Error message here!

Hide Error message here!

Forgot your password?

Error message here!

Error message here!

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Error message here!

Back to log-in

Sign in to set favorite

Removing Butane Mystery Oil using a Terpenator.

Hee, hee, hee..............................

With the discovery of a Mystery Oil in canned butane,  comes yet another good reason to build a Terpenator, as they easily fractionally distill the butane and propane from the heavier Mystery Oil elements, leaving the mixture of oil and waxes the lower collection tank, where they are easily removed using an alcohol wash.

See /bho-mystery-oil/ for more information about the Mystery Oil itself.

Of course you can also simply use a cold trap, instead of a Terpenator, but after purchasing all the same ancillaries, the incremental cost is small and if you are already a proud owner, you are in tall cotton.

Soooo, as most Terpenators are Mk III's, how do we go about fractional distillation using that unit?

Start by heating the hot water pot to 85F and setting the cleaned and empty Mk IIIA in it.

Pull a hard vacuum on it using the vacuum pump and then close vacuum pump valve 1, before turning off the vacuum pump.

If the recovery tank is empty, pull a vacuum on it as well, before closing the valves to hold the vacuum in place.

Assemble the Mk IIIA system, as if you were preparing to do an extraction.

Open the blue valve on the 50# refrigerant recovery tank, but leave red valve closed.  Open the #3 dump valve and #5 recovery pump valves, closing column vent valve #2 on the Mk IIIA.

Disconnect the red hose from the recovery tank and attach to the can tapper.

Start recovery pump and tap can, using can tapper, open butane supply valve #4 to allow the recovery pump to pull the butane from the can.

When the pressure gauge reads zero pressure, close the #4 valve and tap a new can, before opening it again to allow the butane to load.

Continue that cycle until you have loaded about 10# total or about two cases of 300 ml cans into an empty 50# tank.

When the last can is loaded, and the pressure again reaches zero pressure, close all Terpenator valves and turn off the recovery pump.

Bleed air into the system by removing the pressure gauge hose, and open it up for inspection.

The Mystery Oil will be coating the walls and bottom of the Mk IIIA recovery tank, where it is easily removed by alcohol wash.

The next simple Alkane after Butane, is Pentane, which boils at  36.1C/96.98F, so it is important to not raise the hot pot temperature above 85F and to not pull a vacuum below 0"Hg, so that it is cold boiled away.

About The Author

Profile photo of skunkpharmresearch

This is the head cheese's account

Related posts


  1. Brian cassidy

    I would love to have a conversation with one of your employees I use a closed loop system and wondering if you had any testing done.looking forward to hearing from you ............ Brian cassidy

  2. Youguessedit

    So this stuff isnt c02 and methoxymethane? It is instead a combination of a bunch of random gases ive never heard of? So your saying this company is lying about their formula and passing off garbage. I love your feeds on skunk farms, but all im looking for is a yes or no on this stuff. Your snake oil comment leads me to believe that extraction producers should steer clear of this product? Yes??

    1. skunkpharmresearch

      I'm saying that the company put out two different products. They took the first fluorocarbon solvent off the market and are currently offering Dimethylether and CO2, as measured by the third party forensic lab we used for the analysis. GW

  3. joey conn

    Inuse a closed loop system, i have seen this mz12 used many ways but it always pops and comes out like green poop. So can you tell me how this is better then the clear clean shatter or waxes made other ways

  4. marcus

    You say vac the collection pot down to -29". When I tap my chilled can of butane and open valve 4 nothing happens to the pressure. It stays at -29". I'm using an appion g5 twin (new pump coming soon) to recover. I put the collection pot in 90F water. I pulled a vac on the collection pot to -29". I assembled everything except for the column, which I left off because it's packed with material. Hooked up every line as if doing a run, except for the red valve recovery tank line. I attached that to my can tapper. I opened the blue recovery tank valve. With valve 2 closed I opened valve 3 and 5. I started my recovery pump and opened all the recovery line valves. I then tap a can and open valve 4. Nothing happens. My collection pot is in 90F water, my recovery tank is on dry ice and my appion is on and pulling. I don't understand why the solvent isn't pulled from the can, boiled in the pot, and recovered to my tank. It just stays at -29". Please help me and elaborate on what I am doing incorrect. Thank you

  5. Al

    Hey GW, you say not to pull vac below 0"hg to avoid the pentane which essentially no vac at all correct? If vacuum pressure was used to pull the butane into the collection pot, then how do you release the vacuum without letting the butane vapor out being that it is in vapor state?

