High Tech CO2 ... Ay, yi, yi - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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High Tech CO2 ... Ay, yi, yi

It's a good thing I love this hobby and consider this kind of thing part of the work that goes into growing plants well, and appreciate the additional technical/etc aspects of CO2 injection...

A month ago, for no reason other than boredom, I leak-checked all of my fittings. No leaks, but managed to get Snoop (bubble liquid) into the electrical part of my solenoid valve, which melted down 30 minutes later (smelled the burning) and needed to be replaced. My mistake.

Last week I noticed that my drop checker was much darker blue than normal. Break out my leak detection fluid and what do you know there's a leak at the tubing inlet where I pulled tubing through my DIY bubble counter. So I DIY a new bubble counter. Then I slowly up the CO2 over a 5 day span to tweak it into the right needle valve setting. 2 days ago it was finally where I wanted it.


Home sick from work today, so when the tank lights come on I'm around to take a look. Weird, my drop checkers are both solid blue when normally they're starting to go green around lights on.

Take a look underneath and what do you know, my bubble counter shows zero flow. I unplug my solenoid a few times but nothing. I disconnect one of the two check valves I have between the counter and the reactor, and sure enough the bubble counter goes crazy. I do some testing and narrow down the stoppage to the final check valve going into my reactor.

Lay down a towel, get ready to act fast, and I disconnect the check valve and as water is spraying out (even with filter off...and not enough tubing length for me to "twist it shut" without fear of damaging it...place the 2nd check valve back to the reactor.

Now I have CO2 blasting in but needed to back my needle valve way off and will have to spend another few/several days tweaking it back up again : /


Appreciate any recommendations on long lasting check valves for the tubing, these ones are silver colored brass checks I got from Hong Kong via Ebay, and only 5 months old. Now I'm waiting for the next one to fail shut : /


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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 07:20 PM
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I just use the cheapo plastic ones. I've never had any trouble with them....maybe your needle valve was too open = more water backflow allowed? I had that problem previously before I upped the working pressure (was way low) and had to close the needle valve a lot more = no backflow. Sorry to hear about your troubles but glad it hasn't discouraged you. Keep at it!


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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I run at 15 PSI working pressure.


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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by freph View Post
I just use the cheapo plastic ones. I've never had any trouble with them...!
Me too. My LFS sells plastic check valves for $2 or $3 and they are super reliable.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 08:10 PM
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I've read an uncomfortable number of failure stories of the Asian stainless steel ones (the same ones that come in the JBJ-style check valves), the plastic LFS ones, and even the Clippard ones. Which leaves us, to be safe, with paying a lot more money for something dependable like a Swagelok or Parker.

There's another possible option - USPlastics has very cheap ones that I've (surprisingly) read a few good things about, and no failure stories. However, I have yet to order any. Last week, I did a quick search through there to give them a look again, and found an additional type.

These are the links I've seen. $.85 and $1.45, first is polypropylene, second is Kynar (which somebody will have to give feedback on). Viton seals. Unknown manufacturer.
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/ite...2229&catid=489
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/ite...2230&catid=489

The other option, that I hadn't seen before, is at $2 or $2.20 apiece. Buna-N, SS ball/spring. One is polypropylene, one is nylon. SMC is manufacturer.
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/ite...8670&catid=489
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/ite...8673&catid=489

I'm really not sure what's up with their shipping, though. Estimated shipping for 10 of the first item is $5. Est for 20 of the same item is $14.50.

Est for 10 of the 2nd item is $5. Est for 20 of them is $10.66.

Cheaper to order two sets of 10 than one set of 20. Of a small, plastic check valve. Go figure.
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