Dark, Flying or others .. Some CO2 build questions. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Dark, Flying or others .. Some CO2 build questions.

Please forgive my rambling, I am not sure why but I tend to write confusing posts.

I have read through the various links, yet for the most part all I see is "between 50-100 for a good regulator" however I am afraid of spending 100-130 on a regulator which can be purchased easily for 50 used. (It's times like these where I wish I still had the software that showed all the ebay "sale" prices over the course of several years). Let alone the surplus place I had by me before I moved which had bins of regulators for 20 and under, needle valves for 10 and under. (All brands I know now, swagelok, airgas, harris etc)

Yet, what exact price ranges am I looking at? Assuming the regulator is "standard" used (has little scrapes, gauge arrow stickers etc.) If a conaco 212 is selling for 60-75 is that a "good" price or do you guys wait until you see them for 50USD/70SGD?


Also when do I see diminishing returns on paying aside from bling? Obviously labs need Special high purity but in our hobby how much money is just "ADA food dispenser" prices when it comes to purchasing a regulator.

Example is a CB200 2 6C 320 Max 3000 PSI Cylinder Pressure Regulator Stage on ebay right now.

Something like that for 190USD benefit me or is it all "flash" at this point? Is it offering me HIGHER reliability and accuracy? I still want to keep the entire setup under 300USD (which I was going to spend on the ADA unit anyway) . Under 200 for the setup? Even better ..

I am doing DIY to build something better and cheaper than offerings from retail vendors but I can see how EASILY I would end up with a 500 dollar "used" build , without even purchasing my co2 tank which I want to avoid.

So with all of that said, if I am building a "quality" setup with used parts (aside from the solenoid / tank ) what should my total "build" price be? Regulator 80? , Check valve 10? needle 15-20? , fittings (no idea on costs, I assume in most builds unless I find a cga 320 reg I will need to buy the cga 320 fitting also).


Also here are some shorter questions (just curious).
Is there a device which can go after a single stage to make it dual?

Is there any purpose to the knob after the regulator that I see on many regulators for sale on ebay or do you just take them off and toss em?

What regulator to tank adapters should I avoid at all costs? (regulator might be threaded weird, e-4 might be welded with superman stuff to prevent tamper etc)

Thanks for putting up with me good sirs.


Last edited by YellowFin; 01-06-2016 at 03:37 PM. Reason: ebay link removed, just posted its title instead
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YellowFin View Post
Please forgive my rambling, I am not sure why but I tend to write confusing posts.

I have read through the various links, yet for the most part all I see is "between 50-100 for a good regulator" however I am afraid of spending 100-130 on a regulator which can be purchased easily for 50 used.



Also here are some shorter questions (just curious).
Is there a device which can go after a single stage to make it dual?

Is there any purpose to the knob after the regulator that I see on many regulators for sale on ebay or do you just take them off and toss em?

What regulator to tank adapters should I avoid at all costs? (regulator might be threaded weird, e-4 might be welded with superman stuff to prevent tamper etc)

Thanks for putting up with me good sirs.

my first used regulator (Victor VTS-350D) died within 6 months. Primary set went bad. $40 part or $100 plus rebuild..

Next Concoa (new old stock btw, not used) is still chugging along..
Neither was more than $50

So that is one reason to not consider used.. You are always playing the odds...
That said you certainly have a lot of wiggle room compared to new..

I compare risk costs w/ this.. Bare bottom retail 2 stage that, of course, needs an extra $10 part (cga-320)
Smith Series 30 Two Stage Oxygen Regulators - 35-125-540
Brand spanking new 2 stage regulator for about $200...
regulator and really more so needle valve are the critical parts..

now a concept few use is the gang 2 1 stage together.. cost, even new is like $100
BUT it would be unsightly largish..


When searching used I stuck w/ victor VTS 250 or 350 and Concoa..
Both brass, both "old school" and both available fairly regularly in all sorts of conditions..YMMV

Fabco needle valves are like $40


so $240 and your set to go for the most critical parts new.
Where your risk/reward curve starts.

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."

Last edited by jeffkrol; 01-06-2016 at 05:28 PM. Reason: edit
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
my first used regulator (Victor VTS-350D) died within 6 months. Primary set went bad. $40 part or $100 plus rebuild..

Next Concoa (new old stock btw, not used) is still chugging along..
Neither was more than $50

So that is one reason to not consider used.. You are always playing the odds...
That said you certainly have a lot of wiggle room compared to new..

I compare risk costs w/ this.. Bare bottom retail 2 stage that, of course, needs an extra $10 part (cga-320)
Smith Series 30 Two Stage Oxygen Regulators - 35-125-540
Brand spanking new 2 stage regulator for about $200...
regulator and really more so needle valve are the critical parts..

now a concept few use is the gang 2 1 stage together.. cost, even new is like $100
BUT it would be unsightly largish..


