How to Repair or Service a Portasol Dehorner 3 : A Step by Step Guide

Experiencing difficulties with your Portasol Dehorner 3? Struggling to get it operational for dehorning your newest batch of calves? Most of the time, it is an issue created by improper use of the unit.  Follow this troubleshooting guide and you will hopefully be dehorning in no time, if not get in contact with us at Portasol and we will advise you on the next steps you need to take.


Some common issue reported to Portasol is the Dehorner failing to ignite, spluttering or failing to reach the required high temperatures. However, most problems can be resolved without the need to return the unit for inspection and repair.

1. Check Butane Gas Quality: Ensure you're using butane gas labelled as filtered/zero impurities. Cheap or dirty gas can damage internal components and lead to the issues mentioned above.

2. Check Gas Supply and Temperature: Ensure there's sufficient gas in the unit, and that the unit and gas used it is at room temperature. Cold butane can liquefy, causing ignition issues and spluttering.

3. Follow Proper Gas Filling Procedure: Refer to the instructions and image below for filling the Portasol Dehorner correctly.

It is crucial to fill the unit with the tip facing downwards. If you have been filling it incorrectly or are experiencing issues, try this:

Hold the unit vertically with the tip downwards.

Turn on the gas switch without igniting the unit.

Press the butane can downward onto the nozzle until you hear or see spluttering. This will expel any trapped air leaving just butane in the unit. Try and ignite the unit, the expulsion of the air in the tank might resolve the issue. If the unit is still not working, continue with the following steps.


4. Inspect for Gas Flow: With the gas switched on but not ignited, listen for gas flow to the tip. If you hear gas, the internal piezo ignitor may be damaged. However, you can manually ignite the unit by following these steps:


5.  Manual ignition: 

5.1 Use the provided spanner to loosen the bolt. When loosened, rotate the outer casing until you locate an exhaust hole.

5.2 Turn on the gas and ignite the unit using an external flame from a match or lighter through this hole.

5.3 Once ignited, rotate the casing back and tighten the nut. Be cautious as the unit will heat up rapidly.


If this does not resolve the issue, it could be a worn out tip that is preventing ignition. 

6. Tip (Bud Remover) Replacement: Unscrew the M5 nut with an 8mm spanner, then remove the grub screw with the allen key provided, then remove the old tip. 

6.1 Insert New Tip: Insert your new tip (12.5mm/15mm/18.5mm) and tighten screw and nut.


7. Clear Venturi Blockage: If you did not hear gas flow, or your unit does not seem to be getting hot enough, it could indicate a blocked venturi. This can happen if the animals hair is not shaved before dehorning, causing soot to build up and block the venturi over time. It is possible to remove this venturi and attempt to clear the blockage.

7.1 Loosen the four screws at the base of the tip and remove the head of the unit.

7.2 Locate the venturi held in the center with a smaller screw. Loosen the grub screw using the smaller Allen key provided. (Be careful, it is very small and is an essential part) Remove the venturi delicately, as seen in the image below.

7.3 Use an air hose to carefully blow out any blockages, allowing butane to flow freely again.


8. Reassemble and Test: Once cleared, reassemble the unit and attempt to ignite it. Ensure the ignition ceramic is placed within the insulation sleeve as seen below. Hopefully, this resolves the issue. 

Follw the correct process for igntion, 5-10 seconds after ignition, switch off gas supply for 1-2 seconds, which will extingush the flame. When gas supply is turned back on, the catalyst in the tip will take over the combustion. you should hear a hissing sound that will continually get louder as the unit gets hot. 

There are repair kits available from the Portasol websites and your local distributor if the above steps do not resolve the issue which contain a new venturi.

If your issues are not resolved after following this guide, or you do not feel comfortable carry out these steps yourself, contact Portasol via email, phone or website chatbot and we'll guide you through the next steps. Please refer to the provided Dehorner instructions and follow the recommended guidelines for use.