View Full Version : Microflame Generator FP-103A Hydrogen Leak

Greg Bednar
09-11-2010, 5:43 PM
The flame polisher meter began to act strangely. It was sticking at the 15 MPa pressure level. No matter how long the machine was on, the pressure level on the gauge remained the same. There was also no pressure in the system despite the reading on the gauge. I surmised the gauge was stuck and delivered a few good natured but gentle thumps to the face of the meter. The needle moved but still remained at the .15 MPa level in the "unthumped" environment. I believed at the time there was a problem with the bourdon tube and perhaps a cold solder joint. The machine is after all made of Chinesium and it did travel a long way to the States.

I dismantled the meter and checked the bourdon tube in a water bath and saw no bubbles so that kind of ruled out the leaking tube. I did adjust the bourdon tube so the meter read 0 again. I checked and replaced some of the tubing since it backfired once and there was a little black residue above the backfire valve and discoloring in the piece of tubing from the backfire valve to the torch. I also cleaned out the innards of the vessel holding the distilled water and noticed a lot of black residue. I cleaned it thoroughly and replaced the distilled water and the crystals as per the directions for this model machine.

I turned the machine on, held my finger against the tube, the end of which is inserted over the adapter to go into the pressure gauge, turned the machine on, waited a few moments and voila! It had pressure. Since I had pressure, the gauge was adjusted to zero, ( probably effected accuracy but hey, it was at zero again ) and no leaks in other plastic pieces or connections as verified with liquid dishwashing detergent; I began to screw on the adapter to the back of the meter when I noticed what you see in the picture.

I can't think of how this would effect the gauge and make it stick at the .15 MPa level, but it sure would effect holding pressure in the vessel. I have no idea if the fracture occurred while I was screwing off the adapter from the back of the gauge, but I knew I did not want any hydrogen leaks except the controlled one at the torch tip. I will now go in search of an adapter to replace the damaged one. And perhaps a new meter if I can find one.

I just thought I'd write this up and tell all those with this particular flame polisher of my experience since this may happen to one of you.


Gary Nicholls
09-12-2010, 11:36 AM
Thaks for the info, I will definately keep an eye out for this problem.

Robert Walters
09-12-2010, 4:30 PM
Heh, Chinesium. I like that!

"Chinesium: A common element that breaks, cracks, or deforms on a consistent basis and usually at the worse possible moment. (See Also: Murphy's Law)"

I wonder if you can use a barbed fitting as an alternative.

Maybe look at a local well stocked plumbing or welding supply house.
Worse case scenario, have someone make you a new one on a lathe out of solid brass instead of Chinesium.

Greg Bednar
09-12-2010, 5:12 PM
Robert, I found exactly what I needed at the local hometown hardware. Brass fittings, brass compression collar, and a little brass tube with a lip on it ( the name for it escapes me at this time ) to fit inside of the PVC tubing to keep it from collapsing when the compression collar is tightened. Yessir - and made in the USA to boot. I will keep this in mind if/when the other compression fittings go belly up. And it stepped down from the size of the threads on the meter to the size of the PVC tubing. Thank you Mom & Pop hardware.

Robert Walters
09-13-2010, 9:38 PM

Awesome that you found parts that will work!!!
I wasn't sure if the threads would be the same.

Yeah, I miss having a GOOD hardware store <sniff sniff>,
everything now I have to go to a specialty store to find.

The last GOOD hardware store I've been in was over 15 years ago.
They even had bins of square nails of all kinds and every imaginable whatchamacallit you could think of.