I need co2 help BIGTIME. Oh god what did I do wrong?
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:03 PM   #1
HybridHerp
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Default I need co2 help BIGTIME. Oh god what did I do wrong?

Okay, so, I'm in a bit of a mild panic mode right now...

I just set my co2 up for the first time last night. I'll also preface this with the fact that I have never used a pressurized setup before.

It was working fine when I started it up, was able to control the flow of bubbles through the bubble counter and went at like 3bps for both tanks that I have connected to this single regulator. However, the odd thing was that on the dials of the regulator itself, the numbers didn't really do much of anything. I'm not sure if I did something wrong with the regulator or whatnot, but I'll get to that in a bit (I'll post a pic up later of what my regulator dials were reading while everything was pumping)

I have the system on a timer, and it did turn off fine. But this morning when I woke up, I looked at it all and not only was my gas not pumping, but I noticed that the mineral oil in my bubble counter had someone traveled down the co2 tubbing, past the check valve (I thought I put them on the right way, but apparently not......that or something else happened.....) and right up to my regulator.

I'm going to take the whole thing apart today, try and fix the tubbing and all that, but I'm just worried as to what went wrong with this.

Things I will note that I think might be important for you guys to know.
1. Its a dual stage regulator that I got from the forum that is being used on two different tanks
2. 20lb co2 tank that was freshly filled
3. I'm not sure if I had the handle thing on the regulator loose enough when I turned the valve open on the co2 canister.
4. I'm not sure if I opened the co2 canister enough (does it even open in increments, or is it like, its either open or its not open......how much are you supposed to twist it?)
5. My check valves were below my bubble counters, I didn't have any above the bubble counters as I thought they weren't "needed" per say (although I think I'm going to want to change that asap)
6. I'm on some time constraints...I go back to school in a week...and then my parents are left with this. So I need to figure this all out and make sure the system is working fine and turning itself on and off before I go back...
7. I don't know anyone in person that has ever done a pressurized setup before, so I feel a little lost since I can't ask a buddy to come over and tell me what I did wrong or how to set this all up or anything....I've been going off of youtube videos and what I can find on google

Btw, is there a guide on this forum about how to properly set up a pressurized co2 system? If so, why is it not a sticky?
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:25 PM   #2
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Darkblade 48 wrote a great bit on Pressurized co2. If you click on the sticky at the top of Equipment, it's the CO2 Primer article. Great article, really helped me out
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:04 PM   #3
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this is helpful, thanks

I just need to now figure a few things out and clean up my tubbing....not really sure why the check valves didn't do their job though :\

Any ideas on that?
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:25 PM   #4
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Maybe a bad check valve? seems like it was properly oriented as u saw gas coming into tank earlier.
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:58 PM   #5
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maybe....
do I need to do anything special aside from stopping the flow of co2 when I change check valves and fix my drop checkers and the co2 tubing?

it seems the mineral oil from one of them got all the way up to where the regulator is....not sure how bad that is....

I also just noticed that the gauge on the left of my regulator (the high pressure one right? It didn't do anything when I opened the co2 tank yesterday) is now really really high....if that's the high pressure though measuring the amount of co in the cylinder then that makes sense.....
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:43 PM   #6
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So the thing that was really high was my working pressure.....I turned everything off for now, because I still need to fix the tubing and all...

what's the best way to go about fixing that btw?
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:20 PM   #7
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Not sure what is going on with your set up but I would just use water in your bubble counter until you figure it out, I have never put oil in my bubble counter, just use RO.
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:58 PM   #8
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First and foremost, your gauges shouldn't really change until your tank is almost totally empty. I am talking a few days to a day, depending on how much CO2 you use daily. The high pressure one should really stay about the same all the time. The only thing that would effect this would be the temperature. The other gauge shows the working pressure. This should only change if you adjust the working pressure. If it's not adjustable, it won't change.

It also sounds like you have a bad check valve. Just replace it.

