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  Reply # 619850 4-May-2012 22:00 Send private message

That gas cylinder and regulator actually look pretty awesome. The problem I came across was getting a tank, not paying a monthly rental, and getting it filled. There are probably places that will do it, but they're not super easy to find. If you can get a tank I'm sure you could get it refilled somewhere, and getting that regulator from Australia would be pretty easy. Then again my girlfriend wouldn't let me keep a 2kg gas cylinder on the bench.

Can you think of any economic and practical way for someone to get a 2-6KG CO2 cylinder, put it in the shed, and use it to refill their own small cylinder at home? That brewshop adapter looks pretty good, it's the inverse of one I bought - see below. That whole upside down, weighing thing sounds like a bunch of hassle, do they do that in paintball stores? I have no knowledge of filling tanks or anything like that, but I'm an engineer and I'm pretty sure I could be taught.

I've ordered one of these, which you attach to the top of a standard 9oz paintball CO2 cylinder so it can fit in a soda stream machine. Refills cost $10 at a hunting and fishing store in Lower Hutt, which is more than I expected, but I'm hoping to get some kind of loyalty scheme or something.

I don't mind experimenting a little and spending a little money to work this out. I drink 1.5L of sparkling water a day, given the savings over soda stream prices an investment would be repaid quite quickly. I'd rather not do a $500 experiment though. Soda stream refills aren't even that badly priced compared with buying sparkling water, I just don't like the lock in or them proudly saying on their website that the use the razor and blade model to make money.




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  Reply # 619881 4-May-2012 22:52 Send private message

$10? It'd be more economical to just get Sodastream official replacements at that price (replacements go down to $10-$11 at some places).

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  Reply # 619892 4-May-2012 23:16 Send private message

Can you just plumb a sodastream back to a large welding type CO2 tank? I will probably look at getting one for my aquarium sometime and if I could just blast a hole thru the wall and stick a Y adapter on somewhere that would make it really really cheap.




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  Reply # 619896 4-May-2012 23:27 Send private message

Kyanar: $10? It'd be more economical to just get Sodastream official replacements at that price (replacements go down to $10-$11 at some places).


It is more expensive than I expected, I'm still hoping to find a cheaper place, or get a volume discount or something. Soda stream refills are $15 some places.

richms: Can you just plumb a sodastream back to a large welding type CO2 tank? I will probably look at getting one for my aquarium sometime and if I could just blast a hole thru the wall and stick a Y adapter on somewhere that would make it really really cheap.


So long as it's clean and food grade, with appropriate regulators, I guess so. The link above has a suitable regulator.




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  Reply # 621050 7-May-2012 15:56 Send private message

Right, I have more information. You can get a full 2kg CO2 bottle for about $250 delivered. TWL in Petone can refill it for $53, with a two week turnaround as it goes back to Auckland to be filled. The regulator from Australia costs around NZ$250 delivered, I guess. That makes a $500 setup cost, and $50 for each 2kg of CO2.

Now the question is is it good value? I think a soda stream cylinder holds 1.4kg of CO2, which would make them far far cheaper than doing it that way. The 2kg size of gas cylinder looks much much bigger than the soda stream canister, perhaps 4-5 times the size, so I'm not really sure if my numbers are right.




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  Reply # 621059 7-May-2012 16:10 Send private message

timmmay: Now the question is is it good value? I think a soda stream cylinder holds 1.4kg of CO2, which would make them far far cheaper than doing it that way. The 2kg size of gas cylinder looks much much bigger than the soda stream canister, perhaps 4-5 times the size, so I'm not really sure if my numbers are right.


Guy on the previous page said"(empty/full weights should be stamped on cylinder adapter - mine says tare 1.14 kg, gross 1.41 kg)" So it looks like canister holds about .3kg (and weighs 1.4 when full). That changes your numbers a bit...



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  Reply # 621070 7-May-2012 16:28 Send private message

At those prices it seems like bulk gas costs $25/kg, and soda stream charge around $48/kg. The soda stream tank costs $35 and say $12 to exchange at a local store, the bulk one costs $53 and takes up to two weeks to fill, the equipment costs $500. It'd take a long time to make the $500 worthwhile.

All in all it sounds like just using the soda stream canisters and exchanging them would be the smarter choice. The only downside is it costs slightly more, and you may occasionally get stuck with a dud soda stream tank. There's probably a process in place to deal with that though.




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  Reply # 621138 7-May-2012 17:53 Send private message

I'm impressed by the amount of work going into all of this. I applaud you!

I'm also sure that back in the 80s there were vastly more flavours to choose from, and I definitely remember having root beer as an option.




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  Reply # 621260 7-May-2012 20:58 Send private message

I'd strongly recommend not trying to fill Carbon Dioxide cylinders yourself.

Unless you know the empty weight and water capacity of the cylinder, and can accurately measure the amount of CO2 you add you run a real risk of over-filling the cylinder. Liquid CO2 will expand upon heating, and you really need to make sure there's enough space in the cylinder for it to go otherwise it will burst with explosive force. 1L of liquid CO2 will release more than 500L of gas very quickly (although about 1/3rd of that will be in the form of dry ice).

Connecting a larger CO2 cylinder to the sodastream through an adapter (and possibly a regulator, I'm not sure exactly how the sodastream works) is probably a safer option. You could either rent a cylinder or buy your own and try to get it refilled. If you can buy a 10L water capacity cylinder in test with a test pressure over 22MPa (or at least over 20.7MPa) you should be able to get it re-filled fairly easily and cheaply.

