Had a disagreement with a welding shop. Help!

agentkhiem

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Oct 21, 2010
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I've been reading from several forums and including this one on how to build regulators for several months now. I've finally made my purchase on a dual stage Victor regulator with a 6013A Burkert solenoid 1/8" NPT. Regulator has CGA 350 connection, the kind for methane and hydrogen. Local welding shop found out I was about to convert my regulator, and refused to sell the CGA 320 nipple and nut to me, telling me that 1. there would be corrosion to the diaphragm and 2. methane and hydrogen regulators are not safe for co2 applications.

Are both true? I need some way to prove that it's safe so I can get the parts I need.

Victor VTS 450 D
http://cgi.ebay.com/VICTOR-GAS-REGU...=BI_Welders&hash=item1c161e1306#ht_484wt_1156
 

Oreo

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May 6, 2010
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Sounds to me like you should just buy your CGA nipple from someone else. One of Concoa's people was giving me some serious fear mongering too when I called to ask some technical questions about the 2nd hand regulator I had purchased and planed to convert. I think he thought if he could convince me that my like-new 2nd hand regulator would explode like TNT that he could sell me a brand-new one ($$$). All I can say is that my regulator hasn't exploded yet, but I'm still waiting.

I'm not familiar with the specs on your regulator but a stainless steel diaphragm will not corrode just by feeding different gasses through the regulator. Your real concerns are the pressure limits of the regulator. As far as compressed gasses go, CO2 is relatively low pressure. You still want to verify that your regulator can handle these pressures but in all likelihood a regulator that can't handle CO2 is the exception. The only other thing would be that CO2 can degrade some rubbers, elastomers, & seals over time (years.) Again, it's not usually an issue since most of these 2-stage regulators are using PTFE (teflon) or Viton seals which are fine for CO2.
 

Left C

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Some places make you sign a "release form" when you order or purchase CGA fittings. They don't want to be sued or get in trouble with the Compressed Gas Association.
 

Matt F.

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I have several nitrogen regulators I've converted to CGA 320. No problems so far..LOL
I have a SGT 500 that has a CGA 330 on it. I just bought a stainless steel 3 piece smith CGA 320 with inline filter. I plan of swithcing the CGA 330, which is made for radioactive gasses to CGA 320. I don't think the CO2 would cause a problem.
I think a lot of the paranoia has to do with liability. It says even in the Victor manuals not to modify regulators w/o an authorized tech. I haven't blown up yet.
The one thing I wouldn't do is buy a used regulator that regulated corrosive or radioactive gas...lol You might run into problems there.

Here is what my SGT 500 w/ CGA 330 designed for: Antimony Pentafluoride, Boron Trifluoride, Carbonyl Sulfide, Deuterium Chloride, Deuterium Sulfide, Hexafluoroacetone, Hydrogen Bromide, Hydrogen Chloride, Hydrogen Iodide, Hydrogen Sulfide, Methyl Bromide, Methyl Mercaptan, Nitrogen Trifluoride, Nitrosyl Chloride, Nitrosyl Fluoride, Nitryl Fluoride, Phenylcarbylamine Chloride, Phosphorous Pentafluoride, Phosphorous Trifluoride, Silicon Tetrafluoride, Sulfur Tetrafluoride, Trifluoroacetyl Chloride, Uranium Hexafluoride

I'm using it for carbon dioxide.

I think it's like working on a car...most dealerships scare you into having an "authorized" professional work on yoru cars...they dissuade you from doing teh repairs yourself. In most cases, I do a better job fixing my car than any paid professional...I actually care about the details. Same goes for regulators...

buy your cga online (I posted sources in Left C's Dual Stage thread).
 
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pat w

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I've got a guy at a local shop that says he'd be willing to help change the springs on a Victor 450D to make it a 450B. Now THAT does require the clamps and tools that only a tech would have. But a CGA320 nipple? ... Please.

If you have any tools at all, you should be able to do it.

Pat
 

agentkhiem

Junior Poster
Oct 21, 2010
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Thanks for all your responses, it puts some confidence in my project. This VTS 450 D model has been used with Hydrogen and Methane, so I'm hoping that a CGA 320 fitting is all I'll need to get it working. I'll air out the regulator with the CO2 for a few seconds before using it.

Pretty sad that I can't buy it from my local welding shop. Sure beats having to pay shipping. The crazy part is that I called another location (same company) and they said conversion would be ok. Went back to the other location and they still wouldn't budge! Their response: "He shouldn't have said that. Those are our guys."
 

