Problem Discussion Thread: Mini Keg Regulators

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Zorco

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A look into the Mini Regulators and their problems.

Background of this thread:
- The mini reg has been a feature piece of the mini keg kits that AHB enjoy
- More than a few AHB members have experienced troubles with their regs
> Flow rate
> Gas loss
> Poor pressure control
- AHB members disappointing their bros on a beer sharing arvo with dodgy gas rates...

------------------------------------

Mark from All Things Home Brew has been handling warranty claims on request, but in parallel the AHB community has been looking into finding a root cause - among ourselves - as the beer gurus we are.

A couple of weeks ago I suggested to Mark that I could have a look for him - he sent me 3 regulators and a couple of boxes of bulbs to really thrash it out and see if I could discover what might be happening.

My first research grant.

Scientists, prepare to be shattered. Ignore the number sequence, I had other media but reduced before this post and am too tired to rename.


01_TestSetup.jpeg
This is the layout on the island bench (aka laboratory)

The four regulators at the back are mine, one faulty (I kept it) which has been replaced and three (replacement plus two) which I consider reasonable to use.

The three at the front are Marks


02_FullFlowPerfectNewReg_reduced.mp4
I have ran two sets of bulbs through each reg, a week between tests and left pressurised between tests. The second bulb was used tonight.

These new regs have behaved perfectly. Massive flowrates, tipped upside down to shoot liquid into the reg body....shook them up a bit. Still perfect.

Note: These regulators have a serial number on them laser etched onto the reg body near the bulb. None of mine do.


05_FaultyRegLowFlowSpringNoise_reduced.mp4
This is my faulty regulator. The flow rate is poor. What i need to mention is that I tested my regulators about 10 days ago and all but one performed similar to the new ones in 02. But tonight, they all performed nearly as bad as my faulty reg, even with a new bulb for two of them. No idea why. But that's the facts.


06_FaultyRegSpringNoise_reduced.mp4
When I paid attention, I observed a spring-like clicking noise. This is the same regulator with the bulb removed to help isolate that noise. This noise is not characteristic of the new, well performing, regulators.


08_HeatingThreeRegulators.jpeg
Over the months I've been thinking about this, I wondered if there was some impact from the cooling by the CO2 into reg body. Since my own regs were performing as though they were faulty tonight I was curious if a bit of heat might do anything.
75 degC for half an hour.


09_RegHotFromOven.jpeg
Added heat seems non destructive from the external appearance. Once it cooled a bit I wound the dial to the limits and the click noise happened once then not again.


10_FullFlowAfterHeating_reduced.mp4
2 regs have an increase in performance after heating. This video is of one of them and shows the remainder of the bulb discharging and not the performance of the reg changing.


11_GroupTestOfRegs_reduced.mp4
This is quick burst from every reg, new ones first. Then I played around with the two still-faulty ones.


Summary:

The level of performance from the new regs is exactly what we should expect. In the fun of playing with my new gear those many months ago, I can't say I noticed mine behaving like that... I don't think they were scrutinised.

The new regulators with a serial number hint at a different supplier, while potentially the same supplier for Mark at ATHB, quite possibly a new sub-supplier. I get that impression - but Mark hasn't said anything.

As a customer I would like to see my regulator behave that well and now that it appears another of mine has diminished, I may well ask mark about it.

The oven trick was a bit random, but it did bring my other two regulators back to life. I might give it another go to see if my third good reg has a heart beat.


Wrap up:

Well, aside from the horrid cinematography and my inability to manage videos on a mac (knight me retard), I hope you find that helpful with any existing questions or with the start of new ones.

Anyone out there can let me know what I could have done better as well.

The three gents on the other thread will get posted / delivered one of the three good ones I have here and hopefully that will come closer to wrapping up any outstanding warranty matters. The rest will be handled through Mark directly.


Attachment Notes:

Had to move videos into compressed volumes. Forum does not permit me to upload .mp4 files. Best I came up with on the fly.


Acknowledgement:
Mark continues to support AHB and his customers.


