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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had some discussion about ways I use to get a good working setup without spending more than I find needed. I go for good operation without much in the way of frills and leaving looks as secondary. I want to add some parts that I like and why and I look at this as an alternate that is flexible enough to let it be changed to suit what we each find available and feel best for us.

Rather than drone on forever, I will go through each part in sections, starting at the CO2 tank.
I go for used tanks that I have bought locally for $50-60 dollars. I don't buy new as looks are unimportant on tanks which I swap out at a welding shop when I need gas. I hide them under a stand anyway. I find 10-20 pounds works much better for me as I have large tanks.

For a reg, I have no problem with single stage regs and do not find any problems with running them flat out and getting the burst of gas at the end. Like a large burp of gas which scares the fish but only for 15-20 seconds. I do try to refill the tank before that comes up , though. I do not like doing the E-bay thing and not having any quarantee that the reg will work or for how long. I buy new with warrenty from local home brew supply. This is one I have used but you may find better close to you and avoid shipping.
http://www.austinhomebrew.com/Beer/Regulators/CO2-Regulator-1-4.html
Lots of different options but I like the cute little plastic knob! They all work the same. This one gives me a cutoff which I remove and replace with a 1/4 to 1/8 inch reducer from the hardware section of most any place. Easy /cheap to find.
This leaves me a 1/8 inch female opening.

I think of the solenoid as next in line to turn the gas on/off on a cheap timer from big box stores. I like the Clippard Mouse series for several points. They are small making for an easy way to place them where I want. I don't need to every adjust it, so it can be placed anywhere, inline or remote on tubing. The Clippard uses a small 10-32 port fitting so you have two ways to deal with this. First go around, I went with putting the solenoid inline close to the reg. This can be a bit more work but okay if you have a file and do the work.
A place to get the adapters and fittings if you want to order them:
http://www.frightprops.com/pneumatics/fittings/miscellaneous-fittings.html
The problem with the adapter is that they have a wide shoulder that has to be filed off to fit the Clippard port location.


This gives you a way to use 1/8 pipe if you like.
I like using the 10-32 fittings to adapt to standard airline tubing we use.
I need to check sources for the 10-32 to barb fittings.

I'll get back with info on that later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There are many ways to build to get what we want. This is a couple of different ways that have worked for me.
The first is using solid piping for some of the connections. On this, I used solid to tie the solenoid directly to the reg and then used tubing to put the Fabco needle valve out on the stand framework where I could get to it easier.
I used the 10-32 to 1/8 adapter to go into the Clippard but then used a 10-32 to barb fitting to come out before going to the needle valve.
I've found a number of places to get the 10-32 to barb fittings but the really cheapest one take a bit of trickery. I found a place who will not sell me the fitings in less than maybe a 100. But they were more than glad to send me five free samples. Not my business to question so I took the five samples!
http://www.ark-plas.com/products/search.php?c=0&k=10-32&x=11&y=4

They also are very generous with samples of check valves which seem to work as well as any I've used.
http://www.ark-plas.com/products/search.php?c=0&k=check+valve&x=0&y=0
Five samples of each worked quite well for me. Just click the "sample" tag.



In this case, I used tubing to locate the Fabco NV-55 needle valve on the stand. I find the solenoid and needle valve are where I want my quality. The Fabco comes in two vertions that both have the same internal parts and work the same. This is the NV-55 which uses 10-32 fittings making it much smaller and lighter. Also cheaper but the pricing is changing over time. Do a search to check the current price. I find it worth buying direct rather than hoping/searching for this item.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Another way to get the job done?
This is a stainless reg that I found pretty cheap and gave it a try. I swapped out the CGA fitting for a CGA to fit CO2. total cost on the change was less than $10, bought from the local welding supply.
This time, I used tubing to go from the reg to the solenoid. This is the style I like better than solid as I can easily move and change things to locate them better.