Matt F.

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pat w;57221 said:
I've got a guy at a local shop that says he'd be willing to help change the springs on a Victor 450D to make it a 450B. Now THAT does require the clamps and tools that only a tech would have. But a CGA320 nipple? ... Please.

If you have any tools at all, you should be able to do it.

Pat

I though the only difference between a "B" and "D" model was the gauge.
 

pat w

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There's a difference in the springs that set the operating pressure ranges of the poppets. The parts aren't very expensive, but the unit has to be held securely during disassembly to prevent damage to its delicate innards (or to anyone who happens to be nearby where it comes violently apart). The clamps are specially made for the purpose and Victor is really proud of 'em ($$$).

Pat
 

agentkhiem

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Oct 21, 2010
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I contacted Victor Tech Support today, and I got a hold of a guy named Tim. Turns out that they don't recommend changing out CGA adapters because of running equipment out of spec; factories would have to shutdown he said. I told him it's just for a hobby, but he insisted that it's not recommended. Oh well, I was hoping to get official endorsement.

As far as compatibility goes, he said that although the VTS 450 D has a stainless steel diapphragm, the seals and design of it would not be ideal for CO2 applications. What do you guys think?
 

Matt F.

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pat w;57237 said:
There's a difference in the springs that set the operating pressure ranges of the poppets. The parts aren't very expensive, but the unit has to be held securely during disassembly to prevent damage to its delicate innards (or to anyone who happens to be nearby where it comes violently apart). The clamps are specially made for the purpose and Victor is really proud of 'em ($$$).

Pat

Interesting...learned something new. Hope I never have to have mine rebuilt.
 

Matt F.

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agentkhiem;57251 said:
I contacted Victor Tech Support today, and I got a hold of a guy named Tim. Turns out that they don't recommend changing out CGA adapters because of running equipment out of spec; factories would have to shutdown he said. I told him it's just for a hobby, but he insisted that it's not recommended. Oh well, I was hoping to get official endorsement.

As far as compatibility goes, he said that although the VTS 450 D has a stainless steel diapphragm, the seals and design of it would not be ideal for CO2 applications. What do you guys think?

The first part of this makes sense if yo ulook at it from the perspective of "specs." The sticker or engraved part number on the regulator tells the tech which parts are needed should the unit need repairs. If the regulator has been modded, it is no longer an in-spec item. This being said, I have personally seen regulators for lab use that clearly state "CGA 580" but have a CGA 320 nipple/nut on it.

The same debate/issue arrises when you modify a car...once the car isn't OEM factory stock, the mechanic has to be made aware of the fact that there have been modifications and what those modifications mean to the system as a whole. If you have a 2003 Mustang GT and install Cobra front brakes, you'll need 2004 Cobra brake pads instead of the Stock GT pads when it comes time to replace them. Given the VIN number, the mechanic would normally order stock GT pads...

The cobra brakes will work better than the GT brakes since they were made for a supercharged car...both are functional.

The function of these units once switched to CGA 320 is virtually the same; although, the regulator has morphed into something else according to thermadyne.

The only reason I could think of for the tech saying that the VTS 450 is not practical is the size given most CO2 tanks for home use. That regualtor is large.

You have to realize that we are on the cuttign edge of a rare hobby when you consider how many people have aquariums. Planted tanks are a subclass within the hobby and those of us who have our own custom built dual stage regulators are even fewer.

Thermadyne has an investment in the lay person's ignorance...the less people know about their products, the more dependant we are on them for service, repairs, sales, etc. Same goes for the auto industry. They make cars harder to work on so that we have to take them to a factory authorized shop.
 
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pat w

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Nov 4, 2009
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agentkhiem;57251 said:
I contacted Victor Tech Support today, and I got a hold of a guy named Tim. Turns out that they don't recommend changing out CGA adapters because of running equipment out of spec; factories would have to shutdown he said. I told him it's just for a hobby, but he insisted that it's not recommended. Oh well, I was hoping to get official endorsement.

As far as compatibility goes, he said that although the VTS 450 D has a stainless steel diapphragm, the seals and design of it would not be ideal for CO2 applications. What do you guys think?

There's an exploded view on the pdf manual I posted earlier (page 3). The only differerence in part numbers between models were for matal parts; springs, relief valves, and such. All "soft" components, like glands or perhaps gaskets, were common to all models regardless of the type of gas or the delivery pressure range. Same design; same parts; what's there to not be ideal since they sell a CO2 version? The argument doesn't hold water, at least to me.

