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Dedicated Spring Water Soda Water Machine Build

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roger55

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Long story how I got into this.

It started with my health and needing to reduce sugar intake. I stopped drinking all sugared drinks including fruit juices. In doing so, I developed a taste for drinking just plain soda water. My wife developed the taste for it as well.

I live in San Angelo, Tx and the city water quality here just plain sucks. I have well water but have to have a softener on it that adds sodium. I don't want the sodium and don't want to drink reverse osmosis filtered water either so we've been drinking Ozarka Spring water we get at Sams ever since we moved here. The 2 1/2 gallon jugs are as large as we can get here. Can't get the 5 gallon jugs delivered.

Anyway, last year I bought a CO2 bottle and started making the soda water in 2 liter bottles with the shaking method. I'm very tired of doing that and my wife wouldn't help. She would drink what I made and leave the bottle empty.

So, that led me to research a way to construct an automatic dispenser. I really couldn't find anyone that had ever designed anything that met everything I wanted out of a system. So, I designed my own. I'm thinking that I may be the only one that has done a system like this. At least, there's nothing like this I could find on the Internet. I thought this forum would really be a good place to share what I did. It just seems there would be people out there that would want a system like this.

I got it going yesterday. It is working fantastic. I started out buying a scratch and dent (but new) refrigerator/freezer and put it in the garage. I bought a McCann carbonator and separated the motor and tank from the assembly and put the tank in the fridge and the motor behind the wall (directly behind the fridge that is under a stairwell).

On the carbonator stand where the tank was mounted, I mounted a ShurFlo pressure pump that pressurizes a small bladder type pressure tank that sits in the fridge. The pressure pump sucks the water out of a 6 gallon tank that sits at the very bottom of the fridge. This pressure tank also connects to the inlet side of the carbonator at the motor.

In the fridge, I can store up to six 2 1/2 gallon bottles of the Ozarka spring water and fill the 6 gallon tank as needed. My wife is liking the idea of the extra freezer space with this too. Plus there will be a little room on the door shelves for some other things.

I mounted a soda dispenser through the side of the fridge that's close to the door from the garage to the house.

Here's photos:

















 

Kashue

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That is some A+ home engineering there. How hard do you think it would be to rig a setup like that with multiple outstreams for syrups?

Very impressive.
 
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roger55

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That is some A+ home engineering there. How hard do you think it would be to rig a setup like that with multiple outstreams for syrups?
Very impressive.
Thanks!
It's still working great and we are enjoying the heck out of it.

I don't think it would be hard at all to adapt it to add soda w/ syrup. However, I don't think it would be practical. I looked into the cost of buying Coke syrup (diet in my case).
You pay more for the boxes of syrup than you can buy the soda in 2 or 3 liter bottles at grocery store.

Mostly, I drink the soda water plain. My wife puts in a few drops of lemon or lime juice concentrate sometimes.
Putting in a cap full of lemon and a couple of packets of Equal makes it taste like diet 7up and it's still sugar-free.

Btw, I'm now a big believer in the new information that's coming out about sugar being a toxin. My cholesterol and triglycerides are dramatically lower than they were.
 

duckdogs

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Cool project but wouldn't putting the water in a soda keg and putting co2 pressure on it do the same thing or is there something else in "soda water" besides your water of choice and co2?
 

sarink

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You're right that nobody else had done this! I have been trying to create a setup like this for quite some time. I've been trying to do it with a corny keg, but I hate all the problems with line balancing, reducing it for serving pressure, waiting for it to carbonate....
I've never heard of this McCann carbonator before. What is that Water Works tank? Can you give sort of a play by play of how all that stuff is working together? I'm really interested but I don't think I understand what all is going on.