 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
On this one, I went from the tubing into the Clippard using adapters to get it up to 1/8 inch and then the 1/8 to 10-32 port adapters to fit the Clippard both in and out. Tying the 1/8 inch out to the needle valve was no problem as this time I was using the Fabco NV-55-18 which has 1/8 inch ports. As I said the internals of the two needle valves are the same. But there is a price to pay for the ease of having 1/8 inch ports. One is that it is more expensive but for me the bigger issue is the size and weight. This needle valve is a heavywheight!



If I were doing it again, I would change up slightly and go with the 10-32 fittings all the way so that I could use the NV-55 for ease of mounting it. I found the NV-55-18 to be a bit more awkward than I like.

But then that is where we all have a chance to built it the way we find works best for us. I really don't like being tied to a one size fits all approach that gets you something built all together with no flexibility to the design.
When you get down to it, there is not very much involved in screwing a few parts together. Once you get a few basics in mind like how to use pipe dope or tape, the rest will kind of fall into place if you do some study on parts and buy what seems to work for you.
The one big item that does fit all builds? Do a soap test for leaks when you get done!!! It can save you a tank of CO2.
 

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Curios what check valve you went with...which disc material type. Also wondering if any of the 3 materials they offer vary in resistance to working pressure. Maybe a question for the company. -My application is DIY yeast, maybe the resistance doesn't matter for pressurized. Lastly which material would last longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I do not debate which check valve to choose for very long. I find any I've tried fails at some point so I no longer worry with using one. It is argued that the water will back up but in my use it does not so I do not attempt to argue the point. What works for me is what matters to me. Others experience may vary but that does not bother my tank.

If I remember correctly, I went with polycarbonite but that was not an informed choice , more just random. I might note that the one shown is not the one I got as a sample. One that came from some other source. No idea where.

I might note that I do like the Fluval bubble counter as it fits my plan to have the liquid down below the other items so that it does not drain back into those.
 

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Hey Bettatail, what's on that length of clear tubes after the solenoid? Also, where's the needle valve?
the white part is the needle valve, the black part on the end of the tube, is push and pull quick connect hose adapter.
 

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Do you have information on the make and model of the needle valve and quick disconnect? I would love to replicate that setup!
The actual cost on parts for this setup is about $50-$70, all new parts, made about 10 such systems in the last three years.
I don't openly broadcast what parts or how to build in any stand alone instruction thread, because it is single stage, even it works well, there is nothing special about this setup(except for the low cost) and to pass the detail around, the Vendors who build similar single stage systems(beer reg) will have trouble.

But, instead of a stand alone instruction thread, I did have posts showing what parts to get to build such system, it is your task to dig...
 

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The 10-32x1/8 adapter while convenient does not solve weight issues allowing it to be hard plumbed on the post body. If the adapter is zinc plated steel then maybe it can support more weight but if it's zinc plated brass it won't support much weight. If you're using that adapter, best to run it inline but if you're going to run it inline may as well just skip all the 1/8 npt fittings and only use 10-32 barbs/push in fittings and connect everything inline.
Other than that great write up. get a cheap single stage regulator or dual stage regulator off ebay for 30-50 bucks shipped and running everything inline makes for a regulator well below 100 dollars total.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The 10-32x1/8 adapter while convenient does not solve weight issues allowing it to be hard plumbed on the post body. If the adapter is zinc plated steel then maybe it can support more weight but if it's zinc plated brass it won't support much weight. If you're using that adapter, best to run it inline but if you're going to run it inline may as well just skip all the 1/8 npt fittings and only use 10-32 barbs/push in fittings and connect everything inline.
Other than that great write up. get a cheap single stage regulator or dual stage regulator off ebay for 30-50 bucks shipped and running everything inline makes for a regulator well below 100 dollars total.

I would fully agree with part one. The port adapters are not really strong. Even though they would seem to be steel as evidenced by the corrosion at the ends where I filed off the plating, I don't think of them as strong enough to support a solid piping setup. Notice the red areas in the last picture? I'm thinking that is rust on steel. I did use red loctite but I don't slobber on that much!

