CO2 Regulator Conversion
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Old 05-11-2009, 05:10 AM   #1
wondabread
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CO2 Regulator Conversion


I have read a lot of the CO2 regulator threads and found information about switching the nipples of non CGA 320 regulators, so I know it can be done. My question is can it be done with ANY regulator. For example, if I bought a reg (argon, helium, nitrogen), can I just pop the CGA 580 nipple off and put the 320 on? Can it also be done for all types of non CGA 320 regulators (acetylene, air, O2, argon, etc)? Are the internals of most dual stage regulators identical (or close enough) so that just changing the nipple is good enough?

Lastly, does it really matter if I want to use a high pressure reg or medium pressure reg (assuming cheap prices on ebay)? Is medium pressure better? Is high pressure to high for our low pressure applications?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-11-2009, 03:19 PM   #2
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The regulators that are for sale at Michigan Reefers have their stock CGA-350 nipple and nut replaced with CGA-320 fittings. These are Victor high purity dual stage regulators with stainless steel diaphragms. I purchased one of the SGT500 models from this person and it is a really good one. It has a chrome plated stainless steel body with stainless steel diaphragms and it is a dual stage model too. These high purity regulators look sleeker compared to other Victor regulators. Here is a little more information.

I don't exactly know all of the specifics concerning swapping out nipples and nuts, but I will tell you what I've read about it.
- If the regulator has stainless steel diaphragm(s), you can swap it out. Many if not all of the regulators with a CGA-350 fitting have stainless steel diaphragms.
- Someone on this forum posted some information that he found out about swapping them. The person that he asked told him that since we are only lightly using these regulators and the working pressure is low, we can swap the nipples to CGA-320 for most regulators. If our working pressure was hundreds of pounds, we couldn't do it on many regulators.
- The regulator that you decide to try this swap on should not have a low pressure gauge that measures in hundreds of pounds. Something like 0 to 30, 0 to 40, and 0 to 60 are commonly used for our aquariums. mrkookm in the Victor thread shows how to adjust the working pressure of a Concoa regulator.
- I wouldn't use a regulator that has been used with a gas that would be harmful to the fish unless it has been properly cleaned.

I hope this helps you.
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Old 05-11-2009, 05:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Left C View Post
The regulators that are for sale at Michigan Reefers have their stock CGA-350 nipple and nut replaced with CGA-320 fittings. These are Victor high purity dual stage regulators with stainless steel diaphragms. I purchased one of the SGT500 models from this person and it is a really good one. It has a chrome plated stainless steel body with stainless steel diaphragms and it is a dual stage model too. These high purity regulators look sleeker compared to other Victor regulators. Here is a little more information.

I don't exactly know all of the specifics concerning swapping out nipples and nuts, but I will tell you what I've read about it.
- If the regulator has stainless steel diaphragm(s), you can swap it out. Many if not all of the regulators with a CGA-350 fitting have stainless steel diaphragms.
- Someone on this forum posted some information that he found out about swapping them. The person that he asked told him that since we are only lightly using these regulators and the working pressure is low, we can swap the nipples to CGA-320 for most regulators. If our working pressure was hundreds of pounds, we couldn't do it on many regulators.
- The regulator that you decide to try this swap on should not have a low pressure gauge that measures in hundreds of pounds. Something like 0 to 30, 0 to 40, and 0 to 60 are commonly used for our aquariums. mrkookm in the Victor thread shows how to adjust the working pressure of a Concoa regulator.
- I wouldn't use a regulator that has been used with a gas that would be harmful to the fish unless it has been properly cleaned.

I hope this helps you.
Very much so, thanks Left C.
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Old 05-11-2009, 05:07 PM   #4
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You are very welcome.
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Old 05-11-2009, 10:38 PM   #5
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Left C pretty much spelled it out for you. One key that I would like to add for safety, (you and your fauna) is stick with regs. that have been previously used with other inert gases.
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:37 AM   #6
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Well, I was trying to get in touch with the guy that sells them from the reefers and he finally emailed me today. I am going to buy two of them from him.

I was worried about buying them from ebay - the co2 ones aren't as common as they once may have been AND the prices seem to have gone up.

I am getting two for $80 shipped. (edit - EACH)

My main problem was I don't know off hand what is inert and what was not. This purchase eliminates my problem. I was very leery about buying a reg that was used for acetylene, methane, or nitrogen for example.

I will build these two regs over the next few weeks and hopefully have a snazzy rig and be able to dump my awful red sea (for the same price or cheaper to boot!).