When searching used I stuck w/ victor VTS 250 or 350 and Concoa..
Both brass, both "old school" and both available fairly regularly in all sorts of conditions..YMMV

Fabco needle valves are like $40


so $240 and your set to go for the most critical parts new.
Where your risk/reward curve starts.
Thankyou I really appreciate it. It seems the pricing is all over the place so I was worried about buying a regulator which costs to much or purchasing a used regulator (say for 100) that is commonly found for around 65 or so.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by YellowFin View Post
Thankyou I really appreciate it. It seems the pricing is all over the place so I was worried about buying a regulator which costs to much or purchasing a used regulator (say for 100) that is commonly found for around 65 or so.
Well that takes a lot of time and patience ..AND.. reading spec sheets to make sure you get the "correct" one..

Besides you could get a smoking deal and the next one sold is smoking x2 deal..

Conversely ,you could buy a used reg for $80 based on look ect that lasts a week OR a $20 looking beat to bejezzus one that lasts forever..

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 09:51 PM
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Dual stage regulators, generally speaking, are high quality. There's just too much that is demanded from them to skimp. That said, there are a lot of regs on Evilbay that have seen a lot of wear and tear, over many years. Some of those will continue to function perfectly for many years to come, and some have leaky diaphragms. But if you find a dual stage reg that works, it will most likely continue working for longer than your interest in the hobby, given how we little we ask of them.

Single stage regulators, if they're industrial grade, probably have an even longer expected lifespan than dual stage, if only because there's less that can go wrong.

Most of us don't bother with new regulators. We look for used regs that look like they haven't done hard time. You can certainly find a high quality, good condition, used dual stage reg for under $75 shipped. Under $50 requires patience.

If you check out reefcentral, they're maybe 5 years behind us in building their own regs (for their calcium reactors), and clearly they have money to burn, as every build is very, very shiny. They're the ones who'll spend that $190 on a new reg.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by kevmo911 View Post



Most of us don't bother with new regulators. We look for used regs that look like they haven't done hard time. You can certainly find a high quality, good condition, used dual stage reg for under $75 shipped. Under $50 requires patience.
From what I've seen lately.. markets a bit high..

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 04:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
From what I've seen lately.. markets a bit high..
Higher than it's been over the last few years, true. But that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of deals to be had. I bought a GPT270 for $35 shipped a month ago. It was missing a gauge cover, but other than that is in very nice condition. And gauge covers are cheap if I want to replace it. The deals are out there, I promise. It just takes some work. $75 shipped is fairly easy to come by.

I do have a list of a bunch of Evilbay searches, because I know what's available and what to search for. So, yeah, that makes it easier. Most people don't know what to search for, it's true, but by looking through the hundreds of build threads, you can create a large list of possibilities.

For example, "regulator" +
HPT/GPT 270/272
VTS 250/450
E12/Y12
55850
5183
9296
3104
etc.

It's tough to search for Concoas other than by "concoa" because their models are all just a long string of varying numbers. But any model that starts with 212, 312, 315, 332, 412, or 432 might work. And if they're Praxair rebrands, they usually start with PRX, I believe, followed by the Concoa numbers.

Also, you can search for brands. "Regulator" +:
Victor
Concoa
Matheson
Harris
Smith
VWR
AGA
Air Products
Airgas
Linde
Fisher
Scott
etc.

And, finally, if you don't mind wading through a whole lot of stuff, search in Business and Industrial for something like "regulator -watts -voltage -circuit -temperature" and narrow it down further on your own.

And don't forget to haggle!
Timmy!! and Timmy!! like this.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 05:48 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kevmo911 View Post
Higher than it's been over the last few years, true. But that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of deals to be had. I bought a GPT270 for $35 shipped a month ago. It was missing a gauge cover, but other than that is in very nice condition. And gauge covers are cheap if I want to replace it. The deals are out there, I promise. It just takes some work. $75 shipped is fairly easy to come by.

I do have a list of a bunch of Evilbay searches, because I know what's available and what to search for. So, yeah, that makes it easier. Most people don't know what to search for, it's true, but by looking through the hundreds of build threads, you can create a large list of possibilities.

For example, "regulator" +
HPT/GPT 270/272
VTS 250/450
E12/Y12
55850
5183
9296
3104
etc.

It's tough to search for Concoas other than by "concoa" because their models are all just a long string of varying numbers. But any model that starts with 212, 312, 315, 332, 412, or 432 might work. And if they're Praxair rebrands, they usually start with PRX, I believe, followed by the Concoa numbers.

Also, you can search for brands. "Regulator" +:
Victor
Concoa
Matheson
Harris
Smith
VWR
AGA
Air Products
Airgas
Linde
Fisher
Scott
etc.

And, finally, if you don't mind wading through a whole lot of stuff, search in Business and Industrial for something like "regulator -watts -voltage -circuit -temperature" and narrow it down further on your own.

And don't forget to haggle!

Thanks Kevmo. I no longer have to look at long lists of various electronic parts heh. Hopefully I can find a good deal or at least an average one on a nice regulator. I keep thinking I might've found a deal but zooming in I can see how warn the regulator is. I am also surprised at the amount of "New / Old stock" which obviously has consumer teflon wraps around the connections etc.

