Co2 Technical problem..AGAIN. This is torture...Need some help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Co2 Technical problem..AGAIN. This is torture...Need some help

I have a pressurized co2 system.

v_v GAHH!!, I have to present what I have, story and everything...okay listen up..

I know it's long, but please bear with me, you will get to the main problem I am having soon after hearing about the hardwares I am using, etc


I am currently using Rex Grigg's Regulator combo, comes with the ideal needle valve, clippard solenoid built onto teh regulator, co2 tubing, check valves, etc everything setup to get ready for one nice tank running with co2....eh, he sent me a bad low pressure gauge that is blown, or bent from the inside, but it still works...the PSI only reaches 20 PSI and beyond that, the meter gets blocked and I will not know what PSI I will have....low pressure can still climb though even with that bent, I know. As time moves on, I later got myself a nice rack of three ten gallons close to my main 60 gallon tank. Therefore with time, I decided to buy a 4 port manifold, (installed it, supported by a 1/8" elbow and a extender, under clippard solenoid's 1/8" threading hole or w/e you call it, I am such a noob at this), to provide all tanks with co2, this manifold is from orlando. Faced a problem with only two co2 lines working when i first installed it on my rex regulator =_= the other two lines end isn't working to gas off, so I harshly ignored the problem, so be it with 2 tanks with co2, I stayed with the 2 ports, and on the mean time, I eventually ran out of co2..........Need a co2 fill, so I called my local paintball shop, they said they don't have co2 and they will be closed until February something. What a bummer.


So here's the catch, I found a new paintball location! So I bought a co2 fill yesterday morning, FINALLY;after a painstaking 3 weeks gone by with no co2, and all work and schooling most of the time.



Cool! So yeah! Got co2 filled, cheap price, all happy, got home, co2 installation! wrenched the regulator's nut as tight as possible, turned the valve on, applied working pressure, and there goes the co2! The 2 bubble counters (that are only working) are working great, I can see the bubbles per second! Alright! GREAT!...So what's up then, you ask? The co2 is not creating enough pressure inside the co2 tubing to push the water that is in the co2 tubing (it's forced to stay put in check valve.. familiar?) back into the tank... It's not even pushing anything. NOTHING. I tested the tubing in a cup of water, nothing. HOWEVER the bubbles are still going inside the bubble counters!? So that's whats trippin'!!!!!I know I have the cap, and the o-rings on real tight! I thought I may have tangle the co2 tubing because I needed to screw in the cap which is connected with the co2 tubing, so I unscrewed the co2 bubble counter cap it was all tangly but it looked like it isnt able to restrict co2 flow..and BAMM I TESTED FOR CO2 AND NO FRICKIN CO2 NOW. Sheesh! I got home all excited and this is what I get, what a day. Technical problem. GOD. I need to call that co2/plant technician and get this done with, nope!, I don't think so! unfortunately it's not that easy, HUH. I bought this co2 stuff, so I have to know how to fix things myself. This is maddening! Considering I am really just a co2 tech amateur, I am a little on the inexperienced side..., ya know, it's so truely frustrating.... it's really is and it's a ***** I have to do this fixing by myself...online support sometimes just isn't enough to understand I just the experience! GRRR......I have gone through ups and downs, smiles and frowns, going through the pains of getting so many problems, incidents, spending a lot of money on this stuff, and trying to fix things myself and ignoring the problems, and nooow this?! I FEEL WASTED! Right now, I feel like taking down my three 10 gallons because of all these failures! Just having this problem is such a big letdown for me. It's aggravating!!! You have to admit, everything is not perfect...






*Sigh* Alright enough ranting, Let's get on how to fix these incidents Okay so I have come to the conclusion I believe that there is a malfunction going on inside the regulator? either that or it could it be a air leakage, which I highly doubt (I sealed the threading areas with extra pipe dope, it should be well sealed I believe. The last three folds can be twisted up and down at the same time, but I think the pipe dope is still doing it's job to seal co2? or should it be extremely tight like with blue glue??).

