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Can't keep bubble rate steady on CO2

1144 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  edacsac
Just wondering if anyone else has had a similar problem. I just recently added a solenoid to me co2 setup and it's been working good. But now I have to readjust my co2 bubble rate every day. At night when I go to bed, I'm at a bubble or so every second, but when the system kicks on in the afternoon, it comes on at about a bubble every 5 seconds. So I have to redial it in every day. Doesn't make sense. My needle valves have little lock screws, so I locked it down tight last night, but sure enough it came on today at about 1/4 of what it was yesterday. Ready to go back to 24/7 co2 since this is more work, and I can't count on it all of a sudden.
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It's a cornelius regulator, I don't know what model. I have to readjust it with the needle valve though. I have the regulator set at 30psi. When the solenoid is off it climbs up alittle, close to 40, then when the system is on it goes back to 30. It worked great before the solenoid.

I did notice while troublshooting the other day, that if you you give the knob of the needle valve even the slightest tap, it will reduce the flow drastically. Thats why I locked it down with the little screw. Now you can tap on it all day and it won't change flow, but it still comes on reduced in the afternoon.
The heat from the solenoid expands the metal and when it cools it contracts.
So how the heck to I work with that?

The need valves are off of a manifold as well, and it doesn't get that hot - although I don't know how hot things need to get either.

Or it has nothing to do with the needle valve and I need to dial it in while things are good and warm?
I would increase the working pressure to 40psi (even though 30psi is enough pressure in most cases) .
This is a good reason for you to buy a low pressure regulator which enables you to fine tune the co2 flow.
I set mine after it has been on for a few hours and just leave it at that.

I have a complete regulator from Rex Griggs and it has the low pressure regulator on it so dialing in very low and fine tuned co2 rate is cake walk for me.
Thanks guys. I'll move it up to 40psi and look into a low pressure regulator. I'm guessing the low pressure regulator connects after the main regulator? I'm going to be running several tanks off this system eventually, so I might as well do it up right.
Low pressure regulator connects to the outlet of the solenoid and then your needle valves connect to it,so basically it feeds the needle valves.
Where did you get the needle valves? Are they of good quality?
Alkon JN1's. I like the feel of them, and they came well recommened. Maybe they're just not a good choice to use with a solenoid. Although they do have the locking screw that I didn't use at first. But I'm going to get a low pressure regulator the next chance I get.
A decreasing bubble rate can be the sign of a leak. So first check for leaks.

I'm not sure who recommended that needle valve but just looking at the specs I can see why it's so touchy.
Thanks Rex.

I came home late tonight, well after the timer came on, and the bubble rate was where I left it. Gotta be the heat expansion, and I freaked out without understanding what was going on.

Ya, they are touchy. Smooooth though. lol... They where probably recommended out of context. As long as it stays steady now.

Thanks everyone!
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