Finally got it loose. I pretty much stripped the heck out of it, and ended up using a vice and a pipe wrench. Now it's time for step 2. Haha. I appreciate the help. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions.
Edit: Errr...vise I mean. Although I was drinking a beer while doing it.
If you don't have a bench vise or air tools, you can use a ViseGrip and muscle it off while holding the regulator body. I've done this s number of times w/o issue. If you use air-tools, you should use several layers of electrical tape of cover the regulator body. this prevents scratches, etc.
It looks like I have had some bad luck. I'm concerned my regulator is bad.
I put everything together using plumbers tape (VTS-250C with the parts listed in the first post, ideal needle valve, burkert solenoid, and a rhinox diffuser with a 10g. co2 tank). I let it run for a bit, and after and hour or two I noticed the low pressure gauge was much lower, and the bubble count slowed significantly. I reset the bubble count to about 1 bubble/sec and it very quickly slowed down again. The low pressure guage eventually reached zero.
I tested the first stage per instructions I found on TPT, and it is fine. I tested the second, and I could almost watch the low pressure gauge lower (when I filled the second stage it didn't reach 100psi. It only got to 80). Over a day or so it never reached zero though. It stuck around 30. I hoped it was loose connections, and I tightened the heck out of everything. I started it again last night, and within an hour, the low pressure guage bottomed out again. It seemed to lose pressure faster since I tightened everything.
I haven't done the soapy water test since tightening everything. I will do that again after work. I don't know how I will get things tighter though. I guess I could disassemble it and reassemble it. Maybe something isn't seating right...or maybe the tape is messed up or something.
I forgot to mention that after an hour last night, the air wasn't even passing through the solenoid anymore. The light was off.
So I was checking for leaks with soapy water, and I noticed that my bubble counter was going crazy. My tank was open, the regulator was completely open, the needle valve was open, but the solenoid was unplugged. Then I plugged in the solenoid, and the light didn't come on. I thought that the gas shouldn't flow through the solenoid if unplugged. I don't know if this would cause my problem or not, but here are pictures of it as it is installed.
Edit: I apologize for the pictures being on their side. I don't know why this happened. (FIXED PICS) Also, I'm going to post on TPT as well. If I get info from there, I will edit this post so that no one duplicates any effort.
Sounds like the solenoid has a piece of something (probably teflon tape) stuck inside causing it not to seal properly. Can you hear a click/ping when you plug it in? When the pressure in the low pressure gauge was dropping, was the solenoid the only thing stopping the flow of gas out of your regulator or did you use a plug to test it? Cause.... it sounds a lot like the solenoid is your problem.
I do hear a click when I plug it in, and more muted sound when I unplug it. The led light does not come on even when everything is open. Should I take it apart and try to clean it out?
Edit: Do you know what part number will close off the outlet of the regulator? I want to take the solenoid out, and close off the outlet and test for a leak. If there isn't a leak, then it has to be the solenoid, right?
Okay, so now when I try to test the second stage per these instructions: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=137245...when I close the regulator to charge the second stage before I can release the connection from the tank, the low pressure gauge dives to zero and the air is forced out. There is definitely a problem with the solenoid.
A group of us at the local club pre-ordered 20+ units and received ours today 5/20. First time it's been released in the USA, so it's really exciting to have a quality Eheim product that does an exceptional job of keeping the surface scum a non-issue for tank respiration.
It's on sale if you use the coupon code I listed in the linked thread. Offer expires on 5/31. After that, the unit/shipping is full price.
Don't live with surface scum!!!
Benefits of the Eheim Skim350 over the ADA Vuppa-I:
Eheim is much lighter
Eheim is plastic and won't scratch the surface of your glass or acrylic tank
Eheim uses suction cups, which will fit on any tank, unlike the vuppa, which requires a rimless tank.
Eheim's surface head floats and allows for more than 1+" of evaporation w/o adjustment.
Eheim's surface head has 4 portals for water to be literally sucked in, whereas the Vuppa has two and doesn't allow for as much water volume to pass through the unit.
Eheim's motor/impeller is much more powerful than the Vuppa's
Eheim's costs is $35.99 Plus $4 shipping (with coupon) versus the ADA Vuppa, which is MUCH more expensive
Eheim's power cord is one piece and is good quality unlike the Chinese-made Vuppa power cord that can short out (ask me about this).
Eheim maintenance is much easier than the vuppa, which has a press-fit impeller motor housing.
So far no sucked up shrimp with the Eheim, which was a major problem with the Vuppa. With the Vuppa, the dead shrimp would clog the only inlet for water in the impeller motor housing, which would cease flow. You'd have to remove the housing and unclog the orifice to dislodge the body...what a PITA.