engineer-in-wonderland
Rooting around in the fascinating stuff at the bottom of a draw labelled 'Engineering - Junk Miscellaneous'. Delving amongst the delightful...

Olympic torch repair possible?

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.

For Sydney, for example, the torch came out of the Adelaide University and Fuel & Combustion Technology.

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.

‘Alice’

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Tags: Alice, Engineer in Wonderland, Olympic, torch

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17 Comments

  1. ben liu
    October 19, 2013 17:45

    I have a 1996 Olympic Torch from the Atlanta Olympics. I need to get it repaired. the loop was broken, the torch can not be connect together, thanks

  2. 'Alice'
    February 14, 2013 14:17

    A sleuthful correspondent found these two ebay adverts.
    Who I am not going to name incase someone has a bad experience and wants to blame the innocent :-/ So: BUYER BEWARE.
    Email reads:
    I have found Olympic torch gas canisters on eBay here:
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LONDON-2012-OLYMPIC-TORCH-GAS-FUEL-FULL-AND-UNUSED-GENUINE-ITEM-VERY-RARE-/261169075897?pt=UK_Sports_Memorabilia_ET&hash=item3ccee3d6b9
    I have ordered one…
    And this guy appears to be recommissioning torch burners:
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Olympic-Torch-Re-Commissioning-Service-including-gas-/130848475231?_trksid=p5197.m1992&_trkparms=aid%3D111000%26algo%3DREC.CURRENT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D14%26meid%3D5563718720477570711%26pid%3D100015%26prg%3D1006%26rk%3D1%26sd%3D130848475231%26
    Although I won’t be posting my valuable torch off to him and ‘hoping’ it comes back…!

  3. 'Alice'
    February 07, 2013 11:44

    Can anyone help these folk with broken Atlanta torches?
    ‘Alice’

  4. Sandy A. Adams
    February 04, 2013 23:39

    My 1996 Olympic Torch was broken – the plastic sleve in the middle is broken. Can I receive information of how/whom can it be repaired.

  5. Charles Barron
    January 28, 2013 03:25

    The 1996 Olympth torch that my wife, now deceased, carried on about the 40 mile mark to Atlanta was broken as it was being empted of propane at the end of her carry by one of the Olympic team workers.
    The a plastic sleve connection in the middle that was broken in the confosion after the race. This event gave my wife one of the happiest moments of her life.
    I would like to display it in its connected form. Please give me some help if possible. Thank you,
    Charles Barron, Georgia
    Address supplied

  6. 'Alice'
    January 02, 2013 10:23

    Sorry Sam.
    The on-line advert disappeared and I have no way to trace the helpful neighbour.
    If you do find a repairer, please get in touch as there are a lot of folk who would like to get their torches going.
    ‘Alice’

  7. Sam
    January 02, 2013 10:11

    Hi Alice
    I see in your post you say you saw somewhere online offering a repair kit. I’d love to get my torch working again – any chance you could point me in the direction of where you saw this? The commenter who says his neighbour is offering to make replacement spikes – how do I contact him?
    Sam

  8. 'Alice'
    December 11, 2012 14:03

    Hi Sam.
    I could not get in touch with any repair people, so this is a dead end for you I am afraid.
    ‘Alice’

  9. Sam
    December 10, 2012 19:56

    Can anyone point me in the direction of a repair kit for an Olympic Torch 2012? I’d love to get mine repaired.
    Sam

  10. Darrell DeCow
    November 14, 2012 22:15

    I have a 1996 Olympic Torch from the Atlanta Olympics. I need to get it repaired. I am grasping at straws, but after all my research, you are the closest thing I have to an idea as to where I can turn. Any thoughts?
    Thank you for your help.
    Darrell

  11. rob
    September 11, 2012 20:37

    hi how can i get my hands on this repair system as would love to get the torch alight again
    regards
    rob

  12. 'Alice'
    September 05, 2012 12:30

    Hi Toby
    There have been a couple of request for repair parts.
    So a message to Chris: do you want to provide contact details and act as an agent for your neighbour?
    ‘Alice’

  13. Toby Smith
    September 04, 2012 16:43

    I too would like to to get mine working! does anyone no where i can all bits needed.
    Regards
    Toby

  14. 'Alice'
    September 04, 2012 10:00

    Hey, thanks Chris.
    I will pass the message on to the owner of the torch.
    ‘Alice’

  15. Chris
    August 12, 2012 08:15

    Hi Anon is correct the spike is attached inside so i have removed mine and my next door neighbour has remade it out of brass and he is selling the replacement bits for £20 if you are interested let me know and I will ask him to make them.
    Kind Regards
    Chris

  16. 'Alice'
    August 03, 2012 16:07

    Thanks Anonymous.
    Not the easiest thing to fabricate.
    Lathough, I suppose that is the idea.
    Will be fun trying.
    ‘Alice’

  17. Anonymous
    August 03, 2012 11:41

    As well as removing the gas canister on the olympic torch the burner was disabled by snipping off the spike that is used to pierce the gas canister.