Do you guys know where I can find a great place (yes, I'm looking for that awesome place to get this madness over with) to have my regulator fixed? And have them take a look at my manifold too? what do you guys think of the American Ace hardware store? Never been there. Do they have folks that can help me out?

R
ight now, If there was a chance for someone from another state or mine, that is willing to help me fix this issue I am having by themselves, I would not care to spend the money to have my broken regulator shipped to them and have them look at it... I would do whatever it takes just to get this reg/manifold fixed from pro's. And I would love this done and be done with it.

I'm willing to pay up for anyone who is willing to help me out with this.
ANY CALIFORNIANS HERE??

I will handle the shipping and the cost of the fix. Just let me know.


If there is no live help, PLEASE JUST GUIDE ME HERE. I BEG OF YOU ALL. HELP ME END THIS UTTER GAS FAILING CHAOS
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post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 10:36 AM
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I don't really know much about regulators either as I only have one, and it works fine so no problem fixing experience. If you see bubbles, there has to be a CO2 leak somewhere past the bubbling. Maybe try cranking the feed up super high so you can feel the gas coming out, then you'll know.

Sorry, that's all I got.


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post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 10:42 AM
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Either up the gas or place a towel down and sprinkle flour on the line.
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post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 11:24 AM
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Hmm...

I read your post twice and I am not sure I understand the whole situation BUT I was ready to pull my hair out with my initial Co2 experience. I could not get the paintball regulator to stay at the working pressure I wanted without "floating" around. Had 2 Co2 overdoses and it seemed none of the lines were happy with the fluctuating pressure levels. Orlando at GLA bailed me out and was VERY VERY patient with me during the whole ordeal as he did not even sell me some of my equipment. I wound up buying a complete unit from him for a reasonable price . I turned it on, set it, and forget it. That was 3 months ago. I went thru about 10 paintball tanks in the same time because they would always leak. ANtway, I know this doesn't fix your problem but I feel your pain and Orlando is a big asset.
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post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 11:41 AM
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You can use Windex and dish soap diluted with water to find leaks. Works great. The fact that you are seeing bubbles in your counters means that the gas is working. The problem does sound like it is after the bubble counters.

I am wondering if you have enough working pressure in the tank to power a manifold like that. Maybe you got a bad fill from the shop or something. Or maybe you do have a leak at the regulator or somewhere else that is reducing the pressure on the system. I would check thoughoughly for leaks as mentioned above.

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post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 01:13 PM
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Pics. what is the tank pressure at? What kind of adapter are you using to use Rex's Regulator with a paintball tank? Pics would help alot.

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post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 02:14 PM
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How long did you allow the CO2 to run? It would have to build up pressure to push the water out of the tubing. Also is it pushing the water down hill or up hill? More pressure is required to push it up hill.

Did you try opening the needle valve all the way to see if it would push the water out?

Did you try upping the pressure?

Did you change out the check valves?

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post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 04:11 PM
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There are lots of planted tank enthusiasts in the Los Angeles area, and at least one good aquatic plant club. Look here, http://socalaquascapers.com/forum/index.php, to see if you can find one of the members to visit you and help. I'm almost certain you can.

Hoppy
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post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 08:46 AM Thread Starter
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BiscuitSlayer, how do I find out if I have leaks using Windex?

I'll try that spinycheek.

Craigthor, high pressure is at 500 PSI, low pressure is at 20 PSI. I have a cylinder tank from beverage factory.com.


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How long did you allow the CO2 to run? It would have to build up pressure to push the water out of the tubing. Also is it pushing the water down hill or up hill? More pressure is required to push it up hill.

Did you try opening the needle valve all the way to see if it would push the water out?

Did you try upping the pressure?