PS, I'm actually working on an electronic arduino based system that will pump soda syrup into your glass from a touch screen (or your phone over wifi if you don't want to purchase a dedicated tablet/computer). The "generic" bag in box syrups from sam's club are great and very reasonably priced! You can get most in 1 gallon boxes for about $15. http://www.samsclub.com/sams/lemon-lime-syrup-1-gal/153541.ip?navAction=push
 
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roger55

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You're right that nobody else had done this! I have been trying to create a setup like this for quite some time. I've been trying to do it with a corny keg, but I hate all the problems with line balancing, reducing it for serving pressure, waiting for it to carbonate....
I've never heard of this McCann carbonator before. What is that Water Works tank? Can you give sort of a play by play of how all that stuff is working together? I'm really interested but I don't think I understand what all is going on...
This system is working like a dream! I absolutely love it. My wife does too. Friends and family have been pretty amazed as well.

The blue tank is a 2 gallon pressure tank. It is required when you use a pump for water out of a holding tank like my setup does. The water has to be pressured to the input side of the carbonator motor.

http://www.amazon.com/WaterWorker-HT-2B-Pressure-2-Gallon-Capacity/dp/B001AZL562/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1366909660&sr=1-1&keywords=2+gallon+pressure+tank

Without a pressure tank, the pressure pump would cycle on-off-on-off many, many times whenever the carbonator pump would run. That would lead to a quick failure of the pressure pump. With the 2 gallon pressure tank, there is a pressure reserve so the pressure pump only runs about 20 seconds or so when the carbonator pump runs. Does that make sense? I'd say the carbonator kicks on about every 5th or 6th 12 to 16 oz. drinking cup of soda water I fill. The pressure pump kicks on and runs every time the carbonator motor does but starts a few seconds afterwards. The carbonator motor will run about 20 seconds also so it kicks off first and the pressure pump kicks off a few seconds later.

Are you going to use a reserve tank with bottled water like I do or are you intending to hook up to a house water line? If it's the latter, you will need to do things a little differently than I did. I couldn't be happier with the way my system all works together. I you need part numbers, let me know.

Btw, I got my McCann carbonator on ebay. It was new and never used. He bought it for a for a project, stored it for a few years and changed his mind. I got a good deal on it for $238 delivered.
 
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sarink

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What kind of motor is the mccann? How loud is it? Do you think the entire setup be fit into a mini fridge? Instead of a pressure tank, could you use a corny keg? Or, what about a pump that eliminates cycling like this one http://www.remcoindustries.com/Corporate/product.php?f=3900.php&c=28 (i built that website, btw :D)

Yeah I'd like to use a reservoir tank, not hook into the water line. I want the system to be stand alone. I've already got everything in place and working for getting the soda syrup into your glass. For the soda water however, ideally I would like to just fill a tank up with water whenever it gets low, and have everything else completely automated. Hit a button, get soda. I don't want to have to do any other work such as carbonating the keg, waiting 48 hours, adjusting/monitoring pressure.... etc.

How does a McCann Carbonator work? For some reason I can't find any info/explanation online, all I get are distributors selling them
 
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roger55

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Don't know about the corny keg. Never looked at them. The pressure tank is designed for this sort of use though. It has a bladder inside that you adjust the pressure in according to the pump pressure. If you use a tank without a bladder, the air in it will dissolve in the water after a while and it wont do it's job anymore. They are pretty small and cheap anyway.

I'm thinking that you could eliminate the pressure tank with a bypass type pump as long as it isn't a bypass-only type. I looked at that when designing my system but made an assumption that it wouldn't be quite as efficient as using a regular type pump and a pressure tank. However, that may be insignificant I don't know. I'm not an expert on this stuff. When I first got my system going, I crossed my fingers that it would work like I thought. It was part of the fun though.

That pump you linked to wont work however. The pressure is too high and you obviously want a 120V pump not a 12V. The carbonator can't take a water intake pressure greater than the CO2 pressure. I'd say it would be better to have the incoming pressure no more than 70 psi. My inlet pressure is 45 psi and I put 25 psi in the bladder of the pressure tank. I've got my CO2 pressure set on 90 psi and it's all perfect. You adjust the CO2 pressure up and down to suit the amount of carbonation you like. Mine is on the bubbly side at 90 psi.

