Electronic Co2 regulator?

fablau

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Hi guys,


I just found this pretty cool Co2 electronic regulator on aquariumplants.com, and I'd like to know your thoughts about it:


http://www.aquariumplants.com/Carbon...ator-p/co2.htm


If it works as they say, I think the time of non-precise and non-steady regulators may be gone.


I am tempted to buy one, who knows that this is going to fix my BBA issues once for all??!!!
 

rajkm

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That's a Carbondoser and it has been around. I think you can get good accuracy with good needle valves like Swagelok S series or Hoke Micromite both of which I use.
 
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fablau

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rajkm said:
That's a Carbondoser and it has been around. I think you can get good accuracy with good needle valves like Swagelok S series or Hoke Micromite both of which I use.

Thanks for letting me know about that, I never heard of them. Maybe that "perfect" accuracy isn't even really needed... what do you think?
 

Tom Barr

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It is not something I suggest to anyone. A good dual stage and a decent valve I do.


It's a relatively cheap mass flow valve. Which regulates via a valve(a solenoid) the mass flow of gases.


Here's a pricy one I used back in 2005. They likely got the idea from me way back then.


http://www.alicat.com/products/mass-flow-meters-and-controllers/mass-flow-controllers/


Ebay sells them:


Example:


http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dakota-Mass-Flow-Controller-GC-6AGC1AL5-07AB-Gas-Air-flow-range-0-1000-mL-min-/162248797124?hash=item25c6c82bc4:g:4I8AAOSwx2dYCjGd


You can get cheaper ones but make sure they are set up for CO2 gas.


They are accurate as far as flow. I've calibrated the flows based on mls/min.


Used Alicats run about 200-400$. They are top notch though.


Still, like ANY valve, stuff can get in there, teflon tape, plastic gas tank to regulator seals etc.


Then clog it.


Always use new seals and no tape. A good seal and tightened correctly will prevent issues there.


I use a dental tool to pick the threads clean when I switch out tanks.
 

Tom Barr

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Still, it does not control the flow really that much vs say a needle valve at the end of the day. It is not an issue really if you use a dual stage regulator.


But you can program some of the valves to adjust based on a relative pH value say with a tank with 90-100% RO water and baking soda for KH, then get the correct flow rate for that tank vs a CO2 ppm goal.


Then measure that rate and program the mass flow controller to do that vs time.


Still, our goal has to do with the plants, not pH or CO2 directly.


Biomass (and thus CO2) demand changes over time and trimming etc.


So good care and watching things is the best metric really.


Not running the gas tank to below say 100 psi etc.


Even if that occurs, it's not any risk with the CO2 regulators I use.


Output pressure remains pretty constant and any wobble at the bitter end is so short and a non issue.


I suppose on a small tank it might be, but smaller tanks degas much faster also, whereas larger tanks have slower enrich and degas rates, thus are more stable.
 

fablau

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Tom Barr said:
Still, it does not control the flow really that much vs say a needle valve at the end of the day. It is not an issue really if you use a dual stage regulator.
But you can program some of the valves to adjust based on a relative pH value say with a tank with 90-100% RO water and baking soda for KH, then get the correct flow rate for that tank vs a CO2 ppm goal.


Then measure that rate and program the mass flow controller to do that vs time.


Still, our goal has to do with the plants, not pH or CO2 directly.


Biomass (and thus CO2) demand changes over time and trimming etc.


So good care and watching things is the best metric really.


Not running the gas tank to below say 100 psi etc.


Even if that occurs, it's not any risk with the CO2 regulators I use.


Output pressure remains pretty constant and any wobble at the bitter end is so short and a non issue.


I suppose on a small tank it might be, but smaller tanks degas much faster also, whereas larger tanks have slower enrich and degas rates, thus are more stable.

I see, nothing really special then. I don't have a dual stage, I have a simple needle valve regulator by Greenleaf, it is pretty stable day by day, but output gas increases when the Co2 tank is depleting (I'd say in the last 2 weeks before it is completely empty). I am wondering if a dual stage avoids that as well as those electronic controllers. Thanks.
 

