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Has anyone tried an "electronic" regulator?

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Pale Rider, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. Pale Rider

    Pale Rider Junior Poster

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    Just saw this while surfing and was curious if anyone had ever tried one out and had an opinion...

    Electronic Regulator

    Thanks,

    Chris
     
  2. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Chris,

    Haven't used one, but...

    If you do not already have a regulator, that one looks like it might be a very good investment.

    However, if you already have the "old-fashioned" type, I would stick with that to save money -- unless, of course, you just like new gadgets, which I can totally relate to. :) On a "regular" regulator, if you get the second pressure gauge up to about 20 psi, they are very accurate in their bps (and I don't even have an expensive one). The only time I ever had a problem with my bps changing with ambient temperature was when I had the second pressure gauge at a very low psi (I was under 5 psi). If you have a decent needle valve, I do not believe that you will get an end-of-tank dump ... at least not much of one.
     
  3. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The one "end of tank dump" problem that really does exist is cheap regulators which will give an outlet pressure that is inversely proportional to the inlet presssure. That means when the CO2 tank is out of liquid CO2, and the pressure starts dropping, the regulator output pressure starts rising. If you are running a bubble rate very close to the maximum allowed, this rise in output pressure can increase the bubble rate enough to harm the fish. My Milwaukee regulator does this, and I have to keep a close eye on it when I am getting near the end of the tank. No matter how good the needle valve is, the bubble rate is still proportional to the outlet pressure of the regulator. Two stage regulators never do this - a good reason to use them.
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I've never had an end of tank dump unless folks did not use the a decent needle valve, that physically chokes any issues with tank pressure.

    So this is not an issue, I suppose with a really junky regulator etc, and cheapo valve, it might, solenoids do fail BTW, and any valve that is electronically controlled will fail, it's just a matter of when...........3 years is okay warranty I suppose.

    I used an Alicat mass flow regulator which is a much higher grade device than this thing, but it also cost more.

    For the $, it seems like a decent product, I'm just not keen on relying so much on a electric valve for flow rate. You can add a needle valve down stream from these also, that would give you 2 levels of redundancy.

    I think most folks buy those junk JBL and Milkwaukee regs with the even junkier Solenoids. Then they fail and have issues, so they are looking for something decent, never had any issues with the Victor brand for 20 years and a decent Nupro Swagelok valve.

    The solenoid can be any number of brands, they will fail at some point, hopefully a long time, but that's just means the valve is now shut, same deal with these above, so keep an eye for that got make sure gas is coming in.

    But they either work or they do not, and then you go and replace them.
    If you need to replace them more than once every 5 years or to 10 years, something's up.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. Janflo

    Janflo Junior Poster

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    We just purchased this for our tanks...it works awesome..
    We have a milwakee on another tank, it sucks, so we ordered the electronic regulator, pricey but they work well....Our Milwakee one is not even that old, and it dosen't work that well at all.
     
  6. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I've got a brand new Milwaukee regulator combo unit but I should have a new needle valve and bubble counter from SuMo regulators arriving today/tomorrow. Hopefully that will work out well enough as the needle that came with the Milwaukee is pretty limited in adjustment range. Worst case I'll just call SuMo up again and get their regulator and solenoid to swap out the "old" Milwaukee regulator if I run into any tank dump issues. Based on what I read above I don't think I should have that problem.
     
  7. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The flow rate through a needle valve at the very low flows we use is proportional to the inlet pressure to the valve, no matter how expensive or well designed the needle valve is. A good needle valve lets you easily turn the adjustment knob slightly and get a slight change in bubble rate. A bad needle valve has an adjustment knob that is hard to turn, and turns with a jerk, and that slight turn can double the bubble rate. The good needle valve also holds its setting until you again turn the knob. A bad one may not do that.

    You could put a $1000 needle valve on a Milwaukee regulator, and you would still have an increasing bubble rate as the CO2 tank pressure drops. To put it in more technical terms, put lipstick on a pig and it is still a pig. Good regulators are two stage devices, and they hold the set pressure constant no matter what the inlet pressure is, as long as the inlet pressure is greater than the set pressure. To put that in more technical terms, a beautiful woman is beautiful with or without lipstick.
     
  8. imeridian

    imeridian Junior Poster

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    Speaking of EOTD, I inadvertantly allowed my cylinder to go empty this morning. Not feeling well due to a cold, and otherwise distracted, I forgot to check the gauge Sunday after the water change as I usually do. So yay for my decent (single stage) regulator and needle valve, there was no 'dump' and no corresponding fish massacre.
     
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