Thanks guys.
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:36 AM   #7
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He puts a brass CGA-320 nut and nipple on those chrome plated regulators. He will put a chrome planted nipple and nut if you ask for it, but there is an added charge. He also uses a Swagelok 1/4" MPT x 1/8" MPT reducer nipple to install a solenoid. There is no extra charge for this.
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Old 05-12-2009, 02:58 AM   #8
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Ah, thanks for the heads up - I sent him an email to get the chrome one.
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Old 05-12-2009, 05:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Left C View Post
He puts a brass CGA-320 nut and nipple on those chrome plated regulators. He will put a chrome planted nipple and nut if you ask for it, but there is an added charge.
Darn, I didn't know that. Now my chrome regulator is spoiled by the presence of a brass nipple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Left C View Post
He also uses a Swagelok 1/4" MPT x 1/8" MPT reducer nipple to install a solenoid. There is no extra charge for this.
Regarding this, do you know if the port on the regulator body itself is 1/4" female NPT? If so, wouldn't a 1/4" male NPT x 1/8" male NPT function the same as the Swagelok 1/4" MPT x 1/8" MPT reducer?
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Old 05-12-2009, 05:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
Darn, I didn't know that. Now my chrome regulator is spoiled by the presence of a brass nipple.
Maybe you can get it changed. They should be flexible. I paid $10 extra because he had to order it and I paid for its shipping to him.

I wouldn't spoil its looks with a brass JBJ bubble counter. Could you use a different bubble counter or maybe get the JBJ BC chrome plated?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
Regarding this, do you know if the port on the regulator body itself is 1/4" female NPT? If so, wouldn't a 1/4" male NPT x 1/8" male NPT function the same as the Swagelok 1/4" MPT x 1/8" MPT reducer?
Yes, the port on the regulator is 1/4" female NPT.

1/4" male NPT x 1/8" male NPT and 1/4" MPT x 1/8" MPT reducer are basically the same to me. It is a bit confusing because there are several names for the same part and there are different part arrangements that will accomplish the same function.

The included Swagelok reducer is what you need to use for a Clippard or Burkert solenoid with 1/8" female NPT ports (for me, 1/8" FPT is a little different terminology for the same description.)
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Old 05-12-2009, 06:06 AM   #11
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I didn't ask, but which models are you getting?

Also, if you are interested, check out the chrome plated Ideal valve order in the Victor thread.
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Left C View Post
Maybe you can get it changed. They should be flexible. I paid $10 extra because he had to order it and I paid for its shipping to him.

I wouldn't spoil its looks with a brass JBJ bubble counter. Could you use a different bubble counter or maybe get the JBJ BC chrome plated?
Well, I don't really want to incur any extra cost, but I'll consider it Regarding the JBJ bubble counter, I've never seen a chrome plated one before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Left C View Post
Yes, the port on the regulator is 1/4" female NPT.

1/4" male NPT x 1/8" male NPT and 1/4" MPT x 1/8" MPT reducer are basically the same to me. It is a bit confusing because there are several names for the same part and there are different part arrangements that will accomplish the same function.
I was always under the impression that MPT = male NPT, so I used them interchangeably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Left C View Post
The included Swagelok reducer is what you need to use for a Clippard or Burkert solenoid with 1/8" female NPT ports (for me, 1/8" FPT is a little different terminology for the same description.)
As above, I was under the (mistaken) impression that 1/8" female NPT and 1/8" FPT were the same.

I understand that the included reducer is needed for a Clippard/Burkert/Parker solenoid with 1/8" female NPT port, but my main question is why use a Swagelok reducer (1/4" MPT x 1/8" MPT) when a 1/4" male NPT to 1/8" male NPT would have done the same job as the (presumably) more expensive Swagelok reducer?
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
Well, I don't really want to incur any extra cost, but I'll consider it Regarding the JBJ bubble counter, I've never seen a chrome plated one before.
I've never seen one either. Would you want to try to get it chrome plated locally?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
I was always under the impression that MPT = male NPT, so I used them interchangeably.
That is the way that I understand these terms as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
As above, I was under the (mistaken) impression that 1/8" female NPT and 1/8" FPT were the same.
Yes. That is the same way that I express these parts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
I understand that the included reducer is needed for a Clippard/Burkert/Parker solenoid with 1/8" female NPT port, but my main question is why use a Swagelok reducer (1/4" MPT x 1/8" MPT) when a 1/4" male NPT to 1/8" male NPT would have done the same job as the (presumably) more expensive Swagelok reducer?
I don't know why he is using the Swagelok parts. His reducer is made from several parts instead of just one or two. They are high quality parts though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Left C
Which model(s) did you order?
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:27 PM   #14
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Don't be concerned about a used regulator having been used with a toxic gas. Gases don't hang around, they diffuse into the air. You could take any regulator that had been used with any gas and "flush" it with a few seconds flow of CO2 and there would be virtually zero of the previous gas left in it. No gas leaves a residue.

Regulators can be used with liquids too, so a used regulator that doesn't have a gas inlet fitting on it might well be contaminated. Those are the ones I would watch out for.
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Old 05-12-2009, 04:55 PM   #15
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If I'm not mistaken, the person that is building these high purity regulators told me that they have been used with hydrogen gas.
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