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Thread: Can a needle valve upgrade be done on any regulator? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-25-2013 06:04 AM
Hardstuff The comments that I made were based on the thread attachments at the end of Bettatail last comments, they are located at the bottom of my picture. He brings up some valid concerns about safety but they seem exaggerated.
After reading them I felt like I had a dangerous chemical that at any time could kill, which it could but not likely . It was almost funny because I had a CO2 DIY venting directly in my small study room for 3 months & never felt sick! I will not go back into it since I have already said my opinion which could also be wrong.
I think what has brought some confusion to me & maybe others is if they bought an older regulator without a solenoid it could be a little daunting to install which was not the case for me but I could see it being a problem for some. My solenoid came in the ( inline form ) if I stand corrected meaning hex nuts able to be attached at both ends ( not directly to the solenoid ). Until learning from you Anthony I did not even realize that the solenoid does belong attached to the regulator. Recently I started to look around to buy another regulator for a bigger tank & I noticed most regulators come now with built in solenoids. Seems like the way to go. The further downstream not attached to the solenoid works though, I know because I have been running it that way for years without a problem, but I can see a need for at least 2 check valves. In a matter of fact , I agree with what you said & feel most systems should have 2 check valves or more pending on what the configuration is.
02-24-2013 07:44 AM
Darkblade48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
Anthony, the blurry picture is called camera shake! Even with dirty glasses I can see what is needed to see. I did not want to use my flash. Setting up a tripod was too much of a PITA ! Sounds like the sky is falling!
A clear photo will not leave any ambiguity about your setup; this is why I initially thought the green support frame were the flying leads from the solenoid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
I agree that the solenoid should be placed in front of the needle valve. But not for safety reasons.
I did not say the placement of the needle valve/solenoid was for safety reasons; it is more for practical reasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
I read some of the dangers about CO2 systems & feel they are not that valid. For 1, a check valve failure is not happening. Also , I have watched systems with no pressure either CO2 or air stones & the water never comes back down anyway. Is it possible, yes, but I have not seen water come back down & if it did the check valve would catch it.
While you may not have observed this phenomenon, it does occur. Plastic check valves can harden and become brittle with time, thus allowing water to flow back through the tubing and into the bubble counter/needle valve/solenoid.

A good inline check valve, as well as a regulator mounted check valve (i.e. directly after your needle valve (and before a mounted bubble counter, if you are using one) is ideal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
I believe you are being too critical about the solenoid position. From an aesthetic point of view it has its advantages, & yes its a little safer, & also (harder for some people to replace the solenoid as mentioned).
If it is a little safer, why not just do it rather than taking additional risk?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
All the threads on this website & not 1 mention of people being killed or got sick.
I have never once mentioned that pressurized CO2 was dangerous, provided that the proper safety precautions are taken. You can easily vent an entire cylinder of CO2 (say, 20 pound), and will be completely fine, unless you live in an airtight room.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
You want to talk about dangerous. I think the DIY are more dangerous.
I agree with you; I have always recommended pressurized CO2 over DIY CO2.
02-24-2013 06:28 AM
Hardstuff Anthony, the blurry picture is called camera shake! Even with dirty glasses I can see what is needed to see. I did not want to use my flash. Setting up a tripod was too much of a PITA ! Sounds like the sky is falling!
I agree that the solenoid should be placed in front of the needle valve. But not for safety reasons. I read some of the dangers about CO2 systems & feel they are not that valid. For 1, a check valve failure is not happening. Also , I have watched systems with no pressure either CO2 or air stones & the water never comes back down anyway. Is it possible, yes, but I have not seen water come back down & if it did the check valve would catch it.
If the CO2 tank leaked it would most likely leak slowly unless the tubing broke or solenoid failed which would be slow anyway because the needle valve would release the gas at slower rate than if the entire tank was outgassed! I have 1500 square feet with many house plants & central air. If there was a big leak at night & I did not feel good I would know fast in the tank area. Even if the tank leaked all out at 1 time & I was asleep it would not kill me. Too many square feet! If I stayed in the room long enough I would know the symptoms, it would not flatten me fast.
I believe you are being too critical about the solenoid position. From an aesthetic point of view it has its advantages, & yes its a little safer, & also (harder for some people to replace the solenoid as mentioned). I ran a pressurized system before this for 3 years without a problem & even bigger house, 2000 square feet with leaky windows. I never thought twice about it!
Besides, there is still a needle valve in place so the C02 would only leak out from the cylinder as fast as the needle valve would let it. All the threads on this website & not 1 mention of people being killed or got sick. You want to talk about dangerous. I think the DIY are more dangerous. I had CO2 leaking all day & night for 3 months in my tank room because the way I was running it & not once did I feel sick. Now if you have a small apartment that is under 700 square feet or less with a 20 lb tank you should take more precautions .
My 3 cents.
02-17-2013 10:17 AM
R.C. Thanks.

