Do I have to use a CO2 Regulator?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

captianoats

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2008
Messages
825
Reaction score
51
Location
Jasper IN
Just like it says... Do I have to use a CO2 regulator, or can I use a good old fashioned cheapo air pressure regulator like what I use on my air compressor to control my CO2 tank?

I am not really worried about getting my tank pressure on a gauge, since I have some really sweet professional gauges I got off on engine dynos at work that will look slick. Therefore, I don't want to drop $40-50 bucks on a new regulator if I don't have to.

Thanks for all the help.
 

Suthrncomfrt1884

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
4,069
Reaction score
35
Location
Rockford
I bought a welding regulator from Harbor Freight for 25 bucks. It didn't read in PSI, so I had to buy an 8 dollar gauge to swap it with, but it works like a charm.

If you don't want crazy, all-over-the-place carbonation levels...I would get a CO2 regulator. Air and CO2 are different weights, so your air compressor regulator probably won't work right.
 

dataz722

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2007
Messages
37,116
Reaction score
3,064
Location
Middletown
As far as I know the gauges you are talking about just tell how much pressure there is. co2 comes out at roughly 800psi so you need to that will take that down to 10-30 and I do not think these gauges would do that.
 

chuggs

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2009
Messages
323
Reaction score
15
Location
Jupiter, FL
The regulator on your run of the mill air compressor isn't rated to take the pressure of CO2. Most Air Compressors top out at 125 psi...some two stage compressors 250 psi... Like was stated...CO2 bottles are up around 800 psi...and the regulators are designed to take up to 2000 psi on the high side.

If you shop around on eBay you can get a good used CO2 regulator for a decent price.

Be careful getting Welding Regulators... Yes the type you use for oxy-acetylene welding/cutting are adjustable pressure. But some are a set pressure and adjustable flow rate...like for sheilding gases. I don't think they'll make you very happy.

I think in the long run...a CO2 regulator from a Beer Supply Store is your best option. You'll have the CO2 stem, it will have a gauge that reads the correct range of pressures, it will have a safety relief valve (important feature)...set for a pressure that will keep you from blowing a keg up...should your regulator malfunction. It may include a shutoff/check valve with a hose barb already attached for connecting your lines.

Good investment for what you're doing if you ask me...

And that Harbor Freight regulator that didn't read PSI...it was probably reading CFM (cubic feet per minute...ie a flow guage for shielding a MIG torch) I'm honestly suprised that it works that well.

Draft Beer Co2 Regulator - Classic, Double Gauge | BeverageFactory.com
 

bendavanza

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2008
Messages
2,184
Reaction score
22
Location
Oak CLiff, TX
Please buy a real regulator. If you mess with anything else we'll be reading threads about foam and other stuff.
 

Suthrncomfrt1884

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
4,069
Reaction score
35
Location
Rockford
I've never had issues with my welding regulator. It's still a CO2 regulator, just different gauges. I don't have foam problems, and my beer always turns out fine, so until I have problems with that... I'll be happy I saved a few bucks.
 

chuggs

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2009
Messages
323
Reaction score
15
Location
Jupiter, FL
I've never had issues with my welding regulator. It's still a CO2 regulator, just different gauges. I don't have foam problems, and my beer always turns out fine, so until I have problems with that... I'll be happy I saved a few bucks.

I'm amazed... you probably have the model 94841...and it's a flow gauge regulator. It's nice that it comes with both CO2 CGA320 and N2 (argon) CGA580 stems. It has a relief valve..but nowhere in the specs does it say what it's set at. And the Gauge reads 0-100 CUFT/HR or 0-40 L/Min. I've never taken one apart...but I guess they could be just regular regulators...with some type of restrictor disc in them. The higher the pressure that you set...the more flow you get through a restricted orifice. Interesting that you can just swap out the flow gauge for a pressure gauge and go on about business normally.

That said...I think they're 27.99 online...and to that you might want to add a shutoff/check valve @ $8.50...so we're up to $36.49...and maybe another $5 for a pressure gauge that reads in PSI... When you spend that much...you might as well get the Cornelius Brand regulator. You can buy rebuid kits for it...and it will last you forever.

