Why are my Co2 Cannons not working?
We get asked this question a lot and of course other questions such as:
- why is my CO2 Cannon dmx not working?
- how much CO2 does Co2 Cannon use?
- why is my Co2 Cannon not spraying?
These are all very good questions which can be related. These are questions that, when in a bind and moments before an event, can place you in the worst situation; if they are not answered ahead of time or proper planning is not done.
Most of us have been there, everything is going as planned were moments before an event; have everything hooked up. The next thing, you know the Co2 Cannon not working; or if it is the CO2 Cannon DMX it’s not working.
To look further into both of these questions we have to treat them independently; and explain further as these two instances could be related. However, in most situations they are not related.
First let’s start with Co2 Cannon DMX issues:
My Co2 Cannon dmx is not working, why?
So the CO2 cannon DMX could not be working for many reasons. Some of these reasons include but are not limited to;
- The DMX signal coming into the CO2 cannon is not working, Nonexistent, or weak.
- The DMX card inside the CO2 cannon could have gotten wet, too hot, or for some other reason unplugged or damaged.
- The DMX setting on the DMX CO2 Cannon could be on the wrong channel, the wrong bank of channels, we’re not set properly.
- The DMX board or controller you are using the DMX Co2 Cannon with could have a profile that is set up incorrectly.
- The DMX system that the DMX Co2 Cannon is hooked up to is actually hooked up correctly and none of the above are faulty, but the equipment hooked up prior in the line, or upstream, the DMX signal could be sending noise down the signal or could be controlling other types of equipment which could be affecting this Co2 Cannon DMX downstream.
- Using jumpers or adapters can mess the signal up.
- Not using a DMX terminator at the end of your line can cause problems.
When reviewing the scenarios above let’s dive in deeper on each scenario, in order of most occurrence to least occurrence.
The DMX controller the CO2 cannon Is hooked up to has an incorrect profile.
DMX controller issues are generally misleading. Since you assume right away it must be the Co2 jet or the DMX cables. Past experience has informed us of various different issues with DMX controllers; in conjunction with DMX CO2 cannons, or dmx CO2 jets.
Basic DMX controllers such as Chauvet obey 40 or “non-intelligent” controllers are pretty simple to use and normally don’t have any problems. The “intelligent“ controllers are normally the ones where profiles come into play and we found to have issues.
Sometimes the smart boards have generic profiles that include buttons such as on and off or they have slider functioning which goes from 0 to 255 on the slider.
Although CryoFX is working on having a profile set up the vast range of products, their control functioning, and a few other factors have delayed this process slightly. At the time of writing this article there are profiles for specific jets and can be accessed by contacting CryoFX.
To solve this problem of a CO2 jet not working and answer your question of “why is my CO2 Cannon not working”; Take a look at the profile setting initially of your intelligent DMX controller. Please make note that these profiles do have differences of sliders and buttons; where as a button is an on and off and a slider controls the value.
Generally buttons or on and off functioning does not work and the sliders do work. Hence, creating a profile that is a “general profile” with slider settings can help.
Also take into consideration how many channels a CO2 Jet, Co2 Cannon has and what those channels functioning are.
Depending on the Co2 Cannon DMX set up some will have one channel as a time constraint for automatic shut off such as 1 to 6 seconds, and another channel for the on and off function of the high pressure CO2 valve.
In the event you have an CryoFX LED CO2 Cannon or a CryoFX swing CO2 Cannon, The normal DMX settings for these will be different between them, but as an overview will contain individual channels for swinging, red, blue, green, color mixing and presets, on and off of the CO2 valve.
DMX Co2 Cannon and DMX adapters, be careful.
Using DMX adapters or jumpers with a CO2 Cannon DMX Jet can cause problems with the DMX or simply interrupt the DMX signal.
Situations in the past of been brought to our attention that have been issues or situations where:
- a 3 pin to 5 pin DMX adapter is used,
- And RJ45 to DMX, regardless of three pin or five pin, adapter is used
- Other types of DMX adapters are used that are unreliable such as a male to female or vice versa.
And all three instances above the user must take into consideration the quality of the adapter, the type of adapter and it’s functioning, and other factors as well. More common problems of the three have happened with a RJ-45 ethernet jack to a DMX conversion adapter.
The DMX signal coming into the DMX Co2 Cannon has an issue.
This is another common type of problem we’ve experienced where the Co2 Cannon DMX settings are correct and the CO2 jets is working however the signal coming into it is not. When the dmx signal is not working, obviously the CO2 Jet will not work either.
Common factors for making a dmx line not work:
- The DMX line you are using has an issue with it, it has been kinked or pulled; or simply has faulty jacks on the ends and therefore the signal is not able to pass through it.
- The DMX cable is ran alongside a power cable and there is interference interrupting the DMX signal.
- The DMX out on the previous piece of equipment, or up line the CO2 cannon DMX signal path; has an issue with the outlet jack and in fact the dmx cable itself is working.
