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Cornelius Carbonator 2000 Teardown

Water Carbonator
Water Carbonator

To run my postmix rig, I needed a carbonator, to turn tap water into soda water. These units are very common in pubs in the UK, and are very simple in construction. The unit is fed water at about 3 bar from the water main & food-grade CO² at about 5 bar from a regulator, and soda water appears at the outlet.

Pump Motor
Pump Motor

To raise the incoming water pressure above the pressure in the carbonator tank, the unit contains this rather large vane pump, with a 230v induction motor for mechanical power. There’s a solenoid valve on the inlet to prevent water flow when the pump is off, and the motor is automatically controlled.

Electrical
Electrical

Above the pump is the electrical wiring & control. This is a simple level control, and reads a conductance probe inserted into top of the carbonator tank, activating the pump when the level in the tank drops below a minimum level, and shutting it down when a max level is reached. There’s also a timeout function, which shuts everything down on lockout if the pump runs longer than a preset time interval as protection in case of such issues as a leak in the system, or dry running without a water feed.

Carbon Vane Pump
Carbon Vane Pump

Coupled to the front of the motor is a carbon vane pump. This type is very commonly seen in food-grade equipment, such as these units, and commercial coffee machines. The unit has a suction strainer, and a built-in pressure relief valve to stop the pipework exploding or the motor from burning out if there’s a blockage in the outlet line.

Carbonator Tank
Carbonator Tank

The final & main part of the unit is this 115mm diameter stainless steel tank, with fittings at the top. This is pressurised with CO², and water is sprayed into it through an orifice. This spray increases the surface area of the incoming water, making it absorb as much of the gas as possible. There’s a pressure relief valve at the top, just in case the internal pressure reaches dangerous levels.

 

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