Solenoid problems

Discussion in 'Carbon Dioxide (CO2)' started by gratts, 27 Mar 2008.

  1. gratts

    gratts Member

    Messages:
    267
    Hi all.
    I bought the £20 solenoid off ebay; http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/CO2-magnetic-valv ... 0209216803

    Works fine switched on during the day, and is programmed to turn off at 8pm. Today was the first proper day it was set up, and at about 8:15pm there was an enormous bang and the CO2 air line had split between the fire extinguisher/reg and the solenoid valve. I'm guessing it was because of an increase in pressure from the CO2 in this section, and it all burst out.
    Have I done something wrong setting it up? I just don't see how it's supposed to work? :?
    CO2 keeps coming out the regulator, solenoid stops it, it has nowhere to go, surely this will always happen?

    I'm a bit confused and could do with some advice/help! :D

    Cheers,
    Paul.
     
  2. Lisa_Perry75

    Lisa_Perry75 Member

    Messages:
    778
    Location:
    Southampton
    Your solenoid should surely be before any airline? Mine is after the reg, before the fine adjuster. That is the D&D kit.
     
  3. gratts

    gratts Member

    Messages:
    267
    I have the above solenoid, and this regulator: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Aquarium-Single-P ... 0220430124

    I don't see any way the 2 could be connected together without the airline?
    I just put it together in what order seemed to make sense at the time :rolleyes: :oops:

    The reg is attached to fire extinguisher, then about 40cm co2 tubing, then solenoid valve, then about 30cm tubing, then non-return valve, then another 30cm tubing to the diffuser in the tank.
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    gratts,
    This appears to be a single stage regulator. I'm not certain but there does not appear to be a needle valve attached to this. I'm just guessing but if you are dumping 50psi into CO2 tubing it will rupture. I could be wrong though as I don't see these very often. If there is only a single gauge then normally that means no second stage pressure reduction making it very difficult to set a safe output pressure.

    Could you confirm whether you have a needle valve? What does the yellow knob do?

    Cheers,
     
  5. gratts

    gratts Member

    Messages:
    267
    Hey Clive - the yellow knob is a needle valve as far as I know - it's turned to control the flow of CO2 out of the extinguisher.
     
  6. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    The problem is that your regulator only measures the pressure inside the CO2 bottle and not in the tubing. To do this you'd need to get a dual guage regulator. Without this guage it is near impossible to adjust the regulator to the correct pressure. To actually of split the tubing you must have set the regulator pressure really high.

    To setup regulator and solenoid correctly you will need to buy an adapter as the solenoid should really be connected directly to the regulator and not attached via some tubing. Some people do it this way but it is not ideal.

    I think it is a bit of a con that these single guage regulators are sold for aquarium use as it is so difficult to control the flow. Best used with welding gear where is not so vital.

    James
     
  7. gratts

    gratts Member

    Messages:
    267
    Cheers for the help James!

    Am I right in saying then, that if I had a dual gauge reg, but hooked it up in the same way as I am doing now, that the co2 line would still burst?
    Surely whatever pressure the regulator is set to the airline would eventually give way? Just a bit slower? It was only set at maybe 1-2 bubbles a second or so..

    I do have a dual gauge reg, a Hydor one, but because of the shape of the FE it doesn't screw on fully, just my luck really :rolleyes:

    Any idea what adapter i'd need, and where I could get it?

    CO2 has been nothing but trouble for me so far! :p
     
  8. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    The idea of a regulator is to regulate the pressure. But if you don't have the guage to measure the pressure then it's hard to do. With a guage attached the pressure should be set to about 1 to 1.5 bar which should be fine with CO2 tubing. The regulator once adjusted won't allow the pressure to rise above the what has been set. So yes you could use CO2 tubing if you wanted.

    It's a connector that screws into both the regulator and solenoid. You'd probably have to go to a specialist supplier to get it, or a welding supplier might be able to help.
    If you look at this photo at Rex Griggs website - http://www.bestaquariumregulator.com/images/bestregaqu.jpg you can see how it should be put together.

    James
     
  9. gratts

    gratts Member

    Messages:
    267
    Damn, that's a bit annoying!
    I guess it's what I get with opting for budget buys off ebay! :p

    Could I maintain surface agitation and run CO2 24/7, therefore cutting out the problem of the solenoid?

    Cheers
    Paul.
     
  10. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    Yep, that should work fine. As long as the only thing you have between the regulator and the diffuser is a non return valve and bubble counter then you won't run the risk of exploding tubing.

    James
     
  11. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Member

    Messages:
    2,685
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    That reg doesn't have a needle valve on it. just an open/close valve. As James said in welding you just open the valve or close it. The welding gun controls the output.

    I ran my solenoid inline like yours rather than connected BUT I had a needle valve which I screwed into the regulator and then hose from that to the solenoid. I was also using proper CO2 hose and not silicon airline.

    I think Zig runs his this way too.

