Read me first: I lost track of all of the repair offers and cannot find them again, so I no longer have any contacts for Olympic torch repairs
I got to handle a 2012 Olympic Torch yesterday, and it is a really nicely made bit of kit.
Even up close all the joints are neat.
I particularly like it that the burner is made by Bullfinch (see a photo there), a company I have a soft spot for – for no better reason that years ago I needed a propane burner, wanted to buy British, and found one from Birmingham-based Bullfinch.
Burners in some previous Olympic torch designs have been the subject of university projects, so I feel rather happy to live in a country where you only need to phone an company in the Midlands to get the job done.
That said, according to this article in LPG Gas Magazine, Bullfinch did get some modelling done by Tecosim Technical Simulation in Essex.
They seem to have done a lovely job – there is a nice techie article about that one here – the bit about light rain and steam is interesting.
There is a trend, possibly starting with the Atlanta torch (Georgia Tech plus Atlanta Gas Light Company), for having two flames, one akin to a pilot light protected inside the torch, and the bigger visible yellow one on top.
Back to the 2012 version.
According to one of the Tecosim guys, in a BBC interview, the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics torch was used as a benchmark as this is the one which went out least in the past.
Expecting the burner within the 2012 torch to be a round thing, I was pleasantly surprised by it being a softened triangular form that fits snugly into the similarly cross sectioned handle, with even gaps all around.
It is a liquid feed design, a technique possibly introduced with Sydney’s torch – I read that the Atlanta torches were gas-fed and the flame gradually dropped as they were carried because the canister self-cooled through internal evaporation.
The valve block is a substantial brass thing, with fuel passing through a vaporising coil in the burner to convert the liquid propane/butane to gas before it gets fed into the jet, and the burner is certainly bulky enough to be a dual flame design.
After you run with the 2012 one, the officials take the gas bottle off and do something to ‘permanently’ stop it being used again – the runner concerned knew not what.
Does anyone know what is done to disable the torch, apart from removing the gas bottle?
The valve block is a satisfyingly substantial brass thing, with hex-key hole in the side which may have something to do with this.
I notice that at least one company is selling a repair kit – for £60, plus gas bottles for £25 each – which seems a lot, but I suppose the folk there have had to put a lot of work in to turn around a fix so quickly.
And torches are selling for thousands of pounds on eBay, so £85 is a low percentage of that to see it working.
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