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  #1  
Old 03-28-2008, 08:21 PM
steve murray's Avatar
steve murray steve murray is offline
 
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Location: Flat Rock, North Carolina
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Default Build your Own Oxygen Setup?

Took a short cross country the other day and came back at 13,500'. I loved the tail wind and the smooth air, now it is time to start looking for an oxygen setup. I have done some cursory pricing of the aircrafdt oxygen setups for about $500 and see medical oxygen tanks on ebay for less than $100.

Is it worthwhile, safe, cost effective to assemble my own portable system or should I just part with $500 and buy a system?

Would also appreciate any mounting input for RV8'ers'

Steve
RV8
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  #2  
Old 03-28-2008, 09:20 PM
Norman CYYJ Norman CYYJ is offline
 
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Location: Victoria B.C.
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During the summer flying months when I do most of my long cross-countries I always carry oxygen with me. I rent a bottle and regulator from the local medical supply house. Cost is about $15.00/month plus o2 for about $19.00.
It would take a lot of years of renting to justify buying a system. Another expense that you have when you own is getting the bottle re-certified every 5 years or so. If it isn't re-certified nobody will fill it up. I can get up to 11.5 hours for two on the bottle that I rent.
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  #3  
Old 03-28-2008, 09:31 PM
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Actually, you spend the equivalent of buying the system every 27 months - assuming you refill the bottles once a month. Hydrotesting the bottles can be done very easily and cheaply, I have several high pressure bottles tested per month for my air business at $22 per test. Metallic bottles only need to be tested every 5 years, and have an unlimited lifespan as long as they are undamaged and not exposed to excess heat. Carbon fiber or fiberglass wrapped bottles must be tested every 3 years and have a maximum 15-year life span. They are also more expensive, but less weight for the quantity of oxygen they can carry.

As far as filling them - and I'm not going to advocate for or against this practice, just use your own judgement - I know many pilots who have a pair of oxygen bottles from an oxy-acetylene torch setup with a transfill valve to top off their plane bottles. It reduces your oxygen costs to pennies per refill. Say what you want about the practice - but as an analytical chemist with a couple years of actual lab time working with it, I've personally run the tests to tell you that there is no appreciable difference between "medical", "aviation", and "industrial" grade oxygen supplied in the cylinders. There used to be, yes, but with todays modern air liquefaction plants there is no economic incentive for multiple grades of purity - all the oxygen comes from the same liquid oxygen supply at the liquefaction plant. The difference is in how much paperwork accompanies it to prove it's pedigree - just like experimental aircraft and engines. From an analytical purity viewpoint, you don't see a difference until you go to the expensive UHP (Ultra High Purity) gases used for Mass Spectrometry and some gas chromatographs.

And yes, once I have my bird flying, I will have onboard oxygen and I will roll my own and fill my own - but then again I've been working with high pressure gases for close to 20 years and I'm quite comfortable with them.
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Built an off-plan 9A with too much fuel and too much HP. Should drop dead any minute now.

Last edited by airguy : 03-28-2008 at 09:35 PM.
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  #4  
Old 03-28-2008, 09:43 PM
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az_gila az_gila is offline
 
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Location: 57AZ - NW Tucson area
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Exclamation DIY parts here

O2 is common for Western states glider pilots.

These guys cater to the glider pilots, and carry the various parts. Their web site has a lot of info...

http://www.wingsandwheels.com/page35.htm

http://www.wingsandwheels.com/page36.htm

I prefer this at the pilot end... saves oxygen, and a bargain at $30...



gil A

Usual disclaimer - only a satisfied customer...
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  #5  
Old 03-29-2008, 06:44 AM
FredMagare FredMagare is offline
 
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Location: Kyle, TX
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Hmmm. Buy your own bottle after you read this article:

http://www.warmkessel.com/jr/flying/td/jd/13.jsp

Good information about aviation oxygen and how to refill your aviation O2 tanks for practically NOTHING!
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Last edited by FredMagare : 03-29-2008 at 04:35 PM.
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  #6  
Old 03-29-2008, 07:39 AM
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I have a 700L Praxair medical bottle and have considered adapting it to the plane. Anyone see any problem with that? Think I can get a regulator for around $50, then would need the cannulas, etc. Probably around $125 total. The tank is within the five year test period. Sure would beat the $500 systesm if there are no problems.