    This is mine:
    Regulator to needle valve, then hose, then solenoid (sat on top of it's timer) then off the hose goes to the bubble counter.
    Technical.jpg

    Andy
     
  12. gratts

    gratts Member

    Messages:
    267
    I am using proper CO2 line, but I guess at that pressure anything would give way.
    I've scrapped using the bubble counter because the water kept draining out. I'm just relying on my drop checker now.
    I'll run it 24/7 and see how I get on, whether oxygen concentration remains sufficient before investigating connectors between the solenoid and regulator.

    Btw, whats the difference between a needle valve and the thing on mine? The knob on mine is more than on/off, 1/0..I can control the amount that leaves the cylinder..how does that differ to a needle valve? I always presumed that's what it was :rolleyes:
     
  13. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Member

    Messages:
    2,685
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    I wouldn't run 24/7 without a needle valve!!!

    The knob on yurs is like on mine. It opens and closes the cylinder and yes you can control the CO2 output with it. problem is that they are not precise enough in that 1mm of turn could be the difference between life and death. They can also increase/decrease slightly!!The needle valve screws in (or goes inline) to make the adjustment much more precise

    I would guess the bubble counter was emptying due to the airpressure from the cylinder pushing it all into the tank!

    You need to get a needle valve at the very least but you should really get a dual gauge reg so that you can see what you are pushing into the needle valve. Must've been a huge amount of pressure for CO2 hose to be burst (or a weakness in the hose)

    Andy
     
  14. Lisa_Perry75

    Lisa_Perry75 Member

    Messages:
    778
    Location:
    Southampton
    The D&D kit only came with one pressure reader, which is the one you set to 1-1.5 bar.
     
  15. gratts

    gratts Member

    Messages:
    267
    Cheers Andy, makes sense :)
    What would the cheapest dual gauge regulator I could get? I don't really want to be spending a lot if I can help it..
    Is it possible to attach a needle valve onto my current regulator in any way, or would I need a different one?
     
  16. gratts

    gratts Member

    Messages:
    267
  17. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Member

    Messages:
    2,685
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    1 definately not because its an Argon+CO2 one.

    2&3 look OK 3 being better. Someone else will need to confirm ( I use disposable. lol)

    Andy
     
  18. gratts

    gratts Member

    Messages:
    267
    I guess in retrospect I should've just bought a complete kit that was known to be good such as D&D - I've probably spent about the same so far!
    Anybody else got any advice on those regulators I linked to, or others that are more suitable?

    One thing I still don't understand is..if I buy a dual gauge regulator with needle valve, but keep the solenoid connected via co2 hose, then why won't the same thing with the bursting co2 hose just happen again? What's different?

    Cheers
     
  19. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Gratts,
    There's one thing you are missing in your assessment: A dual gauge regulator also means that it's a dual stage regulator. The unit you have now regulates the output pressure from zero PSI to the maximum pressure the cylinder has to offer. This means that as you continue to turn the yellow knob you are allowing higher and higher pressures into the tubing up to the limit of the pressure contained in cylinder. Depending on the cylinder, this can be as much as 750 to 1000 pounds per square inch (PSI). By comparison, the water pressure in your household tap is about 35-40 PSI. Your CO2 tubing is probably limited to something less than 150 PSI. The range of pressure you can release with that single yellow knob is so large that a very small rotation of that knob can change the output pressure a great deal and that is exactly what happened. A needle valve exerts an additional form of regulation in that it limits the output pressure to no more that about 100 PSI or so. One full turn (360 degrees) of a needle valve from it's fully closed position may allow only say, 10 or 20 PSI at the output whereas one full turn of your single stage yellow knob may release 500 PSI. Forget about whether you have a solenoid or not - this has no relevance to the output pressures from a multi stage regulator versus a single stage regulator.

    Here is an example of a multistage regulator: http://cgi.ebay.com/CO2-Regulator-Elect ... m153.l1262

    Can you see the two gauges? Look at the black numbers on the dial. Can you see that the first stage gauge on the left? It goes from zero to 150 (which is something like 2000 PSI), whereas the gauge on the right goes from zero to 10 (which is something like 150 PSI). In this regulator the solenoid is the black thing with the electrical cable and you can see that the solenoid is attached directly to the regulator. The advantage here is that there is less possibility of a leak. You can have the solenoid separated by a tube but all that means is that there are two more places for leaks to develop (either end of the tube).

    This is a relatively inexpensive regulator and works quite well even though it comes from Malaysia. £39 plus shipping will get you a good system and all you will need to do is to get a USA-to-UK adapter so that you can plug it in.

    Hope this clarifies.

    Cheers,
     
  20. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Member

    Messages:
    2,685
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    Just to add it may be that when we were buying regulators the solenoids were not included and it was mainly due to the leaks at the connection point when people were connecting them to the regulator that we did ours inline. I guess now they are coming ready attached this problem is negated.

    Andy
     

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