Working pressure on regulator rising - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Working pressure on regulator rising

So i purchased a regulator and the issue i am having, when the solenoid shuts off, over the course of the night the pressure on the working side (LP) increases from 35(set) to 50-55.

I was told by the manufacturer that this is because i have a leak somewhere. Either on the tank side or the solenoid / bubble counter side.

Can someone help me understand the dynamics on why this would work the way they state? it seem counter intuitive to me.
Thanks
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 07:27 PM
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you have a leak probably BUT it's INSIDE the regulator..
No manuf would tell you different AFAICT..

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Creep: An increase in outlet pressure typically caused by regulator seat leakage.

Causes of creep

The seat of the problem is in the seat itself. Regulator seats can be compromised by particulates in the process stream, which can cause minor imperfections in the sealing surface. The high flow and small orifice that is created in a pressure regulator combine to turn a very small particle into a fast projectile. This projectile can nick the sealing surface of the seat and cause leakage. Any other damage to the poppet or the seat can also cause creep. Using a regulator with a soft seat can reduce the opportunity for creep.

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 07:28 PM
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If your regulator is anything like the usual ones I see, I highly doubt there is a leak on the solenoid side, since that would be as you said "counter-intuitive." However, I would be interested in knowing what brand you are using to help further diagnose the problem. That being said, I would wager that your problem lies within the regulator, more specifically in the actual control knob. So instead of an actual leak, you probably have more of a "loose-knob syndrome" where, when backpressure is induced the valve rotates, too either more or less open.
However, just to make sure I would spray down your entire regulator with soapy water and check for air bubbles. This being said, DO NOT USE THE REGULATOR ON YOUR TANK UNTIL YOU ARE POSITIVE THE ISSUE IS FIXED, I have lost over $200 dollars of fish due to a faulty regulator.


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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you have a leak probably BUT it's INSIDE the regulator..
This was my thought too. It's the only explanation that makes sense.

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I would be interested in knowing what brand you are using to help further diagnose the problem.
I'm going to keep that one tight to my chest for now. I'm going to follow their instructions and see what comes of it first, but i assure you it's a good quality one, though a single stage.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-31-2019, 03:00 AM
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To run through some simple thinking may help?
If you had a leak on the CO2 tank side, what would happen? You vent CO2 to the air and eventually run out of gas but that is not what the reg is showing as it seeems to say you have MORE??? Not very likely, is it?
What happens if we have a leak on the solenoid/bubble counter side? More gas flows and working pressure is lowered until the reg adjusts (regulates?) it but you are seeing higher pressure.
So what happens if the reg has an internal leak and gas is slipping past the diaphram or ppet valve to the low pressure/working side? When the flow to the solenoid is closed off, that pressure leaking past will gradually build up and show on the meter!
Humm! This sounds very much like what you are getting, doesn't it?
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Last edited by PlantedRich; 01-31-2019 at 03:01 AM. Reason: typo
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-31-2019, 04:14 AM
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I agree with @PlantedRich 100% here. The only way you could be seeing an increase in pressure on your LP side while your solenoid is closed is if pressure is leaking past your diaphragm. I cannot think of another reason why pressure would be increasing while the solenoid is closed. Probably not a problem at the numbers you are quoting, but it could become worse with time.

I commend you for not calling out a manufacturer before letting them help diagnose the problem and/or making things right by refund or exchange.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-31-2019, 10:51 AM
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Gotta be a leak past the poppet. Grit or damage. The first means possibly a loss (difficult to fix). The second is a loss. If it's grit you need to open it and attempt to blow it out. If you have access to strong compressed air you've got a shot.

With the regulator OFF the bottle, dial in the adjustment way in as if you were going for high pressure. That should open the poppet as far as you need. Then you'd need to blow VERY CLEAN air backward through the reg. Open the solenoid and rig the compressed air to the outlet and make short quick bursts.

Don't try to blow it out forward. You only take the risk of lodging the grit in the solenoid valve.