  6. screwtape

    I ordered zgas to do some testing,given the chatter about zgas online so I thought I would share my experience with you guys for general far the first odd issue is that I see over and over again that zgas is non flamable and even saw a video of a demonstration in which the zgas rep did an open extraction and kept exposing it to flame while it was extracting and purging.that being said the first thing I see on the box "extremely flamable" second thing I see is the hazmat class 2 flamable marking.the other red flag was that being a class 2 this should have probably been shipped with an msds and by the appropriate hazmat reality what happened was the regular old fed ex truck showed up with a package in a clearly pristine never before used box marked "herbal hair conditioner" all over the outside box.....I'm not saying that this product isn't low flame risk,or whatever else they are claiming.I will test those claims out shortly.what I am saying is that I did a test order and right away I'm slapped in the face with some less than honest practices.maybe it is low fire risk,but if it's legally hazmat than that's what it is.claiming non flamable and putting other people in unsafe conditions by shipping this product improperly just seems off in my book based on my first 36hours dealing with this company/product.I'll try to pass on some info about how the testing comes out both on the chemical and with the extractions with it.

  7. tyler dirden

    They Are Big Bizness Charlatans...there are many in this really blows having to second guess all of it because you know they need our money they are willing to SAY long as they can take the money and run......your or mine health is little concern to them unless its lawsuit time-then they are very concerned. same BS different day great Info Aloha

    1. Vinnie Sugimoto

      thank you for the 411! it applies to all aspects, down to the refurbished butane tanks we get, that are full of rust or have reversed valves...

  8. chemist

    Can everyone stop pretending to be a chemist? This is another example of why I don't spend time on these websites. B.s. ... the whole lot of you fools.

  9. ZHO? - MNS Forums

    […] a look ZHO Extraction | Skunk Pharm Research LLC __________________ ~^~^~"My D.N.A Needs T.H.C.!"~^~^~ John […]

  10. Maryo

    Can you give some instruction on how to distill a50# tank to a50# tank while using the mk3 as a cold trap, I have removed mystery oil from my propane but how much mystery oil should I be looking for in 20#s of propane?

  11. JoAnna

    MZ12 X is a priority product for trichome extractors. The main ingredient of MZ12 X is a product scientifically called Dimethyl Either (DME). DME is an organic compound with the chemical formula C2H6O. There are no carbon bonds and no carcinogens. It is used extensively as the new safer propellant replacing Freon in aerosol cans in products as diverse as “tan in a can” sunscreen, perfumes, body deodorants and air fresheners. It has been described by a testing lab as the ultimate extraction solvent. It is non-toxic, sulfur free and has a low acute toxicity rating. Purge time is reduced to hours not days. The reason purge time is greatly reduced is because of the low boiling temperature (-23 C). The scent would be described as light, delicate, slightly sweet smell. Our tests conducted revealed you can use 20-35% less MZ12 X than butane. The color of the finished product is a beautiful golden yellow. MZ12 X should be only used in a well-ventilated area or a closed loop system. Just released, MZ12 X used by Kushy Punch, won Best Edible at Kush Con 2014!

  12. Tom Luecke

    This is indirectly related; Must Pentane be removed from N-butane to be safe, ie not concentrated in end product? I know little cans have all kinds of junk in them. Thanks


    Chemspider says: Dichloromethane: DANGER: Cancer risk, causes CNS effects; skin & eye irritant Alfa Aesar 22917, 32440, 39116, 41835, 42006 DANGER:CONTAINS METHYLENE CHLORIDE-POTENTIAL CANCER HAZARD. Alfa Aesar 22917, 32440, 39116, 41835, 42006

  14. anonomono

    Chronic Effects on Humans: CARCINOGENIC EFFECTS: Classified + (Proven.) by OSHA. Classified 2B (Possible for human.) by IARC. Causes damage to the following organs: lungs, the nervous system, liver, mucous membranes, central nervous system (CNS). Fun

  15. Greg

    Sorry GW, you can combine these or not at all :D I'm also curious. The ZHO MSDS sheet doesnt match up very well. To me it appears to be a combination MSDS sheet for Dimethyl Ether and something else. The listed formula, specific gravity and technical information match that of dimethyl ether. What is it you think these guys are selling?

  16. Greg

    Nice to see this GW. Thanks for your diligence and for keeping us all in the know. PS I sent you an email from my main email haven't heard back, but i know you've been busy. ~Greg

  17. Waleed

    Sorry about the 2nd reply but for some reason when i added the arrows around 2 different words it brought them together?? Notice to reader To the best of our knowledge, the information contained herein is accurate. However, neither the above-named supplier, nor any of its subsidiaries, assumes any liability whatsoever for the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein. Final determination of suitability of any material is the sole responsibility of the user. All materials may present unknown hazards and should be used with caution. Although certain hazards are described herein, we cannot guarantee that these are the only hazards that exist.

  18. ismokey

    They have released an MSDS for the MZ12x It appears to be a mix of Dichloromethane and co2. Here is an MSDS for Dichloromethane

  19. Don't Let Marketing Fool You

    Z-Air, that video is an absolute joke. JD thank you for bringing this to light. This company (among others) have no business in the community. These are strictly marketing folks thinking they can get a dollar from us, while harm reduction is at the bottom of their list.