01_TestSetup.jpeg
View attachment 02_FullFlowPerfectNewReg_reduced.mp4.zip
View attachment 05_FaultyRegLowFlowSpringNoise_reduced.mp4.zip
View attachment 06_FaultyRegSpringNoise_reduced.mp4.zip
08_HeatingThreeRegulators.jpeg
09_RegHotFromOven.jpeg
View attachment 10_FullFlowAfterHeating_reduced.mp4.zip
View attachment 11_GroupTestOfRegs_reduced.mp4.zip
 

peteru

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Thanks for testing. My take on your analysis so far:

First batch = useless. The regulators have either failed in the field already or are likely to do so soon. In my case I have dispensed exactly one bulb and I did find it very fiddly to get right. It could be that the issue was due to the regulator rather than my skill or the setup, but I have not wasted any bulbs to run experiments.

Replacement batch = possibly working properly. Early tests with a small sample population show 100% success rate.

As much as ATHB probably don't want to hear this, I think I'd like my regulator "recalled" and replaced with one from the known working batch.

P.S. - It would be interesting for someone with a spare faulty regulator to take it apart and post pictures of the insides and how it works. Who knows, it could be as simple as one of the parts inside being installed upside-down / back to front.
 

Kingy

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Ive already been sent a replacement and now I have 2 dodgy ones as well. I'll be sending both of them back in the return postage bag supplied after I get around to contacting mark. I haven't used my kegs in a while as it pisses me off when they don't work how they should. Probly why I haven't sent them back earlier. And probably why I didnt get another keg in the new bulk buy because they aren't getting used as much as they should. :(
 

Zorco

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Good day fellow reg owners.

Today I spoke with Mark from ATHB and he is going to confirm with the supplier that they have indeed sourced a better regulator supplier who is using serial numbers. Mark opened a couple of new boxed ones while I was on the phone with him and they too had serial numbers.... Looks positive.

As PeterU has said, there seems to be a batch problem. I think Mark will come up some sort of DOA / faulty reg procedure and you can get a replacement if you're having issues. Likely a short video of the faulty reg.

He already has stock of some regulators that he has committed to warranty actions - his supplier has also been easy going with this. Interestingly, I understand that other mini keg suppliers in Australia are having the same problems with bad regs....


Hopefully you all feel welcome to get in touch with Mark to solve your regulator problems... So far we don't know of any of the new ones having problems.. (just jinxed myself right then)

Mark
[email protected]


I'll send out the three I have to SBOB, Kingy and Parks Saturday...... The rest of you fend for yourselves.!!!


GoodSnigh.....Peeeps.
 

Batz

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Hi possums,

Mark has sent me some returned regulators so I can have a bit of a play with them.
Could I ask if most people found a problem with the regulators from new or did it happen over time?
Am I correct that the problem is no, or lack of C02 delivery pressure out of the regulator?

I have one of the faulty regulators working again, but need to check-out others.
One seems to be from Matty98, not a member here but I'll like to hear the problems he was experiencing with his regulator.

Batz
 
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Hi guys

thanks zorco on helping the forum guys out with this.

these faulty regulators have been a nightmare, I would of expected 2 or 3 dodgy ones but between the ones i have sent to batz and the china and sitting at the shop im at about 15 or so, and would like to get a count on how many more are out there.

After checking with the manufacturer seems like the regulators from bulk buy 2 had a higher than usual fault rate, after they got some faulty ones back they improved them and so the newer regulators i have with serial numbers are a better quality, and all future regs(including bulk buy 4) have serial numbers. so hopefully not bee anymore issues.

batz has a couple of the faulty regs and is going to pull them apart and see if he can find simple fix for the ones people already have.

But anyone with faulty ones can contact me and
after checking with the manufacturer seems like the regulators from bulk buy 2 had a higher than usual fault rate, after they got some faulty ones back they improved then and so the newer regulators i have with serial numbers are a better quality, and all future regs(including bulk buy 4) have serial numbers.

batz has a couple of the faulty regs and is going to pull them apart and see if he can find simple fix for the ones people already have.

But anyone with faulty ones can contact me either with a PM on the forum or a email to [email protected] and I will sort out replacements.

Batz said:
I have one of the faulty regulators working again, but need to check-out others.
One seems to be from Matty98, not a member here but I'll like to hear the problems he was experiencing with his regulator.
I think 2 of the regulators had the low pressure issue and 2 of them would just blow the relase valve as soon as a bulb was screwed in.
the user is Mattyg8 the description he gave in the email to me was

"When I attach the C02 bulb to the mini reg and it is not connected to the double head post it is quick and reactive. The dial goes up each time after releasing pressure at gas disconnect.

