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snails are your friend
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I thought I'd spend this afternoon replacing the CO2 tubing in my system since there seemed to be a slow leak and my old tank was nearly empty. I turned off the solenoid and pH controller, took the tank off, replaced each section of tubing, taped up the new tank threads, hooked everything back up, and powered back on. Now it seems the solenoid won't turn on at all. There's pressure to the regulator, but I can't get any to the output side, for lack of knowing proper terminology. I've tried a second power supply, as well as tested the one on the controller. That's not the issue. But I can't determine what IS. Anybody have ideas? It's a relatively new unit (bought in 2020) and has given me no problems thus far. Thanks in advance for any thoughts.


Edited to add: solenoid is hot, as usual
 

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I would take apart your solenoid and look at the manual and reassemble based on that. There is a magnet in it that controls on/off and what happened to me was I had it in backwards and it didn't work.
 

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Is that picture right? As in , taken when you are experiencing the issue? The working pressure (left) gauge shows nothing. If there’s nothing wrong with your regulator or gauge, then your regulator is “off”. Give the main knob a few turns CLOCKwise. Yea, I said that. This is not a water faucet. Otherwise, perhaps you knocked the knob inadvertently and shut off the flow?
 

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Is that picture right? As in , taken when you are experiencing the issue? The working pressure (left) gauge shows nothing. If there’s nothing wrong with your regulator or gauge, then your regulator is “off”. Give the main knob a few turns CLOCKwise. Yea, I said that. This is not a water faucet. Otherwise, perhaps you knocked the knob inadvertently and shut off the flow?
Good catch!
 

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snails are your friend
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Photo was indeed taken while experiencing the issue. Believe it or not, I did try turning up the pressure! Builder is of the opinion that the gauge is blown if disassembly doesn't fix it, and it doesn't seem to have. So I'll be mailing it back to him. Was able to get an old regulator working (mostly) to get me by while in transit. Just wish I knew what I did so I could avoid repeating this.
 

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hopefully there is no permanent damage to the regulator, I think this IR6400 regulator alone is about $1500 a piece, and a liquidated or used are hard to come by nowaday, lucky enough to get one still cost about $100-$150...
 

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Something(debris) inside the solenoid is likely causing it to get stuck. Either that or it failed. Was it still getting hot?

I just reread it again. You put Teflon tape on the threads of the co2 tank? That’s a big no-no. It’s likely a tiny little piece of tape stuck inside the solenoid. Or some other place where it could clog things up. Just use a new nylon seal every time you reconnect your cylinder. Use a big wrench. Taping the threads will do nothing for creating a seal in the cga-320 connection.
 

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The problem is probably as oldpunk predict, but I think it is the regulator gets stuck instead of the solenoid, anyway, wait until flowerfishs to take care of it, and if flowerfishs can not get the regulator fixed or remove the debris inside the regulator, he will send it to me, ...
 

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The problem is probably as oldpunk predict, but I think it is the regulator gets stuck instead of the solenoid, anyway, wait until flowerfishs to take care of it, and if flowerfishs can not get the regulator fixed or remove the debris inside the regulator, he will send it to me, ...

that should not be a big problem. I should able to fix it. :grin2:
 

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snails are your friend
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You put Teflon tape on the threads of the co2 tank? That’s a big no-no. It’s likely a tiny little piece of tape stuck inside the solenoid. Or some other place where it could clog things up. Just use a new nylon seal every time you reconnect your cylinder. Use a big wrench. Taping the threads will do nothing for creating a seal in the cga-320 connection.
I had no idea you weren't supposed to use Teflon tape on the tank! I first used a CO2 tank back in the 90's for a calcium reactor, and the guy who showed me how to set it up did it that way and I have been ever since. And I've used the same nylon seal over and over as well, so I'm 0-2 and I'd never been told either of these things. Make it 0-3 looking at my 12" Channel Locks. I half feel like an idiot for mistreating the most expensive part of my aquarium, and half am frustrated that issues never came up during the 20 dang years I was using cheap equipment to learn on. Murphy's Law, I suppose. A "How to Properly Use and Care for Your Regulator" write-up would be a handy sticky. I can't be the only one to not know these things.
 