Pat
 

agentkhiem

Junior Poster
Oct 21, 2010
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Matt F.;57253 said:
The first part of this makes sense if yo ulook at it from the perspective of "specs." The sticker or engraved part number on the regulator tells the tech which parts are needed should the unit need repairs. If the regulator has been modded, it is no longer an in-spec item. This being said, I have personally seen regulators for lab use that clearly state "CGA 580" but have a CGA 320 nipple/nut on it.

The same debate/issue arrises when you modify a car...once the car isn't OEM factory stock, the mechanic has to be made aware of the fact that there have been modifications and what those modifications mean to the system as a whole. If you have a 2003 Mustang GT and install Cobra front brakes, you'll need 2004 Cobra brake pads instead of the Stock GT pads when it comes time to replace them. Given the VIN number, the mechanic would normally order stock GT pads...

The cobra brakes will work better than the GT brakes since they were made for a supercharged car...both are functional.

The function of these units once switched to CGA 320 is virtually the same; although, the regulator has morphed into something else according to thermadyne.

The only reason I could think of for the tech saying that the VTS 450 is not practical is the size given most CO2 tanks for home use. That regualtor is large.

You have to realize that we are on the cuttign edge of a rare hobby when you consider how many people have aquariums. Planted tanks are a subclass within the hobby and those of us who have our own custom built dual stage regulators are even fewer.

Thermadyne has an investment in the lay person's ignorance...the less people know about their products, the more dependant we are on them for service, repairs, sales, etc. Same goes for the auto industry. They make cars harder to work on so that we have to take them to a factory authorized shop.

Right, I can imagine how that applies to computers as well. Dell recommends their re-labled memory sticks for their Dell laptops/desktops. Apple only recommends memory sticks that are officially Mac certified, even if the modules are functionally the same.

And you're right, this regulator is monstrous compared to any average CO2 regulator or anything found at the welding shop I was at.
 

agentkhiem

Junior Poster
Oct 21, 2010
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pat w;57255 said:
There's an exploded view on the pdf manual I posted earlier (page 3). The only differerence in part numbers between models were for matal parts; springs, relief valves, and such. All "soft" components, like glands or perhaps gaskets, were common to all models regardless of the type of gas or the delivery pressure range. Same design; same parts; what's there to not be ideal since they sell a CO2 version? The argument doesn't hold water, at least to me.

Pat

I wonder if I should go back to the shop and give them a printout of the exploded diagram, that would be an interesting time... or do you think they still have to maintain their "Victor distributor" status by sticking with the rules?
 

Matt F.

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pat w;57237 said:
There's a difference in the springs that set the operating pressure ranges of the poppets. The parts aren't very expensive, but the unit has to be held securely during disassembly to prevent damage to its delicate innards (or to anyone who happens to be nearby where it comes violently apart). The clamps are specially made for the purpose and Victor is really proud of 'em ($$$).

Pat


I've been thinking about this. I know a few people who have replaced a "D" model's working pressure gauge and replaced it with a "A","B", or "C" model's.

Does this mean the psi gauge is off (not accurate)?
 

pat w

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agentkhiem;57257 said:
I wonder if I should go back to the shop and give them a printout of the exploded diagram, that would be an interesting time... or do you think they still have to maintain their "Victor distributor" status by sticking with the rules?

As Matt stated before they most likely would have to keep with the line for Spec/Liability/Distributer issues. If you could get the guy "off the record" I suspect his position might relax a bit.

Matt F.;57263 said:
I've been thinking about this. I know a few people who have replaced a "D" model's working pressure gauge and replaced it with a "A","B", or "C" model's.

Does this mean the psi gauge is off (not accurate)?

No worries there. Gauges are pure pressure readers. Thay aren't dependant on what is supplying it. If there's no reason to doubt it, trust the instrument.

Pat
 

Matt F.

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pat w;57264 said:
As Matt stated before they most likely would have to keep with the line for Spec/Liability/Distributer issues. If you could get the guy "off the record" I suspect his position might relax a bit.



No worries there. Gauges are pure pressure readers. Thay aren't dependant on what is supplying it. If there's no reason to doubt it, trust the instrument.

Pat

Hi, Pat--

Thanks for the response.

Good to know that the working pressure gauges are accurate after swapping them out (assuming they work correctly to begin with...lol).

My next question is: why change the spring when changing from a "D" model to an "A" or "B"?
Is there an issue with tension, etc?

-Matt