EDIT: Also, from memory, for CO2 service, steel cylinders have a 5 year test cycle and aluminium cylinders have a 10 year test cycle. If you're buying your own cylinder, try to get an aluminium one.



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  Reply # 621287 7-May-2012 21:53 Send private message

The technical aspects and safety issues would definitely be important. It would have to be a fairly big savings to be worthwhile equipping for it. Plus since a soda stream 0.25kg cylinder is probably going to last me 3-4 weeks 10L of CO2 will probably last me three years... I wonder if it would spoil or leak in that time?!

A quick google suggests $300 or so for a 60-10kg cylinder. If a 2kg cylinder costs $50 or so to fill I have to imagine a 6kg cylinder will cost at least $100. Then there's the adapter to fill the soda stream canister, which could be $35 from BrewShop, if it works that way.

So I'm guessing that unless you have cheap access to a cylinder, some adapter to refill a canister, and the knowledge on how to do it, it's probably not worthwhile given what soda stream charges. I suspect things are cheaper in the US, and too expensive to import. I'd be happy to be proven wrong though!




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  Reply # 621308 7-May-2012 22:12 Send private message

timmmay: The technical aspects and safety issues would definitely be important. It would have to be a fairly big savings to be worthwhile equipping for it. Plus since a soda stream 0.25kg cylinder is probably going to last me 3-4 weeks 10L of CO2 will probably last me three years... I wonder if it would spoil or leak in that time?!

A quick google suggests $300 or so for a 60-10kg cylinder. If a 2kg cylinder costs $50 or so to fill I have to imagine a 6kg cylinder will cost at least $100. Then there's the adapter to fill the soda stream canister, which could be $35 from BrewShop, if it works that way.

So I'm guessing that unless you have cheap access to a cylinder, some adapter to refill a canister, and the knowledge on how to do it, it's probably not worthwhile given what soda stream charges. I suspect things are cheaper in the US, and too expensive to import. I'd be happy to be proven wrong though!


When I say a '10L water capacity cylinder', I mean that it'd hold 10L of water, not CO2. With a test pressure of 22MPa or above you could put legally put in at most 7.5kg of CO2 (~5L), and with a test pressure of 20.7MPa or high you could legally put in at most 6.67kg. In practice, most filling companies would refuse to put in more than 7kg/6kg (I work for one of these companies).

I'm actually not sure how much we charge customers (not my side of things) but I imagine getting a 2kg or a 7kg cylinder filled would cost roughly the same.

CO2 in an aluminium cylinder won't spoil. It'll (very slowly) leech into a steel cylinder, but I wouldn't worry about that. If you get a leak it's far more likely to be in the lines or around the sodastream itself than the cylinder. Just spray soapy water on any connections and look for bubbles.



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  Reply # 621693 8-May-2012 14:54 Send private message

That's interesting, thanks Michael. 7kg of CO2 is $63, which is $9/kg, and a cylinder could probably be found for around $300, with the regulator say NZ$250 shipped. That's $610 startup cost including gas, which at let's say 0.25kg per month will last 2.3 years (2 years 3 months say). In that time Soda Stream at $13 each (allowing for prices to rise) would be $390 including the cylinder cost, so about 2/3 the cost.

Let's say we go for five of those tanks, which will last 135 months or 11.25 years. The cost would be $890, allowing for prices to rise slightly. In that time, allowing for soda stream prices to rise slightly as well, you'd pay $1890, a little more than double. Annualized that works out to be $6.59 per month for the big tank, or say $13-14 for the soda stream refills. This assumes no gas loss, no accidents, no significant price rises, no checking fees, and nothing fails.

Based on this I'm going to guess a payback period of something like 4 years, I can't be bothered working it out properly.

For me, even though the price is half as much with the big tanks over the soda stream bottles, unless you go through a HECK of a lot of soda water or soft drink the soda stream prices are actually pretty reasonable, with less risk and less hassle. If you have free access to CO2 and can work out a way to fill the tanks, that might be worthwhile, but the risk and hassle might negate the savings.




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  Reply # 621748 8-May-2012 16:15 Send private message

All this talk led me to look at www.sodastream.co.nz where there is no mentio of them owning the cylinders, they note that the refills are $12.00 and that all of the cylinders are sent away to be checked, cleaned and refilled, so it seems a reasonable price...

In saying that, if you want to be a power user of a SodaStream, then you'll likely need to hook up an industrial sized cylinder.

In reference to the comment about the wider range of flavours years ago...I used to drink a lot of SodaStream in the 70's as a child and I am convinced that there were far more flavours then, also.
In saying that, I also remember summers being hotter and longer and everyone being taller and older, so maybe it was just a child's view of the world...




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  Reply # 642488 18-Jun-2012 13:05 Send private message

This article has recently appeared on the POPSCI website (found via Aardvark):

How To Make Your Own Home Drink Carbonation System



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  Reply # 642510 18-Jun-2012 13:24 Send private message

Great article, thanks for the link! If I get around to trying it I'll post. The problem in NZ is filling the large bottles with CO2, which is a little pricey. As I posted above, the payback period could be in years.

My Soda Stream system is working fine. I make about 1.5L per day, a cylinder last me around a couple of weeks. I get around 22-25L of soda per cylinder. They cost about $12 to fill up at countdown, so it's costing me around $20 per month. Previously I was spending at least $60 per month and carting water all around the place, so it's definitely an improvement on buying carbonated water from the supermarket.




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