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Water torch issues

Hi all!

New member here but long time lurker.

A few years ago I picked up an ET Hydrogen torch (L45) from Rio and have had so many issues with it. I got it mostly for the safety aspect as my studio is in my home and we have kids, pets, etc. However the booster tank gets stuck and my partner has to use tools to get the sucker off, and recently the little tips catch fire, then a loud popping sound happens (I’m just calling it an explosion but not really). Torch gets turned off and smoke is billowing from the tip for a few minutes.

The thing is awesome, when it works. I don’t cast but will use it to melt small ingots to be rolled out just fine. All of my work is smaller gold and silver pieces.

Should I ditch this torch, and maybe get an Orca? Again, my house is rented, I’m not looking to move into a studio space outside the home anytime soon as the kid is with my fulltime due to covid and I’d really not like to have larger tanks in the house. I feel ok with the smaller propane tanks and atmospheric air.


I can’t help you with your hydrogen torch. Our Dad had one years ago that was nothing but trouble. You would probably be disappointed with an Orca (EZ Torch). I have one and it is great for annealing and a quick in and out that doesn’t need a lot of torch control. The flame is fairly wide and dispersed and propane and air isn’t hot enough for big pieces. That being said, you could probably get used to it within those parameters depending on the type of work you do. I have never taken the time to do this because a lot of my work is big. Your goal appears to be to not have a lot of compressed gas in your house. I had the same goal after using a plumbers torch (acetylene and air) for years and then regulated acetylene and O2 from cylinders. I finally settled on a Meco torch on 1 lb. camp stove propane with a non-adjustable regulator and an O2 generator (medical O2). This setup serves all of my needs and will even do 50 gram silver and gold melts. It won’t melt copper and brass very well. I also run a little torch off the same set up. There is a lot in the archives about this subject. If you go to my website you can see pictures of my torches. Good luck…Rob


I have used the L&R Aqua torch for over 30 years. Never had a problem with it. To bad they stopped making it. Look on EBay, sometimes I see them on there.

Thank you! I’m looking into the o2 generators and torch setups. Definitely a good option!

I love mine so much when it works. I may call Rio Grande again and tell them what’s up. Really expensive piece of equipment to not work all the time which bums me out!

Paula, I have a larger model - L160 - but the same basic unit. I have found mine to be awesome but have had a couple problems. One of my problems was that I wasn’t taking off the flux tube before adding water to the main tank. This can allow flux to be pulled into the main tank causing fouling of the solution there. The result is a weak flame and/or lighting issues.

You may be removing your flux tube for main tank refills but if your flux tube is not sealing against the rubber washer up top, your system is likely pulling flux into the main tank. The way your machine is acting certainly makes it seem like that. I would check the threads down in the flux tube and the threads on the end of the handle. It sounds like one or both of them are in need of replacement. I’m sure Rio Grande can help with that and I would recommend talking to the tech staff first.

After my problem, I did a full yearly maintenance and the system has been working top notch ever since. Feel free to message me directly if you have more detailed questions.


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