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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I noticed last night that my bubble count has become inconsistent. I have my needle valve set to put about 2 to 3 bps, but about every 15 to 30 seconds about 5 to 10 bubbles will come out in about 1 to 2 seconds. My CO2 levels are fine, but I am wondering what is causing this? Would this be indication that the regulator needs rebuilt? Or would the needle valve be the culprit?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Needle valve could be the culprit. You could open it for a moment to try dislodging a particle that might be stuck in its orifice.

Is your bubble counter integrated with the needle valve? Do you use a check valve, where is it located? Need some more info on your setup to better help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My setup is as follows.

Co2 Regulator with directly attached solenoid valve. Needle valve is attached to CO2 hose (hanging about 2" below solenoid). Hose attached to the output side of the needle valve to a home made bubble counter. On the output of the bubble counter is a check valve, then finally the hose attaches to a home made reactor. Is this a clear enough description?

I was initially thinking that the problem could be with the needle valve, but then got to thinking that the regulator may not be controlling pressure properly. My thought is, if the pressure control in the regulator was going bad that it could potentially let higher pressure overwhelm the needle valve. My reason for thinking this is if I increase the output pressure, it will affect the number of bubbles without changing the needle valve. Does this make sense?
 

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Yep, very clear.

One thing you might want to try is to take out the check valve (for testing purposes) and see if it still behaves the same way. Some check valves are (or become) a bit sticky. If there is some length of tubing between the needle valve and check valve, pressure could increase and then be released as the burst you are experiencing.

You are right about the regulator, that's a possibility, but not very common.

Let us know what happens when you remove the check valve temporarily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice. I will try that tonight and see if it resolves the problem.

One additional question. What output pressure do you have your regulator set? I recently lowered mine from 20 to 10. Perhaps that is the real issue and I just noticed the bubbles yesterday.
 

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10 is a bit on the low side. 20 to 30 should be good. Of course it depends on the specific regulators, some can go lower than others. But there have been reports of inconsistent output if the pressure was set too low.
Just going to 15 instead of 5 fixed my problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I got home a little bit ago and put the pressure back to 20. That seems to have corrected my irratic bubble count.

Thanks for the help! Looks like I was to blame - If it aint broke, don't fix it. Not really sure why I decided to lower the pressure in the first place.

Thanks again!
 
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