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How to use a fill station
by
Steve Mitchell


A fill station usually consists of a two ball valves and a hose, which goes to a CA tank adapter.
               main
               valve
                 ___    ball valves (#1&2)
                  |   /    /
                 | ==||=+=||=  <-- blow off end
                 | |    |                       ##
                 / \     \______________________||  <--CA adaptor with
               /     \        hose              ||      pin depress screw
 Cylinder    /         \
 marked      |         |
 "Siphon"    |         |
 or          |         |
 "Tip        |         |
  Tube"      |         |
             \---------/

To use this setup you might follow these steps:

(But before proceeding, order pamphlets "G-6.3" (Carbon Dioxide Cylinder Filling and Handling Procedures For Beverage Plants, NSDA TD01) and "P-1" (Safe Handling of Compressed Gasses in Containers) from the Compressed Gas Association. I assume no responsibility for any injury, death, or any damage to equipment resulting from the use or misuse of the following information.)

  1. Make sure both ball valves are closed.
  2. Make sure your CA adaptor's pin depress is all the way out. (such that it will not open the CA bottle's pin valve when the CA bottle is screwed on).
  3. Inspect the O-Ring on your CA bottle before attaching the bottle to the CA adaptor. Replace if necessary. Attach the bottle to the CA adaptor by screwing it in as you would screw the bottle into a gun.
  4. Screw in the CA adaptor's pin depress. You should hear and feel the fill station's hose charge with some of the left over air in your CA tank.
  5. Slowly open ball valve #2 (the valve farthest from the bulk cylinder's main valve).
  6. If you have a couple of ounces of air left in your CA tank you will be able to cool the tank while you drain it. You can encourage this by rapidly rotating the CA tank upside down, then rightside up, etc., while opening valve #2 completely. Drain your bottle completely. Do not attempt to fill a partially full bottle!
  7. If the tank is not nice and chilled, you're going to need to chill it through the following steps.
  8. Now you should hang your CA bottle (by the still attached CA adaptor) on your digital fish scale (available from Wall Mart for about $20.) Zero out the scale by turning it off and back on, while the bottle is hanging from it.
  9. Open the bulk cylinder's main valve, if not already open.
  10. Turn on ball valve #1 completely. Watch the scale and close valve #1 when the scale reads 1 to .5 ounces under the bottle's capacity. That is, only fill your 7 ounce bottles to about 6 ounces. Do not over fill your bottles.
  11. Close the bulk cylinder's main valve.
  12. Unscrew the CA adaptor pin depress until it is completely disengaged.
  13. Open valve #2 to drain the compressed CO2 still in the hose.
  14. Unscrew your newly filled tank from the CA adaptor.
I got my CO2 cylinder from the local motor parts/wielding supply. $120 for 50 lbs. Refills cost about $20. You might need to explain to the sales droid what a "siphon bottle" is. Don't buy one unless it has "siphon" or "tip tube" clearly stamped or painting on the side. A non-siphon bottle will not work for you.

I got my fill station from Paintball Mania. It cost about $80. If you're really clever you can probably get one cheaper than this.

I got my scale from WalMart for about $20.


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