Regulators: CO2, N2, O2, Beer gas -- same-same?

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olie

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Assuming that the low-pressure side adjusts to the value-ranges I want, is there any reason not to use something sold as an O2 regulator on my CO2 tank, the sold-as CO2 regulator on my N2 tank, etc?

I'm thinking that they're all just gas-pressure regulators and sold as CO2 or O2 in an attempt to grab different markets (maybe brewers vs welders), but it's all the same hardware on the inside, right?

Or is there something special that makes one regulator work for some gases, but not others?

(Then there's the whole business of "beer gas" -- CO2/N2 mix!)

Thanks!
~Ted
 

Birrofilo

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For what I know, it's oxygen regulator for oxygen cylinders, and a generic gas regulator for any other gas cylinder. I don't know the details, but you can see that regulators for oxygen are marked "oxygen", or a blue color marking, while other regulators don't have markings.
 
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Nitrogen regulators will not normally fit on either a CO2 tank or an O2 tank. A nitrogen regulator has a male thread where the other regulators have female threads. You can however, buy an adapter for converting a nitrogen regulator to fit a CO2 tank. CO2 and O2 regulators both have female threads but they are different diameters.
 
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olie

olie

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Ooo, that seems like important information -- thanks!

Also, to be clear: I don't really object to getting regulators labeled like the tanks I want to put them on. Just, as I was browsing the endless rows of regs, I started wondering.
 

day_trippr

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fwiw, usually, CO2 cylinders have cga-320 valve assemblies, while nitrogen and beer gas mixes are found in cylinders with cga-580 valves. Meanwhile oxygen cylinders usually have cga-870 (medical) or cga-540 (welding & utility) valves. Each of those cylinder types have different threading, so at the minimum need a regulator stem that matches. That said, I believe a standard gas regulator could be adapted to fit any of those four types as long as it can handle the pressure...

Cheers!
[grammar edits added]
 
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jackyl

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Yeah. They’re different threads and that’s for a reason - sure you can adapt one thing to fit another with enough fittings, but the point is to not encourage potential safety / life issues. Will it matter for beer? Probably not. But it does in other areas, like scuba diving, where gas mixes are critical.
 
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olie

olie

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Yeah, ok. So I'm hearing that a gas regulator is a gas regulator, but they sell them as O2, N2, CO2, etc., based on standard threads, with use case/pressure-range being another factor.

As I mentioned above, I don't really feel a need to get "the other kind" and make adaptations, I was just wondering, as I looked at row after row of nearly-identical-looking regs.

Thanks!
 

esdill

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Also - O2 regulators are oil free, you don't want to use a regulator that has any oil contamination with O2 due to fire risks.
 

jgmillr1

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They’re different threads and that’s for a reason - sure you can adapt one thing to fit another with enough fittings, but the point is to not encourage potential safety / life issues
This is very true. At one well-known computer chip company I used to work at, maintenance had somehow installed a SF6 tank in place of an oxygen tank that supplied ozonated water. It shut the fab down for a couple weeks while the stainless lines were replaced and loads of wafers tossed. Losses in the $10's of millions. So, yes threads differ to help reduce mistakes.
 

Vale71

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Yes, pressure regulators will work with any gas as pressure is defined the same way irrespective of gas composition.
Besides the different threads imposed by various safety standards manometers on either side might not be in the appropriate range for a different application and flow meters, if installed on the low-pressure side, will give incorrect readings as gas density does affect a flow meter's reading.
 

crazyjake19

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I can't speak to Oxygen regulators since the last time I dealt with them was the oxy-acetylene setup I sold years ago. But with adapters, you can use CO2 regulators on a nitrogen tank. I had an abundance of CO2 regs and got the adapter for around $11 and put one on my nitrogen tank. The nitro tank pressure (2200psi) might be above what your CO2 regulator can display at first, but it'll work fine. CO2 regs should be rated around 3000psi, at least the ones I've had.
 

odie

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regulators are all pretty much the same....but the fittings might not fit your application...I got a "deal" on an oxygen reg...only to then have to buy the right fitting for the CO2 tank...
 
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