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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Flow indicator for gas line
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:25 AM   #1
hoppyroo
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Default Flow indicator for gas line

After my recent gas leak, which saw me burn through 15lbs of co2 in 6 weeks, I've been pretty hesitant to leave my co2 bottle on for any period of time. I'll usually turn it on for a few minutes, make sure my pressure is at the desired level, then turn the bottle off again.

I'd rather leave the bottle on, but as they say, once bitten twice shy. But I have been giving some thought as to how I might be able to tell when gas is flowing out of my bottle when I don't expect it to be. So I decided to wire up a little experiment. Using a glue dot, I attached a piece of cotton to the inside of the gas line running from my check valve into my first splitter. It looks like this:
https://drive.google.com/folderview?...Xc&usp=sharing

Sure enough I can see the cotton moving around when there's gas flowing through the line, and it curls up a bit when the flow stops. But you have to look pretty closely to see, it's not real obvious. So it made me wonder if anyone's ever made/found some kind of flow indicator for beer gas lines? Something like this but on a much smaller scale obviously:


It would certainly give me piece of mind to see the indicator doing nothing with my gas bottle turned on.

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Old 03-23-2014, 04:05 PM   #2
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Are you disconnecting gas from the keg(s) when you turn off the bottle? If not, the leak will de-carbonate the keg(s).

Why not just find the leak? A kegging system, even a complicated one, can be made to not leak.

I have a two regulator, four keg, five gas disconnect, six valve, CO2 system that has been operating leak free for a number of years.

Softening the tubing with a hot water soak prior to crimping or clamping goes a long way in reducing leaks. I recommend the oetiker style clamps. If flare fittings are used, the nylon washers are a cheap leak inhibitor.

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Old 03-23-2014, 05:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoppyroo;6004351 It looks like this:
[url
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B9zdUsr9umgXaHJpUFZ4ZE1kQXc&usp=sha ring[/url]

So it made me wonder if anyone's ever made/found some kind of flow indicator for beer gas lines? Something like this but on a much smaller scale obviously:


It would certainly give me piece of mind to see the indicator doing nothing with my gas bottle turned on.
I have Dwyer brand CO2 flow indicators installed throughout the brewery (branch points) and a CO2 monitoring system which shuts off all CO2 supply if the pressure is outside a given range. In case of a catastrophic failure all the CO2 supply is shut off.

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Old 03-24-2014, 03:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaudiusB View Post
I have Dwyer brand CO2 flow indicators installed throughout the brewery (branch points) and a CO2 monitoring system which shuts off all CO2 supply if the pressure is outside a given range. In case of a catastrophic failure all the CO2 supply is shut off.

Cheers,
ClaudiusB
Claudius,
please post more information on your CO2 monitoring system. Links to products would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by nhwrecker View Post
Claudius,
please post more information on your CO2 monitoring system. Links to products would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Bump...I'd also like to know what flow meter you're using.
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raouliii View Post
Are you disconnecting gas from the keg(s) when you turn off the bottle? If not, the leak will de-carbonate the keg(s).

Why not just find the leak? A kegging system, even a complicated one, can be made to not leak.

I have a two regulator, four keg, five gas disconnect, six valve, CO2 system that has been operating leak free for a number of years.

Softening the tubing with a hot water soak prior to crimping or clamping goes a long way in reducing leaks. I recommend the oetiker style clamps. If flare fittings are used, the nylon washers are a cheap leak inhibitor.
Sorry, I've fixed the leak, it was my splitter...I should have mentioned that. I'm currently leak free, but having churned through an entire gas bottle in a few weeks, the peace of mind from seeing something moving when gas is flowing would be welcome.
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhwrecker View Post
Claudius,
please post more information on your CO2 monitoring system. Links to products would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
The setup is very simple.
At every CO2 branch point I installed a flow meter for visual inspection.
Flow meters with different flow rates for all types of requirements are available.

The automatic monitoring part consist of a gas solenoid valve, pressure sensor with window comparator and brewery controller (PLC).
As soon the CO2 pressure is outside the window the pressure switch signals the brewing controller to take action. Depending on the failure mode different action will be taken automatically, from retries to permanent shutdown.
I use a lot of CO2 from transferring beer to filtering, etc.

Any failure will be displayed at the local level and remote location (control room).

Main CO2 supply with flow meter



Dwyer flow meter closeup



One of three flow meters installed at each branch point



Local display message



Local display with flashing red light and buzzer



Control room view
Pressure OK



Control room view, warning with male voice



Control room view



Pressure switch and solenoid valve
Pressure OK, green display



Pressure switch and solenoid valve
Pressure out of range



Parts sources:

http://www.dwyer-inst.com/Product/Fl.../VariableArea/
http://www.dwyer-inst.com/Product/Fl...hSwitchOutput/

http://www.sunxsensors.com/products/...00-series.html

http://www.omega.com/pptst/SV120_Series.html

Cheers,
ClaudiusB
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Old 03-27-2014, 02:08 AM   #8
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Actually this is exactly what I'm talking about:
http://www.belart.com/shop/199370001...199370001.html


Bit more exxy than I thought, but could be a worthwhile investment.

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Old 03-27-2014, 03:43 AM   #9
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That roto flow thingy is only good to 10psi... I usually run a bit more than that for serving.

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Old 03-27-2014, 07:05 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by sandyeggoxj View Post
That roto flow thingy is only good to 10psi... I usually run a bit more than that for serving.
That and it only registers flow if it's higher than 0.5 Lpm, which is much more than the vast majority of CO2 leaks, defeating the intended purpose in this case.
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