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Old 10-03-2009, 04:32 AM   #1
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help needed with CO2 pressurised system



I am confused and worried.....

I just bought (on the 19th Sept) the same kegking CO2 cylinder and regulator/solenoid/bubble counter as shown.

When I hooked it up, bubbles intially came out of my nano glass diffuser, but some time later (I noticed the following day when I got home from work) the diffuser detached from the hose. I turned off the CO2, hooked it up again, switched the CO2 on. After almost a minute, bubbles weren't coming out. I removed the diffuser again, but when I did, the CO2 gas there was under pressure, and I felt it disperse when the tubing was removed. So I gave the disc a clean. It seemed to be fine for the remainder of the evening.

It did this again the following day, and again 2 days later. The last time, I washed the diffuser, hooked it up, but no gas would come out at all. Some fidding around unsuccessfullly made me think the issue was with my diffuser. I pulled the power chord of the soneoid out of the power point and turnd the needle valve so the gas was off. I then purchased a dupla atomiser which arrived in the mail yesterday.

This afternoon, I hooked up the new diffuser and switch it all back on again. No bubbles come in through the bubble counter. I then noticed both dials on my reg are 0!!! I weighed the bottle, and it is now 8.1kg with the reg on. It was 10.5kg (no reg) when I bought it 2 weeks ago.

During the time the system was off, I have not heard any hissing, and I have seen no bubbles go through the bubble counter as far as I can tell ( I have been looking at it almost daily). I did the soap test when I setup the reg originally and it didn't give off any hints that the gas was escaping.

Where has all my gas gone? Was it because when I removed the solenoid's plug I didn't turn the black wheel on the top to close? I didn't do that. How could the gas escape? I'm worried because this thing is in my living room and I couldn't bare the thought of having poisionous gas being released.

I have no idea where to go with this one. Not sure if its an issue with the reg, or even how to tell.

Advice (very) gratefully received.

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Old 10-03-2009, 10:13 AM   #2
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Even though you did the soap test for a leak, I think there’s a leak somewhere.
Once when I was putting glycerin in my bubble counter, I put it together and turned the CO2 on. A day later my pH controller said that I was not getting CO2 into the water. I took it all apart and then noticed a 2/3” gasket on the floor. It was the gasket at the bottom of the bubble counter. Replaced it and the controller started showing a pH drop within an hour or so. I cut back on the drop count and it’s OK now.
BTW, if you’re using a canister filter, why don’t you inject your CO2 into the intake?
I’ve done it that way for about 6 months successfully.
Good luck,
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Old 10-14-2009, 03:42 PM   #3
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did you have the plastic washer in between the co2 tank and the regulator? i always use the plumbers tape or what ever that white tape is too.
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:36 PM   #4
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Sharon,

First off, don't worry about the CO2 being a danger to your living environment. CO2 is not poisonous. It is a major component of the air we breath. CO is the dangerous stuff. A 5lb CO2 tank leaking over several days into an average size room would not cause any problem at all (unless you happen to live in a hermetically sealed vault).

I can't imagine the diffuser being faulty. It would either be working, or you would see giant bubbles floating up somewhere around the seams of the glass and the ceramic. They can become clogged over time, but being that it is brand new and you saw no CO2 coming out, this means that you have a leak somewhere in the system, so not enough pressure can build up to cause the co2 to come through the ceramic. It requires a good amount of pressure to get the gas to come thru the ceramic disk, IE if you blow on the end of the hose as hard as you can, you probably will not get any air to come through the disk.

I know that when I setup my regulator the first time, I had leaks all over the place. I had a leak in the bottom junction of the bubble counter, a leak on both sides of the solenoid, and leak at the junction of the B nut and the CO2 tank. I put teflon tape on all the junctions and torqued them down pretty good (not crazy, didn't want to break my brand new reguator ). Since then I have had no leaks.

You also mentioned the hose came off the diffuser at one point. The hose connections all need to be tight. Thick walled CO2 tubing needs to be softened so that you can get it on as tightly as possible without breaking the glass. The best way is to hold the tubing near a flame (not in the flame) and soften it up. This way it becomes very pliable and will allow you to slide it on and deform to the shape of the glass while it is hot. As it cools it will cinch up and form a good tight connection. You can then heat it again to get it off.

Obviously being that the cylinder is empty, you have a leak SOMEWHERE in the system. My recommendation is to refill the cylinder, hook it back up (making sure you have the washer that gamer described), and diligently check all the connections by very liberally applying soap and water to every fitting with a pastry brush. I know you said you tried that, but really slather it on, at every joint... top and bottom of the bubble counter, hose connection to the bubble counter, both sides of the solenoid, needle valve to selenoid, and the regulator to the tank. Check the connection at the bottom of the gauges too... believe it or not I had a leak there as well. They just screw in, and it is possible that one of them did not get seated correctly by the factory.