- The cable use is actually not a DMX style cable. It is in fact a microphone cable with a different impedance. Therefore, it is interrupting the signal.
- Other equipment connected on the DMX system prior to the DMX CO2 jet is running or operating some type of motors; equipment that has high frequency resignations, incorrectly connected internally or isolated from power; or a number of other factors and is therefore interfering with the DMX signal downstream.
- The DMX connectors on the ends of the cable or faulty or have been used beyond continued use or for some other reason the wires inside or disconnected due to faulty soldering or other factors such as pulling the cable away from the jack.
There are of course other factors however these are the most common factors we have seen.
DMX terminators, can they causes use? Yes!
Another common factor of a CO2 Jack not working is the fact that the DMX system the DMX CO2 Canon is hooked up to does not have a terminator on it.
If you research DMX terminator is a simple plug that goes into the end of the DMX system, whether a cable or the last piece of equipment on the line, and will terminate the voltage, for short answer, secured and terminated the line.
This is not the most common problem however it is on the list, therefore take this in consideration if your DMX issues on your CO2 cannon exist and you’ve exhausted all items above. Also if someone else ask you “why is my CO2 Cannon not working?, you’ll be able to include this in your options when mentioning possible issues.
Co2 Cannon DMX card issues.
And last but not least if you are having problems with your Co2 Cannon DMX and you’re stuck at a crossroads with why is my CO2 Cannon not operating, you can be sure to exhaust all items above and arrive at this one.
- We have seen many Co2 Cannon DMX card issues in the past, some of them listed below:
- The CO2 Jet is banged or impacted abruptly and the DMX card inside the CO2 Canon has become dislodged or wires disconnected.
- The CO2 Canon has been mounted in a specific position in which excessive use beyond normal use or other liquids have come in contact with the Co2 Cannon DMX card and fried the circuit on the card.
- For some other reason there is a fault on the Co2 Cannon dmx card and the card needs to be replaced.
- Another type of voltage has been transferred down the DMX line, other than 5 V, which is the normal voltage, plus or minus an extremely small factor, that a DMX signal runs. Having a higher voltage than 5 V DC will certainly fry a DMX card. You will need to replace the card and this will generally not be covered under warranty.
Second, let’s talk about “ why is my Co2 Cannon not spraying?”
So if you’ve reached this point, you’ve read everything above, and if nothing above is the problem and your CO2 Canon DMX is working correctly, then most likely you have another issue with your CO2 cannon and this is where we describe it below.
- Common factors of a CO2 canon not working, outside of DMX issues are:
- CO2 valve is not working
- Some other type of issues with the CO2 canon are preventing it from working.
- The Co2 Cannon is not spraying white clouds or white plumes out the front.
- The Co2 Cannon Is not spraying at all
So of the factors mentioned above and scenarios listed, the most common issue for why my CO2 Cannon is not spraying would have to be an incorrect tank is being used for the correct tank was used but you have used up all the liquid CO2 and there was only gas CO2 left in the tank which does not give you the white plume that you are looking for.
We have additional articles on the correct type of CO2 tanks, however briefly and generally there are two types of high-pressure tanks.
CO2 tank with no dip tube in it, also called a siphon tube, which only puts out CO2 gas.
CO2 tank with a dip tube, also called a siphon tube, which puts out liquid CO2 first and will dispense gas CO2 when the liquid has run out.
To understand this concept we will explain how a CO2 tank operates in general.
Regardless of tank when a tank is full a CO2 tank is only filled about 2/3 of the way with liquid CO2, therefore when the liquid heats up to room temperature from the lower temperature that it is pumped into the tank out, there is still enough room for the gas to remain in the tank and keep the tank at a pressure roughly between 750 to 900 psi depending on outside temperature.
Let’s say room temperature is roughly 70°F. So the equation of 2/3 liquid CO2 and 1/3 gas CO2 exists in a high-pressure CO2 tank.
If the temperature drops outside of the CO2 tank, the more the temperature drops lower than 70°F, more of the gas in the CO2 tank will turn into a liquid, so you are start having more liquid inside the CO2 tank and less gas. The end result of this will be a tank with a lower pressure in it then what it was out when it was 70° outside, with the scenario above.
If the temperature outside of the CO2 tank increases, ambient temperature, the gas inside the CO2 tank will increase as more of the co2 to liquid burns off and turns into gas, therefore increasing the pressure of the tank and directly affecting the ratio of liquid CO2 to gas CO2. so the higher the temperature above 70°F, with the information and scenario listed above, the higher the pressure of the tank, the less liquid will be in the tank
So why is the information above so important?
The information directly above is specifically important because the amount of liquid in the CO2 tank is what determines the length of time that you’re Co2 Cannon works, or in other words sprays out white plumes to get the desired CO2 special effect you want.
