DIY regulator - newbie questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-01-2020, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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DIY regulator - newbie questions

Hello,

Pardon my English. I have been a member for a while and havent really posted anything. I have several planted tanks and some of them are high-tech using commercial regulators. I was given several dual-stage regulators and I thought that I could try to "build" a CO2 regulator for my next tank. I have been reading but still have some concerns. Please help me out
1. The first and the most important question is are they still good after water got in them if I let them dry completely ?( rain water). Some of them still had gauges and some type of long pipes connected to in and out so I think they may be okay. The rest didnt have gauges or anything connected so rain water most likely got in them
2. The ones I got are prs3032(output max 50) and prs3013(output max 100). They have 1/4in NPT ports for what I've read they should be okay to use? they are really bulky and heavy. I will weight them tonight but what is the weight limit I can put on the valve/ CGA 320 connector thingy on the CO2 tanks?
3. To look for the fittings can I just search for "brass/nickel plated pipe fittings" ? Is there any standard they need to meet or as long as they are metal pipe fittings they are good?

Thank you very much!

Model Prs303233

Last edited by lk7630; 07-01-2020 at 05:42 PM. Reason: Fix img link
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-01-2020, 04:16 PM
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Here is my DIY regulator build, I would use a different needle valve today.

https://www.reddit.com/r/PlantedTank...ort=confidence

I can't see your image.

I am not an expert, but at a minimum I would make sure that there is no corrosion.

Water on the outside would not be much much of a concern to me if all the in/outlets were connected.

If they were open and exposed to the elements I personally would leave it.

Also make sure they are for CO2.
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-01-2020, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Nice build! I am trying to fix the image it's hard on the phone. The ones with nothing connected when it was left out in the rain look cleaner and newer than the connected ones that was why I asked, they also have psi max 100 comparing to psi max 50 of the ones with ports connected. I dont even know if all of them were left out or just some. There is water coming out of some but not all.

Last edited by lk7630; 07-01-2020 at 05:47 PM. Reason: More info
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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-01-2020, 06:54 PM
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1. water inside is fine, when the regulator connects to the co2 tank with CGA320, a couple on/off long blast of co2 will push water out.

2. prs3032 is the same as Matheson 3810 and prs3013 is matheson 3120, see picture below, a matheson 3810.

3. normal/cheap brass or forged 304 stainless steel pipe fittings are at least 150 psi max rating, they are fine as working on outlet size of the regulator, but recommend the good fittings, swagelok or equivalent.



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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-01-2020, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettatail View Post
1. water inside is fine, when the regulator connects to the co2 tank, a couple on/off long blast of co2 will push water out.
2. prs3032 is the same as Matheson 3810 and prs3013 is matheson 3120, see picture below, a matheson 3810.
3. normal/cheap brass or forged 304 stainless steel pipe fittings are 150 psi max rating, they are fine as working on outlet size of the regulator, but recommend the good fittings, swagelok or equivalent.


Thank you for your very informative answers. I am also trying to find the fittings to split to 3,4 tanks. Do you have any recommendations?
- Also 50 max psi vs 100 max psi output regulators?
- for the check valve should I include it in the post body (if there is such a thing)?
Too many questions
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-01-2020, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by lk7630 View Post
Thank you for your very informative answers. I am also trying to find the fittings to split to 3,4 tanks. Do you have any recommendations?
- Also 50 max psi vs 100 max psi output regulators?
- for the check valve should I include it in the post body (if there is such a thing)?
Too many questions

just build something like this out of brass fittings.
This one is kind of neat because it has a downstream safety valve at the end,,
https://www.morebeer.com/products/ga...d-4-brass.html




Or like this:
https://www.diyco2regulator.com/3-output-manifold



As to 50 vs 100.. well see little reason to go above 50psi for our uses though always prefer "breathing room".
And yes use check valves.

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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 03:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lk7630 View Post
Thank you for your very informative answers. I am also trying to find the fittings to split to 3,4 tanks. Do you have any recommendations?
- Also 50 max psi vs 100 max psi output regulators?
- for the check valve should I include it in the post body (if there is such a thing)?
Too many questions
50 max psi or 100 max psi regulators, are both good, because the 100 psi max solenoids are easy to find, and we normally set output co2 pressure 25-50 psi depends on the diffuser types.

check valve, yes, many to choose from.

for output split, you can be creative, the manifold that Jeff show in above post is a good one, work with one solenoid and with on/off valve on each output too.
depends on the needle valves that for the split, the post body can be many style with manifold or fittings...

three output single manifold



fittings manifold


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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you jeffkrol and Bettatail. What are your thought on SMC needle valves (As1xxx and 2xxx) ?
I am trying to find the fitting that has 1/8MPT in and multiple U10-32 such as the one in the photos below. I dont know the keyword to find it and diyco2regulator ran out of stock
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-04-2020, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bettatail View Post
.

3. normal/cheap brass or forged 304 stainless steel pipe fittings are at least 150 psi max rating, they are fine as working on outlet size of the regulator, but recommend the good fittings, swagelok or equivalent.
Can a regulator ever fail in such a way that it wont regulate the pressure at all and the output psi is the same as the input (850psi)?