After filling the 5L Keg with beer, setting the mini reg to 5 Psi (Before attaching to double head post), The first beer will pour fine as it still has pressure in the keg.
It is after this that the dial is showing 0 Psi and wont pour anything or just at a small trickle.

After trying a few of the suggestions on the forum I still cannot get it to work properly."
 

Batz

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OK

2 of them would just blow the relase valve as soon as a bulb was screwed in.
If this happens tighten the large chrome plated fitting, the one the bulb screws into. If you can not remove it and check the seat, clean and replace. The seal is not working and allowing full bulb pressure back to the lower release point.

As far as the lack of pressure problem, I'm guessing it is brewers trying to carbonate kegs that had this problem? There is an setting adjustment that on some regulators does not appear to be fixed. Turning these regulators down and up could cause the setting to decrease.
 

barls

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Batz said:
OK


If this happens tighten the large chrome plated fitting, the one the bulb screws into. If you can not remove it and check the seat, clean and replace. The seal is not working and allowing full bulb pressure back to the lower release point.

As far as the lack of pressure problem, I'm guessing it is brewers trying to carbonate kegs that had this problem? There is an setting adjustment that on some regulators does not appear to be fixed. Turning these regulators down and up could cause the setting to decrease.
one of those is mine. didn't help tried everything. it was just passing the gas out the bottom hole on the back as soon as it pierced the bulb.
 

Batz

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barls said:
one of those is mine. didn't help tried everything. it was just passing the gas out the bottom hole on the back as soon as it pierced the bulb.
Well if that's the one I have, it's working now. It did have a bit of a mark on the sealing surfaces that I cleaned up.
The sealing gasket does have a couple of pimples that need to be aligned as well.
 

Batz

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After filling the 5L Keg with beer, setting the mini reg to 5 Psi (Before attaching to double head post), The first beer will pour fine as it still has pressure in the keg.

It is after this that the dial is showing 0 Psi and wont pour anything or just at a small trickle.

After trying a few of the suggestions on the forum I still cannot get it to work properly."
O ring on the regulator piston fail.
Shows high pressure on the gauge but no flow.
 

barls

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Batz said:
Well if that's the one I have, it's working now. It did have a bit of a mark on the sealing surfaces that I cleaned up.
The sealing gasket does have a couple of pimples that need to be aligned as well.
maybe it was. i did have that apart and tried a few different thing.
better at it than me bat. saying that the replacement one hasn't missed a beat.
 

Aydos

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Hey guys,

Does anyone know of these regulators are still under warranty? I've had both of mine replaced since our bulk buy (mkiv) and now both have again failed. They just wont put the pressure into the keg and are essentially useless as a regulator.

Has anyone had any luck with rebuilding them or getting another replacement unit that works properly?

Cheers

Aydos
 

Parks

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They're pretty shit for sure.

If you invert them and put liquid CO2 into the regulator you have to take the bulb off and start with a fresh one.

Even when they work they are very unresponsive - go from no pressure to way too much.
 

Aydos

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So there hasn't been a fix for them yet then?

I need to do something with mine and they are both buggered. I might try the oven trick to see if it makes a difference. It sucks testing them as you waste a bulb if it's still buggered
 

Kingy

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I’ve had mine replaced twice, I sent all 3 back. Never heard anything or got anymore after that. I tried contacting them. I’ve just accepted them as a loss.
The mini kegs i use for cleaning beer lines and/or quickly carbing a chilled beer from conditioning fridge for taste testing.
Or as a big growler.
 

Aydos

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So is there any way to get a refund for these regulators? @Zorco is there a refund or replacement procedure?
 

KegLand-com-au

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We are going to release this product very soon. Are there any of you guys interested to trial this new mini regulator?:


We are going to give a couple away but we need people who are ideally local to us in Springvale, Victoria. Also people who are willing to come back to us with some feedback.

If you are interested send me PM in the next 2-3 days.
 

JasonS

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Looks good Kee. Any thoughts of adding a ball lock post as one of the output options? You could keep this in rather than the plug so it is still sealed when not in use while having a secondary connection option while travelling.
 

FarsideOfCrazy

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Just watched the you tube video earlier today. Looks very nice. I do like the pin to open and close the valve. Wish i was closer to compare it to the old square style version i have, which I'm not a fan of.
 
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