DIY CO2 manifold (2-way) 56k beware! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-03-2005, 04:56 AM Thread Starter
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DIY CO2 manifold (2-way) 56k beware!

First off, big thanks to Rex Grigg for helping me with the item numbers from the clippard catalog. I would have spent days wandering through their website without his guidance.

I decided a few weeks back that I needed a better way to split my CO2 from a 10 lb. tank to my 29 and 20H tanks that are within 2 feet of one another. before this project I'd been using external "crimping" type air control roller-thingies to adjust the flow to the tanks after the single needle valve and a t-splitter for the airline. it never ever worked right for lots of physics reasons that i won't go into right now. let's just put it this way, if you want to split your CO2 among multiple tanks, you have to use some kind of manifold or adjusting it will be an absolute nightmare.

STEP 1: collect the following materials


2 x 4CQF adapters - clippard
2 x MNV-4K2 needle valves - clippard
2 x MCV-1BB - clippard
4 x 11752-1 10-32 to barb connectors - clippard
1 x 1/4" brass female pipe tee - home depot, etc.
1 x 1/4" brass pipe nipple - home depot, etc.
1 roll pipe thread tape - home depot, etc.
2 good wrenches - garage, neighbor's house, parent's toolbox

45 minutes-1hr assembly time

STEP 2:
place two 4CQF adapters into the female tee. thread tape is your friend.




STEP 3:
thread the 1/4" nipple into the remaining port on the female tee


STEP 4:
thread tee and nipple into the bottom of the regulator (1/4" female port... might have to remove other hardware to get here)



STEP 5:
thread MNV-4K2 needle valves into the 10-32 thread ports on 4CQF adapters on assembly.



DON'T FORGET CHECK VALVES! (optional but highly recommended! water in a CO2 regulator can be an ugly thing)

STEP 6:
thread 11752-1 barb adapters into both sides of MCV-1BB check valves. don't forget the tiny o-rings on the threads to prevent leaks (included with barbs)



STEP 7:
attach airline tubing(silicone, vinyl, nylon, flexible pvc, polyurethane, flexible copper, etc.) to barbs on check valves, needle valves, and CO2 diffusion devices.


**Please be sure that the arrow stamped on the check valve is facing with the direction of CO2 flow, or your setup won't do anything except blow the airline right off the check valves and/or needle valve barbs.**

When placed properly, you should never even know the check valves are there until you lose pressure in the CO2 tank, at which point no water will be able to siphon back into the airline from your CO2 diffusion device.

I hope this helps some of you in one way or another. total cost for the setup was... $50 for clippard parts (including check valves and barbs), $4 for home depot parts. the things about this setup that are most attractive to me are

#1 I built it myself (so all leaks, poor connections, etc. are my fault)

#2 comparable in price to inline manifold systems from websites

#3 better suited for the pressures than inline manifolds, which require a run of tubing *BEFORE* the needle valves, meaning there's some airline tubing under serious pressure, and likely to lose some gas.

#4 includes quality check valves in the price, where the inline models, etc do not. most of them sell CO2 check valves for $10-$15 each. once this is considered in the price, this is a bit cheaper than buying online.

Oqsy

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-03-2005, 12:40 PM
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Looks like a next good project for me to do Been wanting to hook up co2 to my 180g.... may need a 20lb tank for that though.

What will you be using for a bubble counter?

Great post btw!

Cliff
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-03-2005, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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spar: thanks! my reactor is my bubble counter. i'm using an 802 powerhead into a gravel vac with co2 @ 1.5 bps to get around 45 ppm CO2 by the ph/kh chart. with check valves and a clear plastic reactor, there's no real need for a bubble counter as far as i know.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-14-2005, 06:27 PM
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what did ya pay for all those parts? (if you dont mind me askin)
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-14-2005, 06:45 PM
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It's probably about $35 worth of stuff total. I've done this myself on the same regulator. I got the needle valves and 1/4 to 10/32 adapters from Clippard and the rest from the local hardware store.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-14-2005, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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let's see...
i don't have exact prices anymore, but I can give you estimates

$10 each - needle valves
$3 each - check valves
$5 bag of 10-32 - 1/4" adapters
$5 bag of 10-32 barbs
$3.50 black flexible pvc tubing
<$3 pipe tee
<$2 pipe nipple
regulator ~ $30-$35 used... from beveragefactory.com originally

somewhere around there methinks... i may be off on some of those clippard parts.

Oqsy

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-15-2005, 03:35 PM
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Nice thing though is that you could easily add 3 or 4 needle valves, and you're really just paying the $10 to upgrade for each additional outlet.
Nice work!
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-16-2005, 02:34 PM
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First off, great idea. Its got me thinking about kicking it up a notch and adding a second solenoid valve to my setup for more control. However, i've read on some other threads that brass isn't good with co2, some sort of reaction and corrosion, and that copper is better. Does this reaction take place only with co2 enriched water or could using brass parts in a manifold such as this one here react with the co2 gas? Can I even get copper compression fittings or is brass my only option? What about stainless steel? Thanks in advance.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-16-2005, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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my regulator is largely made of brass... hope that answers your question.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-17-2005, 09:01 PM
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Brass it is then. I found that Milwaukee solenoids are brass.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-17-2005, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore
Nice thing though is that you could easily add 3 or 4 needle valves, and you're really just paying the $10 to upgrade for each additional outlet.
Nice work!
Thanks...
it would really be more like $13-14 for each outlet (don't forget that you'd have to add another tee and nipple for each additional outlet). although after about 4-6 it would start to get impractically long and tedious to work with...

Oqsy

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2005, 09:45 AM
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In my hunting i came across this. Its a bit more expensive than your setup but if you don't want to do the work it would sreve the purpose.

http://www.aquariumplants.com/cgi-bi.../manifold.html
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2005, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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snake: those are exactly the kind of manifolds i was looking into when I decided to DIY the project...

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2005, 03:11 PM
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I don't get the whole deal of having all the needle valves in one location. I would prefer to have them at the tank that the CO2 is feeding.

I like that setup with the bubble counters and needle valve integral to the system though.. a bit pricey though.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2005, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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i've never quite understood the need for bubble counters unless your reactor is opaque... you can see how much CO2 is bubbling in, adjust the needle valve, and see if it's the change you desired... a needle valve at each tank would be wasteful unless you used copper pipe, etc to get the CO2 from one tank to the next... putting the high pressure from the regulator through tubing / hose is asking for leaks and lots of bleeding before it gets to the needle valve. there are plenty of inline needle valve setups, and I must admit I've never used one, but the physics of the situation is obvious enough.

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