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Complete Leak Check, CO2 pressurized system

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by bettatail, May 17, 2011.

  1. bettatail

    bettatail Guru Class Expert

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    This leak check is also a function check for Double stage Regulator.
    (spray soap water test only for the reachable connection ports, if leaking is inside the regulator, soap water test is useless.
    also, someone suggest dipping the whole system in water to test leak, don't even think about it, it is suicide if solenoid is 120V, or you will ruin the solenoid.)

    Step 1.
    A. Regulator handle completely loose(counter clockwise).
    B. Connect the regulator to the co2 tank, make sure the connection is secured.
    C. Turn on the CO2 tank release handle slowly, CO2 inject into regulator, the HP gauge reading should be at 800 psi.
    D. Shut the CO2 tank release handle, now the reading on the HP gauge should be 800 psi also.
    E. Wait 6 hours, if the reading is the same, first stage is good, go to second step.

    If the psi lower but the tank--regulator(soap water test), CGA 320 nipple--regulator(soap water test) and HP gauge--regulator(soap water test) connection ports are 100% no leak, your regulator is toasted--the leaking is inside(leaking HP gauge, punched diaphragm, diaphragm seal broken, or the poppet valve between the first stage and second stage chambers is not completely sealed.)

    Step 2.
    continue from step one if success, now you have 800 psi of co2 isolated in the first stage chamber.
    A. needle valve open.
    B. Solenoid valve power off(shut).
    C. Turn the regulator handle clockwise to charge the second stage chamber, fill to the regulator default outlet maximum.
    D. Turn the regulator handle counter clockwise(completely loose).
    E. Release the CO2 in the first stage chamber by turning loose the regulator-Tank connection screw(make sure the co2 tank is closed before you do this).
    Now you have CO2 isolated in the second stage chamber.
    F. Wait for 5-10 minutes(to ease the second stage diaphragm elastic issue, psi may drop right after the regulator handle turn loose, then it will stay), record the LP gauge psi reading.
    G. Wait for 6 hours, if the new psi reading is within 1/8+ difference of original reading, go to step 3

    If the psi lower a lot after 6 hours, redo step 2, soap water test on every reachable connection port(LP gauge--regulator, regulator--fittings, fittings--solenoid)
    if leaking found, fix it

    redo step 2.
    no leak, go to step 3

    if still leak.
    Take out the solenoid, seal the outlet port of the regulator(make sure the sealed port has no leak)
    redo step 2 without the solenoid.
    if no leak, solenoid valve has issue.
    if leaking still, regulator toasted.(similar problems as mentioned in step one)


    Step 3.
    A. connect the regulator back to the co2 tank, charge both stage charmbers(turn on the co2 tank release handle then the regulator handle, outlet psi set to your desire psi).
    B. Turn on the solenoid valve.
    C. Turn off the needle valve, soap water test, between the ports of solenoid and the needle valve.
    D. Turn on the needle valve, soap water test for rest of the hose/NPT/hose barb connections.
    E. if leaking found, fix it.

    leak test and regulator functional check complete.

    Add: For Step 2, G, after 6 hours, the LP gauge PSI reading may differ as much as 1/4 of the original reading, due to the diameter, and material of the second diaphragm(different elasticity coefficient) and outside temperature.
    If the PSI reading is off more than 1/4 of original reading, it is definitely a leak.
     
    #1 bettatail, May 17, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2011
  2. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    That is quite a checklist. Is this more for troubleshooting or a general leak test? I can tell you I did not do that when checking if my regulator had no leaks.

    I attached the regulator to the tank and fully opened the tank. I then turned my regulator handle to the point where it was just under 30 PSI I wanted to use for the atomizer, along with fine turning with the needle valve.

    Then I soap and water checked. The CGA 320 valve, the 1/4 to 1/8 reducer (especially wanted to leak check parts I took off the original regulator and then replaced) All connection points from the CO2 tank to the hose end adaptor. No hissing, no bubbling, figured I was ok.

    Been running for a about 2 weeks rock solid, nothing has moved on either gauge of the regulator (this is a new thing to me). I think this is all great information. My only question, is this how you recommend everyone do the leak test, or is this more for if there's a problem.

    A lot of great information here has made this this forum the place to go to for CO2 setups, information and troubleshooting.
     
  3. Matt F.

    Matt F. Lifetime Charter Member
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    I don't really think the average jane/joe would need to do this. A problem would be obvious in most cases. I have not come across a stage 1 problem. Only heard of one diaphram failure, and a potential stage 2 failure in the year or two I have been researching this stuff. You can use windex to check the obvious connection points while the solenoid is closed to see if it is holding pressure. Leaks are usually obvious.

    Basically, this step by step is good to know, but you do not need to do it if you're building a used regulator off ebay (or new regulator) for yourself. You would only want to do something like this if you were interested in selling a unit to another for profit (if you have not used the unit yourself). This way you protect the consumer and also protect yourself.

    That's really the only situation where I think ethically you'd need to do some testing.
     
    #3 Matt F., May 17, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2011
  4. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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  5. bettatail

    bettatail Guru Class Expert

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    I use windex to check the connection points.

    did know there is leak locator that I can get from HD, will get it tomorrow.
     
  6. Doc7

    Doc7 Subscriber

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    After, Step 2, Part E:

    E. Release the CO2 in the first stage chamber by turning loose the regulator-Tank connection screw(make sure the co2 tank is closed before you do this).
    Now you have CO2 isolated in the second stage chamber.



    Does the nylon washer gasket need to be replaced with new (when a perma-seal is not being used)?
     
  7. oldpunk

    oldpunk Guru Class Expert

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    Not necessarily. You should. From experience, if used too many times it will get smashed in there and you will have a heck of time trying to get it out.

    edit:

    Wow. I really mis read that. To answer your question, yes.
     
    #7 oldpunk, May 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2011
  8. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    You need an Allen wrench to tighten the MK I Perma-Seal Washers. Be careful as you can easily break the threads off.
    [​IMG]




    There used to be a MK II Perma-Seal Washer that didn't have threads, but otherwise it was the same. You could use it over and over. Someone mentioned that there is some "new old" stock available at a few places. I like the MK II washers better.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. maknwar

    maknwar Lifetime Members
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    I broke my threads off of my permaseal and it looks like a washer now. Now i can use it for my tank without threads on it.
     
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