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Old 06-16-2011, 08:18 PM   #1
latnem
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Newly Purchased CO2! question or two


Hey Guys,

Got my pressurized CO2 setup today! I have a Milwaukee MA957 and a big 20lb tank from AirGas.

So currently the tank pressure guage is showing about 1300psi, is this normal or did I not open the cylunder all the way?

My working presure bumped itself up from 15 to 20 about 5 minutes after the setup. I have the needle valved tuned to about 3bps. Is this working pressure okay?

Oh and at what point would I take the tank back to get refilled? I have a single stage regulator so I would like to avoid the end of tank dump.

Thanks Guys!!!


The Beast:

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Old 06-16-2011, 09:10 PM   #2
kevmo911
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I wouldn't worry about the 1300psi. Either the tank is a bit overpressurized, or the gauge is off. More likely the gauge is off, but it doesn't matter either way.

The working pressure on the Milwaukees takes a little while to even out, so tweak it a bit at a time, and if you change it a little, check back in 5-10 minutes to make sure you didn't go to far.

As far as your bubble count goes, that's for you to decide. I'd suggest keeping the working pressure at between 10 and 20 psi, and don't change it again. The needle valve, like the working pressure, will take a bit to even itself out. Keep checking back every once in awhile to make sure it's set at a rate you like, and when it stays there, don't touch it again.

And check for leaks. Use soapy water, be thorough, don't be afraid to make a mess, and check back in 5 minutes.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:20 PM   #3
Jim Miller
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Assuming the high pressure gauge is functional but just inaccurate, once it departs from the "just filled" pressure (which should be about 840psi) it indicates that all the liquid has been exhausted. At that point there is only gas remaining and 16% of the original fill by mass.

If you refill at that point you waste 16% of the cost of a refill. If a refill is $30 for a 20# tank then you waste $4.80. If you refill about once a year (likely for a 20#) then you waste $4.80 once a year. How much are your fish worth?

I'd start planning a refill as soon as my needle moved.

Jim

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Old 06-16-2011, 11:25 PM   #4
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I have a dual stage and it goes up and down throughout the day according to temperature. If you really want to know how much you have left, you have to weigh it at the beginning and then weight it every here and then and compare. ONLY weight can truly tell how much gas is left. That was also confirmed by the guy at the welding shop.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:32 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info I will check for leaks tomorrow. My fish are not expensive currently just some tetras, corys, and otos.

The tank psi has dropped to about 1100psi, it was sitting out doors in 100+ degree weather so perhaps the heat plays some factor in the regulator reading.

Working pressure seems stable, the needle valve seems to drop the bps down a little after a while. I will keep adjusting it as needed.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:35 PM   #6
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You replied as I was typing btimmer! So my temperature hunch was correct! Thanks for the advice. I wonder if I can use a normal bathroom scale to weigh it.
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latnem View Post
The tank psi has dropped to about 1100psi, it was sitting out doors in 100+ degree weather so perhaps the heat plays some factor in the regulator reading.
please don't ever do that again. people have had very bad accidents with tanks left sitting in hot cars and exploding. once the valve blows off from excessive pressure, you have a 50lb projectile moving very very fast.
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:11 AM   #8
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+1 on the projectile. I wont elaborate too much, but I know someone who put a 5 pound nitrogen cylinder in a fire to "see what would happen" and that person spent a week in the hospital, and 4 others spent a few hours to a few days...
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:14 AM   #9
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Agree with the temperature caution. Keep it at room temp which for most folks should be between 70-80F. At that temp your pressure should be relatively constant within a few 10's of psi. Once it drops from the "normal" range for your gauge and room temps you've hit the gas only, 16% point.

Weighing is definitely an accurate approach but for most people relatively inconvenient compared to reading a pressure gauge.

The "tare weight" is stamped on the tank but it doesn't take into account the weight of the regulator of course.

Play safe

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Old 06-17-2011, 12:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcubed45 View Post
please don't ever do that again. people have had very bad accidents with tanks left sitting in hot cars and exploding. once the valve blows off from excessive pressure, you have a 50lb projectile moving very very fast.
I purchased the tank from a local AirGas today. They keep all their tanks outside. I didn't leave the tank in the sun. Next time I will definitely let the tank fully cool before turning it on.
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:23 AM   #11
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Let me just add.......After running my co2 tank today and new bulbs on my 55gal many of my plants are pearling! My anubis nana literally has a steady chain of bubbles coming out of it. So cool and so glad to throw away my 2 Liter bottles......!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:14 AM   #12
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I am curious. I am a doctor and I can get Co2 from a medical supplier.

Are there any pre-existing CO2 aquarium kits that could take a medical tank?

How long would the tank in this thread last? 1 year?

Thanks
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:20 AM   #13
latnem
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If this medical tank is a standard CO2 tank with a standard CGA320 (US Standard CO2 connection) The Milwaukee MA957 should work on it or any Milwaukee or any custom built regulator from other places like sumo or DIY.

From what I understand the tank should last around a year going around 3bps.

Question: Is the solenoid fairly water resistant? Or will I need to unplug it for a soapy water leak test?
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latnem View Post
Question: Is the solenoid fairly water resistant? Or will I need to unplug it for a soapy water leak test?
Look at it this way: the places you're leak-testing are outside the actual electrical connection. Everything you squirt with water will be a connection involving brass, stainless steel, or some other conductive metal. So, if you squirt it, and something shorts out, you've got issues beyond leaky CO2.

Don't be embarrassed about asking a question like that - my suggestion about not being stingy about squirting is directly related to my initial reluctance about doing the same thing.

And, along those same lines, make absolutely sure that you check the area between the plastic part (DIN connector? - not sure of the nomenclature) and the manifold. That was the first place I ever found a leak in one of my rigs. And it was due to overtightening and cracking the plastic solenoid.
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:41 PM   #15
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your working pressure should depend on how you diffuse the CO2. I have atomic diffusers and its recommended to keep the working pressure at 40psi. other diffusers only need 10psi.
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