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Old 01-15-2013, 08:25 PM   #1
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Default Attach Shutoff Valve to Secondary Regulator Pass-through?

I am looking to avoid adding a manifold to my (at this point still conceptual) kegerator interior for aesthetic/clutter reasons. The setup will include a primary regulator and two secondaries for three kegs (allowing independant pressure settings for each keg). I will have a CO2 tank with a standard primary regulator outside the kegerator, and will run the gas in through a single bulkhead.

OPTION 1: Once the gasline is inside the kegerator, I could run it straight into a 2-way manifold. One output from the manifold could then feed the first keg (which would get whatever pressure the primary regulator is set at) while the second output would feed into the two secondary regulators (which would then feed the other two kegs).

OPTION 2: Instead of using the manifold, could I instead run my gas line straight into the secondary regulator (right side of pic), remove the plug from the pass-through on the last secondary regulator in the chain (left side of pic):


And then attach a shutoff valve like this to the open pass-through on the last secondary regulator, which would presumably still be outputting CO2 at the PSI set on the primary regulator?:



If this works, it would allow me to run three kegs at three different pressures without requiring use of a manifold (with a bit less metal cluttering up the inside of my kegerator, and saving me a few bucks as well). But I'm guessing there's a catch, so I thought I'd check if anyone else has tried it first!

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Old 01-15-2013, 10:38 PM   #2
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The "catch" is that secondary regulators need enough differential to work - but I'm not sure what that minimum differential might be.

If it was, say, 5 psi, your input rail to the secondaries would have to be 5 psi above the highest pressure you set the secondaries to. If you had one keg at 12 psi and another at 14, you'd need 19 psi at the input - which might be ok for a boisterous heffe, but little else.

Bottom line, before you cast your plans in concrete I'd try to find out what the minimum differential is for any secondary regulators under consideration...

Cheers!

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Old 01-15-2013, 11:17 PM   #3
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Just put the regulators in series like the picture. One outlet is regulated and the other is unregulated. This means the inlet pressure for both will be the same irregardless (oh yes I did) of what you have them set at. If you put a line after the second regulator, it will be the same pressure as your primary.

I think you should tee off from the primary regulator though. Your serving kegs can all be at the same pressure. Don't get caught up in the difference between 12 and 14 psi. Tees and crosses are cheaper than regulators

Anyway, back to the tee.

From the tee:
Line 1 - Utility Line (outside the kegerator)
Primary regulator sets this pressure.
Use it to carb kegs when there isn't room in the kegerator. Hit it with 30 psi and throw it back in the closet until you have room.
Carb soda water.
Transfer beer or sanitizer to different kegs with no effort.

Line 2 - Serving Line (inside kegerator)
Secondary regulator maintains this pressure
You can still use multiple regulators here if you want.

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Old 01-16-2013, 06:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by day_trippr View Post
The "catch" is that secondary regulators need enough differential to work - but I'm not sure what that minimum differential might be.

If it was, say, 5 psi, your input rail to the secondaries would have to be 5 psi above the highest pressure you set the secondaries to. If you had one keg at 12 psi and another at 14, you'd need 19 psi at the input - which might be ok for a boisterous heffe, but little else.

Bottom line, before you cast your plans in concrete I'd try to find out what the minimum differential is for any secondary regulators under consideration...
Thanks for the advice, pressure deferential had never occured to me as an issue but it does make intuitive sense! I contacted Micro Matic, and got the following reply (looks like your "guess" at 5 PSI differential was spot-on, at least for Micro Matic regulators):

"It is recommended to set your primary about 5 PSI over your highest secondary setting. For ex: You have 3 secondary’s and they are set at 10 PSI / 12 PSI and 15 PSI………set your primary at 20 PSI."

Guess I'll have to think about this a bit before I buy any equipment -- I would generally plan on using the primary regulator for force carbing and serving sodas/seltzer so wouldn't be a huge issue to have it 5+ PSI higher than the secondaries, but if I ever did want to run three beer kegs inside it could be an issue (perhaps requiring an additional splitter for one of the secondaries so I could run two kegs off of it if necessary).
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:39 AM   #5
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Thank you both again for the advice -- I ultimately decided I was being too clever with this design (and ultimately not saving that much money). So instead I went with Taprite regulators (a fair bit cheaper than Micromatic but still seem to have a solid reputation) and will do a single regulator (with 2-way wye splitter) outside the kegerator, and run a single line in to a three-regulator secondary setup inside the fridge. Maybe overkill but I'm excited to have total control over carb levels for sodas and hefes.

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