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I had no idea you weren't supposed to use Teflon tape on the tank! I first used a CO2 tank back in the 90's for a calcium reactor, and the guy who showed me how to set it up did it that way and I have been ever since. And I've used the same nylon seal over and over as well, so I'm 0-2 and I'd never been told either of these things. Make it 0-3 looking at my 12" Channel Locks. I half feel like an idiot for mistreating the most expensive part of my aquarium, and half am frustrated that issues never came up during the 20 dang years I was using cheap equipment to learn on. Murphy's Law, I suppose. A "How to Properly Use and Care for Your Regulator" write-up would be a handy sticky. I can't be the only one to not know these things.
You have no idea. Lol

Get yourself a 10” crescent wrench and ask for the nylon seals where you get your co2 filled. You can order them on that auction site or the ;) place. Even a harbor freight crescent would be fine.
 

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snails are your friend
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Received my regulator back and am hooking it up. Not using thread tape for the first time in 20 years! @flowerfishs sent new seals along with it, and I had him upgrade it to two needle valves and bubble counters rather than split them off at the tanks, like I had been doing. So just to be certain I don't make another veteran/rookie error, I'd like to toss a couple of questions out to you guys...

1) Is there any benefit at all to using my current needle valves and bubble counters at the aquariums in addition to the new ones at the output? I'm guessing not, and plan to bypass and remove them, but figured it was worth asking.

2) Any reason to use an oil or anything besides RO water for the bubble counters?

3) I've replaced all of my clear CO2 tubing with black and it seems loose comparatively. I had to heat the clear stuff just to get it over the hose nipples and this new tubing slides right on. I have nuts to tighten it down, but is there any concern this could leak gas?

4) Anything else that's common knowledge that might not be so common?
 

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1) Is there any benefit at all to using my current needle valves and bubble counters at the aquariums in addition to the new ones at the output? I'm guessing not, and plan to bypass and remove them, but figured it was worth asking.
Well generally just more possible leak points but a)most current bubble counters contain a check valve so there is that.
Of course if it's sticky just another failure point
b) Ganging needle valve can add some precision if my experience of using 2 SMC AS1000 in series is typical.

2) Any reason to use an oil or anything besides RO water for the bubble counters?
No

3) I've replaced all of my clear CO2 tubing with black and it seems loose comparatively. I had to heat the clear stuff just to get it over the hose nipples and this new tubing slides right on. I have nuts to tighten it down, but is there any concern this could leak gas?
Yea not good but if using the lock nuts and or clamps not much of an issue. Would bother me though.. ;)



4) Anything else that's common knowledge that might not be so common?
Not at the moment.
 

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snails are your friend
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks, Jeff! I'm 70% through with this project and can now toss the extra needle valve/bubble counter combos. I was all but certain my new hookup would work fine but if there was any benefit to doing things differently and I have the parts already (and no less, already hooked up), then thought I might as well ask. It will sure clean up the sides of the tank to no longer have the bubble counters hanging there, even if I did look at them almost as much as the aquariums.
 

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snails are your friend
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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Update, this new black CO2 tubing is trash. Leaks at multiple connection points, especially the check valves. Shame too, because it hides better than clear and is softer and more pliable than the old tubing I threw away. So back to the drawing board. Anyone have a favorite CO2 tubing brand?

Bump to add, I've read more on this forum and others over the last hour and change I don't know what to think. I own a pet shop and have rolls of standard vinyl airline tubing. I can't seem to find a consensus however as to whether or not it's really comparable to CO2 resistant stuff, in terms of lost gas nor expected lifespan. I always stayed away from it for those reasons but have seen some pretty compelling evidence to the contrary. Have we reached a conclusion in the last decade?
 

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I've used all kinds of tubing for co2 over the 13 years doing this and never noticed much of a difference in terms of refilling times from lost gas. My usual tubing is the soft silicone stuff, I usually pick it up at petsmart most likely the cheap topfin brand.

