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Old 05-03-2005, 12:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default CO2 manifold!

Well, I've been dissapointed with Flourish Excel for some time now. It works, but not enough to make me happy (guess I'm just picky). So, having discussed this with a couple of folks online, I have set out to make my own CO2 manifold to operate three different tanks. I didn't want to go the the "brass-tee-and-tubing" route because I listened to Nikolay's story about his troubles with that configuration. So I am attempting something a little more sturdy. Here's the low-down:

www.clippard.com
Clippard Minimatics makes some great equipment, all brass or nickelplated brass. You can use the "Distributors" link at the left of Clippard's navigation to find a local company for your own personal use.

These are the parts I ordered from my local distributor:

MAN-12

Brass Hex Manifold-Machined from solid brass hex stock, $4.65 each. This serves as the body of the manifold, and allows you to (realistically) place up to 7 needle valves.

MNV-4K2

Precision needle valves, nickleplated, $9.90 each. Pricey, and they come with only a 1/8" single barb, but excellent quality.

Gotta plug up those extra holes.
11755-PKG

10/32 screw plugs w/ Buna N gaskets, package of 10.

What about the input? Well...
]]Edit 5/8/05[[
Due to slippage on my original pick of 1/8" barbs, I decided to go with a compression connector from Home Depot. To provide a better fit, I upgraded the width of the outside diameter of the tubing from normal airline hose. These are the parts I used:

Connector:
Watts A-22 PB968-P 1.4"x1/8" Tube W/Insert MIP Connector. White and pink bag.

Tubing:
Watts Clear Vinyl Tubing 10' 42143210 1/4"ODx0.170"ID
]]endEdit[[


So, now I've got this lil' puppy sitting on my desk at work, just waiting to get plugged into the system. I'll report back in about a week to let you know how well it's performing. So far, it seems to be able to handle the pressure, but my lungs don't compare to a 10# CO2 canister. Wish me luck!

]]Edit 5/8/05[[
What I have learned so far about this design:
1) This system would be better utilized on tanks over 30 gallons. These particular needle valves can accurately deliver a bubble every three seconds, but not too reliably with CO2 is being channeled to two other outlets as well. At least a bubble a second is about all these can handle, with the added issues of extra outputs. A different choice in needle valves should be considered.
2) Use new airline check valves.
3) Don't skimp on the input durability. A normal airline will pop right off in just a few hours with my previous setup.
]]endEdit[[

Last edited by Praxx42; 05-08-2005 at 02:37 PM..
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Old 05-03-2005, 04:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I look forward to hearing if you are pleased with this setup. I am interested in knowing if the needle valves you are using will maintain a constant flow over time without the need for regular adjustment. Please keep us posted.
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Old 05-04-2005, 03:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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For what are you using the last part listed? When I search the Clippard catalogue, no description is available aside from it being $0.35 for 250 units. The part # that I found when searching for 15006-1 is 15006-1-M5-BLK. What is this?
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Old 05-04-2005, 03:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That's the part number listed on the bag. Sorry.
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Old 05-04-2005, 05:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxx42
That's the part number listed on the bag. Sorry.
For what is the part used?
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Old 05-04-2005, 05:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The part # is the part # for the bag.

It's used for holding small parts
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Old 05-04-2005, 06:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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this thread is exactly what I've been looking for, and could possibly save me quite a bit of money. however, I have a few questions:

what is the purpose of buying the extra barbs, since each needle valve comes with one, and the barbs you're getting are the same diameter? am I missing something? won't you just end up with extra barb fittings? you also mentioned that you ordered from "wilson" any more info than that? is it online source that others can order from, and if so, can you post a url?

I live in the armpit of Arkansas, and I've found that getting anything remotely uncommon around here is pretty much impossible, so I'm left with having it shipped from somewhere... the local distributor for my zip is an industrial supplier of machining supplies, etc. and doesn't even have any clippard products listed in their catalog.
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Old 05-04-2005, 07:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It looks like the needle valve comes with a threaded fitting for attaching a hose barb to. No barb included.

The last part on his list looks to be a coupling that goes from 1/8" NPT to 10/32 NPT. If you look at the picture of the manifold you'll notice that the hole on the end (1/8" NPT) is larger than those on the sides (10/32 NPT). Since the barbs have a 10/32 thread, he needs to add the coupling so that he can attach a barb to the manifold's input port.
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Old 05-04-2005, 09:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The actual threaded parts of the Clippard minimatic needle valve (actually a metering device) is 10/32, a machine thread. Most standard brass/gas fittings we use for our aquariums use 1/8" NPT, a pipe thread. You need that coupling, not pictured, to attach the Clippards to common hardware. I made my own by drilling/taping a solid threaded plug because I was in a rush and could not by the needed part locally. Many places you order the Clippard from will include the coupling, all depends. My Clippards also came with 1/8 barb fitting, that fitting has a single barb. The ones he is replacing it with have 4 barbs(steps) so the airline has a better seal. I twisted a piece of thin wire around mine to make sure it was well sealed.

Check out this old post of mine. here

Careful when assembling all your parts as small slivers of brass and especially teflon tape can foul up the needvalves. Blow through the outlets of each part before and after assembly to ensure nothing got inside. Keeping the Clippards adjusted can be tricky until you get the hang of it. I set it close (using a bubble counter or watching how fast the bubbles enter the diffuser,etc) and then gently tighten up the lock nut on the needle stem, then use a penny to fine tune the "tightened" stem to you desired bubble rate. Usually tightening the lock nut increases the flow rate a little. My setup seems to work best with regulator pressure of ~20psi, I would not go lower than 15psi. Higher than 20 is ok though.

Rob, my flowrate seems fairly consistent over time. Occasionally it slows down ever so slightly over the course of a week or 2. I just double check it when I do a WC. My tanks are all on controllers now so a slower bubble rate just means the solenoid is on a little longer. I would guess that in general, my flow slows from 3 bubbles a second to 2.5bubbles a second over a couple weeks (These are just arbitrary numbers for explanation only)
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Old 05-05-2005, 06:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bharada
It looks like the needle valve comes with a threaded fitting for attaching a hose barb to. No barb included.

The last part on his list looks to be a coupling that goes from 1/8" NPT to 10/32 NPT. If you look at the picture of the manifold you'll notice that the hole on the end (1/8" NPT) is larger than those on the sides (10/32 NPT). Since the barbs have a 10/32 thread, he needs to add the coupling so that he can attach a barb to the manifold's input port.
Bingo. I've noted some pressure issues already... if I didn't have to have one needle valve with only 1 bubble per 2-3 seconds, this would be a lot easier. As it stands, I have to shut down the other two valves, use a very very light touch to set the 1per2-3 bubbles valve, and then slowly adjust the other two. if I were only feeding tanks that were 30 gallons and up, I don't think I'd have any problems with the manifold at all.

Got it rolling tho. I woke up to pH values of 6.7, 6.6, and 7.0 this morning (the tanks are on at night for heat and electricity costs). Good to see... I have a bit of alterations to make to get the 30 gallon down to 6.5, but this is a good sign that it's going to work.
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