If it's a damaged poppet there's no way to fix it short of disassembling the reg and lapping the poppet and the seat if it's a hard seat. If it's a soft seat a new seal might be available (rebuild kit - good luck if it's not a Victor or other welding reg). Either way I'd rather have my toe-nails torn out with plyers.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-31-2019, 02:25 PM
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Reason for me to feel so sure this is the problem? I have worked in industrial areas where it sometimes requires a tank and reg to be put where we are kind of sure it will get wet, like during a flood. Like when there is a flood coming but you have a big old telephone cable that you KNOW will be totally lost if pressure is lost?
So after we let the regs flood, they often have a bit of creep until they are rebuilt. My best guess is that the hard water minerals get in places where they should seal but they don't. So it may not always be a manufacturer defect if the reg has had water back up into it, where it dried and left deposits.
Another promo for keeping working check valves between the water and the good stuff?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-31-2019, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
Reason for me to feel so sure this is the problem? I have worked in industrial areas where it sometimes requires a tank and reg to be put where we are kind of sure it will get wet, like during a flood. Like when there is a flood coming but you have a big old telephone cable that you KNOW will be totally lost if pressure is lost?
So after we let the regs flood, they often have a bit of creep until they are rebuilt. My best guess is that the hard water minerals get in places where they should seal but they don't. So it may not always be a manufacturer defect if the reg has had water back up into it, where it dried and left deposits.
Another promo for keeping working check valves between the water and the good stuff?
... and ALWAYS crack the bottle valves a couple of times before attaching the regulator to blow off any debris.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-31-2019, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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I wanted to thank everyone for the advice and troubleshooting tips.
I did do a leak test last night, and as suspected, it was fine. I also depressurized the system took it off the cylinder and re-set it up. I was thinking that resetting the working pressure on the regulator might re-seat things (probably faulty logic on my part).
The one thing i noticed after doing that is that once the working pressure was set, when the solenoid turned on, pressure dropped to about 20. But the diffuser was working fine, so i'm ok with that. I got up this morning and the pressure was sitting at 35. I will continue to watch it over the next few days though.
Again, thanks for the help and advice.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-31-2019, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Rich Decatur View Post
The one thing i noticed after doing that is that once the working pressure was set, when the solenoid turned on, pressure dropped to about 20.

You do realize the point of a "regulator" is to not have that happen...

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-31-2019, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Rich Decatur View Post
The one thing i noticed after doing that is that once the working pressure was set, when the solenoid turned on, pressure dropped to about 20. But the diffuser was working fine, so i'm ok with that. I got up this morning and the pressure was sitting at 35. I will continue to watch it over the next few days though.
Again, thanks for the help and advice.
Could this have been just the system recovering pressure from being de-pressurized? How long did the 20 psi reading last? I'd be interested in another look with the solenoid on.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 04:37 AM Thread Starter
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You do realize the point of a "regulator" is to not have that happen...
Well since you put it that way.... chalk this one up in the learning category.

Quote:
Could this have been just the system recovering pressure from being de-pressurized? How long did the 20 psi reading last? I'd be interested in another look with the solenoid on.
No idea. It stayed that way the rest of the night until lights off. it's been rock solid at 35 today. Ill check it again in the morning just to make sure we're not creeping back up. HOPEFULLY this issue is done and i can start to focus other things like firing up the laser cutter and making a larger mechanical filter tray for the sump, hardscaping, figuring out where to buy in-vitro plants, figuring out a nutrient micro dosing schedule, etc.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 02:32 PM
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... it's been rock solid at 35 today. Ill check it again in the morning just to make sure we're not creeping back up. HOPEFULLY this issue is done and i can start to focus other things ...
If it stays solid, solenoid on or off, sounds like you can put this one in the rear view.

You got my attention with that laser cutter. Got any pics?

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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The pressure was at 35 this morning. So i think ill call this done done.
The laser cutter and some work I did on a 10 gallon sump at my work
The cutter is about 150 lbs. I can do 24" X 28" jobs.
I wound up cutting all the pieces as well as some round acrylic tube (that's the circle you see on the left front of the sump) that will house filter floss for mechanical. It's a standard 4" so it should fit in most filter sock compartments.
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Last edited by Rich Decatur; 02-01-2019 at 03:56 PM. Reason: uploaded pics on my phone, editing on pc.
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