  20. Bluescat

    You say that 2 cases of butane equals 10#. Can you help me with my calculations? I calculate butane weighs 505 g/L making a 300 ml can wigh 151.5 g. I get 24 300 ml cans weighing 3636 grams or 8.016 pounds. Do my numbers look good or where did I go wrong?

  21. skunkpharmresearch

    If the oil didn't enter the chamber, it shouldn't be in the butane. You might consider rinsing out your hose with butane. If you had mineral oil in the butane and cycled it through a Mk III, the mineral oil would end up in the collection tank, just like mystery oil.

  22. John Huff

    Update: I was not paranoid, I was correct. The "new" tank has contaminant oil/substance, tho the guy swore twice it was new. Verified because extractor tank (which has a small amount of mystery oil contaminants from Lucienne) is cleaner than subsequent oil straight out of the Butane tank. Now trying to clean tank with small successive runs of Butane, sloshing, then squirting it out. No fun. - Dolphin

  23. John Huff

    After removing the red hose from the red valve on the Butane tank, and starting the recovery pump, shouldn't we re-open the blue valve on the Butane tank (which was closed earlier, in order to vacuum the Butane tank), before proceeding to tap the cans? Otherwise we are just filling the Mk III recovery pot, with nowhere else for the Butane to go. I apologize if this is obvious, logically following from the instruction about assembling the system as if preparing for an extraction. I am new to these active pump systems, and I am wanting to avoid mistakes. Also, though I insisted on a brand new tank, I am paranoid that it is not, and could have rust, etc inside. (I cannot open the observation port to peer inside, it's quite frozen.) What about subsequently pumping the Butane out of the tank and thru the Terp system again, without any plant material, as a "dry run," to see if any rust or tank contaminants are left in the Terp during that pass? Other or better ideas? Ie, is it also possible to somehow force a small amount of liquid Butane out of one of the Butane tank ports into a glass container to observe it for particulates? I realize this is not particularly safe, but as an old hand at that, I would of course take all precautions and do it outside, well away from everything, etc. I could shake/swirl the tank to agitate, but I am not sure if inverting it is wise, or if there is an internal dip tube, etc. Last, I found a $30 combustible "portable gas detector" made by Lorest Holding Co. It claims sensitivity for Butane at 5% LEL. Haven't tested it yet, but I will keep you informed. Others might want to know. -Dolphin

    1. skunkpharmresearch

      You are right, the blue valve on the tank is open during recovery. I skimmed over that lightly with the thought that "Assemble the Mk IIIA system, as if you were preparing to do an extraction" would start with both tank valves open, hence my call out to close the red valve, but I agree that is unclear, so I reworded it. If you run the butane through the Terpenator from the liquid dip tube red valve and vacuum it away as a vapor, you should deposit any heavies or solids from inside the storage tank, inside the Terpenator recovery tank. Please share any information on our $30 detectors performance. We got ours for $22 from Gifts and Gadgets on line, but not sure who makes it. It just says Portable Gas Detector on it, as if the brand name might be Portable, but......................

      1. Dolphin

        After using the $30 gas detector (Lorest Co, referenced above) occasionally for a week, I am not enamored with it. My nose seems to do basically as good a job of sniffing Butane as the detector does. Perhaps I am cynical and I will do more A/B testing, but either I need to get a more accurate (expensive) detector, or just continue with my nose (which is pretty good). -Dolphin

        1. jeff

          you wont find any low cost LEL or hydrocarbon detectors that will keep you safe. i have been in the compressed gas industry for 30 years. i have used, calibrated, tested and repaired most major brands. i can suggest many that are excellent but not in this price range. if you want to be safe, only use a detector that can be calibrated with a known concentration gas mixture. just drop me a line if you want a recommendation or any further tech info on this subject, or really, any compressed gas subject. Happy New Year

    1. skunkpharmresearch

      Ostensibly, if you transfer the oil from the storage tank to the Tamisium or Lil Terp collection tank, and then set the lower tank 90F water, and the storage tank in an ice bath, the Mystery Oil should be left behind in the collection tank. It will take awhile at 90F, but you might speed it along by using an alcohol and dry ice bath for storage tank.

  24. Quinn Hidy

    It is truly amazing how quickly the SkunkPharm team has reacted to the mystery oil crisis. You guys are saving dab enthusiasts everywhere. This has completely sold me on the importance of a closed loop system, and obviously the terpenator is the smartest way to go. I unfortunately am not sure if I have the means of assembling such a machine in my current residence. So my question is, are there other methods for removing the mystery oil WITHOUT a closed loop system, and if not, what are some suitable substitutes for the terpenator system?

  25. Removing Butane Mystery Oil using a Mk IIIA Terpenator | Skunk Pharm Research LLC

    […] […]

Join the conversation!