I would not recommend putting the carbonator's electric motor or the pressure pump inside a refrigerator. You could do it but I don't think it's a good idea. Electric motors generate heat that the fridge would have to work harder with but the bigger concern would be some sort of leak or condensation getting them wet. The water supply tank, carbonator tank and pressure tank have to be in the refrigerator since the water coming out of the dispenser has to be cold. These type of carbonators are designed to be used with a cold plate in the bottom of a soda machine ice bin. They cool outgoing soda water as it gets dispensed. If the water isn't cold, it goes flat as it comes out.

The motor that comes with the McCann carbonator is a standard type of 1/3 HP electric motor with their proprietary pump mounted to the front of it. I believe all it does is pressurize and agitate the water and CO2 mixture within it's tank. There's a sensor mounted in the tank that tells the motor when and how long to run.

This is the pressure pump I am using:

http://legacy.shurflo.com/pages/new_industrial/industrial/automotive/doc_sum/2088-594-154.html

I didn't know if the 3.3 gpm would be good or not when I chose it but it turned out to be perfect. I don't know what the HP is but the motor is smaller than the McCann motor so I'm sure it's less.

Both motors make about the same amount of noise. Of course where I have my setup (in the garage), it makes no difference.
They are not real loud but I wouldn't want them out in the open in a bar area, kitchen or media room. They are louder than a fridge or freezer. Probably more on the order of a washer or dryer. You could put the 2 motors in an insulated box of some type to keep the noise down. They don't run long though so I think that would work fine.
 
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roger55

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My wife had a little fun at the soda fill area in the garage.
It looks like wallpaper but she painted the stripes. She found the sign somewhere and framed it.
Pretty cool.



 

ladodger34

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Btw, I'm now a big believer in the new information that's coming out about sugar being a toxin. My cholesterol and triglycerides are dramatically lower than they were.
I'm not a dietician or anything like that (heck, I have a BA in English), but I think saying that kind of stuff is dangerous. Sugar is what fuels our body. It is our energy source.
 
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roger55

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I'm not a dietician or anything like that (heck, I have a BA in English), but I think saying that kind of stuff is dangerous. Sugar is what fuels our body. It is our energy source.
I explain my btw statement but I'll just make this one post about it as I don't what to take this thread off-topic. We can move the discussion to a new General Chit Chat thread if you or anyone else wants to continue it. If anyone would like me to create the thread, please PM me and I'll do it.

I'm not a dietitian or an expert in the field of any kind but have done a lot of research on the topic over the last 6 months after my doctor expressed some concerns about my health.

You are correct that sugar (specifically glucose) is the fuel for our body. But the sugar I'm talking about reducing in my diet are specifically sucrose (50% glucose, 50% fructose) and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is typically 45% glucose and 55% fructose. So, sucrose and HFCS are essentially the same.

There is a doctor (Robert Lustig) who is a Pediatric Endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where he is a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics. He has labled fructose as a toxin. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin.

From my research, many in the medical and nutritional fields are backing the findings in his studies. He has just this year published a book and I have read it.

This is what really brought attention to him though. In May of 2009, he delivered a lecture called "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" which was posted on YouTube the following July and "went viral". He didn't even know it was going to be filmed until he started the lecture.

Here's a link to that video. It's about 90 minutes long so if you are interested in it be prepared for that amount of time. Also, be prepared that it will blow your mind. This was one of the largest eye-openers of information (or mis-information) that I've ever experienced.

http://www.uctv.tv/shows/Sugar-The-Bitter-Truth-16717

This video changed my life. In three months, my triglycerides dropped from 259 to 66 and my cholesterol from 237 to 186. Most importantly, my cholestero/Hdl ratio went from bad to really good (2.7 mg/dL). I will never drink a sugar-sweetened drink again including juices even if it's freshly squeezed. I don't miss them either especially with my soda water machine!

Also, here's a short segment with Dr. Lustig that was done on CBS 60-Minutes with Sanjay Gupta:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7417238n
 

ladodger34

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Seriously, cool build.. and even more seriously, I stay away from sugary stuff for the most part anyways and I do agree that we eat way too much of it as a society.

