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Regulators, etc

A good source for inexpensive beer-tap regulators is Rapids Wholesale
Equipment Co.  They have several regulators under $40 but gauges will push
the price up.  In spite of the name I have never had any problem buying from
them.  Their web site is www.4rapid1.com but it is not very user friendly.
Their printed catalog though is much better and a lot of fun if you have any
inclination toward that "other" use for these regulators ;)

I think the end-of-tank problem tends to be over characterized, even by
those of us that have had it happen.  The degree of the problem seems to be
very dependent on the brand of regulator but I would be very surprised if
any of them would dump enough pressure to blow the pressure relief valve.  A
typical beer tap regulator, which is mostly just a designation of it's
marketing purpose, is set to deliver 50 - 55 psi and has a emergency relief
valve set at 60 +/- 4 psi. (This is from the Norgren data sheet.)  As Scott
said, when the dump does occur there is an equalization of pressure on both
sides of the regulator diaphragm.  This may increase the low-side outlet
pressure by several psi.  The resulting increase in the volume of gas
flowing to your tank can be significant to the point of killing fish in
extreme cases.  It happened to me with my first, commercially purchased CO2
system many years ago and I was P****d!  Since I started building my own
systems though I have run my CO2 bottle empty a couple of times with out
noticing any dump.  That is the result of better regulators and better
system design even though I typically set the outlet pressure to around 10

My opinion  is that if the pressure relief valve goes off, you have bigger
problems than end-of-tank.

In systems engineering we try to match components in a manner that
accomplishes all of the tasks in the most efficient manner.  If the task is
to "deliver pizzas" (CO2 in plant tanks), a Lamborghini (Swagelock needle
valve) would be a great way to do it, but if you have to minimize cost but
maintain service, a Ford (ARO) might be an acceptable solution.  However
since we are doing this for personal consumption and want to have some
bragging rights I decided for the BMW (well actually I haven't decided on a
brand yet but I want to try the Fabco, the M3, and even the

Are there any metering/needle valves we have missed.  I'm planning a
"bubble-off" test in the next couple of months and would like to try as many
as practical.  Please mail me off list if you have a favorite.

Lyndle Schenck