I've never used "co2 tubing"

I like the soft stuff since it wraps tightly around the connection points. Sometimes i heat up the end, but usually not necessary with the soft stuff, If I'm using the stiffer vinyl tubing then I heat. I don't care if technically I might be losing some co2 through the skin, the distance traveled is not enough to care about in reality.
 

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I don't think you will find any sort of firm answer on what tubing to use, so here is my spin.
I talked to the folks at USPlastics and was considering the issue, so asked what they thought as they do make and sell every type that I can think of and very well could have sold me the expensive stuff.
But when they speak of gas going out the side of plastic, they are talking a totally different realm than what we do!
If you have a few hundred PSI or some gas which eats the plastic and maybe run it 200 feet to the other end of the factory, think about getting the good stuff.
But if you are running under 50-60 PSI for less than a hundred feet and the end is almost close to what they call open (reactors open, diffusers not quite so much?) and using a gas as non-threatening as CO2 , they kind of laughed the question off as not really something to consider!
It's pretty hard to get a molecule of gas to squeeze out between the molecules of the plastic wall if it can just run out the end much easier!
Some cheap plastics like airline tubing do get hard and brittle after some time, especially if they are in the sun where UV does some damage. But for my use, just the cheap stuff is fine and easy to find good fittings and work with, so I got a big roll some years back and never had any trouble with it other than my dummy moves at times. Being so cheap, I often just cut the ends off and use the new part rather than twisting and fighting to get a tube that has been on for a few years off the old fitting! I found I can break the fitting doing that and it's lots more than the tube. Then if I ever get a tube that feels hard so that I can't press it between finger and thumb, I just throw it away as it costs so little! My tanks and equipment don't stay in one place more than a couple years at best, so it works for me.
The dummy moves I mention? Things like not putting the tubing on at a joint when setting up and letting the gas run out behind the stand while I tried to set a bubble count? Not putting the plastic compression ring on at a Fluval bubble counter so the tube pops off in the middle of the night? I can't say any type of tube is "foolproof"! We just have to do the best we can?
 

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I came here because my CO2 regulators, both Aquatic Life and Aquatek, always seem to "dump" the CO2 at some point a few weeks after adding a fresh and full paint ball canister to the system. Now I see, in passing, that using Teflon tape on the canister threads is not recommended, which I've always done. My theory has been that as the canister pressure is reduced, less pressure is on the threads and the gas escapes but maybe it is due to the tape. Both of these regulators are solenoid controlled and the gas is escaping at the canister connection. I will leave the tape off and see what happens. There are no leaks at any of the hose connections.
 

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I came here because my CO2 regulators, both Aquatic Life and Aquatek, always seem to "dump" the CO2 at some point a few weeks after adding a fresh and full paint ball canister to the system. Now I see, in passing, that using Teflon tape on the canister threads is not recommended, which I've always done. My theory has been that as the canister pressure is reduced, less pressure is on the threads and the gas escapes but maybe it is due to the tape. Both of these regulators are solenoid controlled and the gas is escaping at the canister connection. I will leave the tape off and see what happens. There are no leaks at any of the hose connections.
Dump is kind of a bad term in reference to what you see.



CO2 regardless of tank type always "dumps" at the end of the gas.
Tank pressure stays "stable" till all liquid CO2 is gone then the gauge drops rapidly (well depending on delivery rate).


As you have seen yea.. a leak somewhere.
 

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Before going too far,let's make sure we are speaking the same way as confusion is easy to start!
Paintball is a far different animal than big "regular" CO2 tanks and the connections are far different so we need to do different things.
Looking at big tanks, the connection at the CGA320 is a flat surface where we need to put a washer that is compressed to form the seal.
Idea is that we do not use tape if there is some soft thing like a washer or rubber ring to mash and seal.
But if there is only metal to metal contact like two metal pipe fittings, the tape or pipe dope is needed to fill the tiny mismatch in threads of each item.
So if the paintball has a rubber ring or seal, no tape!
 

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