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Cheap pressurised CO2 system DIY guide

GillesF

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21 Jun 2011
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Belgium
Hi guys

I wrote an article about the FE setup on my blog with a link to this thread. One of my readers claims it's dangerous because of the "internal pipe" that pushes out CO2 in its liquid form, damaging your regulator. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Cheers,
Gilles
 

ian_m

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One of my readers claims it's dangerous because of the "internal pipe" that pushes out CO2 in its liquid form, damaging your regulator. Does anyone have any experience with this?
This gets bought up every couple of months. Yes there is a dip tube. No, no one has ever reported an issue with liquid CO2 getting into the regulator.

Here is a cross section.
extinguisher.jpg


As a trial I disconnected my CO2 tubing, opened needle valve full and powered the my solenoid. Gas rushed out. Gave up after a minute with no detectable temperature drop of neck of FE, FE valve or the regulator.

I suspect we are taking gas in such a small volume that any drawn up liquid CO2 instantly turns to gas within the extinguisher or connecting tube or valve. We empty a cylinder, in my case 8 months, and in a fire in about 30seconds, about a million times faster.

If you are worried, get a cylinder without a dip tube or turn your FE upside down or just ignore all the doom worriers and get on with nice plants (and fish).:D
 

beeky

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21 Aug 2007
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Chippenham, Wiltshire
I don't know if everyone else has bigger cabinets than me, but the internal height of mine is 23.5 inches. Will I be able to fit a 2kg FE and reg in this space? I would have imagined most cabinets are the same sort of height?
 

Gary Nelson

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20 Jan 2011
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Leicestershire
I don't know if everyone else has bigger cabinets than me, but the internal height of mine is 23.5 inches. Will I be able to fit a 2kg FE and reg in this space? I would have imagined most cabinets are the same sort of height?

Yes most seem to be 700-750mm high so you still have a decent amount of room above, even with the regulator fitted on :thumbup:
 

James D

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11 Jul 2013
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Oswestry
I'm new to this whole area so forgive me if these questions are a bit stupid....

Presumably I need to buy a bubble counter using this system to get the right flo /amount of CO2 going into my tank? And secondly the 6mm tubing referred to is standard 4mm internal / 6mm external tubing?

Thanks.
 

James D

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OK, I've bought all the equipment in the original tutorial, many thanks for that! I'd really prefer to use a solenoid with it though...can anyone tell me if (a) this one is suitable (and (b) where abouts on the set up would it be fitted?

Thanks
 

sa80mark

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2 Oct 2007
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861
Location
Leicester
Yes that will do the job, for a cheap solinoid there actually really good, put it as close to the regulator as possible the shorter the tube between the solinoid and regulator the better

Mark
 

James D

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11 Jul 2013
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At the weekend my final parts arrived, I put it all together successfully and my diffuser is bubbling away happily.
Many thanks to Themuleous for this excellent thread!
 

James D

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As Columbo would say... just one more thing.

I've set it up like this:
ef5g.jpg


Does that look ok?

(Sorry, I couldn't edit the previous post)
 

ian_m

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As Columbo would say... just one more thing.

I've set it up like this:
ef5g.jpg


Does that look ok?

(Sorry, I couldn't edit the previous post)
Not quite.

You should really run with the solenoid and needle valve the other way round. As above, when the solenoid is off, the length of tube between valve and solenoid will pressurise to 2-3bar (or 55bar if a cwap regulator) and when the solenoid opens you will get a burst of gas which can "pop" tubes off and/or give an enormous first burst of CO2 into you tank. Many people has reported this, especially where they locate the CO2 a long distance from the tank, as well as leading to extreme difficulty in setting a reliable bubble rate.
 

ian_m

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This really comes into its own where people locate the CO2 cylinder across the other side of the room, in a garage etc and have long lengths of CO2 tubing. You want the needle valve to be as close to the diffuser as possible and solenoid as close to the cylinder as possible.
 

James D

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11 Jul 2013
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Thanks for the advice Ian, my CO2 tubing is only about a metre long so it should cause any problems.

Actually I had a bit of a result this morning, next door to where I work is a place that sells engineering parts. I was having trouble fitting my solenoid to my reg without tubing so I took it in there, it turns out that they sell all the components I've bought off ebay. Not only that, but it turns out the bloke used to keep planted aquariums so after a bit of a chat he set up my equipment, and gave me a better needle valve for free. With the connectors he gave me I've got my reg > solenoid > needle valve connected directly onto each other with no tubing, a vast improvement.

Cheers.
 

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