Quote:
To place a needle valve before the solenoid is fine only if the cavity volume between the needle valve and the solenoid is small, so with only limited amount of pressurized air in this cavity. once the solenoid open, it doesn't "push" too much to the rest of the air hose space or create trouble.
This I knew, but the other points are all valid to take into consideration.
02-17-2013 09:35 AM
Darkblade48
Quote:
Originally Posted by R.C. View Post
I'm very much interested in why you say it should be mounted before needle valve. What are the con\pro's of mounting either way.
Inline it seems would be more convenient and easy to swap out, with little downtime should the solenoid need replacing. Especially for hobbyist that may not be so technically inclined.
Here you are:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...07&postcount=6
02-17-2013 09:21 AM
R.C. That looks similar to the Tunze branded model 7077/2. Probably a OEM\Generic.

Quote:
You can connect the solenoid to the regulator first (in fact, you should). The needle valve then goes after the solenoid.
I'm very much interested in why you say it should be mounted before needle valve. What are the con\pro's of mounting either way.
Inline it seems would be more convenient and easy to swap out, with little downtime should the solenoid need replacing. Especially for hobbyist that may not be so technically inclined.
02-17-2013 08:12 AM
Darkblade48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
Can I unscrew the T needle valve assembly as 1 unit while mounted on the tank? The reason I ask this is I am not sure if I have a bench vise or not. If there will be a high risk of damage to the tank or regulator I could take it to a friends house instead.
I am not sure what you are referring to; the needle valve is already one unit from what I can see in your (blurry) photograph.

A bench vise is the easiest way to do it. You can probably do it without one, but it will be harder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettatail View Post
How about rotate the regulator to this position:

you can take out the NPT to air hose connector, connect a solenoid to the so call "needle valve", then a real usable needle valve or metering valve to the solenoid.
You can do this too, but I would prefer to remove the needle valve that is currently on there for a cleaner look in the end.
02-17-2013 07:28 AM
Bettatail
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
As requested. Whats going on? Can this be upgraded with a better needle valve? Sorry, I should have put the camera on macro but it is good enough for demonstration purposes. What do you think Anthony?
How about rotate the regulator to this position:

you can take out the NPT to air hose connector, connect a solenoid to the so call "needle valve", then a real usable needle valve or metering valve to the solenoid.

to find the right parts for our co2 system is a big task, not anything call a "regulator", "needle valve" or "solenoid" and you assume they would get the job done.
02-17-2013 06:25 AM
Hardstuff Can I unscrew the T needle valve assembly as 1 unit while mounted on the tank? The reason I ask this is I am not sure if I have a bench vise or not. If there will be a high risk of damage to the tank or regulator I could take it to a friends house instead.
02-16-2013 10:28 PM
Darkblade48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
A new problem I discovered with my setup is the Clippard solenoid runs so hot I am not sure if it would even be a good idea to connect directly to the regulator? It may not be a problem with the heat need another opinion on that .
You will need some adapters to connect from the regulator to the solenoid anyway, so the solenoid will not be connected directly to the regulator.