BTW, my father was a welder and used 2-4 bottles of O2 per week. Often they would be out of welding oxygen and would give him medical at the same price. They said they supplied welding grade to the hospital when they were out of medical grade. That was in the 60's and I'm sure it doesn't happen any more.

Bob Kelly
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  #7  
Old 03-29-2008, 08:00 AM
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N395V N395V is offline
 
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Looking out the back window of our hospital yesterday I saw the tanker hooking up to fill the hospitals oxygen tank. On the side of the truck it said...

WELDERS OXYGEN SUPPLY

When considering price you need to consider filling at an away airport and conservation.

O2 is pricey at those FBOs that have it and continuous feed systems rapidly deplete a tank.

If you plan on using it a lot I would consider a mountain high pulse demand system.



I fill mine with 2 O2 bottles that I rent from a local welder suupply. 1 To fill tghe 2nd to top off the pressure.

Nothing wrong with using a medical bottle it doesn't know it is in an airplane instead of an ambulance.
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  #8  
Old 03-29-2008, 09:02 AM
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Ah yes - I'll grow my own bottle, lines, and reg system, but the EDS system is one place where I will write a check. I love the idea of being able to conserve the oxygen in the bottle as much as possible. The oxygen is cheap (really cheap if you fill it yourself), but it's the hassle factor of removing the bottle, filling it, and reinstalling it. Also there is the question of a long high XC with passenger(s) sucking on it - there is just no scenario under which it makes sense to waste the gas you are depending on. You could end up getting bent over in a serious way trying to get an O2 fill at an FBO during a fuel stop on a trip somewhere, and about that time the small investment for an EDS starts looking pretty good. A 2-place with a good sized bottle could make a coast-to-coast round trip on O2 without a refill if you conserve it well.
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Greg Niehues - VAF 2017 dues paid
Garden City, TX
N16GN flying! http://websites.expercraft.com/airguy/
Built an off-plan 9A with too much fuel and too much HP. Should drop dead any minute now.

Last edited by airguy : 03-29-2008 at 09:05 AM.
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  #9  
Old 03-29-2008, 10:50 AM
RScott RScott is offline
 
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Greg,

Good info.

But note that Norman seems to say he only uses O2 during the summer when he does long X-c's, so renting may make sense for him.
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  #10  
Old 03-29-2008, 11:06 AM
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az_gila az_gila is offline
 
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Thumbs up 1 bottle = 2 people for 13 hours at 15,000 ft.

Quote:
Originally Posted by airguy View Post
Ah yes - I'll grow my own bottle, lines, and reg system, but the EDS system is one place where I will write a check. I love the idea of being able to conserve the oxygen in the bottle as much as possible. The oxygen is cheap (really cheap if you fill it yourself), but it's the hassle factor of removing the bottle, filling it, and reinstalling it. Also there is the question of a long high XC with passenger(s) sucking on it - there is just no scenario under which it makes sense to waste the gas you are depending on. You could end up getting bent over in a serious way trying to get an O2 fill at an FBO during a fuel stop on a trip somewhere, and about that time the small investment for an EDS starts looking pretty good. A 2-place with a good sized bottle could make a coast-to-coast round trip on O2 without a refill if you conserve it well.
Greg...
The rebreather cannula is pretty good at conservation with a lot less $$$ than the EDS system.

Using a medical E bottle (28 by 4+ inches) or an aviators M bottle (20 by 5+ inches) - both are 22 cu. ft. - two people can safely fly for 13 hours at 15,000 ft.

That should cover a pretty long RV cross country....

The consumption chart is on the link I previously mentioned...

http://www.wingsandwheels.com/page35.htm

gil A
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Grumman Tiger N12GA - flying
La Cholla Airpark (57AZ) Tucson AZ
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