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How to never run out of CO2 again due to empty tank

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Tom Barr, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I had some issues with some client's not spotting the empty gas tanks for several days at a time, some are only serviced once every 2 weeks and if the tank runs out 2-3 days after the last service, then what? Algae hell.

    To fix this, I decided to use an automated tank switcher for the gas tanks, basically once the CO2 tank drops to 200 psi tank pressure, it automatically switches to the new gas tank.
    Most gas tanks last a few weeks or months etc, so this doubles the time span.
    And you know the other is completely out and you have a redundant back up.
    Plenty of us have not spotted the empty tank fro a few days.

    http://www.micromatic.com/draft-keg-beer/gas-cylinders-pid-MMTC-2.html
     
  2. Matt F.

    Matt F. Lifetime Charter Member
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    Now that is cool! Good idea for those of us who travel, etc.
     
  3. rwong2k

    rwong2k Junior Poster

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    oh I need one of these, I was on vacation for 3 weeks and my tank ran out during that time, bba everywhere :(
    re-filled co2, excel dosed, gogo ramshorns and bn plecos, all bba gone, back to a clean tank
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Only 450$:rolleyes:

    But I installed a 1200$ mass flow controller and have 500$ reg's already that make ADA stuff look like cheesy plastic bubbling skeletons.
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Only 450$:rolleyes:

    But I installed a 1200$ mass flow controller and have 500$ reg's already that make ADA stuff look like cheesy plastic bubbling skeletons.
     
  6. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    another gadget, I love gadgets!

    very cool.
     
  7. Yo-han

    Yo-han Guru Class Expert

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    If I ever get a big tank, this will be bought at the start!
     
  8. rbarn

    rbarn Prolific Poster

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    What I plan on doing is installing a normally closed pressure switch that opens when pressure drops below 200psi.

    My switch will be wired into my Apex controller and it will send me a text/email message that the Co2 tank needs swapped out.
    It would be very easy for it to illuminate a small warning light as well.

    Switch should not cost more than $50 or so.

    I like the idea of the auto-tank switcher never seen that before.
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    While cheaper, it's still a manual method and a simple eyeball will still need to check on it.
    A digital pressure gauge would be a better option for alerts for those not all wired to Apex or other control devices.
    CO2 is key, so this might be one area to automate and really focus strongly on.

    Dual stage, 1st class stuff.
    Diffusion methods
    Degas vs surface rippling and O2
    High volume measurement flow methods(Mass flow controllers which can act like a pH controller and various other inputs, then simple inverted measuring cup vs time to fill). Both highly effective and standardized.
    Automated switch over of gas tanks.

    I've not seen many that focus this much on CO2.
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    While cheaper, it's still a manual method and a simple eyeball will still need to check on it.
    A digital pressure gauge would be a better option for alerts for those not all wired to Apex or other control devices.
    CO2 is key, so this might be one area to automate and really focus strongly on.

    Dual stage, 1st class stuff.
    Diffusion methods
    Degas vs surface rippling and O2
    High volume measurement flow methods(Mass flow controllers which can act like a pH controller and various other inputs, then simple inverted measuring cup vs time to fill). Both highly effective and standardized.
    Automated switch over of gas tanks.

    I've not seen many that focus this much on CO2.
     
  11. rbarn

    rbarn Prolific Poster

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    I still think the auto tank switcher is missing something.

    If you're going to run out one tank from lack of checking on it, you're just as prone to run out 2 tanks.
    I think a mixture of our two ideas would the ultimate solution.

    You dont need an Apex controller to make a pressure switch give you a warning a light.

    Mount a normally open pressure switch that closes at 200psi in line between the 1st Co2 tank and auto tank switcher.

    Wire the pressure switch into a simple LED/warning light circuit ........... 12v power ---> warning light ---> press. switch ---> ground.
    Now when the switch closes at 200psi it will illuminate the warning light and give you a visual indicator that cant be missed that the first tank is empty
    You just have to mount the warning light somewhere that can not be missed.
     
    #11 rbarn, Aug 11, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2013
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    No, you have a 1-2 month window(or more depending on how many tanks you go through. to check vs 2-4 days. Big difference.
    Many run gas tanks for 3-6 months, which is a massive difference vs a few days.
    Many of use might check the CO2 gas tank once every week at most generally.

    Pressure switches can be made/added pretty easily I think, so that could be done for less $.
    I do agree with that.

    Adding say these two things:

    190$
    http://www.nuaire.com/products/catalogsearch/result/index/?dir=asc&order=price&p=1&q=CO2+Regulator


    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P8Y3AG/?tag=barrreport-21

    Pressure switch

    http://www.x2industries.com/pressure-switches-50-to-200-psi-adjustable-air-pressure-switch-14-npt-p-3035.html?utm_campaign=googleproductsearchusen&utm_medium=product_search&utm_source=googleproductsearchusen#.Ugfk3tLVB8E
    http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/pneumatics/hydraulic-motors/light-duty-motors/pvs-sensors-151090-high-pressure-switch-bpa-1-4m-c-hc-adjustment-range-5-300-psi?utm_source=google_pr&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Light-Duty-Hydraulic-Motors-google_pr&infoParam.campaignId=T9F&gclid=CJaVt82P9rgCFQpxQgodHmkAmQ

    Or you can replace a gauge and the switch all in one:


    This one is a good option:

    http://www.omnicontrols.com/prod-Electronic_pressure_switch-53178.aspx

    All SS too. Has a variety of outputs for senor and data acquisition.
    Built in alarm.
    But....it will not change the gas tank automatically.
    So if you have client's that cannot do that and you service the tank once a month or every 1-2 weeks, then you'll never run out in between.

