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Old 02-12-2013, 06:46 AM   #1
mjl3434
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Default Leaking regulator, very confused

I just got my CO2 tank filled for the first time. The guy who filled it tested out the regulator and said it was broken. When the knob on the CO2 tank was opened, gas would leak out of the blow off valve on the regulator. He showed me that with another regulator, when the red gas-out valve was open, he could block the CO2 with his thumb, but with mine it just leaked out of the blow off valve. He also showed me that gas would leak out when the red valve was closed. Whenever the tank was open the pressure gauges were bouncing around as air "bounced" out of the blow off valve, as it opened and closed. The gauges never read a steady value. Here's a picture:



While I have no reason doubt the guy who filled my tank, I'm brand new to kegging and I'm not sure on the proper way to use my equipment yet, let alone what can go wrong.

So first off has anyone else heard of this? Is this a common problem? Cheap regulator? Or is it possible that I'm just misusing this regulator and I could get it to work if I hooked it up to an actual keg? Is it true that even with the red gas-out valve closed the blow off valve shouldn't leak unless it's at extremely high pressure (like 3000 psi from being left in a hot car or something).

I'm about ready to try and send this one back and have Amazon send me a new one. What do you think should I send it back?

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Old 02-12-2013, 12:30 PM   #2
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It sounds like there might be some debris in the diaphragm of the regulator, preventing it from fully closing. So the pressure just builds up until the PRV releases. This is actually a relatively common problem, there are lots of posts like this. It's also something that may be relatively easy to fix, and your tank filling dude should have known that.

You can try the procedure here:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/co2-...-creep-387313/

If that doesn't work, you can try taking it apart and seeing if there's some crap on the diaphragm. Or just exchange it for a new one.

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Old 02-12-2013, 02:51 PM   #3
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Is there a guide somewhere to taking the regulator apart. I have a different problem and have been searching this forum all morning for a guide on disassembly and cant find one for the life of me.

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Old 02-12-2013, 05:40 PM   #4
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I unscrewed the PRV to see if there was anything visible clogging the valve preventing it from closing. There was nothing (which is what you would expect since this is brand new). It does look like the PRV is still somewhat "open" even when it's closed. It's almost like there's not enough force in the spring or whatever holds it closed. Here's two pictures, one with the PRV in its natural state, and another with me holding it open. Even in it's natural state it looks slightly open.

Valve normally:


Me holding it open:


Do you still suspect a clog? Or is the problem something else?

The CO2 guy did say that there are regulator repair kits available for $4 or something but that they don't necessarily work well or at all, and that he had been burned by refurbishing a regulator and then having to replace it anyway.

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Old 02-12-2013, 05:51 PM   #5
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Well like I said above, I think it's more likely that this is a problem with the regulator's diaphragm, not the pressure release valve. Since you said the pressure is shooting up and bouncing around, it sounds like the regulator's not actually regulating anything.

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Old 02-12-2013, 06:08 PM   #6
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Okay I'll try the procedure when I get home tonight, and report results.

Can I at least confirm that this is not supposed to happen normally when there's nothing attached? Even if the red gas-out valve is closed the PRV shouldn't be blowing even when a full CO2 tank is attached & open, is this true/correct?

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Old 02-12-2013, 08:07 PM   #7
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You're correct. The PRV should only open at a relatively high pressure (maybe 75 psi?), and if the regulator were functioning properly it wouldn't get nearly that high. The limit on most regulators is 50psi I think.

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Old 02-13-2013, 02:25 AM   #8
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Okay so I tried the procedure you linked to, repeated here:
1. Do this outside!!!
2. Disconnect the line going from the regulator to the keg.
3. With the CO2 tank valve closed, turn the adjust screw in as far as it will go.
4. Rapidly open & close the CO2 tank valve a few times - each time you do this a lot of CO2 will blow out of the regulator.
5. Back the adjustment screw out until it's loose.
6. Reconnect the line going to the keg.
7. Adjust your pressure to where it needs to be & watch the gauge.

If you notice in the picture I don't have a screw for step #3 I have a knob. The knob won't move at all by hand turning. So I didn't screw anything but rather took a pipe wrench and screwed to right until it wouldn't go any further (well actually until the joint sized up and another thread on the regulator started to come loose). For step #4, all the CO2 went out of the PRV, the same as before. For step #5 I couldn't complete it since it's not really loose anywhere, but I did my best to find the "loosest" spot I could. When all was said and done I had the same non-functioning regulator as before.

Am I doing something wrong? Does anyone else have an idea of what the issue with this regulator is? It seems like the debris idea is not the problem, assuming the steps I did would have fixed it.

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Old 02-13-2013, 02:37 AM   #9
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Sorry for stating the obvious. But if its brand new why are you not just sending it back and getting a new one? The more you are taking apart the regulator the more chances you have for additional leaks.

My regulator I got from keg connection had a hairline crack near the inlet. They sent another one out immediately. Yeah it sucks you can't play with your new toy yet. But wouldn't you rather have a new one with no problems from the start?

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Old 02-13-2013, 04:50 AM   #10
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Yes your wisdom is probably correct, it would have made sense just to send it back and get a new one. Regardless I got so frustrated with the quality of this thing that I already bought a higher quality one. And yes it *does* suck that I can't play with my new toy.

Just to follow up I did notice that the PRV was put together wrong, or rather there was a center part which needed to be screwed in further otherwise it would be always open. So that was probably the root case of my issue, but even after trying to fix it I never could get it working properly.

***k it, gonna go drink a home brew.

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