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inhifistereo 02-28-2012 12:35 PM

Secondary regulator issues
 
I purchased a Haeir kegerator off of craigslist a few weeks ago complete with 5 lb CO2 tank. I wanted to add a few more kegs to my setup so I purchased a secondary regulator from Micromatic along with a 3-tap tower. I installed the secondary regulator with approximately 2.5 feet of hose between the primary and secondary regulator. Then ran 5 feet of gas hose from each secondary connection.

http://images.logjamminbbq.com/photo1.JPG

Last night I set the primary regulator psi to 21.

http://images.logjamminbbq.com/photo2.JPG

Then set each secondary to 10 psi. This morning I woke up and my primary is holding rock solid at 21 but my secondaries have all fallen way below 10 psi.

http://images.logjamminbbq.com/photo3.JPG

What is my issue here? Is it because the secondary regulator is laying down? Is 5 feet too much hose to my gas-in post? Or is it because I don't have a keg hooked up yet?

I would assume that if the secondary's pressure fell that the primary would as well. Wrong assumption?

david_42 02-28-2012 06:38 PM

Yes, wrong assumption. The pressure in the primary is independent of the secondaries. I suspect the pressure loss is just due to a temperature change. Also, new regulators can take 2-3 adjustments to stabilize.

inhifistereo 02-28-2012 06:47 PM

The kegerator isn't even turned on yet. I just want to get a baseline.

I turned up the primary to 40 psi and set the secondaries to 10 psi. Once everything was pressurized I shut off the tank and the primary regulator feed. I let it sit and after approximately an hour I noticed that the first secondary regulator had fallen down to 6 psi. Now I just need to pinpoint where the leak is in that regulator.

bucfanmike 02-28-2012 09:22 PM

you just wont get accurate readings without having somewhere for the gas to go. Take one of you quick disconnects and manually push the gas pin in the center and watch the needle will probably move up near the 10 again. There is a good chance that you may have a slow leak on the reg that is down to 0.

krazydave 02-28-2012 10:49 PM

I think you need to hook the lines up to something. The small amount of space in the lines probably isn't enough for the regulator to actually regulate anything.

BTW, if you suspect you have a leak, a strong star-san mix and a spray bottle works wonders.

And like someone else already said, it sometimes does take a few adjustments to get the pressure to stabilize where you want it.

Fear not, when you have kegs hooked up, all will likely be just fine.

thargrav 02-29-2012 01:47 AM

You need to ask Micromatic what differential pressure these regulators need to operate correctly. Your differential is 11 PSI now (21 PSI - 10 PSI) and I bet these are designed to operate with a differential of at least 11 PSI & possibly 30 PSI or higher.

Or better yet, just crank your primary up to 40 PSI. If your secondary pressures move up than that's exactly what's going on.

inhifistereo 02-29-2012 12:50 PM

So I turned the primary up to 40 psi and purged the line by pushing in the pin at the bottom of the quick disconnect. My secondaries shot right up to 10 psi and held. I left everything overnight and when I got up this morning to check, sure enough the first regulator had dropped to almost nothing. I ordered some Gas Leak Check from Northerbewer that should hopefully be here this afternoon. Worst case scenario I just take all the Gas Shut off valves off again, reapply teflon tape, and then reinstall them again.

inhifistereo 03-01-2012 01:41 PM

So another day, another test. The secondaries held 10 psi for a good 9 hours yesterday. When I awoke this morning we were down to nothing again. I called my keg supply contact again and we determined (via krazydave's advice) that until we get a keg hooked up the gas is most likely leaking from the coupler. Couplers are meant to feed gas, not stop it from leaking, that's what the keg's seals are for. So we'll know more in about a week once we get the keg hooked up.

Thirteen 03-01-2012 02:04 PM

The coupler is meant to do both actually. If it won't hold pressure then it is defective in some manner.

starsailor 03-01-2012 03:19 PM

My first thought on your problem was the pressure differential between the primary and the secondaries, but it seems like you've eliminated that, assuming you did find out what the required input pressure is for the secondaries to function properly. That aside, the secondary regulators are designed to hold a constant ouput pressure as long as there is sufficient pressure and flow on the inputs. The volume of gas space being controled on the output side shouldn't matter, meaning the just the line and disconnnect should be connected to a keg or not. If one or more of the secondaries won't flow gas to maintain the set pressure on the output side either:

1. Gas is leaking out of the keg line faster than the regulator can flow. This is likely not the case as you'd probably hear it and tank isn't empty yet.

2. The seconary(s) input is blocked. This isn't likely the case as you can initially get the secondary(s) up to the set output pressure without any problem. Although you could have created a blockage if you got some pipe dope sealant or teflon tape into the secondary(s) input when assembling the system. I've gotten teflon tape in a couple of things this way by wrapping the tape past the end of the threads on a connectionby mistake even without covering the opening because the threads can cut the tape when screwed together. I now make sure I never wrap teflon tape too far down the male parts to prevent this.

3. The secondary(s) diaphram is sticking or the spring is defective. I'd suggest that this is the most likely problem. It could have been caused if you somehow had beer in the primary output line before you hooked it up to the secondary(s). You could easily have never noticed it because you have opaque red gas line on your primary output. I always use clear braided hose just so I can see what's in there. Beer injected into the output of a new secondary could easily cause the diaphram to get sticky and not function properly especially as a low pressure differential may not produce enough force to overcome any stickyness. The first secondary inline showing a lower pressure the the others supports this because any beer would likely go into the first secondary when it assemble system was first pressurized. Depressing the keg connector pin to discharge gas also support this because it creates a larger pressure across the secondary diaphram of that regulator. I'd try to jack up the primary output pressure to the max of secondary input pressure or the limit of your hoses and see if it gets any better. If so, disassemble the first secondary and see if the diapharm has gunk on it and if so clean and reassemble. During disassembly you'll also get to see if there's any tape ect. causing a blockage. If jacking up the primary output pressure doesn't help at all or if the first secondary diapharm is clean and nothing is plugging in up then I'd return the regulators as defective because you can't fix a bad spring or anything else.


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