    The Omni control gauge with the tank switcher would be cool.
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    No, you have a 1-2 month window(or more depending on how many tanks you go through. to check vs 2-4 days. Big difference.
    Many run gas tanks for 3-6 months, which is a massive difference vs a few days.
    Many of use might check the CO2 gas tank once every week at most generally.

    Pressure switches can be made/added pretty easily I think, so that could be done for less $.
    I do agree with that.

    Adding say these two things:

    190$
    http://www.nuaire.com/products/catalogsearch/result/index/?dir=asc&order=price&p=1&q=CO2+Regulator


    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P8Y3AG/?tag=barrreport-21

    Pressure switch

    http://www.x2industries.com/pressure-switches-50-to-200-psi-adjustable-air-pressure-switch-14-npt-p-3035.html?utm_campaign=googleproductsearchusen&utm_medium=product_search&utm_source=googleproductsearchusen#.Ugfk3tLVB8E
    http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/pneumatics/hydraulic-motors/light-duty-motors/pvs-sensors-151090-high-pressure-switch-bpa-1-4m-c-hc-adjustment-range-5-300-psi?utm_source=google_pr&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Light-Duty-Hydraulic-Motors-google_pr&infoParam.campaignId=T9F&gclid=CJaVt82P9rgCFQpxQgodHmkAmQ

    Or you can replace a gauge and the switch all in one:


    This one is a good option:

    http://www.omnicontrols.com/prod-Electronic_pressure_switch-53178.aspx

    All SS too. Has a variety of outputs for senor and data acquisition.
    Built in alarm.
    But....it will not change the gas tank automatically.
    So if you have client's that cannot do that and you service the tank once a month or every 1-2 weeks, then you'll never run out in between.

    The Omni control gauge with the tank switcher would be cool.
     
  14. rbarn

    rbarn Prolific Poster

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  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yea, if the 450 $ switcher is not enough, then add a 230$ pressure switch:)
    Along with your 500-600$ SS Dual stage reg build, and the controller, iPhone alert app, 4 spare 20Lb tanks, special CO2 line and large CO2 mist reactors.

    Automation can lose much of the users skill that employs daily care.
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yea, if the 450 $ switcher is not enough, then add a 230$ pressure switch:)
    Along with your 500-600$ SS Dual stage reg build, and the controller, iPhone alert app, 4 spare 20Lb tanks, special CO2 line and large CO2 mist reactors.

    Automation can lose much of the users skill that employs daily care.
     
  17. PK1

    PK1 Guru Class Expert

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    True, but it allows those of us who cannot afford daily care a chance in this hobby (e.g. I travel a lot for work, at times 10+ days) :)
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I have clients with many issues, work, health, you name the reason/s.
    So I try various things.

    On my own tanks, I do tend towards simple.
     
  19. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I have clients with many issues, work, health, you name the reason/s.
    So I try various things.

    On my own tanks, I do tend towards simple.
     
  20. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hey all,

    So....looks like I need 3 of these :)

    I have 5 c02 cylinders. 2x10lb, 2x20lb and 1x5lb.

    I noticed today that the two 10lb on the 2 smaller tanks were OUT, the 2 20lb were ALSO empty, and the 5 lb was on the 220 tank, which will last approx. 1 week!

    So, I drove down to the refill place and of course they are on vacation all week......

    Thankfully there is a place closer by but they charge more and is always next day pickup.

    I do tend to check my gauges regularly, but when busy at work and the like, it is easy to overlook.

    That said, I don't really want to spend $1300 all at once...

    I think the better/cheaper option for now, is to simply attach a 20lb to both of my smaller tanks (as well as the one on the 220) and then I should not run out that often on the 2 smaller tanks.

    I just need to ensure my spares are always filled. It is a drive to the refill place and I don't fill each as they empty. I wait until several are empty, but I may need to change that as well.

    I like the gadgetry aspect of the switcher but may be too pricy for me for all 3 tanks.

    Later!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hey all,

    So....looks like I need 3 of these :)

    I have 5 c02 cylinders. 2x10lb, 2x20lb and 1x5lb.

    I noticed today that the two 10lb on the 2 smaller tanks were OUT, the 2 20lb were ALSO empty, and the 5 lb was on the 220 tank, which will last approx. 1 week!

    So, I drove down to the refill place and of course they are on vacation all week......

    Thankfully there is a place closer by but they charge more and is always next day pickup.

    I do tend to check my gauges regularly, but when busy at work and the like, it is easy to overlook.

    That said, I don't really want to spend $1300 all at once...

    I think the better/cheaper option for now, is to simply attach a 20lb to both of my smaller tanks (as well as the one on the 220) and then I should not run out that often on the 2 smaller tanks.

    I just need to ensure my spares are always filled. It is a drive to the refill place and I don't fill each as they empty. I wait until several are empty, but I may need to change that as well.

    I like the gadgetry aspect of the switcher but may be too pricy for me for all 3 tanks.

    Later!
     
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