Last edited by lk7630; 07-04-2020 at 01:13 PM. Reason: .
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-04-2020, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lk7630 View Post
Can a regulator ever fail in such a way that it wont regulate the pressure at all and the output psi is the same as the input (850psi)?
Yes and this relates to what you might want to do with the regs which have been wet. Inside each reg is a diaphragm, made of various types of flexible things like rubber, plastic or combinations of things for a stretchy,flexible "wall" between the high pressure and a spring. Looking at the drawing, the high pressure presses down while the adjustment spring presses up to move a form of needle in and out of a hole to regulate the pressure.
The hazard of these getting wet, depends on how wet, how long and what the diaphragm is made of. Like any material, some fail sooner than others and get a hole in them.
But if they get a large enough hole and fail totally, the spring is then not pushing against the gas but the whole reg body is filled with gas as the needle valve is no longer part way down in the hole but pushed totally up and the hole is just open!
When this happens, the high pressure will usually break the weakest spot on the output side, often a tube on a diffuser or such. Then there will be lots of CO2 flowing until the tank runs dry. It is not a super big issue, but it can happen and will blow out a small item in the low presssure gauge called the bourdon tube as it is just a thin metal foil item.
But it is only a thing that might happen and something to know and be aware of when deciding. Many regs have been wet and do fine. Some will get weird if hard water deposits form in the area where the diaphragm needs to slide up and down. Where I found this was in telephone work where we had to put tanks and regs in manholes to try to keep cables dry. Sometimes it worked and sometimes we came back after flooding to find a mess! But those are pretty extreme situations. CO2 is not dangerous but it can make a mess if it stops working correctly.
A point on the valves pictured to keep in mind? Those are using a small/ tiny thread called a 10-32. Ten is a size of screw used in the US and 32 is the number of threads per inch. So that joint depends on a pretty thin portion the size of a screw to hold it up and does break pretty easy if we hit it.
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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-04-2020, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by lk7630 View Post
Can a regulator ever fail in such a way that it wont regulate the pressure at all and the output psi is the same as the input (850psi)?

Yes but most single stages incorporate a safety valve.
2 stage.. not so much..
Well one on the first stage, not second.

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Last edited by jeffkrol; 07-04-2020 at 04:39 PM. Reason: edit
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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-04-2020, 04:30 PM
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Can a regulator ever fail in such a way that it wont regulate the pressure at all and the output psi is the same as the input (850psi)?
Yes, but rare, the purpose of regulator is to safely lower the pressure and delivery the gas, a double stages not only keep the output pressure steady, but two diaphragm valves inside is a double safety if one of them fail.
If all stages fail, one of the diaphragm will burst and most likely the second stage, so the high pressure will Release and not deliver to the downstream.

@jeffkrol, safety valve is not a must, but we often see it on the inter stage of an 2 stage diaphragm regulator.
On those cheap single stage or 2 stage or even 3 stage PIN/spring valve regulator, pressure relief valve is a must because if the spring valves fail, the high pressure gas will flow down the line without a safety vent.


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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-04-2020, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Bettatail View Post

@jeffkrol, safety valve is not a must, but we often see it on the inter stage of an 2 stage diaphragm regulator.
On those cheap single stage or 2 stage or even 3 stage PIN/spring valve regulator, pressure relief valve is a must because if the spring valves fail, the high pressure gas will flow down the line without a safety vent.

AFAICT there is RARELY a safety valve at the second stage outlet.
This. if second stage fails will allow whatever the first stage is set to to proceed downstream..Say somewhere between 250-150psi depending on the regulator..
I do add a 50psi relief valve downstream for the UNLIKELY event that happens but 50psi won't blow hoses or normally atomizers..



Maybe I'm looking at it wrong but most reg data sheets state.. "Will not protect downstream equipment"
There are some that do add it and usually state so.

There is the pinhole relief in some regs but pretty sure it really isn't made for catastrophic failure..
https://www.controlair.com/blog/what...ing-regulator/


Quote:
4. Relief Valve (where provided): The relief valve is designed to protect the low pressure side of the regulator from high pressures. Relief valves are not intended to protect down-stream equipment from high pressures.
https://www.norco-inc.com/ASSETS/DOC...structions.pdf


right or wrong it's about a $20 addition..

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Last edited by jeffkrol; 07-04-2020 at 04:58 PM. Reason: edit
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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-04-2020, 06:58 PM
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Maybe I'm looking at it wrong but most reg data sheets state.. "Will not protect downstream equipment"
There are some that do add it and usually state so.
that is true, reg manufacture not liable for the ripple effect...

what I meant relief here is not the actual relief valve, is the diaphragm acting as a guard venting the high pressure, by doing this the diaphragm is suppose to be punched/broken according to the max pressure that it can withstand.


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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-04-2020, 08:44 PM
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that is true, reg manufacture not liable for the ripple effect...

what I meant relief here is not the actual relief valve, is the diaphragm acting as a guard venting the high pressure, by doing this the diaphragm is suppose to be punched/broken according to the max pressure that it can withstand.

Well first to reiterate.. All of this ONLY applies to 2 stage regulators or gosh forbid pooly made single stage ones.
Not sure I buy the fact that the diaphragm (esp stainless steel ones ) will rupture and push 125psi out the bonnet.
Second I'm not sure that little bonnet hole will drop the psi enough not to send > than set pressure down the line.

A lot of hoses are barely rated to 20psi..


Besides it's the seat that is more of an issue.
A bad seat can allow pressure to creep up past the set point so if even a non-catastrophic event can create excess pressure downstream.

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