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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had a few issues with my CO2 regulators and solenoids. I haven't been able to figure out why I keep having issues. I have 3 types of regulators, 2 of which were purchased at different places. In a attempt to get things solved I called Orlando at Greenleafaquariums.com. He has GREAT customer service. While he was attempting to help me over the phone I discovered several things I was or was not doing. No one every told me, there were never in any instructions about this. Since I'm not a scuba diver or any other such "pressure tank" user I have had no previous life with this type equipment. I've wondered how many others like me don't know this stuff. I thought I'd post.

1. BEFORE attaching a regulator to a filled CO2 tank, open the tank valve and let some CO2 shoot out. This will clear out any debris that may have lodged and is waiting to clog your regulator.

2. BEFORE attaching or detaching your regulator from your CO2 tank always adjust your working pressure down to zero. Putting on a filled CO2 tank with your working pressure more than zero could blow out your regulator dial. The only exception to this are the preset regulators. (I have one of those.)

3. NEVER run your CO2 tanks empty. Running them empty can cause any settled debris to be blown into your regulator, clogging it.

4. If your bubble counter seems to be clogged turn off your CO2, gently screw off your bubble counter and then turn your working pressure up to 40, turn the CO2 back on blowing any clogged debris out. Turn off and on about 5 times for about 2 secs. to make sure any debris is blown out of the system. Remember to turn your working pressure back down to 10 when you are done and reconnect your bubble counter.

5. If your solenoid seems stuck follow the above directions for the bubble counter in #4.

6. It's best to always use a new washer between your regulator and the CO2 tank unless you have a perma washer. (These perma washers are great!)

If anyone has something else to add please feel free. It sure will cut down on the headaches!
 

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That is some great information! I didn't know half of those things myself. I had no idea there could be debris in the cylinder.
 

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luckily doing my research, learning stuff from Orlando myself and reading the milwaukee regulator install instructions located here on the forums i learned all of these things. they are all very good tips for new and old users alike. this should probably be stickied somewhere =).
 

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Very Nice. Im going to try #4 tonight! my solenoid keeps getting stuck! Thank You. But what if i just have an separate bubble counter. Just remove the tube?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Very Nice. Im going to try #4 tonight! my solenoid keeps getting stuck! Thank You. But what if i just have an separate bubble counter. Just remove the tube?
You aren't blowing air through the bubble counter. You are removing the bubble counter and blowing air through the area BEFORE the bubble counter, whether it is a tube or a brass fitting.
 

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Here's one to add. -> Never lay a CO2 tank on it's side. You DON'T need liquid CO2 in your regulator.
 

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It probably would not happen but it can. Do not under any circumstances let a full tank roll around in the trunk or back of your truck. Also it is best to strap them to your tank stand. High pressure leaving in a big hurry can cause big problems. Also don't drive around with a full tank between your legs. The heater in your car can expand the gas and possibly blow the burst disc in the valve. Don't put them near heaters in your house either.
 

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Good post Tex Gal!

Sumo sends out a small booklet with their regulators with instructions for mounting and un-mounting their regulators from the CO2 tank which includes items one and two in your list. Sergio and Mike are also great about answering any question you may have no matter how stupid it may seem to you at the time. Strange that so few regulators come with any instructions at all. Dealing with small companies like Sumo or GLA means you can get reliable help and answers to your questions, this is hard to do when buying from a big chain and the employees at a lot of LFS aren't much help either.

x2 on the suggestion to strap the tank to your stand as a safety precaution. I use a bunji cord. When I go to get a refill I always put the tank upright in a five gallon bucket with a towel between the tank and wall of the bucket so it stays upright. I then put a heavy object like my tool box on the floor of the car next to the bucket so the bucket can't slide around.
 

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One addition to the Perma Seal comment I would add is don't overtighten the tank valve with a perma seal. I broke my brass one when I really tightened it. I too have been very helpful with Sumo.
 

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Excellent post! thank you so much, it's great knowledge.

I don't understand the mechanics behind #3 though. If the debris has settled what disturbs it when the tank becomes unpressurized?

Is it because under high pressure 1/10000th of the CO2 is leaving and under low pressure 1/2 of the Co2 could leave all at once?

Or does it have more to do with liquid CO2 vs gas?
 

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You must have a really rusty tank or something!

To prevent 1 and 3-5, just buy a new aluminum tank, don't stick outlet in mud, etc. :)

I've never experienced #2. Needle doesn't even jump much when opening the valve. I do have a good regulator and open the valve very slowly after installing though. Or maybe I'm just lucky?

#6 is definitely good advice regarding permaseals. On my one cylinder that doesn't have threading, I made my own washer out of much thicker nylon than the typical washers. It is effectively a permaseal now (haven't replaced in over two years anyways).
 

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I just pluged mine in and that was that. I will keep this in mind from here on out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You must have a really rusty tank or something!

To prevent 1 and 3-5, just buy a new aluminum tank, don't stick outlet in mud, etc. :)

I've never experienced #2. Needle doesn't even jump much when opening the valve. I do have a good regulator and open the valve very slowly after installing though. Or maybe I'm just lucky?

#6 is definitely good advice regarding permaseals. On my one cylinder that doesn't have threading, I made my own washer out of much thicker nylon than the typical washers. It is effectively a permaseal now (haven't replaced in over two years anyways).
I have new tanks. I think maybe I end up with debris being blown into them or picked up by them being transported from the local welding store to Waco where they are filled and then back to my town. Either that or debris may be blown into them when they are filled. All I know is that I have had clogging problems and it's so easy to just open my tanks BEFORE I put the regulator on and blow it out. I'm hopeful that all my problems will cease as I follow these rules.
 

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>Why aren't there instructions with all regulators?
Because they are sold to the trade and your re-packager didn't make copies and pass them on or they didn't know they should have. Prior to us and hydroponics people picking up on CO2 for plants, regulators were pretty much only supplied to welding suppliers and scientific equipment manufacturers. Airco supplies an eight page brochure with their boxed regulators.

>Why do you need to purge the valve on a gas cylinder?
Because unless capped at the fill or refill stations, stuff can get where it shouldn't and it doesn't take much to clog a small line or needle valve. Stuff can also come off the plastic cap when you remove it. This is taught to welders and specified in every piece of scientific equipment I've ever seen that used pressurized gases.

When you are on the cutting edge, as those using pressurized CO2 are, there are opportunities to bleed. If we had to pass OSHA inspections on our systems my guess is a great many of us would fail.
By the way, is -Your- tank securely supported with a proper tank securing bracket that is itself properly attached? ;-)
 
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