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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Want to build my own CO2 system. Looking for advice...
What I have:
  1. Fabco NV55-18
  2. Bubble Counter (Brass)
  3. 5# Tank
What I need:
  1. Regulator
  2. Solenoid

Thinking about the Micro Matic Dual Stage regulator. Any opinions there? Not sure what solenoid to get - as I understand it there are few available that are low power.

Also, I know I'll need some fittings (nipples?) to get everything put together - looking for advice there too.

Thanks!
a
 

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I have used the Burkert and clippard mouse they are both very good. I prefer the Burkert solenoid, for looks and reliability. I think someone is selling it on the sale forum. The clippard mouse can be ordered directly from the website but require extra fittings. Burkert is a 1/8 FNPT.
 

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I would have some recommendations but as in most things, it will depnd on what yoou feel is a priority. I will lay out what I find works for me, then you can better choose what works for you?

Five pound tank - I might have gone larger but then I have large tanks. On hand is fine!
I go a single stage reg and don't sweat the dreaded "end of tank dump". I avoid the possiblility by not letting the tank get so empty it worries me. This lets me buy a cheap single stage beer reg that is new so I avoid the E-bay scam potential.
http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/regulator/double/tf_t742_Dual_Gauge_Primary_Regulator.shtml
I like this one but with some shopping or buying local you may find better. It comes with the CGA320 fitting so you avoid any hassle to change that out. I don't want it tied together on solid plumbing as it is too restrictive on placement as well as being a major expense and pain to fit it all together. Airline is cheap and easy. I like the Clippard Mouse series of solenoids for price, size, and low power, quiet running. I don't want even a four watt heater running under my tank! .67 watt suits me better. The Clippard uses 10-32 fittings (port adapters) but they are available on the net with some careful looking. The Fabco is a great choice for needle valve. I tie all the parts together on airline tubing. Easy to cut fit and lay out the parts where I can reach them. On tubing, I can lay the delicate parts back out of the way when I drag the tank in and out. Saves breaking things?
Can your bubble counter be put inline and away from the other stuff so that it won't dump liquid into things you want to stay dry? I shudder when I see them placed directly above all the expensive goodies and depending on a check valve to save things. Mechanical things like check valves have a long history of failing.

Just my spin and outlook, your choice from there???
 

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Thinking about the Micro Matic Dual Stage regulator. Any opinions there? Not sure what solenoid to get - as I understand it there are few available that are low power.

Also, I know I'll need some fittings (nipples?) to get everything put together - looking for advice there too.
I'm not sure micromatic makes a dual stage. But I have the single stage regulator and it works well. As for fittings, if you don't mind the brass look, you're better off sourcing them locally at a hardware store. As for solenoids, burkert 6011 is a good solid brand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the pointers! I went and purchased the Beverage Factory regulator (from Amazon - had a coupon). In few weeks I'll grab the clippard solenoid and likely (as PlantedRich suggested) will mount everything but the regulator to a panel in the cabinet under the tank. Not sure I mentioned that the tank is a Fluval Flora. Already pretty well stocked with thriving Anubias and crypts. Just added corkscrew val and some DHG this past week.

A
 

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If you do go that way, I might suggest some things to look over before you hang things under the stand.
I like to have the gauges where I can see them as I check them almost daily. But that doesn't mean I want the tank out front where I have to work around it every time I clean a filter. The bubble counter, I check often to confirm that CO2 is going to the tank. The only part I really need to reach to adjust is the bubble counter to let more water in and the needle valve to make small adjustments, now and then.
Then the big thing, is I want to lay the reg back out of the way when moving and changing tanks.
For me it works out this way.
Tank in the back left to clear the filters. I turned the meters any which way to get them facing me. Solenoid close to the tank and reg as it is small and I don't need to get to it.
Needle valve up high and mounted where I can reach it easy but still out of harms way.
Bubble counter just hanging inline but where I can see it and on tubing long enough that the reg and it can both be laid on the floor to clear room for moving the tank in/out.
One big advantage to me of the Clippard is that it requires very little space, can be located anywhere and the 12VDC wiring is tiny so I can use lots of it and run it anywhere needed. I like the Fabco NV-55 for the small size, too.

I find some planning on locations is one way to avoid building things that are a nuisance to use every day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good points from all, thanks again!

If I wanted solenoid, needle valve and bubble counter (in that order?) could I mount those separately using co2 tubing in between the regulator and solenoid?
 

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Yes. They all work the same way. How they are strung together is more for mechanical convenience than for anything that changes the way they work. I find plastic 10-32 port adapters are cheap and easy at 79 cents and I can buy lots of plastic tubing for the price of one metal elbow. I bought a bag of ten fittings while getting them shipped just because they might break but since they are on plastic tubing, I find the tubing just stretches or comes off before I break the fitting. But that doesn't happen if I don't get them out where I step on them!
 

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Good points from all, thanks again!

If I wanted solenoid, needle valve and bubble counter (in that order?) could I mount those separately using co2 tubing in between the regulator and solenoid?
Make sure the air hose is lab grade at least 125 psi (250 psi is the best) rate, and get a double stage regulator if you can.
I used to sell whole bunch of post body kits which are clippard mouse solenoids and smc as1000 needle valve, some of the hobbyists convert the brass fitting connection to air hose, because the brass 10-32 connector fitting is weak, but a common problem of the air hose connection is the air hose between the regulator and the solenoid got blown off, either the output pressure too high or air hose is thin wall low max pressure rating.
If you use high pressure rating co2 air hose, add a couple hose clamp on the barb connector, more secure. Both the lab grade air hose and clamp are available from clippard.
There are some more logistic work on the little parts you need, good luck.
 

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I run low pressure so it is not a normal problem for the tubing to blow off but just to make it more secure and seal for leaks, I add a touch of super glue or silicone at the barb fitting. I think my airline tubing is rated for 125 PSI, so I never got anywhere near max on that. Can't really say as it has not been a problem.
 

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Those fittings are a very good point if you are having any trouble or want to avoid the problem of tubing blowing off. The inner fitting and ferrule are very secure. Secure enough that city water under pressure is often run on that system. They are often used on icemakers and RO units where pressure can run up past 50PSI in places.
Plumbing can be very simple but due to the vast number of ways we can put things together it can seem very hard.

If it makes you feel like a dummy sometimes, don't kick yourself too hard. Go stand around a home center for a while and you are sure to find some guy that does it everyday standing there scratching his head while he figures out what to do next!
 

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I ordered the Taprite T742. So, all I need now is (aside from the connectors) is a solenoid. Where do I get a clippard mouse that is (relatively) plug and play? Is this the prefered one to add to my system? I like the low power feature. My previous experience was with a Milwaukee and that sucker could fry an egg.

Based on the design of the Taprite It looks as though I'll need an elbow to connect the solenoid and then whatever fitting are required to establish (what
Looks to me to be the right order:

Taprite > elbow > solenoid > fabco nv-55-18 > bubble counter > hose > inline diffuser

Got that right?

Thank you again gents for all your help. I've been away from the hobby for a long time and I forgot a lot. Plus, last time I just bought the Milwaukee 957 setup which I wasn't thrilled with. Gave me a lot of trouble.

A

Oh yeah, and a check valve. Ordered this earlier thus week:

http://www.aquariumplants.com/THE_BEST_Check_Valve_medical_grade_p/cs-3482.htm

Does that go between bubble counter and needle valve or between the needle valve and the output?

Lotsa questions... :)
 
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