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Regulator Problems

12853 Views 21 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  varanidguy
I did a leak test a couple weeks ago while waiting for a part and everything seemed fine. Today, when I was working on setting up the CO2 for my tank I noticed that the low pressure gauge was not sitting at 0. It was around 40 psi when not hooked up even though the high pressure gauge was at 0.

Here is a picture of it hooked up with pressure adjustment fully closed (counter clockwise).

I hooked the regulator up to the tank. I made sure the pressure adjustment was fully closed (counter clockwise). I plugged in the solenoid and heard an audible clicking noise. I then opened the tank valve and the high pressure gauge was reading approximately 750 psi (5lb tank). I then opened the needle valve. Opening the pressure adjustment (clockwise) shot a bunch of CO2 into the tank so I quickly closed it back up. After doing this and letting the CO2 dissipate I tried opening the pressure back up. Nothing happened (e.g. no bubbles in the counter and no flow out of the regulator). The low pressure gauge was sitting all the way at the far end and was stopped by the pin.

Afterwards, the solenoid would not make any clicking noise when turning on. The only way I was able to release the pressure was to unscrew the low pressure gauge from the regulator where it returned back to about 40 psi.

I then hooked it back up, I am able to get a flow, the solenoid works and I can adjust the needle valve. However, I have no clue what the low pressure actually is since it does not drop below 40 psi when not hooked up.

Is this most likely just a bad low pressure gauge? Is it safe to run the regulator if I’m getting a consistent bubble count and I can monitor the PH using a drop checker?
I will be contacting CO2Art to see what they have to say. Their customer service has been outstanding but I’m guessing I will be looking at a 2 – 3 week time frame before I have any resolution.

Thanks for any help, it is appreciated.
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Sounds like a busted low pressure gauge.

It's fine to run the regulator as long as you are getting a consistent bubble count. In the meantime, see if you can get an RMA or at least a replacement gauge.
Thanks so much @Darkblade48. I'm guessing the same thing about the low pressure gauge since everything else seems fine. I've already submitted a support email to CO2Art and I'm sure they'll get back to me tomorrow.
When the needle pegged, can I see it pegged on the far side of high? Like in past high and coming back all the way around to zero?
One thing that can cause this is something that it sounds like you were trying to prevent but perhaps it got missed anyway. Just guessing at an explanation, not meaning to accuse!
What I see is that a burst of really high pressure like 500+ sneaked through the reg and hit the low pressure gauge. This can happen as the regs take a few micro seconds to really get it together and regulate. Meantime what can happen is the metal internal gears, levers, etc. get bent. That can wind up with the meter showing 40 PSI rather than zero. Sounds familiar, huh?
A Google look for "bourdon tube"will give some info to look at for the general idea of what can happen.
Something not always obvious as the bad reading is what can/might/could happen when this high pressure hits. The bourdon tube is a tube shaped gizmo made of really super thing metal like copper foil that flexs when the pressure moves it. It is also really easy for the high pressure to split this tube and make it leak. Finding the leak may not be obvious as it is leaking inside the meter when it does. You may not have a leak or you could be losing a lot of gas. The lost gas will not show on the high meter until all the liquid CO2 is gone and you are running on fumes, so testing is a good idea. The problem with testing is that we may not think to check things like the screws on the meter back or around the glass cover. Any place where gas leaking inside can be sneaking out is suspect.
I would turn the tank valve off until I had time to do a really good leak test with soap, just to avoid losing the tank full of gas.
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Those blue handeled ones have a notoriously bad track record..that said:
It was around 40 psi when not hooked up even though the high pressure gauge was at 0.
The HP gauge is for tank pressure.
If the lp is sealed (solenoid off when pressurized, no leaks) it can, and should retain the psi for some time..
If you energize the solenoid it should drop (sometimes slowly, depends what is downstream) to zero..

then again..
However, I have no clue what the low pressure actually is since it does not drop below 40 psi when not hooked up.
Sounds like a couple of things.. one you shouldn't be able to peg the gauge unless the lp seat is shot or poorly designed 2)solenoid is sticking and 3)lp gauge is now bent.
No idea of which caused what but suspect the seat in the regulator..

this is the 2 stage one?
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Thanks @PlantedRich and @jeffkrol for the posts/help. I've done another leak test and all seems fine. I do not believe it was anything I did that caused the problem as I made sure the needle valve was open and the solenoid was on before opening the pressure. I did have the needle valve open too much which is why I had a lot of CO2 enter the tank right away, so I quickly reduced the pressure afterwards. In hindsight I should've done this without the tubing connected but I do not believe it was an issue.

This is the dual-stage CO2Art system. Their support has already gotten back to me and are offering to send new parts. I will say their support has been amazing, it is a shame they do not have a direct US presence.
I had a gauge that did something similar to this. I opened it up and fixed it by putting it on the right tooth on the gear.
Thanks @Joshism. They are actually sending me a new low pressure gauge along with some other parts (just in case). I'm not sure yet if they want me to return the damaged one.
I received the new low pressure gauge from CO2Art and it appears to be working perfectly. I'm still trying to figure out to open up the original gauge that is faulty so I can attempt to figure out what went wrong (inquiring minds want to know). I removed the two small screws on the back of the gauge which frees up the gauge inside the housing. However, there does not appear to be an easy way to remove the gauge as it is still enclosed in the metal housing. Not a big deal but I always like to know how things work, especially when they are not working.

I should also reiterate that the customer service from CO2Art has been exceptional.
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It is probably just a press fit bezel...Numerous, mostly denting) ways to remove it..
Think of it as a jar cap w/ no threads.. well might even be threaded but unlikely..

I'd put the square part in a vice and take a punch around the rim..
Thanks @jeffkrol. It definitely is not threaded and I'm assuming it is a press fit. I try to remove the bezel when I get a chance to see what I can figure out.

Last question (hopefully). Everything appears to be working fine. I can set the working pressure to approximately 40 psi when the solenoid is on and maintain a stable bubble rate. Once the solenoid shuts off, no more CO2 flows from the needle valve, which is good. However, the low pressure gauge slowly climbs to the max pressure over time. I'm assuming this is just the residual pressure between the tank and the solenoid, I just wanted to make sure it is nothing I should worry about.

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Not good at all. Sounds like a bad reg from here. When the pressure is set on the low side, it should stay there. The point is that the reg is not regulating and what you may find is that then the solenoid does open it lets a shot of the high pressure through and that can blow out tubing or fittings.
@PlantedRich, you are absolutely correct :(. Back to the customer support drawing board. It will take time but at least they have been extremely responsive. I will have to manually monitor it in the meantime.
Agree w/ plantedrich.. A regulator is to regulate.. not creep up willy nilly.. ;)
Like I said, blue handled ones have bad mojo..

Sad thing is the "other problem" probably wrecked the first gauge (bent tube inside)

Doubt if those regs have less than a 30% failure rate............. Sad to see they are still trying to "fix stupid"...
Figured I should update this thread in case it ever shows up in anyone's search. CO2Art did send me a new regulator. I received it about a week ago and it is working perfectly. I'm still exceptionally pleased with the support I received and would recommend them as probably the best option if trying to save some money while still having a good setup.
Thanks for finalizing this.. ;)
Glad it is all sorted out.
Please forgive the necromancy, but I wanted to know, are you still using the co2art regulator? If so, how is it holding up?
@varanidguy - I am still using the CO2Art regulator, it has been problem free and working perfectly.
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@varanidguy - I am still using the CO2Art regulator, it has been problem free and working perfectly.

Thank you for replying! I think co2art is going to be the one I go with.
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