DIY CO2 regulator - Page 13 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #181 of 195 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 04:57 AM
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Trying to go next level. Just my style right? I have become obsessed with electronic flow controllers like the sierra side track mass flow controller. These are available in 0-100 and 0-200 cc/min options. Looking for some feedback on what I have found. @jeffkrol I am looking forward to hearing from you in particular, because have a great grasp of technical details. This is the link to the Sierra side track flow controller instruction manual. I did a quick read-over of the connections and it seems to me that a simple potentiometer is required to adjust settings as illustrated on page 2-7 and 2-11, and a +15v, -15v and a common ground are the power requirements. a flow meter could easily be used to confirm the output flow and I could adjust the potentiometer accordingly.
Am I missing something here? Could it be that simple?
Oh man you are too much! LOL Going deeper and deeper off the deep end. Hahahaha The voltage info and the potentiometer info is correct. Granted I didn't really read enough to determine how all of this worked, but sounds like you've got it. Now what are you going to hook this up to a Raspberry Pie or something?

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post #182 of 195 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 04:58 AM
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That's funny. Had to stop myself from getting sucked into the mass flow devices when I was looking at flow meters. Just back away from the rabbit hole... lol
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post #183 of 195 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 05:16 AM Thread Starter
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Oh man you are too much! LOL Going deeper and deeper off the deep end. Hahahaha The voltage info and the potentiometer info is correct. Granted I didn't really read enough to determine how all of this worked, but sounds like you've got it. Now what are you going to hook this up to a Raspberry Pie or something?
Yeah, not ready to jump into Raspberry PI or Ardunos just yet. But if it is simple as soldering and adding a power supply and potentiometer, then I feel like I am up to that challenge.

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That's funny. Had to stop myself from getting sucked into the mass flow devices when I was looking at flow meters. Just back away from the rabbit hole... lol
Pretty much the same message. If I can control it with a potentiometer then the rabbit hole is not that deep. Besides, rabbit holes are my thing. as long as they are not too deep....
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post #184 of 195 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 05:40 AM
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Is this actually a flow controller or just a flow "gauge?" Wasn't really sure on the very little I read of it.

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post #185 of 195 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 05:46 AM
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Pretty much the same message. If I can control it with a potentiometer then the rabbit hole is not that deep. Besides, rabbit holes are my thing. as long as they are not too deep....
This seemed like a pretty deep one from my brief peering down into the hole. I'm sure that you could figure it out and make it work. Whether the deep dive and trouble/expense is worth it or not and practical benefits are more the question.

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Originally Posted by chayos00 View Post
Is this actually a flow controller or just a flow "gauge?" Wasn't really sure on the very little I read of it.

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It's a mix depending on exactly what and which you're looking at. You have controllers and transducers and external controls and up- and down-stream elements, etc. Some sold separately, some as more integrated units. Various combinations and bits and pieces in between. That's part of the complexity from my looking at it and hard to tell exactly what you're buying in some cases.
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post #186 of 195 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 05:51 AM
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https://www.amazon.com/Regulator-Pow.../dp/B00N4259QQ
And you could also attach a voltmeter to it.. w/ following specs:
Quote:
Standard output for all transducers is a 0-5 V DC signal, which
directly corresponds to the 0 to
100% mass flow full scale range.
Output signals are linear and require a minimum load resistance
of 1000
6 looks to be the 5V out tap for the pot..A and 10..
as you see you can apply your own 0-5V signal..
Those small dc/dc step down boards on evil bay come to mind..

Looks to be that easy.. Except the valve on/off thing needs to be sorted out:
Quote:
Caution: Never leave the controller with no gas supply while supplying a
setpoint. The valve will open to its maximum position and eventually overheat causing possible damage to the control circuit. If it
is desired to interrupt the gas flow for an extended period, consider utilizing the
“Valve-Off” circuit.
The valve purge thingy is kind of confusing and some notes worth noting..
Quote:
NOTE: On controllers purchased or repaired after
2002, pin 3 (valve return) must have its own
dedicated ground wire back to the power
supply in order to operate the valve

Devil is in the details..
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post #187 of 195 (permalink) Old 03-16-2019, 06:20 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chayos00 View Post
Is this actually a flow controller or just a flow "gauge?" Wasn't really sure on the very little I read of it.