Can we just say that too much sugar is a toxin?
 
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roger55

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Seriously, cool build.. and even more seriously, I stay away from sugary stuff for the most part anyways and I do agree that we eat way too much of it as a society. Can we just say that too much sugar is a toxin?
Thanks!

I don't regret for a minute spending the money on this thing. It wasn't cheap. I'd have to add it up but over $1000. The fridge was a new scratch & dent model and was a significant part of the cost.

For an always available and on-demand soda maker, I think the only other way to go would be with a commercial soda machine with an ice maker and bin for a cold plate. I just don't think that's practical for most people.

At one time, Coca Cola made a small-office type of soda machine but they quit making them. You can still get them used and refurbed but they use proprietary parts. They are pretty cool though. I really liked the looks of them but for just soda water without flavors, what I did made more sense for us.

There's also the Sodastream but I ruled immediately that out because the of the expensive and small proprietary CO2 cannisters. Recently though, I saw on the net somewhere that someone figured out how to modify a Sodastream so a standard type of cannister and regulator would hook up to it. I don't know how one would work for the volume of soda I wanted though.

Oh, it's a yes to your question.
 

ladodger34

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Thanks!

I don't regret for a minute spending the money on this thing. It wasn't cheap. I'd have to add it up but over $1000. The fridge was a new scratch & dent model and was a significant part of the cost.

For an always available and on-demand soda maker, I think the only other way to go would be with a commercial soda machine with an ice maker and bin for a cold plate. I just don't think that's practical for most people.

At one time, Coca Cola made a small-office type of soda machine but they quit making them. You can still get them used and refurbed but they use proprietary parts. They are pretty cool though. I really liked the looks them but for just soda water without flavors, what I did made more sense for us.

There's also the Sodastream but I ruled immediately that out because the of the expensive and small proprietary CO2 cannisters. Recently though, I saw on the net somewhere that someone figured out how to modify a Sodastream so a standard type of cannister and regulator would hook up to it. I don't know how one would work for the volume of soda I wanted though.

Oh, it's a yes to your question.
I looked at the Sodastream stuff and there are a couple of options to get around the proprietary canisters. You can get a connection to fit it to CO2 tank like one would use in a kegerator. When I was looking at that option, people stored the tank under their counter and ran the line to the machine on top of their counter. A few more adventurous folks stored the tanks in their basements and ran the line up.

The other option that I liked (we just don't have the room right now for a tank to go under the counter) was an adapter that you put on a paintball tank. It still has the problem with using a smaller tank, but with a small investment up front (a couple of paintball tanks), the refills are a bit cheaper. I think I talked to a guy that said it was like $2 to fill up each tank. Much better than the $15 that SodaStream charges.
 

sarink

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What's that second hose you're running off of the motor? And what is that clear tube that's only in one of the photos, just a pressure release?

Also, is it necessary to have the silver tank and the white reservoir in the fridge? Since the real water source ends up being that waterworks tank, shouldn't that be the only thing that has to stay cold?

Lastly, I've been trying to find a pump like you were describing. I'd really like to eliminate the pressure holding tank if I can (so at this point, would I be able to get away with just my water reservoir tank being in the fridge?). Any suggestions for finding a pump? Maybe my google-fu is weak, but I'm not having much luck... >70PSI, 120V, bypass ... there really should be a pump manufacturer website where you can type in your needs and filter down to see a selection of pumps that fit :-/
 
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roger55

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What's that second hose you're running off of the motor?
The pressure motor inlet sucks water from the white plastic holding tank and the outlet goes to the one side of the tee under the blue pressure tank in the fridge. The carbonator motor inlet hose comes from the other side of that tee. The outlet goes to the silver carbonator tank. (In retrospect, the tee could have been put by the motors but it makes no difference. It would have saved some hose though and 1 less through the wall.)