Lastly, depending on what type of diffuser you use, it can take awhile to get things started. I actually have 2 different diffusers in my tank right now, an inline that requires high working pressure, and a regular glass one. My reason for that is just an experiment but the inline one can take more than a few minutes to get going, the glass one only takes like 30 seconds. It just has to build enough pressure to start working. So if it takes awhile, but works, it likely isn't a problem. It may take longer if you have a small leak though so you may want to check for leaks. If it never starts, you most definitely have a leak. Reactors shouldn't take more than a second to start working however.


It sounds like you may have everything under control, outside of the check valve and possible leaks. It's hard to tell if you have a leak so I am not assuming you do, but it's good to test. Soapy water is good to test, do all joints/elbows/check valves, etc.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:03 PM   #9
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I think it is just the check valves. I also just figured out what the two gauges are for, so that's all good lol.

Do I need special check valves or can I just go to a petstore and get any old check valves? Only other thing I need to know is how to clean out my co2 tubing (I'll use new lines if I can find them but for some reason I doubt I will).

I get the feeling as well that my atomizer needs to be cleaned now since I think it got clogged with mineral oil *sigh*

Only other thing of note is that I believe I have a small leak, but that leak being near the diffuser as opposed to near the regulator, since I can only hear a small little hiss of air near the bubble counter (I have an inline glass one that sticks outside of the tank).
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:22 PM   #10
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talk to the seller who sold you the system, and if possible, post a picture of the system and how things arrange, so we can figure out what goes wrong.
There are so many possible errors that cause the problem.
1. did you check the system leak when you set it up?
2. what is the output pressure you set it at?
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:24 PM   #11
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I would buy CO2 specific check valves, I like brass/stainless steal ones. However, the ones used for air you can buy at any pet store work fine, they degrade over time. I would buy them for a quick fix and order some nice ones in the near future.

You can check for leaks after the regulator by just putting everything under water. If you have enough slack in you lines, you can put your bubble counter under water in a cup or small pitcher. If you see bubbles, you have a leak. My diffusers make noise though that could sound like a leak. Not all do, one of mine is actually quite loud. It could sound like a leak if I didn't know it made noise on it's own.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talontsiawd View Post
I would buy CO2 specific check valves, I like brass/stainless steal ones. However, the ones used for air you can buy at any pet store work fine, they degrade over time. I would buy them for a quick fix and order some nice ones in the near future.

You can check for leaks after the regulator by just putting everything under water. If you have enough slack in you lines, you can put your bubble counter under water in a cup or small pitcher. If you see bubbles, you have a leak. My diffusers make noise though that could sound like a leak. Not all do, one of mine is actually quite loud. It could sound like a leak if I didn't know it made noise on it's own.
Oh, that's reassuring. There isn't a leak, I can tell you that much, and I will just do regular check valves until I can get some nice fancy ones. And yah, I think I know part of my problem now......me being afraid to OD on anything only put the working pressure at 10.....I mean it was bubbling and all.....but then I realized that it was supposed to be at 36 for my atomizer anyways, s I feel kinda silly about that now.

I just need to get some check valves for now, then I was told that at 36-40 pressure that all the mineral oil in my line that shouldn't be there will blow out......so I think I'm good to go.

I'll update later once I have this all working properly.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HybridHerp View Post
Oh, that's reassuring. There isn't a leak, I can tell you that much, and I will just do regular check valves until I can get some nice fancy ones. And yah, I think I know part of my problem now......me being afraid to OD on anything only put the working pressure at 10.....I mean it was bubbling and all.....but then I realized that it was supposed to be at 36 for my atomizer anyways, s I feel kinda silly about that now.
Did you happen to lower your working pressure while the system was on? That could explain why after the first day, it wasn't working. You can lower the working pressure while everything is on and it works fine. But then the next day it doesn't because it can't build the initial pressure to get through the ceramic disk. Happened to me before, and with that low of working pressure on an atomizer, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it just didn't have enough pressure.

Not sure if you did this, just saying that it could explain why it worked one day and not the next.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:00 PM   #14
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Wow, I thought something bad had happened from the title. This is pretty common, and not really a worry. What kind of check valve is it?
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:10 PM   #15
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Just to clarify if it hasn't already been mentioned...

I assume you are using an inline bubble counter?

You will need a check valve both before and after the bubble counter...
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