Setting up CO2 - regulator to needle valve conundrum
I'm buying the parts for my pressurized CO2 system and am getting confused... maybe someone can help??
I just bought a 5 lb aluminum CO2 tank and a double gauge regulator from beveragefactory.com. I'm shopping around now for the rest of the set-up, which I'm basing mostly on the information from this website: http://www.gpodio.com/co2_setup.asp
I'm considering this needle valve, the Clippard MNV-4K2 (http://www.clippard.com/store/displa...p?sku=MNV-4K2) with a 10/32 male inlet. I'd need an adapter to attach it to a regulator, and Giancarlo Podio's site recommends this 1/4” NPT to #10-32 Female Reducer (http://www.clippard.com/store/displa...p?sku=4CQF-PKG). Buuuut... the regulator I bought (http://www.beveragefactory.com/draft...egulator.shtml) doesn't have a 1/4" oulet. It has a 3/8" outlet barb.
At first I thought, "$%@#$! I bought the wrong one." However... After calling the company and doing some searching online, it seems like all regulators without built-in needle valves have a 3/8" barb outlet. How are people connecting needle valves to these regulators? Is there something I'm missing???
that is one of the issues with assembling your own setup. It is certainly cheaper that way, but is often more confusing and frustrating.
Personally this is why I prefer in-line needle valves. I like the solenoid attached directly to the regulator, then the needle and bubble counter are inline. This allows them to be pretty universal.
What I would do is wait for the items to arrive. Your regulator does have a 3/8" barb, but that barb should come off. Thus leaving a threaded female end on the regulator. That is the threads you want to worry about. Your link does not say what the threads are though, so you will have to wait and see. They may be the correct threads and size for your adapter to fit in or they may not be.
When I removed the barb from the check valve of the regulator, a small rubber part fell out of the fitting. (See picture) Woops! Not sure what this is, but maybe you (or someone) can ID it. Is it part of the barb adapter, or is part of the check valve? If it's part of the valve, I suppose I'd need to keep it and put it in between the check valve and the needle valve.
Is this rubber thing important?
Do you have a particular regulator that you recommend? I can always return this one. And... do I really need a solenoid?
I'm not familiar with that rubber piece. I would assume that it is for making a seal between the check valve and barb. However I suggest calling beveragefactory and asking them which one it is for specifically. If it is for use with the barb then you don't need it. If it is for use with the check valve then you will still want it on.
Well I have a crappy redsea paintball setup that I would not recommend because it uses a scary amount of plastic on the regulator. It has work reliably for a number of years though. It been down as of this year. I keep trying to use regular plastic check valves with it first one worked for a while, now they all keep failing. I finally ordered a brass one I just got to wait for it to ship from China. There might be a leak somewhere too in this setup. IDK it need some work.
I have a high end rex griggs regulator I went for a fabco needle valve that runs inline. On his site he also sells things called mini manifolds. These are basically splitters, it goes either on the regulator or after the solenoid. Mine supports up to 3 hose barbs, basically meaning I can run 3 tanks on one regulator. Each tank needs its own line consisting of a needle valve, check valve, bubble counter, diffuser, and drop checker. If your tanks are close together this is a much cheaper way to providing CO2 to multiple tanks.
There is nothing wrong with your regulator or needle valve though. I bought my CO2 setup right after high school graduation, knowing one way or the other I was going to be a broke college student. I wouldn't return yours unless you want a higher grade regulator, which will be more expensive. You don't need a solenoid, all that does is turn CO2 off/on and is controlled by a timer.
Rex griggs has your clippard needle vavle on his site too, he also sells it configured for in-line use for $15.50. You can buy one from him or ask him what parts he uses to configure it for in-line use. (bestaquariumregulator.com) Also you should be running a check valve after the needle valve.
I then generally buy "glassware"- bubble counter, diffusers, and drop checkers off ebay. Buy at least 1 extra diffuser, cuz in my experience these will eventually break. I've always bought from aquaticmagic, they are good at replacing items that break during shipping.
Also a good tip, depending on your CO2 tubing it may be a big PITA to get it on glassware. A trick to this is to lightly heat the end of the tubing which makes it soft. It will form a very tight seal on glassware then. I would use slightly less heating to soften it when you want to pull it back off. Otherwise it is a PITA to get off too.
Thanks, Mikaila! Lots of advice and things to think about in your post. I decided to return the Beverage Factory regulatory and bought one from Aquatic Life that included a solenoid and needle valve. I'm not sure if that's a step forward or backwards (generally I think most all-in-one items are not as high quality as buying specialized parts) but I was having such a hard time finding fittings in the right size and threading. Couldn't deal with it anymore and just went for the pricey pre-assembled one. What a headache. I hope the needle valve on that is good enough. I bought a plastic check valve, too, I guess I'll have to keep an eye on that as well.
Drop checker I'm not sure about. Hadn't read anything about that until now. I'll have to do some reading on that, too!
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