Upgraded to version 1.1, fixed some HTML coding and spelling errors by running it through word, enjoy!
Now for the good stuff:
What is co2?
Co2 is an abbreviation for carbon dioxide, which is used as a propellant gas in paintball. It is stored as a liquid in steel or aluminum gas bottles. The bottles are installed with a pin-valve and no regulator, so the pressure is determined by the ambient temperature. The pressure for room temperature averages about 800 PSI (pounds per square inch) with some variation.
where can I get co2?
You can get co2 fills just about anywhere as it is readily available, even in small towns. If you have a McDonalds in your town then they have co2 (I don't know as to whether you could arrange to fill you tank from their cylinders or not, you would have to take that up with the manager). All commercial paintball fields have co2 fills and so do paintball proshops, you can even have 40 pound cylinders delivered to your house by such companies as Air Liquide (I am not affiliated with them) and attach your own fill station.
How do I fill a co2 tank
If you have your own fill station then you can fill your own co2 tank. You will need a fill station (duh) and a co2 scale.
First you have to dump the tank, you attach the fill hoses' female threads to the tanks male hoses, turn the on/off "on" and open the "dump" valve. A good thing to do while you are dumping the tank is to turn it upside down so that any leftover liquid can exit the tank, which allows for a faster dump. Next you have to "chill" the tank, you do this by allowing a small amount of co2 into the tank and dumping that as well. Now here is where you need the scale. After the tank has been fully emptied you need to hook it on the scale. After that zero (reset) the scale and begin filling. If you have a 20oz tank then don't fill any higher than 20 oz of weight, you might only want to fill a few oz below the rating to allow better operation of an anti-siphon valve (example 18oz in a 20oz tank).
Why is my gun shooting snow? (About liquid in your marker)
Hmm if you use co2 and it snows in the middle of summer when you open up then liquid co2 is being sucked out of your tank and into your marker. Now is that good or bad? Let's find out...
Now liquid co2 being introduced into your markers bottom-line and subsequently internals can happen for a number of reasons; if it is cold or you have been shooting very fast then there could not be enough gas in your tank and liquid is flowing through the valve instead. You could be tilting the tank downward (Say shooting down a hill) and the liquid is at the valve-end of the tank, so the gas cannot get through the liquid. Lastly (I hope anyone isn't this dumb) you could have an anti-siphon tank upside down. This can be good or bad, if you have a blow-back like a tippmann or a spyder/spyder clone then it won't do that much damage, however the ice-crystals that form can be abrasive on internal parts, but especially bad if you have an inline regulator on your gun. Over time this will damage the regulator. Liquid co2 is also very harsh on O-ring seals, especially the black rubber kind.
What is this "anti-siphon tank" you keep talking about?
An anti-siphon tank is a tank with an anti-siphon tube installed into the valve, I know this sounds redundant but give me a minute to explain.
Here is a picture of a properly oriented anti-spihon tube (I believe they are made of brass)
I have two co2 tanks with anti-siphon tubes installed so I can tell you a little bit about them. Basically it is a tube comes horizontally out of the valve and makes a 90° angle, so that when properly aligned the top is facing vertical and sticks out above the liquid, like a snorkel if you will. This is one of the cheapest things you can do to keep liquid co2 out of your marker. There are a few more things you can do, but I will get to them later.
What are the advantages of co2?
Co2 has some very good things about it. Firstly the cylinders are cheap, real cheap you can get a new 20oz tank for under $30. You get a lot of shots per fill, on a blow-back you can get 900-1200 shots average on one 20oz fill, that is way more shots than any HPA tank of similar size, so if you are playing outlaw this is a plus, and some people even bring multiple bottles with them so they can play all day on 3 tanks. The fills are readily available, you can obtain a co2 fill just about anywhere you go, sometimes you have to look a little harder but it is still around somewhere.
nothing is perfect, what are the disadvantages of co2?
Now here are some of the bad things about the gas that has powered paintball since the first game ever played. It can be dangerous. There have been several incidents where co2 tanks have come off their valves and turned into "bottle rockets" these "bottle rockets" have killed two people, but as long as you are observant you can avoid this.
The fills can be more expensive than compressed air fills. The field I play at has free air and co2 fills all day, so I can get both fills free. However most fields charge on the oz, if you have a 20oz tank and the field charges $0.25 an oz. then it would cost about $5 to have you tank filled, a lot of fields will charge you only that much to get unlimited air fills all day, so it can be more expensive in the long run.
Co2 is inconsistent, because the pressure varies, so does the velocity, and with that you get as consistent a shot as you would with regulated HPA. There is also a considerable amount of shootdown, during sustained high rates of fire the tank gets colder, so the liquid evaporates slowly and replaces lost pressure slower, resulting in a sustained drop in the velocity. You can combat this by limiting your ROF and allowing the tank to warm up. After a particularly long suppression run I had to wait about two minutes for my tank to warm back up.
Lastly there are some markers that you can’t use co2 on, this list includes any electro-pneumatic, any electronic autococker, automags, and it is not recommended for mechanical autococker.
How do I keep liquid co2 out of my marker?
There are several things you can do, some of them more effective than others. One of them which I have discussed above is having an anti-siphon installed in your tank, however only let a qualified airsmith do this, an anti-siphon works very well in combination with an expansion chamber.
Another thing that you can do is install an expansion chamber in your marker. On markers such as spyders with gas-thru grips you have to remove the grip, put the x-chamber into the vertical adaptor and then install the bottom-line into the expansion chamber. NOTE: If you marker has an inline regulator in the vertical adaptor (Such as an ion) DO NOT REMOVE THE INLINE REG! It is there for a reason, you will have to find an alternate method.
One of the more popular ones (At least on this forum it seems) is using a palmer stabilizer inline regulator. If you a marker (such as the ion) that uses an inline regulator you can replace said regulator with a palmers’ male stabilizer, or add a palmers female stabilizer, this will keep all liquid out of the marker, but will not help with shootdown.
This isn't designed for eliminating liquid co2 but from what I understand a remote line with the tank strapped valve-up in a harness will help a lot with liquid co2.
Lastly, mix and match! A combination of two things generally works better than one thing alone, some combinations would be: anti-siphon and x-chamber, anti-siphon and palmers stabilizer, anti-siphon palmers’ stabilizer and x-chamber.
Here is a link to some more information on co2 courtesy of docsmachine.com and paintballtimes.com
Here is information on cylinder crown markings , Why leaving your tanks in the sun or trunk is dangerous and why you shouldn't overfill yours (or anyone elses) tanks from catalinacyliners
Please, nobody post random questions and spam up my thread, if you have a question, or feel something needs to be changed.
Remember, the PM is your friend!!.
DISCLAIMER: I will not be held responsible for any voided warranties from use of co2 on markers such as the automag and angel, or any damage from improper use of co2 on markers such as the ion and shocker*, my techniques I have listed above are yours to experiment with at your own risk I will also not be held responsible for any injury resulting from you or someone you know who is not a qualified air smith working on your co2 tanks, again any work you do is done at your own risk!
* I don't care what smart parts says, It's not a good idea to use co2 an an electro-pneumatic marker.
The above document (excluding quoted information and webpages any hyperlinks may lead to) is © 2006 chikin pickle, all rights reserved. If you wish to repost it I ask that you obtain my permission first and repost the copywright along with it.
This post has been edited by chikin pickle: 26 June 2006 - 01:19 PM