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Some of them are described as mass flow meters and some as mass flow controllers. It appears the difference is the cylinder on the right side that controls the flow. There is another line called Top Track that have integrated display and control buttons, but those are a lot more expensive. Those are also available in meter and controller versions.
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post #188 of 195 (permalink) Old 03-16-2019, 09:50 AM
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I've always thought the mass flow controllers are the only way to accurately know how much CO2 is being used. The only hold back has been the cost of high quality units that come with a display, but more have been showing up on eb** for reasonable pricing. I'm just waiting for someone to jump down the rabbit hole and let us know what they find!


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post #189 of 195 (permalink) Old 03-16-2019, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ken Keating1 View Post
I've always thought the mass flow controllers are the only way to accurately know how much CO2 is being used. The only hold back has been the cost of high quality units that come with a display, but more have been showing up on eb** for reasonable pricing. I'm just waiting for someone to jump down the rabbit hole and let us know what they find!
I'm sticking my head in the hole to see exactly how deep it is. I managed to get a 0-200 ml/min controller for under $40 shipped. I figure it is worth that price just to see if it can work for our purposes. No guarantees, but I am going to play with it a bit and see how it goes.
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post #190 of 195 (permalink) Old 03-24-2019, 05:45 AM
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Got the Air Liquide regulator that you'd posted and finally got things put together last week. Really nice little unit. I like it a lot. Just about perfect for aquarium use I think. Kinda wish that I'd gone with that from the start vs the other huge ones that I have.

Thanks! That was a good find.
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post #191 of 195 (permalink) Old 03-24-2019, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by AguaScape View Post
So.. I found this little gem of a regulator and I could not resist getting one. IKR? Just like me to buy another regulator.. It is an Air Liquide model 14 two stage with 2-50 psi output

I got it on the Bay for $55 plus $10 shipping. Search item number 254105757767. He still has 55 of them. I was considering seeing if I could get a quantity discount, but my rational side got control before I did something stupid. This is the sexiest little regulator I have ever seen at this quality level. The only problem is that you can't go any larger than 1-1/2" gauges on it without using 90s to angle them up and outward. It has a 1/4 NPT input and a 1/8 NPT output.

Wanted to post up here in case anyone else would be interested in getting one for their own build.
Couldn't find it on bay, tried to search 254105757767, got zero results...... Am I missing something? thanks
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post #192 of 195 (permalink) Old 03-24-2019, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Couldn't find it on bay, tried to search 254105757767, got zero results...... Am I missing something? thanks
Search these words Miniature Two Stage Regulator High Purity Gas. New Surplus $525 List Price! It will get you there. The price is $67.50 now. Still a really good value.
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post #193 of 195 (permalink) Old 03-24-2019, 10:35 PM
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Search these words Miniature Two Stage Regulator High Purity Gas. New Surplus $525 List Price! It will get you there. The price is $67.50 now. Still a really good value.
tried to search. Could be possibly I'm not from US. I've tried to search the US e bay. found lots of Harris an Matterson.... no Minature unit
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post #194 of 195 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 05:06 AM Thread Starter
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tried to search. Could be possibly I'm not from US. I've tried to search the US e bay. found lots of Harris an Matterson.... no Minature unit
It is possible that he has it set up for domestic shipping only... Some items are hard to ship overseas because of customs regulations
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post #195 of 195 (permalink) Old 05-22-2019, 07:30 AM
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Hi,
I'm wondering if I could ask you gents for help. I purchased the Ebay regulator posted by AguaScape, and received it. It's lovely looking. I'd like to make a paintball setup, for space reasons, and would like to it to stand up. I haven't gotten around to sourcing the rest of the build yet.

I just came back from a trip and was sad to see my plants wilted from lack of CO2 - I'd been using a ghetto-rigged mini bike tire inflator with disposable CO2 cartridges, turning it on each evening for a few hours when I came home from work, and my plants were doing well! But it's too finicky to ask someone to do this for me while I'm away if they are fish-sitting. In any case, this has prompted me to get started on the regulator.

I'm not overly technically minded, but have read enough from you guys to know the parts like the solenoid and NV -55-18 in the kit from DIYCO2regulator would be good for this job. I have no interest in integrating a bubble counter. (I do think an analog flow meter would be cool and useful!)
The only thing is I want to keep everything vertical as much as possible, and nice and tightly parallel with the regulator mounted vertically on the paintball tank - does that make sense? I don't want it to topple.

I'd buy the post-body kit, and a few additional pieces if that's recommended, but otherwise should I just buy the solenoid and valve?

But could anyone suggest some generic hardware dimensions that I could use to make a nice vertically oriented build? Complicating this is that not all sellers on Ebay will ship to canada, but I might be able to find similar hardware in Canada (Toronto) locally.

Thanks so much in advance for your input!
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