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Dave W

Bubble tester, confused?

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I have an ALDE bubble tester fitted in my boat, the instructions to test for gas leaks involves lighting a burner on the hob then depressing the button on the tester for ten seconds or more to look for a bubble which shows gas flowing then retest again with the hob off for about sixty seconds.

The thing is I don’t get the initial bubble, depressing the button instantly shuts the hob off, I guess the flame failure system comes into play. 
Anyone got any ideas? Pretty sure there’s fluid in the bowl but difficult to see.

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When you light the hob, use the smallest burner and once burning, turn it down it it’s lowest setting.  Then go push the button and there should be a stream of bubbles.  

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Tried that and it shuts off the ring and no bubbles. I can’t work out what triggers the shut off. Big flame, tiny flame makes no difference as soon as the plunger is depressed the hob shuts off.

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Don't bubble testers have a bubble chamber bypass that is normally open and when you press the  button the bypass is closed. If so I suspect the porting into or out of the bubble chamber is blocked.

Edited by Tony Brooks

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2 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

Don't bubble testers have a bubble chamber bypass that is normally open and when you press the  button the bypass is closed. If so I suspect the porting into or out of the bubble chamber is blocked.

 

My next question was going to be how the OP knows his bubble tester isn't faulty.

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It sounds like the passage through the bubble mixture is blocked. When the flow is diverted from the bypass around it, it stops the flow.

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I notice that under instructon 2C that "leaking bubbles may appear" if there is any leakage.

 

I wouldn't want a smoke alarm that "may" go off in the event of fire, although it would of course be daft to rely solely on such an alarm.

I wouldn't want a carbon monoxide alarm that "may" go off when CO was present, although it would of course be daft to rely solely on such an alarm.

 

So I ask: what is the point of a bubble tester if it is known to be quite likely to fail? Perhaps that is why it isn't a BSS requirement?

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2 minutes ago, Machpoint005 said:

So I ask: what is the point of a bubble tester if it is known to be quite likely to fail? Perhaps that is why it isn't a BSS requirement?

I suppose that 'liveaboards' must be 'disposable' as the BSS requirement for non-qualified Gas examiners is that a Bubble tester MUST be fitted.

 

That suggests that the least qualified examiners are relying on test equipment that "may" (or may not) work, on a population that is in the highest risk bracket (spending most time on the boat)

 

Sounds about right !

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24 minutes ago, Machpoint005 said:

I notice that under instructon 2C that "leaking bubbles may appear" if there is any leakage.

 

I wouldn't want a smoke alarm that "may" go off in the event of fire, although it would of course be daft to rely solely on such an alarm.

I wouldn't want a carbon monoxide alarm that "may" go off when CO was present, although it would of course be daft to rely solely on such an alarm.

 

So I ask: what is the point of a bubble tester if it is known to be quite likely to fail? Perhaps that is why it isn't a BSS requirement?

The full quote is “leaking bubbles may immediately appear“ meaning if it is a big leak it will be immediate, but if a small leak you will have to wait.  So taking out that word changes the meaning, though it could be better worded.

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53 minutes ago, Dave W said:

All I can think is the bubble tester is blocked and actually shuts the gas supply down when depressed?

Sounds right to me, which is why the BSS requires you to first test the bubble tester.  I must admit that about once a month I press my bubble test button to check for leaks, but never do the ‘flow’ test first.  I think I will in future.

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2 hours ago, ditchcrawler said:

There have been several posts on CWF over the years what professionals think of bubble testers

 

Possibly part of that opinion comes from the fact that a bubble tester means no drop test and less work for the professional. So I don't think they are completely unbiased.

 

How many bubble testers are fitted and how many problems are reported? Conversely has anyone ever had a problem with a gas registered professional that didn't do a good job? 

Edited by blackrose
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Well I’ve taken it off, removed the fluid bowl depressed the valve and blown air through it. Reassembled and now it’s working fine. Lovely line of bubbles when tested with the hob on and the ring stayed lit.

I think the initial test is just as important as the leak detecting test. My bubble tester obviously wasn’t working and it’s not even four years old but is due a certificate soon ?

Edited by Dave W
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7 minutes ago, David Mack said:

Is a low pressure hose between a fixed regulator and fixed bubble tester compliant with the BSS

As long as it’s <1m in length and complies with the relevant BS EN regs then I believe so, yes. 


Reg 7.9.4

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1 hour ago, Dave W said:

Well I’ve taken it off, removed the fluid bowl depressed the valve and blown air through it. Reassembled and now it’s working fine. Lovely line of bubbles when tested with the hob on and the ring stayed lit.

I think the initial test is just as important as the leak detecting test. My bubble tester obviously wasn’t working and it’s not even four years old but is due a certificate soon ?

 

Glad you managed to fix it and solve the problem. That's informative for the rest of us. Did you refill the bowl with new fluid or was there enough left in there after you took it off?

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There was enough left but I’m ordering some more tomorrow as it’s getting close to the minimum level.

I must admit to being pretty lazy regarding testing. I think from now on I will set a time every month to test gas and my smoke alarms. Maybe keep a log.

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