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Old 01-12-2010, 06:44 AM   #1
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Co2 leak - Need basic moron help in finding it

So.. I bought a CO2 bottle, reg + solenoid + needle valve + bc a few months ago. Note the bc is not in this pic becuase I have one on the diffuser end (Dupla nano diffuser + BC)



Since setting it up first time, I've lost all tanks of gas due to a leak I can't find. I need some guidance. The bottle itself is not the issue becuase I swap it for a new one each time at my supplier under a swap-n-go arrangement.

I then weigh it. 10.5kg full. I connect everything and soap test very carefully and thoroughly. No detectable leaks. Switch it on.

This is how things have gone every time I have refilled the bottle....

After 24 hours (day 1) - 10.5kg - guage reading stady
Day 2 - 10.2kg - guage reading steady
Day 3 - 10.2kg (or thereabouts) - guage reading
Day 4 - 8.something kg (guage reading dropping significantly)
Day 5 - Nothing left.

I also soap test morning and night during this period. Again, I can find no detectable leak at any point. he tubing was new when I bought it and I have swapped it out for new tubing. I'm pretty certain the tubing is okay.

I have also used plumbers/teflon tape on all connections and a bunch of other things, someone has suggested the following:

<quote>
- Take off the solenoid from the regulator.
- Buy some plumber's tape (white thin tape that plumbers wrap around pipe's thread before screwing them)
- Screw the regulator to the bottle tightly with some plumbers tape
- Shut the regulator off
- Open the bottle's valve slowly until you see some reading on the reg gauge
- Leave it for a few days and see if reg and the bottle form a tight leakless join by weighing them daily.
- If no leak, then screw on the solenoid tightly (again with some plumbers tape) but leave it's valve closed (unpowered). Open the reg valve slowly and you should see some output pressure on the reg's other gauge.
- Leave the whole set up for a few days and see if the bottle, reg and solenoid form a closed leakless system. Both gauges should show constant readings and the weight of the bottle should remain constant too.
<end quote>

So I know I'm going to sound a complete moron, but I'm willing to risk public humiliation to get the answers.

1. Is the Solenoid just the black bit, or the gold bit too?

2. If it's just the black bit, how do I remove it? It does not look like it can be.

3. Isn't the gold knob the needle valve? turning it controls the flow of CO2 and bubble rate.

I thought the needle valve allows you to change the bubble rate from 0 - whatever provided the solenoid is plugged in. I cannot (don't know how) to get gas going without the solenoid plugged in.

4. If I remove the black solenoid, and gold parts inclusing the needle valve that leaves the solver part. How does one "Shut the regulator off"? (Or turn it on for that matter!)

Sorry, but this thing didn't come with a manual with pictues, I just don't want to ruin anything before I attempt to take it apart.

I sincerely appreciate the guidance. I'll be in the corner with my pointy dunce hat on.
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:33 AM   #2
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Did you use a soap spray or a rag?
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marchmaxima View Post
I also soap test morning and night during this period. Again, I can find no detectable leak at any point.
Can you hear it leaking from anywhere? I guess you wouldn't if you didn't see any bubbles when you soaped it up. I'm confused myself. Not sure how the regulator would work without the solenoid/needle valve. Is the regulator normally closed when nothing is connected (anyone?)? That would be the only way I could see testing the connection between the co2 tank and the regulator. How does the washer between your regulator and tank look? Is it cracked/deformed?
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:00 AM   #4
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Here is a link to a product that is a spray and detects leaks Nu-Calgon: Products: Gas Leak Detectors .

I'm thinking though that if you have a leak, if you will make a solution using dish soap and put it in a spray bottle a spay all of your fittings it will show. If you have already used the spray method and it didn't show anything, your co2 may be going into your tank.
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:30 PM   #5
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No, I can't hear a leak either. But there is certainly one there.

I have soaped by having a spray bottle with some detergent/water in it. Give it a shake and spray. I've sprayed all the fittings countless times. I can detect no leak. I can't hear one and there are no bubbles on any of the connections.

As I said, when the kit has been operating, I've tested both moring and night every day. By day 4, most of my bottle is gone and by day 5 my bottle is empty. I even soap test the two ends of the check valve.

All parts look like their supposed to. Brand new and in excellent condition. All washers look fine.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:00 PM   #6
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This may have already been answered and I missed it, do you have a bubble counter?
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:03 PM   #7
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I'm just setting up my first co2 system so I'm rather new to this stuff. Do you have another check valve you could try? If it isn't leaking from the connections then either its going into the aquarium or out the bottom of the co2 tank. You said you tried different tanks, when you got them refilled, so I guess it's not the tank. If there are fish in the tank, and they are still alive, then it's not going in the tank. I'm clueless, LOL. Curious to see what the others have to say about this.
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:03 AM   #8
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Yes I have a bubble counter.

thanks for the sympathy meegosh and its a mystery to me. It can't leak from the bottom of the CO2 cylinder. It's definitely not the cylinder itself.

I also discovered I can't seperate the solenoid from reg. So I'm going to:

Get the bottle swapped for a full one (again)
Connect everything with plumbers tape.
Weight it
Open the bottle.
Let it sit closed. Wait a week. Weight it again
If no leak, the reg isn't leaking.

Then I guess I turn it on and do the same as before. Check for leaks and monitor.
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