So when someone says, “why is my CO2 Cannon not working?“, Or “why is my CO2 Cannon not spraying?“, The problem is generally related to a loss of CO2 either by having an incorrect tank or by running out of the liquid CO2.
Remember the information we just mentioned above, well when his CO2 tank runs out of liquid there is still gas in it because it is still under pressure.
Relating back to the scenario above about the 2/3 liquid and 1/3 gas, there are two types of tanks which we mentioned a siphon and a non-siphon and why these make a difference, the best way to explain this is with this concept below.
CO2 tank as a soda cup
Think of a CO2 tank as a soda cup. Without a straw and a soda cup when you Squeeze the soda cup on; the air comes out of the top not the soda. If you insert the straw into the soda cup; and then you squeeze the soda cup; the soda will come out of a straw before the air comes out. If you squeeze all the soda out of the soda cup; if you continue squeezing you’ll start squeezing arrow of the straw.
Take this concept as it directly relates to a CO2 tank. Whereas, a dip tube CO2 tank also called a siphon CO2 tank has a pipe that goes from the valve to the bottom of the tank; and a non-siphon Co2 tank does not have this pipe; or what’s called a siphon tube, that goes down to the bottom.
Why your CO2 cannon is not working
Understanding the concept above will explain why your CO2 tank does what it does and why your CO2 cannon is not working, or more specifically why your CO2 Cannon is working but your Co2 Cannon is not spraying any white clouds out of the front and only spraying gas.
On a rare occasion a siphon style CO2 tank with a dip tube in it going down to the bottom of the tank can become dislodged or break off inside at which point will not siphon the liquid up to the top of the tank, therefore your tank will be full, it will be marked as a siphon CO2 tank, and it will not work because the siphon tube broke off which inadvertently turn to the tank into a non-siphon CO2 tank since the liquid cannot be pushed out.
If you have the correct link above but you still have to question why is my Co2 Cannon not working, then it may be something else other than the tank.
That’s something else mentioned above could be the CO2 valve which has stopped working, the Co2 Cannon which has stopped working, or a combination of both.
A CO2 valve will stop working either from having the wrong voltage put into it or because the CO2 valve has become damage due to particles in the CO2 line which made their way into the CO2 valve either preventing it from opening or in other words preventing it from closing which will cause a leak.
Applying the wrong voltage to a CO2 cannon will definitely make it stop working. Applying 240 V AC to 120 V AC line, applying 208 V AC to a 120 V AC line or 240 40 V AC line; will also make it stop working.
Furthermore applying AC voltage to a DC voltage valve or CO2 jet or vice versa; will also have the same affect, will make your CO2 canon stop working.
So for those of you that want to open up your CO2 jet and try to fix it. Because your CO2 jet is not working. Please note that some of these CO2 jet DMX cards and interfaces will actually power a 12 V DC CO2 valve; or another bot mage for that matter, and the input voltage is different than what the actual valve takes.
Particles or debris clogging or damaging the co2 valve.
Another common factor of why a CO2 check is not sprain; and why a CO2 Cannon is just simply not working is the CO2 valve inside has become clogged with debris; or the chat is leaking and the debris is keeping the valve from closing all the way.
Although this is not a common occurrence this does happen. Sometimes gas facility staff feel CO2 tanks do leave CO2 tanks open when they are returned; as every CO2 tank regardless if used or not must be blown off; and all gas expelled from the tank when returned. This is why there are no refunds on Co2 Tank gas fills.
Proper housekeeping should normally close the Co2 Tanks after all the gas is released. However, sometimes they do not close them. Being a steel tank, it will succumb to the brie in the air that enters the valve in the tank; or more so the inside of the tank will rust. The rust particles will end up making their way into a CO2 valve. Because, the siphon tube is sucking the CO2 from the bottom of the tank. These particles make their way into the system and clog the CO2 valve.
Quality CO2 filters at CryoFX
CryoFX offer CO2 filters to prevent this from happening. On specific equipment do contain an in-line CO2 filter to prevent this from happening.
So another question we get asked is; “how much CO2 doesn’t Co2 Cannon use?“
To better answer that question; you must read the information above. Depending on the CO2 calendar are different orifice sizes of the valves; which will directly affect how much CO2 is put out by the CO2 canon.
Normally this is not the case. The supply of CO2 is what will dictate the length of time of the CO2 cannon use.
CryoFX has a chart that shows you high-pressure CO2 tanks; and the length of time for general use of each. Please note that this time is not exact. Why some tanks are faster than others could also be directly relevant to the outside temperature; in which you are using the tank in.
So there you have it can you come across the following questions we mentioned above:
- why is my CO2 Cannon dmx not working?
- how much CO2 does a Co2 Cannon use?
- why is my Co2 Cannon not spraying?
So if you have other additional questions that are not answered here. Please contact CryoFX at 1-855-527-9639. A Co2 special effects expert will be certain to address any questions or concerns you have.