But when discussing price, I find no practical way to stay under the hundred dollar mark for a relaible reg and setup. I do not trust E-bay sellers that much and I want a warrenty on my reg. so $55-60 is minumum for me. Add a few dollars here and there to get a really reliable solenoid and needle valve and it gets high quick. But then those two items are where I DO want quality as they are where the control comes in. The reg is a simple item but the needle valve and solenoid have to be smooth to get what I want.
 

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I would fully agree with part one. The port adapters are not really strong. Even though they would seem to be steel as evidenced by the corrosion at the ends where I filed off the plating, I don't think of them as strong enough to support a solid piping setup. Notice the red areas in the last picture? I'm thinking that is rust on steel. I did use red loctite but I don't slobber on that much!

But when discussing price, I find no practical way to stay under the hundred dollar mark for a relaible reg and setup. I do not trust E-bay sellers that much and I want a warrenty on my reg. so $55-60 is minumum for me. Add a few dollars here and there to get a really reliable solenoid and needle valve and it gets high quick. But then those two items are where I DO want quality as they are where the control comes in. The reg is a simple item but the needle valve and solenoid have to be smooth to get what I want.
Well getting regs in the 30-50 shipped range isn't hard. May not be as easy as it used to be but there are tons of deals on ebay just waiting to be picked up. If you have a problem with the reg just tell the seller it doesn't work//explain which stage/diaphragm is leaking and most of the time they'll just refund you. They have no use for a useless regulator as much as you do. Just don't buy the "as is" kind of auctions and look through the pictures thoroughly and be smart when buying. Clippard mouse solenoids on ebay are cheap usually <20 dollars. If you dig through bettatail's numerous threads you'll find that you can get usable needle valves that are better than the fabco for <30 dollars on ebay There's even one that can be bought from retailers for 10 dollars and has great performance.
So yes, building your own dependable bare bones rig for less than 100 dollars is certainly possible it just depends on how much reading/digging you're willing to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
My experience with E-bay has been quite different. When I've got bad stuff, they wanted it shipped back to verify that it was faulty. I would not want to sell something and refund moneyu on the basic idea that the buyer is honest, either so I see why they would want to have the item back. What keeps me from just buying it and saying it is bad so that they give it away for free?
Is it safe to assume anybody is honest to that extent?
 

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My experience with E-bay has been quite different. When I've got bad stuff, they wanted it shipped back to verify that it was faulty. I would not want to sell something and refund moneyu on the basic idea that the buyer is honest, either so I see why they would want to have the item back. What keeps me from just buying it and saying it is bad so that they give it away for free?
Is it safe to assume anybody is honest to that extent?
I've had folks tell me to just keep the bad regulator so they didn't have to pay the return shipping.
 

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So yes, building your own dependable bare bones rig for less than 100 dollars is certainly possible it just depends on how much reading/digging you're willing to do.
I guess this is the entire point of my other rants. I feel like this is part of the reason why this hobby isn't as mainstream as it is in other countries. Why can't we get a decent regulator for less than $100 without building it ourselves? Aquatek got back to me and told me that I needed to replace an o-ring, it's 4 for $10. Why don't these regulators just use the plastic disc or permaseal like soft drink regulators?

Thanks for the writeup. I just got a keg regulator from my buddy and will be building my own.
 

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I've had folks tell me to just keep the bad regulator so they didn't have to pay the return shipping.
same, half the people selling rigs just get them as part of surplus sales or they found them at some garage sale from someone who welds. Most of these people have no clue how they work or how to test for them and when you message them saying that this and that doesn't work most of the time in my experience they say sorry and refund you the money. It's too much trouble for them to have you send it back (which is going to cost them another 10-15 dollars) for a piece of metal they won't be able to sell. You probably had run ins with sellers that actually run a company sort of business and it's standard procedure to ask for the defective item back. To them it's a deterrent for scammers//people who abuse the "buyer is always right"
idk I've never really had any problems dealing with ebay sellers and people here on TPT. I'd say most ebay sellers are honest.
 
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