Regulator Back Pressure - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Regulator Back Pressure

Okay so I finally figured out why I can't get a steady bubble rate. It has to do with back pressure.

I'm wondering if I just change my check value of that would do the trick?

It's an Ada check valve that I got about a month ago. I'm hoping it isn't faulty yet! Wasn't cheap!
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 06:21 PM
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Pretty easy to check, remove the check valve and see how the setup does without the valve for a couple of hours?

You can also blow into each end of the check valve, some are harder than others, but you should be able to blow in the arrow direction. If you can blow through both sides it is dead.


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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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I removed it and replaced it. Seems to still be in good working order.

So now I'm thinking it's not the check valve.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 06:50 PM
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Could be back pressure, could be a leak, could be a funky diffuser (if you're using one). Try increasing your working pressure by 10-20 psi and see if things level out. If not, check for leaks. Everywhere. Actually, checking for leaks is a good first step in almost every situation.

Additionally, it's always a good bet to use multiple check valves, as they will *all* inevitably - eventually - fail. Coming into contact with moisture will just hasten that demise.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I took the brass hat off my bubble counter and tried to blow through it, to no avail.

Yes the check valve is going in the right direction. So the problem is either my tubing, it's Ada co2 tubing, or its both of my reactors. Ones DIY and the other is a max mix.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 07:02 PM
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I've never been able to blow through check valves. Maybe I just have weak lungs, or maybe I just tried it with cv's that had too high a cracking pressure. In any case, the integral check valves in those JBJ-style bubble counters have always been garbage. If it's the silvery type, I have less faith in them than even the plastic ones from the chain LFS's.

However, my money's still on a leak. Break out the kiddie bubble blowing solution, or a couple drops of dish soap in a cup of water if you don't have the bubble stuff. Apply liberally. FYI, the plastic syringes from the pharmacy are multifunctional, and this is one of those functions. You don't need one, but it makes things less messy.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 07:23 PM
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For leak checking I like to mix my own so that I can make it really thick. The thick will tend to stick in place long enough for even the smallest leak to blow a bubble. When leak checking there can be a couple places/ ways that a leak can be missed.
One is when you have a big leak. Before using the soap, try feeling along the tubing and fittings for a cold spot where gas is coming out. A fast leak like this can just blow soap off and not actually blow a bubbles to spot.
A second problem to keep in mind is the leak which may change. A tube fitting may make a good connection when the tubing is just right and leak when the tubing is moved slightly so it can be good to slobber on the soap and then move the tubing around just a bit and kind of gentle so that any leak that is intermittent may show.

My soap of choice is just a small amount of water and lots of soap like liquid dish soap and then use something like a small hobby brush to "whip " it into a foam like shaving cream or whipped cream. It stays in place better when really thick.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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It's not a leak. It's back pressure.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 08:10 PM
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what about back pressure? too much? not enough? How did you make this confirmation?

If I recall correctly you had some other thread(s) about not holding pressure or not getting steady bps? Are you actually checking for leaks or simply assuming you dont have any?

You mentioned taking the "brass hat" off of your bubble counter. Go check the bubble counter for leaks. The spot where the brass meets the acrylic has always been a problem for me.

Have you tried something other than a reactor? Maybe just for testing purposes go straight from your bubble counter to a ceramic diffuser (with no check valve in line) just to see what happens. If you experience the same problem you can pretty much rule out either reactor (which I assume you're not using at the same time?) as well as the check valve.

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I've since changed regulators and having the same problem.

Yes I've check for leaks.

Too much back pressure. Basically...

because the regulator is not able to change its output PSI and if you
have backed up pressure this will cause the bubble flow to slowly cease
flowing and puts you into what we call a "yo-yo configuration". What we mean
by that is: you increase the pressure - - bubbles flow for while and than
slow back down - - you increase the output pressure again with the black
knob - - bubbles flow correctly again for a while and then slow down & stop.
Now you have over pressurized the chamber and the emergency blow by valve [
located on the left side of main chamber ] will release and dump your tank

That's what I was old anyways. It only makes sense seeing as how I've had the same problem with both regulators.

