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Re: Experience and CO2 regulation

On Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 17:00:31 -0500  "Tom Wood" <tomwood2 at flash_net> wrote:

>It is a tragedy that in our culture the value of experience has been
>discounted in favor of easy religion and apparent science.

Experience means nothing to anyone but yourself unless you are able to share it
and have others understand what it is you're trying to say.  Experience can be
one of the best educational tools for oneself.  Your own experiences do nothing
for educating others if they don't know about them.

>I have been using a $65 dual gauge (NOT dual stage) beer
>regulator and a $20 needle valve on a 5 pound CO2 cylinder for 4 years.

That's great.  The DIY approach is one of the aspects I very much like about
this hobby.  The sense of accomplishment from building and creating can be very
great.  My Paludarium setup is both a technical achievement and a work of art
for which I am very proud.  For design, implementation, aesthetics and function.

>A $65 regulator (described by others here as rubbish) and an $20 needle valve
>(described by others here as totally inadequate). That is all. Nothing else.

It's a shame when someone calls something garbage simply based on price.  As I
have tried to make a point of, price really has nothing to do with it.  Each
component should have its merits weighed on its performance for the most part.
Some people will obviously have other concerns such as aesthetics, etc.  In any
case, I believe most of the slinging in this thread started because of certain
persons coming out and accusing certain other persons of selling a garbage

If anyone would care to do some research, just take a look at the web sites of
BOC gases.  You would find very clearly that even on their regulators that cost
above $100 and are of impeccable scientific grade, all the single-stage
varieties carry a note to point out that there will be increases in outlet
pressure as the tank nears empty.  Single-stange regulators are not designed to
protect equipment down stream.  I have not found mention on any site of any
manufacturer or distributor for any dual-guage single-stage product claiming any
protective properties for downstream equipment.  Only the opposite.  I have
found numerous times pointers to their dual-stage products for this purpose.

>No dead fish. No pressure pulses. No dumping.

Some people still can't get it through their heads that by applying a
restriction device such as a needle valve, you are in essence providing a second
stage, which will aid in the protection of anything down stream (from that
restriction).  But you have to keep in mind that not all needle valves are
created equally and some will better protect and also survive the output
pressures from the regulator on the cylinder.

>I don't have a clue what model number any of the equipment is,
>it doesn't matter, I am only relating actual experience with modestly priced

This is a problem for trying to share your equipment selection experience with
anyone else however.  One would hope that you could at least point someone to
the equipment you bought and where you bought it.  You should at least be able
to construct a similar (or the same) setup again in the future if you needed to.

>I believe that anyone can do the same thing.

Sure, you just have to take the time to look at research.  It's nice to have
starting points and references to consult.  A familiarity with the concepts of
flow restriction and circuits is also helpful.

Some people like to point out that this is not rocket science.  Well, in fact it
is.  To some people it is well beyond.  Fluid dynamics and principles of
pressurized delivery are not second nature for everyone.  Nor do you necessarily
need in depth knowledge to successfully implement and use CO2 injection.  Just
keep in mind that there are plenty of professionals in dozens of industries
dealing with this type of equipment and with much training, education and
practical experience doing so.

>and the needle valve should have the finest movements you
>can afford, $20 will work, $40 is better, after that you are
>just trying to impress your friends.

Not only the finest movements, but it too must be rated for the pressures you
will want to deliver to it from the regulator.  If it is not matched to the
output pressure from your regulator you are asking for leaks and destruction of
the valve.  You have to select components based on each other.  But, in the end,
as long as these criteria are met, money has little to do with it.  By that I
mean that even the same valve may cost two very different prices to two very
different people.  $20 does not make a bad valve and $40 does not make a good
valve (neither does $100 if it is a valve not suited to the application).  As
far as impressing friends go...  None of my friends would know a $2 needle valve
from a $70 metering valve.  When I purchase something it is to satisfy my own
needs, my own requirements and for my own satisfaction.  Sometimes this involves
having the best possible item in its class.  That's my prerogative, though and I
don't judge other for not making the same choices.

>I don't care if it IS made in Germany, if it kills your fish it is still

Regulators don't kill fish.  Unattentive users kill fish.  CO2 regulators are
not designed to keep fish.  I think some people need to remember this.

>I believe that my earlier comment still stands: Any end-of-tank failure is a
>failure of the design of the CO2 delivery system.

There is no end of tank failure though.  An increase in pressure output is not a
failure.  It is a design element of the single-stage regulator.  As far as a
whole system implementation goes, it just means that the use of such a regulator
without an additional device to restrict that increased pressure, is not

When you're driving your car, do you drive until it is completely out of gas
before trying to refuel?  I suspect you'll run into some potential troubles,
some even fatal, if you let this happen.  Like everyone else, you probably
refuel while you still have a supply of gasoline in your tank and can still
safely drive to a gas station.  The same applies for a CO2 system based on a
single-stage regulator and high-pressure injection device such as the Eheim
Reaktor.  You should be refilling the tank before it completely expires.  The
instruments on the regulator are there for a reason.

>That should be worth at least 4 cents........

And that's 4 cents plus interest.