Can a needle valve upgrade be done on any regulator?
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:27 PM   #1
Hardstuff
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Default Can a needle valve upgrade be done on any regulator?

I have a cheaper seems to be generic type lower end regulator. It costs around 70 bucks. I am running a higher than normal pressure to run my green leaf diffuser which is working out great. The problem is I am getting some float from the pressure & I notice some dosage seems to vary a little. I am a little concerned that if I am away I could gas my fish, because if I keep my Kh set at 3 & ideal dosage of 1 bubble every 3 second seems to work out well , however I have caught the ph dipping below 6.4 on occasion even though 6.6 is the norm. I run a solenoid as well.
I guess what I want is a little more control with the dosage with a finer needle valve. Are they expensive & how difficult are they to install. Are there some regulators that cannot be upgraded this way?
My budget is low & I already have put way too much money already than expected so if it costs more than 100 bucks I will pass on it, because I have a 55 sitting an waiting for pressurized CO2 right now , but still saving & planning for the set up. Suggestions would be great.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:45 PM   #2
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What needle valve are you currently using?

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Are they expensive & how difficult are they to install.
Depends on whether you can find good deals or not; there are sometimes good deals on eBay, but you have to be patient. They are relatively easy to install if you have the correct tools.

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Are there some regulators that cannot be upgraded this way?
Some commercially available regulators use products (such as Loctite) that will essentially glue components together. These can be extremely difficult to remove.

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Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
My budget is low & I already have put way too much money already than expected so if it costs more than 100 bucks I will pass on it, because I have a 55 sitting an waiting for pressurized CO2 right now , but still saving & planning for the set up. Suggestions would be great.
A Fabco NV-55-18 runs around $40, brand new, I believe. You could get the Ideal 52-1-11 for around $75-80, brand new. Alternatively, as I mentioned previously, searching eBay will sometimes yield much cheaper results.
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:12 PM   #3
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Thanks Anthony. I was wondering , it looks like there is some locking cement on the threads , but it appears whitish in color. Can I turn it off from the outer locking nut which is located just behind the adjustment knob? A new needle valve assembly would just replace that whole section including the part that holds the tubing as well? or just the outer locknut where the dial is located?
The 40 dollar range sounds like the better deal in my case. Thanks again
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:31 PM   #4
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Thanks Anthony. I was wondering , it looks like there is some locking cement on the threads , but it appears whitish in color.
This is probably teflon tape and can be removed easily.

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Can I turn it off from the outer locking nut which is located just behind the adjustment knob? A new needle valve assembly would just replace that whole section including the part that holds the tubing as well? or just the outer locknut where the dial is located?
As I asked in my previous message, what needle valve are you using? In addition, a photograph of your current setup would be helpful.

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The 40 dollar range sounds like the better deal in my case. Thanks again
You may be able to find cheaper options if you are patient on no ebay links allowed The $40 for the Fabco NV-55 is what I was quoted for a brand-new, retail priced valve.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:41 AM   #5
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Anthony the whitish material looks more transparent on the threads. I will try an download a picture but my cheap point & shoot which actually takes pretty good images just eats batteries, so it may be difficult getting an image to you quickly,
However I can try & describe it better. All it looks like is a T that comes off the left side directly off the central hub if you will of the regulator. The top part of the T there is a fitting that the CO2 tube is delivered to the solenoid. Looking just left of the T there is a small hex nut & then the dial itself for adjusting the flow.
Does the needle valve go in that part or does the whole T have to come out & be replaced as an assembly?? Once again looking right now you have adjusting knob then hex nut connecting to the T pointing up which goes to the solenoid, then extending with threads directly to the regulator, this is where I noticed some kind of solvent that is clear looking. Not tape.
Thats it: My guess is that small hex needs to come out to get at the needle valve & then replace with new one.
You asked about which needle I have & I cannot find manufacturer label anywhere on the regulator or needle valve. Looks like no name bran.
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:20 AM   #6
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Anthony the whitish material looks more transparent on the threads. I will try an download a picture but my cheap point & shoot which actually takes pretty good images just eats batteries, so it may be difficult getting an image to you quickly,
It could still be teflon tape; after it gets used, I find that it does turn transparent. In any case, a photo would be much more helpful, particularly for the next part.

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However I can try & describe it better. All it looks like is a T that comes off the left side directly off the central hub if you will of the regulator. The top part of the T there is a fitting that the CO2 tube is delivered to the solenoid. Looking just left of the T there is a small hex nut & then the dial itself for adjusting the flow.
This sounds like there is an additional valve for adjusting flow, in addition to the regulator. You can probably remove this to clean up the appearance.

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Does the needle valve go in that part or does the whole T have to come out & be replaced as an assembly?? Once again looking right now you have adjusting knob then hex nut connecting to the T pointing up which goes to the solenoid, then extending with threads directly to the regulator, this is where I noticed some kind of solvent that is clear looking. Not tape.
Thats it: My guess is that small hex needs to come out to get at the needle valve & then replace with new one.
A photo is needed. If it is an actual T, then the needle valve can go into the T. In general, needle valves go after the solenoid as well, so I am unsure exactly what kind of setup you have.

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You asked about which needle I have & I cannot find manufacturer label anywhere on the regulator or needle valve. Looks like no name bran.
No name brands tend to have unusual/proprietary fittings, so you may need additional adapters and/or fittings as well.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:21 AM   #7
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That looks similar to the Tunze branded model 7077/2. Probably a OEM\Generic.

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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.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:35 AM   #8
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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
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:17 AM   #9
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Thanks.

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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.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:28 AM   #10
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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.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:04 AM   #12
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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.
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