, they just don't work well upside down with the tank attached.
Stan
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I have a bunch of torches that I have picked up at garage sales. They screw on disposable bottles. Generally they do not flare up when inverted. But if used inverted they take a long time to shut off after the valve is closed.
It is possible that the orfice is not snug enough in the torch and propane is leaking around the orfice as well as through it. In that case inverting the torch will cause a problem.
Dan
snipped-for-privacy@prolynx.com (Stan Schaefer) wrote in message

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Invert the torch and you'll get some liquid propane running into the tube. If the torch head is hot enough, it will vaporize at the orifice and the torch will run fine. Shut the valve, though, and you've still got some liquid propane in the tube to burn off before the flame quits.
John Martin
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