Christophe

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fablau said:
I see, nothing really special then. I don't have a dual stage, I have a simple needle valve regulator by Greenleaf, it is pretty stable day by day, but output gas increases when the Co2 tank is depleting (I'd say in the last 2 weeks before it is completely empty). I am wondering if a dual stage avoids that as well as those electronic controllers. Thanks.

I run a similar setup. Notice what the pressures are doing when this happens -- the high pressure gauge will stay generally at 900-1000psi for most of the life of a tank. This indicates that the CO2 in the tank is compressed enough to be in liquid form. Note what your working intermediate pressure is for this level. When you've used enough gas that the high pressure level starts falling, you'll see the intermediate pressure gauge start to creep up. If you adjust it to maintain the intermediate pressure at what it was before (adjust it only when the gas is on and running), your in-tank levels stay the same. It only takes one bump a day during this short period. If you're looking at it daily anyway (and I KNOW you are!) it's not a big deal.
 
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fablau

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Christophe said:
I run a similar setup. Notice what the pressures are doing when this happens -- the high pressure gauge will stay generally at 900-1000psi for most of the life of a tank. This indicates that the CO2 in the tank is compressed enough to be in liquid form. Note what your working intermediate pressure is for this level. When you've used enough gas that the high pressure level starts falling, you'll see the intermediate pressure gauge start to creep up. If you adjust it to maintain the intermediate pressure at what it was before (adjust it only when the gas is on and running), your in-tank levels stay the same. It only takes one bump a day during this short period. If you're looking at it daily anyway (and I KNOW you are!) it's not a big deal.

Yeah, that's what I have always done, and if that's the only difference, I won't change my regulator. Even because affects just the last 10-14 days before I refill the tank.


Also, I am wondering about the noise of those electronic gears, I have my tank in my living room and I'd be annoyed if the "clicks" would be too loud. Ideas on that? Anyone tried those regulators and can testify on that?


Thank you Christophe.
 

Tom Barr

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Main thing is the CO2 rate does not DROP and you miss that, but it typically goes up...............in my Victor dual stage, Matherson dual, SWagelok, they do not change even if the gas tank is running at 20-100 psi, output is still a nice 10 psi, that is my default psi for most of the systems I run, if they use diffusers or more than one tank, then I'll run 20psi.


Clicks are simply the solenoid valve on the mass flow controller.


Note, the Alicat and other mass flow controllers with digital control buttons on them and computer output are far more advanced than the cheaper mass flow controllers. I would suggest getting a decent used unit if you want to play with them.


A used Dual stage regulator will run 50-150$ if you shop and take your time. The Victor HTP500 is a brass chrome plated unit that is really nice, the Brass are fine, no need for the higher end SS.


So you got a few options there if you want to address it.


Another method is to add an Apex controller and use the pH log to adjust the solenoid valve from your phone with their app.


So there's a fourth method if you include the "just watch and manually adjust".


You can use pH control and modify the pH probe by placing a reference DO cap and standardized KH solution inside.


So there's a 5th method.


We have many options.
 

Tom Barr

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In defense of aquariumplant's unit, they sell it for hobbyists already to go.


Price is not that bad either.


They also sell pre wired burket solenoids etc. Also a good thing as they tend to be tougher for many folks than they might appear.


While I've done most of these things, most have not.


So it is good to have industry offer them like ADA, or aquariumplants, or Alicat etc.


Not every brand is out to gouge the consumer and stymie the plucky DIY'er. :)


Some things might be worth it for many, whereas others might not see it that way, same for LED lighting.


Or DIY soil vs ADA AS etc.
 

fablau

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Thanks Tom for the extensive advice. I agree with you that aquariumolants.com deserves they nice spot in the aquarium industry, actually they offer several products at fair prices you can't easily find elsewhere. Thanks again.
 

Tom Barr

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Well, they try which is all anyone can reasonably ask.


I try, but fail but try to make it right.
 

DellPater

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The carbon doser is an electronic hardware that replaces solenoid, needle valve and bubble counter. You probably can't get it makes some very assertive claims about it, that in my opinion are not true. If all this is embedded on a board or i will say has an PCB assembly , then it is easy to maintain then and troubleshoot the issues. They claim it is the only thing that can stop EOTD on any regulator, and that needle valves can never work as good as it.
 
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