Also, is it necessary to have the silver tank and the white reservoir in the fridge? Since the real water source comes from that water worker pressure tank, shouldn't that be the only thing that has to stay cold?
That depends on how much short term demand you would need. I wanted to make sure my system would perform well with times of heavy usage. I also think it's not good to store drinking water in a warm room. Mine's in a garage and it gets hot in there during the summer. If you don't think your system will be used heavily and you can keep your water storage in a fairly cool place, I think you might be OK without having the water source cold. However, the way I did my system, I never introduce warm water to the system. You would be doing that but it may not effect the performance if the temperature of the water only gets reduced slightly. A larger pressure tank could help that situation. Mine is a 2 gallon tank and Water Worker makes larger versions too. I know you are trying to stay small so that may not be an option for you.
Here's a link to their tank options:
http://waterworker.client.sprintout.com/media/documents/MC10203_3_13_WaterWorker_Brochure.pdf

Lastly, I've been trying to find a pump like you were describing. I'd really like to eliminate the pressure holding tank if I can (so at this point, would I be able to get away with just my water reservoir tank being in the fridge?). Any suggestions for finding a pump? Maybe my google-fu is weak, but I'm not having much luck... >70PSI, 120V, bypass ... there really should be a pump manufacturer website where you can type in your needs and filter down to see a selection of pumps that fit :-/
I only looked at the Shurflo website and it doesn't appear that they have a bypass pump with the pressure and volume needed. Sorry, I don't know if there is one out there. I think I addressed your other question in my answer to your second question above.
 

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What are good sources for seltzer side taps or towers (to convert to drilled keg fridge)?
 
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roger55

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What are good sources for seltzer side taps or towers (to convert to drilled keg fridge)?
I got mine from Kegman. I called and he had just a couple of them in stock. At that time, he said the demand was way higher than the supply so I was lucky to get the one I wanted.
 

sarink

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Does that pressure tank constantly hold a full 2 gallons of (uncarbonated) water then? What happens when your reservoir gets empty (or if its entire capacity is < 2 gallons)? I was thinking of using one of these for my reservoir (1.13 gallons) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00009LHZH/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

It looks like all the Mccann Carbonators are the same (regardless of the model number, it seems there are just a few different sizes) is there a reason you chose the (E400397) one you did?
 
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roger55

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Does that pressure tank constantly hold a full 2 gallons of (uncarbonated) water then? What happens when your reservoir gets empty (or if its entire capacity is < 2 gallons)? I was thinking of using one of these for my reservoir (1.13 gallons) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00009LHZH/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

It looks like all the Mccann Carbonators are the same (regardless of the model number, it seems there are just a few different sizes) is there a reason you chose the (E400397) one you did?
By design, the pressure tank can't be totally full. The pressure determines how full it is. If I had to guess, I'd say that it would be 1/3 full when the pressure pump kicks on and 2/3 full when it kicks off.

I chose that particular model of carbonator only because I got a really good deal on it.
 
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ShaineT

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Very impressive setup, my soda water is merely force carbonated in a corny keg and the kids love to add vanilla syrup etc. I'll have to try the lemon and splenda. I'll even blend one of my beers on tap with the soda water (shandygaff) if I'm just mowing the lawn in hot weather or working on the house.
 

sarink

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Finally got all these parts.

Couple more questions for you...
1. There's a steel line connecting the McCann motor to the McCann tank. I assume this is because it's pressurized? How much pressure are we talking? You can safely replace this with standard tubing and hose clamps?
2. Did you just use standard 1/2" NPT female fittings for the Shurflo pump? Or did you find their "special" little plastic ones (or equivalent) somewhere?
3. There's a green wire coming off of my McCann tank, I'm assuming this is a ground wire? Why isn't it just inside/connected to the same wire harness that already connects the tank to the motor? Can/should I do this myself (or is there a reason it wasn't done that way)?
4. What's that base you have for your WaterWorker tank? Did you make it?
5. Just to be very extra positive, this is how everything connects, right? (excuse my awesome drawings :p)

Thanks!

soda.jpg
 
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roger55

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Finally got all these parts.
Couple more questions for you...
1. There's a steel line connecting the McCann motor to the McCann tank. I assume this is because it's pressurized? How much pressure are we talking? You can safely replace this with standard tubing and hose clamps?
Yes, no problem at all.

