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what makes a bad regulator?

Dogtemple

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22 Nov 2011
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186
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Brighton
just been reading the recent thread talking about needle valves and how the needle valves on even the decent brand regulators are not entirely up to scratch.


just wondering, as someone who is yet to buy a regulator for aquariums and prone to wanting to improve on things, what makes a good regulator and what makes a bad one?


the needle valve is something obviously, but the regulator itself, does that matter? the solenoid and relay I presume just need to be reliable and none of the set up should leak.

what else would one need to consider?

i'm not into having blind faith in brand names so am thinking a bit beyond "just get a c02art or co2 supermarket one, they're the best", especially if it is recognised that reputable brand names don't do good needle valves...
 

Krisps21

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23 Feb 2021
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St helens England
Generally you want a dual stage regulator over a single stage to prevent an end of tank dump, that can happen when the co2 canister starts to loose pressure and then the regulator can cab let the remaining gas to dump into your tank, killing livestock, a dual stage can prevent this.

Cheap parts are another thing that you don't want. Cheap regulator = cheap parts more often than not. I've seen solanoids get very hot, even melt.

I have the well known regulators and the needle valve isn't brilliant, but it doesn't make me regret my purchase because its a needle valve and you rarely have to touch it.
 

Dogtemple

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thanks for the input, I probably didn't word it quite right though. I'm trying to find what the weak link is in the regulator set up that makes some better than others.

from what I've been reading today I'm starting to think the needle valve is the bit that lets it all down if the quality isn't good enough but I'm not certain on this. although the thing about a solenoid getting hot is something I haven't considered, ill look in to that more.
 

Wookii

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thanks for the input, I probably didn't word it quite right though. I'm trying to find what the weak link is in the regulator set up that makes some better than others.

from what I've been reading today I'm starting to think the needle valve is the bit that lets it all down if the quality isn't good enough but I'm not certain on this. although the thing about a solenoid getting hot is something I haven't considered, ill look in to that more.

You are correct in your ascertain, it is typically the needle valve that is the weak point on even good quality regulators.

My own theory is that the main regulator has to function to tested industry standards to regulate gas, so a minimum level of functional reliability and quality has to be achieved by the manufacturer.

The solenoid is a simple on/off valve, and it’s reliability is easily assessed. If it is tested to electrical standards, it shouldn’t overheat to the point of electrical failure. All solenoids get hot, but they are typically tested based on full continuous duty cycles.

That just leaves the needle valve, which is not subject to any particular industry standards or regulations as far as I am aware. That’s makes it an obvious choice to a manufacturer or reseller to cut corners on when trying to keep a package price within a target budget to keep it financially competitive. Add the fact that this is a precision part where highly accurate variants for scientific purposes can run into several hundreds of pounds, and it’s easy to see how we end up with cheap parts of dubious reliability in this hobby.
 
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Dogtemple

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You are correct in your ascertain, it is typically the needle valve that is the weak point on even good quality regulators.

My own theory is that the main regulator has to function to tested industry standards to regulate gas, so a minimum level of functional reliability and quality has to be achieved by the manufacturer.

The solenoid is a simple on/off valve, and it’s reliability is easily assessed. If it is tested to electrical standards, it shouldn’t overheat to the point of electrical failure. All solenoids get hot, but they are typically tested based on full continuous duty cycles.

That just leaves the needle valve, which is not subject to any particular industry standards or regulations as far as I am aware. That’s makes it an obvious choice to a manufacturer or reseller to cut corners on when trying to keep a package price within a target budget to keep it financially competitive. Add the fact that this is a precision part where highly accurate variants for scientific purposes can run into several hundreds of pounds, and it’s easy to see how we end up with cheap parts of dubious reliability in this hobby.


ok thats good to hear, I spent all yesterday evening designing a needle valve that should be pretty precise. ill make one and see how it goes. on the basis that a regulator has to meet a standard (which makes sense) I might even buy the cheapest dual regulator I can find just to test it out.
 

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