I don't have a ceramic diffuser on hand, I ordered one a month ago and it still hasn't shown up.
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 09:13 PM
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What psi are you running your regulator at and what kind of fluctuations are you getting with your bubble count? What kind of regulator and needle valve?
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldpunk78 View Post
What psi are you running your regulator at and what kind of fluctuations are you getting with your bubble count? What kind of regulator and needle valve?
First one was just an argon regulator i built, the psi on my flow gauge would drop all the time leaving me with 1 bps, some times eve .5 bps.

I then switched to the milwuakee regulator thinking it was my faulty build. i set it to 4 bps every morning, by the end of the day it's back to 1 bps if not .5 bps.

I've checked both regulators for leaks, numerous times. I then contacted milwuakee and they said it's back pressure, probably due to a diffuser or check valve. Seeing as all i have is check valves and reactors, it couldn't be a diffuser.

I run at 20 PSI
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 09:37 PM
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Did you try increasing the PSI to see if you could get a steady rate? 20 is many times to low.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WickedOdie View Post
Yeah I've since changed regulators and having the same problem.

Yes I've check for leaks.

Too much back pressure. Basically...

because the regulator is not able to change its output PSI and if you
have backed up pressure this will cause the bubble flow to slowly cease
flowing and puts you into what we call a "yo-yo configuration". What we mean
by that is: you increase the pressure - - bubbles flow for while and than
slow back down - - you increase the output pressure again with the black
knob - - bubbles flow correctly again for a while and then slow down & stop.
Now you have over pressurized the chamber and the emergency blow by valve [
located on the left side of main chamber ] will release and dump your tank

That's what I was old anyways. It only makes sense seeing as how I've had the same problem with both regulators.

I don't have a ceramic diffuser on hand, I ordered one a month ago and it still hasn't shown up.


Who told you this? I'm not saying its not possible; just a phenomenon I've never heard of nor experienced myself. Cant imagine how increased pressure results in the bps slowing down unless that pressure is somehow being bled off (ie leaking) somewhere. This "yo yo configuration" you speak of seems even less likely when using a reactor. Has your safety valve ever dumped the tank?

The entire system should be able to handle the amount of pressure you're giving it. The only way I can envision a build up of back pressure is a check valve that needs extremely high psi to crack open and in that case you'd be getting 0 c02 into the system.

Any photos or better explanations of your setup? Where is the check valve?

Experiencing the same problem with both regulators doesn't really confirm this is your issue. All it confirms is that either a) you've got 2 bad regulators; or b) your problem lies somewhere else.

I'm still guessing theres a leak in this system somewhere

Edit: Looks like you guys were posting while I was typing....20 psi is on the low side. Should be able to run as high as 40psi (or more) without any issue. Try cranking it up and see what happens. If your backpressure idea is sound then you should see the bps rate drop much faster at 40 psi than what you're seeing at 20 psi. (although a leaky system might also cause the bps to slow much quicker at 40 psi than it does at 20 psi also!)

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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lksdrinker View Post
Who told you this? I'm not saying its not possible; just a phenomenon I've never heard of nor experienced myself. Cant imagine how increased pressure results in the bps slowing down unless that pressure is somehow being bled off (ie leaking) somewhere. This "yo yo configuration" you speak of seems even less likely when using a reactor. Has your safety valve ever dumped the tank?

The entire system should be able to handle the amount of pressure you're giving it. The only way I can envision a build up of back pressure is a check valve that needs extremely high psi to crack open and in that case you'd be getting 0 c02 into the system.

Any photos or better explanations of your setup? Where is the check valve?

Experiencing the same problem with both regulators doesn't really confirm this is your issue. All it confirms is that either a) you've got 2 bad regulators; or b) your problem lies somewhere else.

I'm still guessing theres a leak in this system somewhere

Edit: Looks like you guys were posting while I was typing....20 psi is on the low side. Should be able to run as high as 40psi (or more) without any issue. Try cranking it up and see what happens. If your backpressure idea is sound then you should see the bps rate drop much faster at 40 psi than what you're seeing at 20 psi. (although a leaky system might also cause the bps to slow much quicker at 40 psi than it does at 20 psi also!)
Lets try one thing at a time here. I changed the check valve, I'm going to give it a day or two to see if i lose my flow. If that's the case then I'll try increasing my PSI. The PSI shouldn't really matter unless i'm trying to force it out a diffuser, am I wrong?

Also I got that info from the Milwuakee Support.
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