Did you change out the check valves?
Funny at the same time when I didn't know my regulator is not working right, I came home at night and thought the solenoid would be on and co2 apparently diffusing..my coralife circuit breaker malfunctioned on me that night lol so it actually didn't go on the time I wanted it to. So that meant had to manually turn it on, Bing! then later found out there wasn't any diffusion! air pressure inside the tubing wasn't enough to force the co2 tubing's water out and into the tanks......The pressure is reasonable, I tried cranked it up a notch, nope, didn't do the favor.. I didn't open the NV's all the way though...I tried upping the presure, alright. I did not change the valves.

I got some advice from some of my buddies at AquariaCentral, they said it's mostly likely the the check valves that are messing up on me. Hopefully so. I'm going to have to double check it tonight. Thanks folks for helping out. And thanks hoppy, I'll look into that site.
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post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 09:17 AM
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BiscuitSlayer, how do I find out if I have leaks using Windex?
Get yourself a bottle of Windex and a flashlight. Spray your regulator fittings, gauges, connections with a bit of Windex. You want to go kind of slow with the spraying motion as you don't want a mist, but rather a small stream or trickle of it getting on stuff. If you hit it with an area that has a leak you will see bubbles. Remember to go slow and take your time looking. You don't have to douse areas, just get it to where you can see a fine layer of the liquid.

Make sure that you are not spraying in close proximity to the top of your tank, especially if it is open. You DON'T want to expose your fish to chemicals/amonia while doing this.

Since you have a manifold, I would also give that a good spraying. You have several points of failure right there.

There are many auto shops out there that use this method to find leaks on tires.

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Last edited by BiscuitSlayer; 01-05-2009 at 09:19 AM. Reason: clarification
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post #11 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 11:10 AM
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high pressure seems kind of low. should be around 1000 if just filled...

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post #12 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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The paintball shop weighs the cylinder, so yeah.....it sucks. 20 bucks



Anywho, I just fixed my co2 problem, very delighting, however there is still one more problem. Looks I have a air leakage problem. I reckon the co2 pressure in my manifold is not all that great, only when I crank one NV up super high, it does it's job and push the water that is in the check valve and the co2 tubing into the diffusers, co2 reactor...and out goes co2 bubbles into the ceramic disc. I turned on one of my 10 gallon's NV's all the way open, and there's a bubbly sound around my manifold and only that does the co2 diffuser gets enough pressure. There is no pressure in the co2 tubing so that means I have a leakage, right?

What should I do? take apart the manifold, apply more pipe dope to the folds? or apply it like your sealing a crack with silicone? So one problem solved, now four ports are working properly, thanks for the advice from you guys and people from AquariaCentral!.. should I use windex just to check if I really do have a air leak anyway??
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post #13 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 11:22 AM
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I would use windex or soapy water solution to find the leak. everythign should be tight but if you have a leak you should take it apart and redo it.

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post #14 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by spinycheek View Post
I don't really know much about regulators either as I only have one, and it works fine so no problem fixing experience. If you see bubbles, there has to be a CO2 leak somewhere past the bubbling. Maybe try cranking the feed up super high so you can feel the gas coming out, then you'll know.

Sorry, that's all I got.
Spinycheek, I gotta give you credit, if you didn't mention about cranking it up all the way, then I wouldn't know I had a air leak indeed...I didn't check yet, but I can bet there is definitely a air leak somewhere I need to seal off.
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post #15 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 11:33 AM
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You said this is set up as a three way manifold, yet you only talk of two tanks. What happened to the third port here?

Lets back up one more step. You low pressure guage should be replaced. They are relativley inexpensive and easy to change. All the CO2 part vendors here should be able to help you with this.

Remember this one important thing. The more needle valves you are running (ie more tanks), the higher your working pressure needs to be to stabilize the output to each tank. If the working pressure is to low, you will be pulling your hair out trying to dial it in from NV to NV. I would reccomend a working pressure aroung 35 to 40 psi to start off (this of course requires you fixing whats already broken). Next... the check valves sound fouled or installed backwards. They can be problematic. If you continue to have similar problems, do a test run without the check valves and see if you are still having the same issues.

The leak test can also be done with liquid detergent by putting on your finger and rubbing around all the joints and fittings.


Some pictures of the setup may be beneficial here!


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