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Old 02-01-2021, 06:52 AM   #1
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Little Red Campfire mods for onboard tank

At my request, I got a Camco Little Red Campfire for Christmas. I wanted small and self-contained, as it's only a van, with little room to spare. It came with a relatively short hose with regulator with flow adjustment knob, and is designed for working off a DOT cylinder. Plenty of flame, and in fact, too much flame with the flow all the way up. Pretty loud, too.

Connected to the van's onboard ASME tank via the quick connect fitting under the rear bumper, using a 20 ft hose, the flame is pretty anemic. It's useable, but just too low. The van's regulator puts out about 11.5" or so water column per my own measurement (with an actual water column), which is pretty standard. The regulator the fire pit came with tops out at about 100" water column, which I also measured. Which explains why the flame was so wimpy on the van's regulated supply.

There is an orifice in the ell at the fire pit the end of the hose and immediately before the adjustable air inlet. The orifice measures 1.2mm [0.047in], which is pretty tiny. So I bought some metric brass pipe plugs, 10mm x 1 (fine thread), to experiment with orifice sizes without messing up the original.

I'll spare the play-by-play, but I worked my way up in orifice sizes by drilling those plugs and counter sinking the inlet side just a tiny bit so they weren't sharp edged.

Eventually I landed on 2.35mm [0.092in] which yields a flame about the same as that from the supplied regulator and a 20lb DOT cylinder, but I can adjust the flame size with the ball valve that's part of the quick connect I added at the fire pit. There isn't as much blue flame at the bottom as with the original orifice and portable cylinder, but that's probably due to the larger orifice at lower pressure not drawing as much air into the inlet. I may yet experiment with opening the air inlet a bit, when it's warmer out. Much quieter with the larger orifice, too.

I didn't want to cut into the high pressure side of the van's system, and this mod is completely reversible in case I want to use it on the back deck at home with a portable tank. I'll just save the plugs in my bag of tricks.

The first pic is the campfire on the van's system with the original orifice, though it's a bit light out to see how small that flame is, followed by the original regulator on a 20lb cylinder (original orifice), then running off low pressure van propane with the large orifice, followed by the drill bits for the visual comparison between the original and the oversized holes.

I tried many smaller sizes (last photo), including one smaller than the original just to see what it would do with the OEM regulator (it only cut the flame down a little), but ended up going even bigger. Plugs came from Belmetric. https://www.belmetric.com/m10-10mm-p...s-p-10059.html They're tapered, while the original is straight, but they fit fine, and only need to be just snug as they thread into the male NPT end of the ell and any leakage past the plug is still within the plumbing.

Posted in case anyone wants to adapt either the Little or the Big Red Campfire to an RV's low pressure system.
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Old 02-01-2021, 11:05 PM   #2
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Cool! I may have to try this - not for use on a low pressure system, but to quieten down the campfire. I am annoyed at how loud it is.

Thanks!
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Old 02-02-2021, 05:24 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmadren View Post
Cool! I may have to try this - not for use on a low pressure system, but to quieten down the campfire. I am annoyed at how loud it is.
Hmmmm, that’s something I haven’t tried. I’ll give that a shot later today. Since the large orifice is in the fitting already, I can just plug in the 20 lb tank using the OEM regulator and hose.

But I would imagine the fire could be much larger with less resistance in the line, so caution would be in order with that flow control knob.

I’ll let you know what happens.

Oh, and there’s an error in my first post - the last two drill bits are smaller than the original orifice. I wanted to see if the excessive (IMO) flame height at the full regulator setting on the 20 lb cylinder could be limited - it could, but it’s not necessary, as the regulator can just be adjusted for a smaller flame. Just something to satisfy my curiosity when snow and COVID bound.
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Old 02-03-2021, 04:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmadren View Post
Cool! I may have to try this - not for use on a low pressure system, but to quieten down the campfire. I am annoyed at how loud it is.
I just tried a few different orifices and measured the sound pressure level. Sound meter was about 1 ft away, and aimed at the hose connection where the air inlet is, since thatís where the sound seems to be coming from. I had to go that close because any further away would be too quiet to register on my meter.

With the larger orifices, I adjusted the flame to be the same height as the OEM orifice with the regulator adjusted for maximum flow.

1.2 mm (OEM) orifice - 72 dB(A)

2.0 mm orifice - 57 dB(A)

2.35 mm orifice - 51 dB(A)

The OEM orifice and max flame is more flame that I would normally use, so all of the above would be quieter still with the flame turned down. BUT, the oversized orifices will allow more gas to flow, with the flame potentially being bigger, than with the original orifice. So caution would be the order of the day there.

The decibel figures are just for comparison, since nobody is going to put their ear less than a foot away from the hose connection. But it does show what I heard - itís way quieter with a larger orifice.

It might be quieter still with the air inlet adjusted to restrict the air, or closed completely, but that may result in a very yellow and dirty flame. Iíll have to give that a try.
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Old 02-04-2021, 10:19 AM   #5
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Thanks. I just retrieved mine from the RV in storage and will start working on it this weekend.
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Old 06-29-2021, 07:12 PM   #6
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Have you tried playing around with the air inlet office yet? Iím interested to see what your results were before I start tearing into mine. Out-of-the-box mine has a bright yellow orangey flame that is very dirty and Iíd like to correct it.
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Old 09-12-2021, 08:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by dw8ite View Post
Have you tried playing around with the air inlet office yet? Iím interested to see what your results were before I start tearing into mine. Out-of-the-box mine has a bright yellow orangey flame that is very dirty and Iíd like to correct it.
I removed the air induction adjustment altogether just the other day, and it didnít make a huge improvement, though there is some improvement. I checked it with a small flame on a butane fireplace starter, and it did pull the flame into the inlet, so itís definitely pulling air in and not letting gas escape through the slot, which was something I was concerned about.

Just reporting back, since I remembered someone asked a while back, but I had nothing to report until now.
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Old 09-16-2021, 07:20 PM   #8
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After playing around with my propane orifice and air induction gizmo I decided to go back to the original orifice and air induction gizmo. I then removed the fake logs- I left the ceramic disc in the bottom and filled the campfire up with volcanic rocks from Ace hardware- cost seven dollars. Now everything works fine I have a nice blue flame at the lower third and if I turn it up a little I get a nice yellow flame above. No more soot after five nights of campfire.
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