2. Did you just use standard 1/2" NPT female fittings for the Shurflo pump? Or did you find their "special" little plastic ones (or equivalent) somewhere?
Yes, I did have one of the PVC ones crack on my because I over tightened it. So, those have been replaced with brass since I took that photo. (Got water all over when it cracked.).

3. There's a green wire coming off of my McCann tank, I'm assuming this is a ground wire? Why isn't it just inside/connected to the same wire harness that already connects the tank to the motor? Can/should I do this myself (or is there a reason it wasn't done that way)?
I don't understand your question or confusion on that. Isn't yours wired like this?



All you do is get some #16 wire that has a ground included (I used an old extension cord) to extend the wire so it's long enough to go from the carbonator motor to the carbonator tank. If you look at one of my original photos inside the fridge you can see the watertight electrical conduit body I used to make the splice.

4. What's that base you have for your WaterWorker tank? Did you make it?
Yes I made it. It's simply a piece of 6" PVC pipe.

5. Just to be very extra positive, this is how everything connects, right? (excuse my awesome drawings :p)
Yes that's it. Except the line going from the Water Worker pressure tank to the carbonator connects to at tee at the bottom of the tank along with the input from the Shurflo pressure motor.

Also, you will need to lower the pressure in the bladder of the Water Worker tank. It comes shipped with too much pressure. Just use a tire gauge on the air valve on the top. It is supposed to be set at just a little under the cut-on pressure of the Shurflo pressure pump. As I remember the cut-on pressure of the Shurflo wasn't in the specs and I estimated it and adjusted the pressure in the bladder to about 25 psi. Must have been fine as it works great that way.
 

sarink

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Thanks.

Do you think a PC power cord would be alright instead? The wire looks thinner, but I mean, this could power a 1000 watt desktop PSU, it should be fine?

Also curious, what size tubing are you running everywhere?

Lastly, I opened up the carbonator tank and the float was all discolored and rusty. Did you ever inspect yours? What's the best way to clean this thing?
 
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roger55

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Thanks.
Do you think a PC power cord would be alright instead? The wire looks thinner, but I mean, this could power a 1000 watt desktop PSU, it should be fine?
Also curious, what size tubing are you running everywhere?
Lastly, I opened up the carbonator tank and the float was all discolored and rusty. Did you ever inspect yours? What's the best way to clean this thing?
I just looked at my carbonator motor. It says it draws 6 amps continuous. That would be 720 watts. 16 (awg) gauge wire should be fine for this. A PC power cord is probably 16 gauge. It should say on it.

My carbonator had never been used and the float sensor looked perfect. Not sure what to do about your rust situation. I'm sure they can be ordered and replaced if you have trouble cleaning it up.

I used 3/8" food grade tubing for everything except the CO2 line and the line to the dispenser head where I used 1/4". I bought the ear type crimp clamps for all this and have the special tool for crimping them. The 1/4" line I ordered from here:
http://www.installationpartssupply.com/ (I ordered all my ear clamps and a bunch of fittings from them too.)
The 3/8" tubing I got from Lowe's.

Thank you for sending me out to look at all this!
I just noticed that my 3/8" line going from the carbonator motor to the carbonator tank is ballooning. I need to now do some research for a better tubing for this. I'm afraid it might eventually burst if I leave it. My 1/4" line is a lot more stiff than the 3/8" so I might order some 3/8" from Installation Parts and replace all my Lowe's tubing.
 

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I think it's 18 gauge. Thanks for the numbers. I can't read the sticker on mine. I went here and did the math http://phd.boschsecurity.com/wiregage_cal.cfm,18 gauge should be more than fine (I already had done it anyways :p). I actually just wired a new cord from the tank. So the motor and the tank each have their own plug, and that little pigtail is unused. Is there any reason this shouldn't work? I noticed that you have them wired together still?

