CO2 regulator

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Chuck

CO2 regulator

Post by Chuck » Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:37 pm

Having just bought a corney keg I now need to get the gas side of it sorted. I've seen mention of using a fire extinguisher and this would seem a good option. When it comes to the regulator I'm a bit clueless as to what I need. I have an old co2 regulator from an old welder which is the same as the one in this link. Would it be any good with a fire extinguisher? If not could anyone recommend the cheapest type that would be suitable please?

http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/161122974223

Many thanks

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Kev888
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Re: CO2 regulator

Post by Kev888 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:16 am

FWIW that ebay regulator is designed for a small disposable cylinder, so it certainly wouldn't fit a 'normal' pub-size CO2 cylinder, unfortunately I don't know what fitting extinguishers have so can't help there, hopefully someone else can. BTW, I notice that it also has a flow gauge rather than pressure gauge, which would be unhelpful in setting the pressure you wanted.

Theres a thread on here somewhere on gas suppliers, which may help you find a source of more normal cylinders locally, or if you have a hydroponics shop near you some of those sell CO2.

Cheers
Kev
Kev

Hugh Jampton

Re: CO2 regulator

Post by Hugh Jampton » Sat Feb 14, 2015 1:26 pm

A standard, cheap, dual gauge CO2 welding regulator such as the one sold by the Malt Miller fits straight onto a fire extinguisher and works perfectly.

I use a 2kg extinguisher with a squeeze handle and a swivelling horn. You simply unscrew the horn and replace it with the gauge, the fitting is the same. To use it you turn the knob fully out and squeeze the extinguisher handle. One of the gauges will register the bottle pressure.

I use a plastic tie wrap to hold the two handles together. If it's not too tight you can push it towards the bottle which will allow the handles to move apart and close the valve. You pull it back again to open the valve. Easy!

Screw the knob in to pressurise the keg. The second gauge will show the keg pressure.

I usually force carbonate by gassing the keg to about 10-15 psi. I then turn it on its side and rock it gently for about 15 minutes then leave it connected to the bottle for 24 hours at 10-15 psi. I burp the keg first to remove any oxygen. I dispense at about 2 psi with the gass bottle connected.

The gauge is designed for welding bottles which are far higher pressure than an extinguisher so you'll find the pressure only registers on the lower part of the gauges. Don't worry, you'll soon get used to using it.

My local extinguisher maintenance company does a refil on an exchange basis for £10. They last me about 6 to 8 months.

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Re: CO2 regulator

Post by woblylegs » Sat Feb 14, 2015 1:40 pm

ive some full 2kg co2 extingusers for sale at £5 each only problem is collect only and im in county durham
lifes what you make it!

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Wonkydonkey
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Re: CO2 regulator

Post by Wonkydonkey » Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:35 pm

Hugh Jampton wrote:A standard, cheap, dual gauge CO2 welding regulator such as the one sold by the Malt Miller fits straight onto a fire extinguisher and works perfectly.

I use a 2kg extinguisher with a squeeze handle and a swivelling horn. You simply unscrew the horn and replace it with the gauge, the fitting is the same. To use it you turn the knob fully out and squeeze the extinguisher handle. One of the gauges will register the bottle pressure.

I use a plastic tie wrap to hold the two handles together. If it's not too tight you can push it towards the bottle which will allow the handles to move apart and close the valve. You pull it back again to open the valve. Easy!

Screw the knob in to pressurise the keg. The second gauge will show the keg pressure.

I usually force carbonate by gassing the keg to about 10-15 psi. I then turn it on its side and rock it gently for about 15 minutes then leave it connected to the bottle for 24 hours at 10-15 psi. I burp the keg first to remove any oxygen. I dispense at about 2 psi with the gass bottle connected.

The gauge is designed for welding bottles which are far higher pressure than an extinguisher so you'll find the pressure only registers on the lower part of the gauges. Don't worry, you'll soon get used to using it.

My local extinguisher maintenance company does a refil on an exchange basis for £10. They last me about 6 to 8 months.
This is almost exactly what I do, although, I'm thinking of upgrading to a bigger bottle, I was paying £8-9 for an old fire ex, it lasts. but I think in the long run a larger bottle would be cheaper, and you never know if you can get hold of an old co2 Fire ex, as I cannot find a place near to refill, not that they would fill a 10yr old fire ex, but I did get my hands on a 2yr old fire ex, which is still empty. :cry:
To Busy To Add,

Rhodesy
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Re: CO2 regulator

Post by Rhodesy » Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:01 pm

Word of caution using an extinguisher as I found out. The extinguishers have a dip tube meaning that it is liquid Co2 that comes out initially. The regulator and subsequent line will ensure this then turns to gas however I found when upping the PSI one time my regulator froze up and basically gave in. The consequences could have been much worse.