Many people do this, and it seems OK; though you are correct in mentioning that the Clippard solenoid does run quite warm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
Another issue is with the addition of the clippard solenoid + new needle valve or even the current stock needle valve I would have a long extension of metal hanging out to the side. Probably not that bad, but for me I do not have a standard cabinet to store all my equipment on my set up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
I guess I could find an elbow & a straight to make it work.
That's the way to go. If you want to save space, use elbows.
02-16-2013 06:05 PM
Hardstuff Thanks FIRSTMR: That's a good idea, I will check their fittings out. A new problem I discovered with my setup is the Clippard solenoid runs so hot I am not sure if it would even be a good idea to connect directly to the regulator? It may not be a problem with the heat need another opinion on that . If the soleniod heats up the regulator a little I am wondering if it would be bad for the system. Another issue is with the addition of the clippard solenoid + new needle valve or even the current stock needle valve I would have a long extension of metal hanging out to the side. Probably not that bad, but for me I do not have a standard cabinet to store all my equipment on my set up. Like I said it is more of a science project than display even though I spend too many hours each day looking at it. I guess I should not complain the regulator was given to me by a friend & I believe it costs about 70-80 bucks compared to $200-250, regulators you get what you pay for, however it makes a good starter system for people who want to get into a pressurized CO2 system for less money. I guess I could find an elbow & a straight to make it work. Thanks
02-16-2013 02:42 PM
FrstTmr Another quick note, the smallest fittings that i saw there were 1/8
02-16-2013 02:40 PM
FrstTmr I just put together my first regulator and i ordered my needle valve directly off the fabco site. It was the fabco nv-55 18 and i got if for $44 with shipping. I got all the fittings i needed to put this together from my local lowes and home depot. I used watts brass fittings and they are only a couple bucks a piece.
02-16-2013 05:58 AM
Hardstuff Yep that helped answering all the questions.
I was wondering if the gas company would have the fittings needed maybe even the needle valve but I guess looking around E bay & the internet will help to get a better price than the gas company. Probably would not hurt since they could provide the fittings & I could check out their needle valves for info anyway. I am sure their prices would be higher.
I will check out your threads on CO2 to further educate myself on the solenoids & regulators. Thanks Anthony for your time spent. You have been very helpful. Roger
02-15-2013 08:50 PM
Darkblade48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
Those green wires you talk about are just support wires to hold the solenoid in place. It is not a hazard! it keeps the hot solenoid from melting the CO2 tubes! You even talked about this solenoid yourself the 1 that gets hot. I read your thread on CO2.
Ah, my mistake. From the LED I think I see, you must have a Clippard solenoid

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
I am not sure if this solenoid can be screwed into regulators? Are there solenoids that are inline only? I would have to measure the threads on both reg, & solenoid. Either way it is not important that the solenoid even be attached to the regulator, although if higher end needle valves need to be attached to the solenoid that would be a different story. If it could be attached I would prefer to since it has a cleaner look, but all this stuff will some day be inside a cabinet & it will not be seen anyway. The higher end regulators have attached solenoids which look nicer. My next regulator will have it attached , but for now it is not that important as long as the needle valve would screw directly into the solenoid.
If your solenoid is the Clippard, it is able to be mounted to the regulator. You can run solenoids inline, but I don't see why go to the extra trouble when it already has 1/8" NPT ports. Check your solenoid model number to see what ports it has (check the specification sheet); in all likelihood, it has 1/8" female NPT ports, while your regulator has 1/4" NPT ports, so you will need to get an adapter (a few dollars).

In general, needle valves are attached downstream of the solenoid (take a look at my guide for some helpful pictures).

If you are going to replace your current needle valve, you might as well fix up your solenoid as well, so it will look neat and tidy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
So to answer my question, can I screw a needle valve directly into this regulator if I cannot screw the solenoid first into the regulator first? Sounds like you are saying that the T screws out. Any chance the regulator casing could crack since it is a casting? Thanks again
You can connect the solenoid to the regulator first (in fact, you should). The needle valve then goes after the solenoid. Your current needle valve (the "T") should be able to be unscrewed from the regulator.

Regarding the regulator casing (? I am not sure what you are referring to here; the regulator body? Or are you referring to the gauges?): The body itself will not crack. The plastic covering the gauges can crack, but only if you are not careful.

You will (likely) need a bench vise and the appropriate sized wrench to take off the current needle valve.

Some fittings (brass or stainless steel, your choice) will be required to connect the solenoid to the regulator, and then the new (or your current) needle valve to the solenoid.

Hope this helps.
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