As for the RC comment prior; I am not sure why that is. I guess maybe because the size of the tanks plus extra safety measures a bad solenoid / regulator does not kill a tank as quickly. It is amusing since personally I never thought of it that way until you brought it up. I have spent 1500+ on small bubbleking, KZ skimmers. An ECM/Computer over 500 plus the probes . On and On yet I never gave thought to the crappy milwaukee regulator sitting under my tank. Even when I sold the thing (purchased a GHL dosing unit) I think I still sold the co2 setup for only 40 less than I bought it new. In fact since 2004 till my tank crash in 2013 (I never log into RC anymore) I never recall a single thread discussing better regulators. Burket 6011's maybe but never regulators.

Well off to browse more evilbay!

Jeff and Kev I cant thank you guys enough for your help. I am sure what you have typed has been "repeated" somewhere on these forums before. I am just obviously pretty bad at searching (aside from reading the stickys)
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
For example, "regulator" +
HPT/GPT 270/272
VTS 250/450
don't forget sub models though...
As an example I'm familiar with:
VTS-250 "A" (2-15psi) is generally not useable (if planning on atomizers) or "b" is marginal (2-40 psi, running too close to max for me) .
Nor are gauges always an indication since they can be replaced..

Regulators that are fitted for O2 are a bit suspect too, due to the wear from O2..

All sorts of "itty bits" to consider..

Hey I buy all mine used but the downside shouldn't be minimized nor maximized.. just put into perspective..
Thus the reason I start w/ what is the "real cost" of a retail built from scratch CO2 system.. and go from there..
Just a method for my madness..
Some people hate used things , ask my wife..

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-08-2016, 03:20 PM
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Used or new, single or dual stage, those are always questions and you can only quess when buying.
I have a different background than many and that gives me a different spin on regs.
I used regs for keeping pressure on cables and saw what happened to them. They are a tool and we simply used them until they no longer worked and then they went "somewhere" to a junk man. It is assumed that they were then resold and I would guess they wind up on auction sites.
What happened to them while being used is the part that leaves me not wanting those regs! During floods, it is critical to keep cables dry as long as possible so dry nitrogen is pumped in by strapping tanks out along the line. These are often stuck through the flood and go under water. They are used in manholes full of "stuff" that may come out of sewers. They are also left out during ice storms where they freeze up and are thawed with a torch to get them working again. There is a rubber/ plastic coated fiber diaphragm inside the reg and water or frying is not going to make it hold up well, long term. It may work but for how long is a question.
So my thinking runs me away from regs for nitrogen and I prefer those used for O2 with nice shiny plating. A hospital is a far more likely spot to find a plated reg than a welder or outside use. Life in a hospital is far more friendly to regs than living outside?
But then I also don't find I need a dual stage since I do a good job of preventing leaks. In total, I find better value in a new single stage reg for $50 from the home brew store. I get a reg that is almost certain to outlast my needs with simple internal parts that can be repaired if they do fail. I don't have to deal with those folks on auction sites that sell "new/other" things that look like they were hit by a truck and have the scars to show.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-10-2016, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
Used or new, single or dual stage, those are always questions and you can only quess when buying.
I have a different background than many and that gives me a different spin on regs.
I used regs for keeping pressure on cables and saw what happened to them. They are a tool and we simply used them until they no longer worked and then they went "somewhere" to a junk man. It is assumed that they were then resold and I would guess they wind up on auction sites.
What happened to them while being used is the part that leaves me not wanting those regs! During floods, it is critical to keep cables dry as long as possible so dry nitrogen is pumped in by strapping tanks out along the line. These are often stuck through the flood and go under water. They are used in manholes full of "stuff" that may come out of sewers. They are also left out during ice storms where they freeze up and are thawed with a torch to get them working again. There is a rubber/ plastic coated fiber diaphragm inside the reg and water or frying is not going to make it hold up well, long term. It may work but for how long is a question.
So my thinking runs me away from regs for nitrogen and I prefer those used for O2 with nice shiny plating. A hospital is a far more likely spot to find a plated reg than a welder or outside use. Life in a hospital is far more friendly to regs than living outside?
But then I also don't find I need a dual stage since I do a good job of preventing leaks. In total, I find better value in a new single stage reg for $50 from the home brew store. I get a reg that is almost certain to outlast my needs with simple internal parts that can be repaired if they do fail. I don't have to deal with those folks on auction sites that sell "new/other" things that look like they were hit by a truck and have the scars to show.


Thanks Rich, Kev and Jeff helped me out a great deal so I managed to build my own regulator setup (By build my own = let everyone make choices for me , for the most part and Ill wrench it up heh) .

I should have a build log soon on my entire setup and hopefully it will help other users who were in a situation like mine.


(Also this is yellowfin, found my old account info and put in my new email)
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-10-2016, 09:49 PM
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It's all a trip and we gotta make the first one at some point. Good luck and see where it goes. the really sad thing is that it is all go involved with the personal decisions that it really is hard to put a finger on the "best" way as we all value different varieties of the same thing. Pretty close to picking the best girl but at least we don't wind up married !
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