Draft Beer Co2 Regulator - Classic, Single Gauge | BeverageFactory.com
 

Suthrncomfrt1884

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
4,069
Reaction score
35
Location
Rockford
You're right. When I was searching for CO2 gauges, I couldn't seem to find anything less than $75. Then, as soon as I bought this one, I found some online for around $40. I was a little upset, but until I have problems, I won't beat myself up too bad.
 

chuggs

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2009
Messages
323
Reaction score
15
Location
Jupiter, FL
You're right. When I was searching for CO2 gauges, I couldn't seem to find anything less than $75. Then, as soon as I bought this one, I found some online for around $40. I was a little upset, but until I have problems, I won't beat myself up too bad.
Wow...at $75 for a regulator, I'd have gone with the Harbor Frieght Model too. It's actually pretty cool that it comes with both stems. And a shutoff/check valve isn't a necessity. I'd say you're pretty darned ingenious.

And you can use it to weld with to boot :)
 

camiller

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2007
Messages
1,907
Reaction score
49
Location
Omaha, NE
... Like was stated...CO2 bottles are up around 800 psi...and the regulators are designed to take up to 2000 psi on the high side.
CO2 is 800 psi around 65ºF. If that CO2 tank in your garage outside your kegerator gets to 100ºF on a hot day it could be around 1400 psi. IIRC the burst disc in the tank valve will blow at 1800 psi saving the tank (and regulator if it is attached) but flooding the immediate area with CO2 and displacing other useful gasses like oxygen. If your driving with a co2 tank in the back seat and you suddenly hear a loud hissing stop and get out!
 

Synovia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
1,324
Reaction score
6
Location
Chicago, Il
I bought a welding regulator from Harbor Freight for 25 bucks. It didn't read in PSI, so I had to buy an 8 dollar gauge to swap it with, but it works like a charm. .
$33 total doesn't seem like all that much savings over a $50 dual guage reg, or one of the kits that comes with a double dual guage reg, tank, pair of kegs, and all the line needed for like $180
 

lmg95

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
151
Reaction score
0
Location
Mount Prospect, IL
If your driving with a co2 tank in the back seat and you suddenly hear a loud hissing stop and get out!
Have you ever heard an 1800 psi rupture disc blow? I haven't but i heard a 200 psi once and it sounded like a shotgun blast!!
 

Suthrncomfrt1884

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
4,069
Reaction score
35
Location
Rockford
$33 total doesn't seem like all that much savings over a $50 dual guage reg, or one of the kits that comes with a double dual guage reg, tank, pair of kegs, and all the line needed for like $180
As I've said...it works fine, so I'm not worried. And that 17 dollar savings went toward another beer, so I'm happy with that. I already had all my kegs and the CO2 tank, so I didn't need an entire kit. Also, I've mentioned that I searched everywhere in my hometown and online and couldn't seem to find a regulator for less than $75. It wasn't until after I bought it that I found some for 50. AND, that 50 dollar regulator is probably the same quality I'm using now, just more expensive. If it's branded for homebrew use, it's going to cost more, regardless of quality.
 
OP
captianoats

captianoats

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2008
Messages
825
Reaction score
51
Location
Jasper IN
Fine guys, you've talked me into it, I'll do it the right way. I just have this perverse pleasure in trying to rig up my own creations. Must be the engineer in me.
 

ChrisS68

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2008
Messages
566
Reaction score
6
Location
Illinois
As I've said...it works fine, so I'm not worried. And that 17 dollar savings went toward another beer, so I'm happy with that. I already had all my kegs and the CO2 tank, so I didn't need an entire kit. Also, I've mentioned that I searched everywhere in my hometown and online and couldn't seem to find a regulator for less than $75. It wasn't until after I bought it that I found some for 50. AND, that 50 dollar regulator is probably the same quality I'm using now, just more expensive. If it's branded for homebrew use, it's going to cost more, regardless of quality.

FYI: don't know if you've since discovered, but Micro Matic is right in Machesney Park.
 

Suthrncomfrt1884

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
4,069
Reaction score
35
Location
Rockford
FYI: don't know if you've since discovered, but Micro Matic is right in Machesney Park.
Yes, but they won't allow pickup from the warehouse. I've gone in there to get things like caps to cover my taps when they're not in use, or strips that tell me how much beer is in my keg. But other than that...they want me to order online and pay shipping. I only live about a mile away, so that's rediculous to me.
 

ChrisS68

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2008
Messages
566
Reaction score
6
Location
Illinois
That's weird. It says right on the website that you can pick up at their warehouses. I guess you might need to place the order online, but still... Maybe the guys in Machesney Park are lazy and don't want to deal with it.

Edited to add: The help section of their website says to call in your order if you want to pick up.
 

Suthrncomfrt1884

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
4,069
Reaction score
35
Location
Rockford
Wow... I'm suprised they didn't tell me that when I went in. I couldn't figure out how to do warehouse pickup on the website. Even on the door of the place, it says commercial clients only, all other customers are directed to the website. They seem like really cool people though.
 
Top