Now I understand many will have had no issue over many years doing so but it is still a risk is all that I am saying. I now use a 6kg cylinder from a local provider.

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Kev888
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Re: CO2 regulator

Post by Kev888 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:47 am

Many people who use extinguishers as a source of CO2 either get the dip tube removed or use them upside down, for exactly the reasons you mention.
Kev

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PeeBee
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Re: CO2 regulator

Post by PeeBee » Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:22 am

I wrote the following on another forum site, so have cut and pasted it here. Might provide useful information? It doesn't mention fire-extinguishers (EDIT: Yes it does! But only very briefly) but plenty of folk here have covered the difference in "behaviour" of fire-extinguishers (and the presence of a "dip-tube").
CO2 Management Primer

I've written this as a "primer" to Carbon Dioxide (CO2) management for kegs of home-brew. Its for those starting out or those moving up from small CO2 "bulbs" or other small cylinder arrangements (like "sodastream" cylinders). CO2 management can be considered in three sections: The CO2 bottle, the "regulator" and the (optional) output "manifold".

First you have your CO2 bottle which is often the 6.35Kg "pub" bottle. 6.35Kg is covenient, but don't be fazed by size: With CO2 the management systems are identical as long as you have the correct attachments (you can use "sodastream" type bottles if you don't wont big "pub" bottles). Handling big cylinders is no different from small cylinders, but big cylinders have the potential to do more damage if you do anything daft! Some brewers use fire extinguishes but these might have to be modified or used upside-down ... all a subject for another thread.

Next you have your "regulator" which drops the bottle pressure from about 900psi (more later) to what is often about 60psi (4bar) or less. The regulator is commonly variable so you can adjust the output pressure from, say, the 60psi down to 7 or 8psi (1/2bar). Down to 7psi if you're lucky - the common (cheap) regulators are far too imprecise to get lower pressures and you can be happy with 10psi (cue howls of protest from people who think they can get less). The "cheap" regulators are usually what is known as "single stage"; you can also get much more accuracy with "dual stage" regulators which internally have a fixed output passed (also internally) to another variable regulator mechanism (these are common in "aquarium" circles but much more expensive).

Thirdly (optional if you only attach one keg at a time) you have your "manifold" which splits the output to two or more kegs. These come in three forms:
1) Simple: Just a tube with one input (from the regulator) and multiple outlets (to the kegs). The outlets commonly have isolation taps and "check valves" so the gas can come out but it and anything else can't go back in. All outlets have the same pressure.
2) Complex: The manifold also has smaller (secondary) regulators allowing each output (or group of outputs) to have their own set pressure lower than the main (primary) regulator. These are less common.
3) Compound: Like "simple" but the input ("primary") regulator is possibly fixed pressure (2-5bar). Each output is then terminated with its own small "secondary" regulator. This is the method I favour as you have complete control over the output for that line (some "secondary" regulators - e.g. LPG regulators - can work at fractions of a psi). It can also be an expensive and complicated method. The use of "secondary" regulators effectively provides a "dual stage" set up mentioned above. IMPORTANT: "Secondary" regulators can't handle the pressure from a CO2 cylinder, hence the "primary" regulator.

Main (attached directly to the bottle) regulators commonly (not all) have two pressure guages: One displays the low pressure side and allows you to set a variable regulator and the other displays the high pressure side (the pressure in the bottle). The mistake is to think the high pressure guage tells you how full the bottle is; it doesn't! Carbon Dioxide has the useful property of being liquid in the cylinder. Pressure in the cylinder keeps the CO2 from boiling into a gas, that pressure being about 900psi (it varies a bit depending on ambient temperature). So as long as there is liquid in the bottle the pressure stays about 900psi. If there is no liquid the cylinder is empty. If the guage is reading 7-800psi or less get a refill quick, very quick, because you are running on fumes!

One other gotcha is some very cheap "Chinese" cylinder regulator imports (usually for aquariums). These "regulate" the flow with a needle valve. They do not regulate the pressure. Connected to a keg at static pressure they will quickly try to pressurise the keg to cylinder pressure (900psi). Boom!

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