Good luck -- you will get this, and I really believe pressurized CO2 with a selenoid and a needle valve is the holy grail of planted tanks. IT will be worth the frustration in the end... and don't worry about the CO2 escaping... it would take dozens of 5lb bottles to create any serious risk.
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgamer20o0 View Post
i always use the plumbers tape or what ever that white tape is too.
Teflon tape.
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:31 AM   #6
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thanks fort... A few others told me that given the large size of my living room, a slow leak wouldn't have been an issue at all. Happy that! I just freaked out because I have cats n the house with the house shut up while I'm at work. I was more freaked out for them, rather than myself.

I got the CO2 bottle filled again last weekend. It's all been running fine since Sunday. For three days I soap-tested all connection points both when the CO2 is on and off.

Prior to the leak that lead tothe empty bottle I also used teflon tape to fix a leak at the bottom of the bubble counter. That one was obvious because when I switched it on it hissed at me. I have a yellow version for gas as opposed to the white plumbing version. What a great invention!

So it appears there's no more leaks. Will be just more careful next time I switch cylinders. I'll put it down to the good ol learning curve. At hubby's insistence, the receipt for my second bottle is on the fridge.... with "I will not lose my gas" written on it.
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:42 AM   #7
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Sharon
I read this in your reply:
"I also used teflon tape to fix a leak at the bottom of the bubble counter".
Like I told you earlier, there is a gasket at the bottom of the bubble counter. One time, it fell out and I did not see it. Found it later and reinstalled it. In my reply, I stated it was 2/3" in error. It is actually about 3/4" diameter. Just unscrew the clear part of your bubble counter and it'll go at the bottom.
Check around and you may dind it.
Charles
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:51 AM   #8
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thanks Charles, I did check after your post, but I didn't see anything like that. I'm 99% certain I didn't drop/lose a part when I removed the BC from the packaging.

I'll check it again, just to be certain.
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Old 10-17-2009, 05:36 AM   #9
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Oh, for the love of the blooming onion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I came home tonight and my dials again at 0. Weighted the bottle and I've lost all the gas again!!!

AAARRGGGGHHHHHHH!

I swear I soap tested all connections both day and night (when the CO2 was on and off) for the first few days in a row. Everything was working fine for 5 days.... Then.... nothing.

Bottle empty.
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Old 10-17-2009, 09:02 AM   #10
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source of CO2

did you try to make CO2 source at home from sugar and yiest ? I think that works great, its small, cheap, its not so much hassle with that,no worries of CO2 leaks and if something goes wrong, you can just fill it up again in 10 minutes. I have CO2 diffuser from shop (dennerle co2 flipper), and it all just works great.
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Old 10-17-2009, 09:49 AM   #11
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did you try to make CO2 source at home from sugar and yiest ? I think that works great, its small, cheap, its not so much hassle with that,no worries of CO2 leaks and if something goes wrong, you can just fill it up again in 10 minutes. I have CO2 diffuser from shop (dennerle co2 flipper), and it all just works great.

DIY CO2 is EZ to do, but the output is inconsistent.
I have pressurised on my 46 G, & DIY on my three smaller tanks.
On the small tanks, Iíve had the following problems:
  • A check valve failure, and water siphoned back onto the floor, about 3 gallons out of my 16.
  • Like stated above, inconsistent CO2 delivery. I now have two bottles on each tank, I start a new batch every week and replace one bottle.
  • Stopped up CO2 line, mixture leaked out onto the floor.
I prefer pressurised anytime.
Charles
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:23 AM   #12
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Sharon,
Did you notice what the gauge readings on the regulator were when you were using it?
Since you checked the connections and found no leaks, I think the detached diffuser may be significant. You may have a stuck solenoid or a bad regulator. This could over pressure the co2 line and let all the gas out the diffuser quickly, or pop the diffuser off.
I would suggest removing the solenoid from the system and setting it up as you normally would. Run it for a day or two. If you have no problems reinstall the solenoid and see if there is a change in the gas output.
The solenoid is only a shut off valve. It should not effect the output pressure of the regulator at all unless it is not opening properly and restricting it.
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Old 10-17-2009, 07:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim692 View Post
Sharon,
Did you notice what the gauge readings on the regulator were when you were using it?
Since you checked the connections and found no leaks, I think the detached diffuser may be significant. You may have a stuck solenoid or a bad regulator. This could over pressure the co2 line and let all the gas out the diffuser quickly, or pop the diffuser off.
Jim, from memory, the readings on the dials were between 3 and 4 (closer to 4) on the PSI dial and around 50 on the lb/km2 dial. I'm sorry I didn't write down exactly what they were. But they did remain consistent all week until I came home Friday evening and found them both at 0.

The diffuser never popped off this week while the 2nd bottle has been running. As I said, it was working perfectly. No pressure issues, and I couldn't find a leak.

The solenoid came attached with the regulator, so I have no idea how to/if I can detatch it. I'll take a look in the coming days.
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Old 10-17-2009, 07:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbwmn View Post
DIY CO2 is EZ to do, but the output is inconsistent.
I prefer pressurised anytime.
Charles
I had DIY CO2 for 9 months. Got sick of the additional maintenance and have a BBA problem I'm trying to combat so I wanted to prevent inconsistent CO2 levels. Not really interested in returning to DIY.
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