I used some vinegar and 300 grit sandpaper. Took everything apart and cleaned it up. It was tedious, but it looks good now. There's a few spots that wouldn't come out, but I can live with that (considering I got this for $150 shipped).

My tank was welded to the base. Was yours not? Or did you break them?

It looks like you've got a braided hose there. Do you think your ballooning is the reason it was originally a steel hose? How much pressure is the motor putting out?

On the motor inlet, mine has a T. It looks like in one of your photos yours does too, and you had put a clear piece of tube there which just connected to nothing? What is this? Should it be capped off, or can it be left open?

Where all are you using ball check valves? 1 on the CO2 inlet on the tank, 1 on the water inlet on the tank, anywhere else? On mine, there was one on the motor outlet (which I actually discovered to have a broken spring, so I'm glad I disassembled everything to inspect/clean) and also one one the tank's water inlet (which seems redundant?)
 
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roger55

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I think it's 18 gauge. Thanks for the numbers. I can't read the sticker on mine. I went here and did the math http://phd.boschsecurity.com/wiregage_cal.cfm,18 gauge should be more than fine (I already had done it anyways :p). I actually just wired a new cord from the tank. So the motor and the tank each have their own plug, and that little pigtail is unused. Is there any reason this shouldn't work? I noticed that you have them wired together still?

I used some vinegar and 300 grit sandpaper. Took everything apart and cleaned it up. It was tedious, but it looks good now. There's a few spots that wouldn't come out, but I can live with that (considering I got this for $150 shipped).
My tank was welfed to the base. Was yours not? Or did you break them?
It looks like you've got a braided hose there. Do you think your ballooning is the reason it was originally a steel hose? How much pressure is the motor putting out?
On the motor inlet, mine has a T. It looks like in one of your photos yours does too, and you had put a clear piece of tube there which just connected to nothing? What is this? Should it be capped off, or can it be left open?
Where all are you using ball check valves? 1 on the CO2 inlet on the tank, 1 on the water inlet on the tank, anywhere else? On mine, there was one on the motor outlet (which I actually discovered to have a broken spring, so I'm glad I disassembled everything to inspect/clean) and also one one the tank's water inlet (which seems redundant?)
No, my tank was screwed to the base. If you have to cut welds, you are going to have to be darn careful.

Yes, the 3/8 tubing is braided but I think the problem is that the Lowe's tubing is probably cheap off-shore made stuff. I would guess McCann used a steel line for longevity. I don't know what the pressure is but the pressure relief valve is a 180 psi so the pressure is going to be less than that. The braided tubing at Installation Parts is rated at 200 psi. I am going to get a 100 foot roll of that and get rid of all the Lowes crap. (So glad you brought all this back up. I never should have bought tubing from Lowes.)

You need to leave that small tubing on the tee at the carbonator motor output hanging just like it is. It's the vent for the backflow preventer valve. The only other check valve is where the CO2 line goes into the carbonator tank. It was in place as shipped. Mine did not come with a check valve for the water inlet. It must be optional.

Take some photos and post them. I'd like to see your setup. I'm sure others are following this too.
 

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First pic - The original pigtail wire for connecting the tank to the motor (I'm not going to use this, see second pic)

Second pic - Rewired the carbonator tank float to a PC power cord so it is standalone and does not need to connect to the motor to get power (also, my ghetto soldering station :p)

Third pic - The T on the motor. Are you sure this needs to just remain open? It is on the inlet.. Although, how would I even get that off if I wanted? (didn't notice it until this pic - what's 250 PSI?!)

Fourth pic - What's inside that big (the smaller of the two big ones) brass nut on top of the carbonator motor (I was curious)

Fifth pic - Cleaning of the carbonator tank's float and all valves/fittings (also, it looks like I lied, there are screws on the bottom holding the the base on - it IS welded, but to a separate plate which this base is then screwed to)

IMG_20130811_151626.jpg


IMG_20130811_151548.jpg


IMG_20130811_151217.jpg


IMG_20130811_151250.jpg


IMG_20130811_150918.jpg
 
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Third pic - The T on the motor. Are you sure this needs to just remain open? It is on the inlet.. Although, how would I even get that off if I wanted? (didn't notice it until this pic - what's 250 PSI?!)
OK, I didn't realize you had a tee on the inlet side of the motor. You could use it instead of putting one onto the pressure tank if you wanted to. Then one hose off that tee to the pressure tank and other to the out side of the pressure pump. It doesn't matter which way you do it. I do not have a tee on the inlet side of the carb motor. Mine is at the pressure tank. In retrospect, it would have been less hose if I had done it the other way.

