Fire extinguisher CO2

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by Themuleous, 11 Sep 2007.

  1. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK. I accept no responsibility for any loss, damage or injury suffered if you follow this 'manual' and something goes wrong, that's YOUR fault not mine.

    Hi all :)

    Before I start a BIG word re safely, these cylinders (read the other posts) are potential killers, but if you are sensible and treat it with respect you shouldn't have anything to worry about.

    There have been several threads recently about pressurised CO2, so I thought as I was setting up a new system I would show everyone how to do it cheaply using a fire extinguisher. So first you need a cylinder, these do vary in size but this 2kg cylinder is 23" tall (that is a DVD case next to it) and I got it on eBay for £22 including delivery from here

    http://search.ebay.co.uk/_W0QQsassZ123safer4u

    FE.jpg

    Then you need a reg, again I got mine on eBay, you can spend as much as you like on a reg but these are cheap and I've found them to be excellent, with a very easy needle value built in.

    http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Aquarianerversand_W0QQssPageNameZstrkQ3amefsQ3amesstQQtZkm

    Reg.jpg

    You'll need to remove the horn, which was easier to do than I had expected, just use a variable wrench. On a safety note it's a good idea to keep the safety pin in to prevent the lever from accidentally being squeezed whilst the horn is removed. Once the regulator is safely attached then remove the pin. If the extinguisher were to accidentally go off without the horn attached it can do a fair bit of harm as liquid CO2 comes out very fast. (Thanks James)

    Wrench.jpg

    FEwrench.jpg

    FEhorn.jpg

    The reg didn't actually fit quite as snug as I had expected however its working find so no problems :) and this might be the same with all regs and cylinders to ensure a secure fit.

    RegFE.jpg

    Tighten it well with the wrench, as if you don't it could cause you problems when you 'fire' the FE and we don't want people getting hurt now do we!

    RegonFE.jpg

    FEclose.jpg

    Now take it outside in order to 'fire' the FE to release the CO2. I was expecting an explosion or something when I did this, but I had tightened the reg nut well and a short hiss was all I got, good actually I don't want to lose my arms! The needle on the reg should go to around 50 bar and the other gauge is set using the larger black dial on the front of the reg. I don't think it really matters what you set this to, I just went for 1.5 bar for no reason at all!

    Dials.jpg

    You'll need to keep the handles closed to keep the CO2 flowing, I used gaffa tape.

    Tape.jpg

    Next check for leaks using soapy water

    Leaks.jpg

    Now link it up to a bubble counter with check value to protect the reg from back flow.

    Counter.jpg

    The attach a diffuser. I'm a hugh fan of ceramic glass diffusers as they look the business and work a treat and really aren't that expensive. I love eBay and got mine from here

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Rhinox-1000-J....co.uk/Rhinox-1000-Japanese...4QQcmdZViewItem

    Diffuser.jpg

    And some CO2 tubing

    http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/ind...essentials.co.uk/index.php?...roducts_id=1606

    Then set the bubble rate and add to the tank :)

    Finished2.jpg

    Finished.jpg

    Once install, be sure to secure the cylinder carefully, either by chaining it to the wall or similar, anything to stop it being knocked over. In the words of James, if the reg gets knocked off the cylinder could take off, through the roof by the sounds on things! Better to be safe :)

    This whole kit cost we around £70-75 quid and should last at least a year before I need a refill.

    Hope that's of help to people

    Sam
     
  2. Dan Crawford

    Dan Crawford Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,266
    Location:
    Daventry, Northants
    Crackin tutorial Sam. I could have done with this when i set up mine for the first time. I know lots of people are gonna find this very useful.
    May i also advise that you use some PTF tape on the thread of the fire extinguisher where the regulator would be seated, it just ensures a really good seal :)
     
    Onoma1 likes this.
  3. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
  4. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    nice work :)

    to keep the handles open, you can also put the pin back in, in the open position holes. Although Ive found very occasionally some extinguishers dont have them.
     
  5. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    2kg lasts you a year? I get through about 600g per month. Also... I think there are different types of PTFE tape with a specific one for use with gasses.
     
  6. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Great write up! I've been toying with using an extinguisher with reg from Aquatic magic and this tells answers every single question I've thought of about them, thanks very much, invaluable!

    I've heard on APC that PTFE tape shouldn't be used as it can occassionally prevent the rubber washer being compressed enough and forming a gas tight seal. That and bits could go in between the FE thread and the regulator and prevent a gas tight seal. I know one guy on there is pretty adamant about it, and he sells regulators! Admittedly this isn't Fire extinguishers they are talking about!
     
  7. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    Have to agree with you on this Ed. There is no need to use PTFE tape on the thread between regulator and extinguisher as the O-ring forms the seal and not the thread. Indeed as suggested it could cause problems. Where PTFE tape is used is on the other connections such as solenoid and needle valve.

