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I bought some of this Vector 14x Butane

To use in a Butane Soldering Iron and every time I turn on the Iron, there's a really strong rotten egg/gas smell (and it lingers even after 30 secs). Is this normal?

I had a small torch years back and got some cheap butane from 7-11 and it never smelled so strong (could barely smell it) before when I turned it on. Not even my gas stove smells that bad after using it for an hour.

Is it the butane? I bought the Vector cause the Iron said to use premium butane.

closed as off-topic by isherwood, ThreePhaseEel, Tyson, Daniel Griscom, Machavity Feb 21 '18 at 23:06

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2

Yes it's relatively normal for some gas to escape before it starts burning.

The smell is from an additive called Ethanethiol (ethyl mercaptan) which has a strong odor that humans can detect in very small concentrations. You only smell it from escaped gas and not a byproduct of combustion, hence why you won't smell it relative to the duration of the burn.

  • Can I assume that the cheap butane I bought did not have (or barely had any) Ethanethiol in it? Actually thinking about it, even with a propane BBQ, I could smell the gas but it was fairly normal gas smell which was tolerable. This stuff is quite pungent. – Jack Jun 25 '15 at 15:55
  • I don't think there is any standard for how much to put in, so it might just be a matter of concentration. Also your BBQ is outside and there is usually a breeze so it will disperse a lot faster. – Steven Jun 25 '15 at 17:39
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Actually that smell is a new thing. I've been buying Vector Butane for years off Amazon, and only last year did I get my first case with that overdose of Godawful additive.

I believe they did that to thwart idiots seeking a cheap high inhaling the gas.

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