There needs to be a backflow preventer valve on the outlet side of your carb pump motor (the one with the small vinyl vent tube). I don't see yours. You have to have it. I took mine off thinking it wasn't needed. It is, my system wouldn't work without it.

http://www.chicompany.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=361_75&products_id=3099
 
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Once again, I'm sure glad you are building your system and have been asking some questions that I didn't ask myself when I designed this in the first place.

The 250 psi label on your carbonator pump is the max relief pressure. Mine is labled with that too. However, the max pressure of the pump itself might be less. The pump on my carb motor is a Procon 141A100F11AA and the specs for it say it has a 200 psi relief valve and is 150 psi at 1/3 hp. Even the good braided beverage tubing has 200 psi rating at 70 degrees but only 100 psi at 100 degrees.
Since this is in my garage and I live in Texas, it gets warm in there in the summer. I think 150 psi will be over the limit of this hose in summer temperatures. I'm lucky my hose hasn't failed. Thanks to you, I've caught this.
I am thinking at this point I will change to a solid stainless tubing for the line from the carb pump to the carb tank.

I'm looking here to get an 8ft or so long piece of stainless tubing:
http://www.onlinemetals.com/merchant.cfm?pid=6856&step=4&showunits=inches&id=20&top_cat=0
I've purchased from this company before.
 

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Haha, no problem. Thanks for posting your project! I searched endlessly for a way to carbonate on demand and it was driving me nuts before finding this.

How do you control the output/serving pressure, so that soda doesn't come flying out your tap like a fire hose? In my case I'm using a solenoid valve, so I need something further upstream from the valve.
 
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roger55

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How do you control the output/serving pressure, so that soda doesn't come flying out your tap like a fire hose?
To my knowledge, you have to use a dispenser head especially designed for soda/seltzer like the one I have. That takes care of that issue.

Mine is the type where you pull it forward for a normal soda water and push it back for a jet stream for making an ice cream soda.
 
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roger55

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Hmm. What do you think about something like this? I can't find anything in 1/4" http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004MH7X0M/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
I really have no idea whether something like that would work or not. Seems like it would be trial-and-error and that could get expensive. And, what about a nozzle?? You still need that to be designed for the correct stream.
Why not just go with the soda dispenser that's designed to do all of this and be done with it? I'm not following your logic on why you would want to do anything else.
Why are you using a solenoid valve? What's wrong with just pulling the handle?

I think that a Soda Dispenser doesn't have a pressure reducer built into it. I would guess it's all in the valve and nozzle design.
 
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I think i will order some of that tubing as well. Good find.

I also got the official shurflo nylon fittings for the pump. Well see if they crack after time too!

This is one piece of a larger project I am working on. In the end, everything is hooked up to an arduino and should be fully automated. I've already got a high pressure solenoid valve and the ability to control it via software. I've been doing some research, but haven't found anything conclusive that I'd be confident in yet unfortunately. .... I wonder how those new touch screen coke machines work?
 
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I think i will order some of that tubing as well. Good find.
I also got the official shurflo nylon fittings for the pump. Well see if they crack after time too!
This is one piece of a larger project I am working on. In the end, everything is hooked up to an arduino and should be fully automated. I've already got a high pressure solenoid valve and the ability to control it via software. I've been doing some research, but haven't found anything conclusive that I'd be confident in yet unfortunately. .... I wonder how those new touch screen coke machines work?
I'm still not envisioning exactly how you are wanting your system to work, but have you looked into the Wunder-Bar gun setups? Could you adapt one of their guns to work with your software control?
 
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