    James
     
  8. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    we dont use PTFE on diving cylinders either for the same reasons, the o-ring should take care of it, if it doesnt, replace the oring! In fact, I replace the oring on every extinguisher change.

    bear in mind, there are 3 different versions of the same co2 'standard' connector, some fit snuggly, some are a complete !$#*! and need to be done up with a wrench, in addition, there are 3 different sized orings to go with each type of connector. if your not sure, see your gas filler, he'll know instantly which you have and will point you in the right direction.

    if your like me though and swap tanks every time, its hit and miss! if your not sure if you have a seal, take off the solenoid, and dump the whole top of the extinguisher, regs and all, into a bucket of water and watch for bubbles.
     
  9. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,089
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Why not simply write a disclaimer at the start of the thread?

    Sure, pressurized CO2 is dangerous if not handled with respect. So is mixing electricity and water...

    FYI I'm writing a step-by-step on this for PFK. They wouldn't print it if was so risky.
     
    Andy Taylor likes this.
  10. Dan Crawford

    Dan Crawford Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,266
    Location:
    Daventry, Northants
    Well I stand corrected! Sorry for giving duff advice, i was relaying advice given to me, i took that advice and it seems to have worked fine although there is no point in adding things if they are not needed. I'll not use it next time. ;) ;)
     
  11. James Flexton

    James Flexton Member

    Messages:
    358
    Location:
    Stotfold, Herts/Beds
    great thread mate, exactly how i have done it. i cant see any reason why not to use FE's works perfectly for me.
     
  12. Ivan

    Ivan Member

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Meltham
    Hi all a few Q's if I may.
    I'm a bit of a risk taker but this sentence made me wince.
    Where are these other posts and what the hell happened?

    Last thing I want to see is a red Co2 powered missile flying through me house!

    What would you adise as the best sized bottle for a lightly planted 400l tank?

    I used to run Co2 in a smaller tank, but I forget the bottle size, it was a Bio plast system, wil that reg fit an FE?

    I'm not completely green, I'm just not sure if I had ever done this co2 thing properly in the past.
    Ivan.
     
  13. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Sorry I should have explained. The comments were posted when I did this thread on TFF

    http://www.fishforums.net/index.php?showtopic=212550

    Re the other questions, they only do 2kg cylinders, but that should easily last you a few months if not 6 or 7. You used to be able to get 5kg cylinders but not seem any of those for a while. 2kg will be fine, but get to then you have a spare for when the other one runs out ;)

    I cant seem to find anything re bioplast systems, but it if ran off a refillable cylinder then the reg should fit any cylinder, they are generally made to a set size.

    Hope that helps

    Sam
     
  14. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    I burn a 2kg cylinder in 2 months on the tank in my sig. moderate but not high surface agitation. So Id suggest at least a 5kg for a 400lt, mainly because high change frequencies can produce too much variation in co2.. when they run out, you charge it, replace it.. the settings are all out and you have to 'dial in' all over again.. this can produce problems with BBA which LOVES uneaven co2.
     
  15. lawrencezarb

    lawrencezarb Member

    Messages:
    52
    Is it necessary for the bottle to sit upright?

    My cupboard is not tall enough to accomodate the bottle so is it ok to tilt it about 30 degrees?
     
  16. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    I think it is as if it isn't upright liquid co2 could get out. I lean mine against the wall as the cabinet isn't tall enough. If you have kids a few wall screws and bit of chin would secure it.

    Sam
     
  17. sks

    sks Guest


    yes it is, otherwise you can freeze your regulator :wideyed: . Also FE should have their internal hose taken out, that's what the person who refills my canisters tell me if I want one to use. they have a hose inside that takes the gas from the bottom, it's best if this hose is removed for obvious reasons.
     
  18. stevet

    stevet Member

    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    London
    Care to expand a little on the last comment? How does one remove the 'internal' hose? I have not come across mention of this before in FEs?

    Does anyone else remove this item before connecting up the regulator?
     
  19. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Cant say I have, but I think it would be possible if/when you get an FE refilled. I think it is suggested in order to reduce the possibility of liquid CO2 being released from the cylinder. I.e. when used normally such as to put out a fire (!) the tube to the bottom of the cylinder ensures that liquid co2 is released and thus a lot of CO2 can be expend in a short space of time in order to put the fire out. This is why the horn gets so cold when the FE is fired.

    Now I will add that I've used two FE's now and touch wood Ive not had or heard of any problems of liquid co2. But I can see the dangers were the reg to be faulty, which would likely kill all the fish. However if the reg is doing its job the tiny amount of co2 released means that it had sufficient time to turn to a vapour and warm up a bit before getting added to the tank, so its not an issue.

    Removing the internal tubing would reduce the risk :) And whilst I suspect its a tricky thing to do it would be worth an ask were you ever to get one refilled rather than just replacing the empty one with a new, full one :)

    That said I could be wrong!

    Sam
     
  20. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    When I had my old FE refilled in August, the bloke mentioned something about this internal tube and said the tube was the reason why us Aquarists favoured the newer cylinders.

    Knowing next to nothing on the subject, I did what any self-respecting woman would do in response - I nodded, smiled and 'hmmmed' knowingly :lol:

    Incidentally, anyone on the lookout for a new FE - I can recommend this bloke. I recently got a brand new 2kg FE boxed, filled, with sign and stand for £17.99 plus £8.99 delivery. That's a brand new cylinder for a total of £27!!! linky - there's 2 left
     

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