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$15 electric vacuum pump for anyone!

I feel like a frickin’ genius! Problem solved!

The problem was the vacuum regulator valve that came with it, for me to hit 3 in hg or less, it actually was completely unscrewed and fell out when the pump turns off.

I went and got a air flow valve from the pet store, that is made for the air pumps, but what it does is regulate flow rate, not vacuum. So for me to drop the vacuum at all, the flow rate goes down to almost nothing, and it doesn’t pull me quickly into the tube like before.

So, after some brain storming, I realized I need a way to control the bleed in of outside air to control the vacuum without decreasing flow rate.

EUREKA!!! While driving home this morning, and running it through my brain, I figured out how to do it on the cheap. I came home and set it up, and it works PERFECTLY!

Just send me $10.00 usd and I will pm the answer, no better yet send me $10 and Thunder $5 and I will pm the answer!!! :)

Just kidding.

The pump I bought has everything you need to set it up perfect. Take the splitter ( the three section tee ) and connect it to the vacuum source. This will leave two prongs free.

Take the air regulator valve that comes with it ( if you don’t have one, get a cheap one at the pet store for regulating air pressure from the pump, about $3.00) and use a short section of tubing ( about an inch or two) to connect it to one of the free sections of the tee.

You now have two of the three sections of the T connector occupied. One goes into the pump, one goes into the air valve. Just connect the available one up to your hose to your cylinder.

You now have full flow vacuum pull from your pump, and a “bleed off” valve, that you can open and close to adjust the vacuum that goes to your cylinder. It adjusts the vacuum, not by restricting it, but by letting in a controlled rate of air that drops the vacuum the more air you let “bleed” in.

Works great, and is very accurately adjustable! Enjoy!!!

ps you can still contribute to Thunder if you are overwhelmed with gratitude at the wonderful electric pump you have and all the money you saved! ;)

Originally Posted by mo1258
As already mentioned, if you want lower vacuum then put a tee in the tubing, attach a valve, and open the valve to the desired vacuum while a gauge is attached elsewhere on the line. The valves are stiff so they stay where you leave them.

I wanted to experiment with 3” Hg and 5” Hg in the same session - I know, kinda complicated - so I used 2 tees with 2 valves each. On each tee I have 1 valve preset to a particular suction while the other valve on the tee is for on/off of that preset.

I may be genius, but I’m a stupid genius! Mo1258 had already figure it out, PLUS some!


Originally Posted by mo1258

So a few of observations:
The brake bleeder gauge may not be very accurate - I have 2 and they show different values at the same vacuum - therefore the search is on for a better quality gauge. The smaller Tetra pump should produce about 5” of vacuum but some units, like the one I purchased, just don’t work very well - so it just depends on the particular pump you get - it might be weak or it might be strong. I found no need to use both ports (pumps) inside the model 30-60 as one side works just fine. The lower the pressure from 5” to 3” I simply added a “T” to the hose and a small valve - open the valve to leak some air and it lowers the total vacuum available. I initially used the plastic air valve that came with the pump. I also tried another I purchased at a pet store. The best small valve came from the plumbing department of Lowe’s - look for drip irrigation supplies and you will find all kinds of fittings that are the same size at the Tetra pump outlet. Finally, I suggest the silicone air hose available at better pet stores (our Walmart did not have it) - the silicone hose does not kink and seals well at each fitting.

I should try comprehending what I read once in a while!

mo1258, I was so focused on the great hardware pictures I didn’t comprehend what I was reading.

The silicone hose tip = great, I am heading out to the Walmart in a half hour, the Petco is across the road from it.

Thanks, but I can’t accept all the credit - there have been others (both here and on other sites) that have contributed. I really ought to take pictures of the set up with a more detailed description to make it easier for the next wave of guys that come along.

I have quite a collection of tubing here - vinyl, polyethylene, rubber and silicone - the silicone is by far the best, for me at least. I purchased it at a pet store - Pet Smart, 8 feet for $2.50. They have 25 feet for $6.00. See picture attached.

At first I did not think the silicone tubing was rigid enough to prevent collapse when under suction - this has not proven to be an issue up to 5” Hg. The advantage of the silicone tubing is that it is very elastic and therefore seals nicely around the barbed fittings. Unfortunately the outlet fitting on my pump (a Tetra) is NOT barbed - in other words, it is smooth. I found that the vinyl tubing would come off the pump fitting with even the slightest tug - I have not had that issue with the silicone tubing.

I am still using a short length of larger diameter vinyl tubing to the male quick connect fitting for the cylinder. I need to see if the silicone tubing will expand enough to fit the male quick connect fitting - I suspect it will just fine.

Attached Images
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More good stuff on the difference between tubing.

If you do get a chance to take a picture of your setup, I would really appreciate it. I am not that great at visualizing things like this (especially how/where you are connecting the cylinder tubing)

I did just get my Whisper 30-60. Several of the boxes were indeed missing the t-connector and regulators, but I did find a couple that had them.

Wow, I was thinking about buying a pump recently and I stumbled on this thread. Little did I know, I have this exact pump laying on the floor 10 feet away from me the whole time. I bought it a year ago when I was growing ***vegetables*** in my hydroponic set-up. I need new tubing and a cylinder but I’m definitely trying this out

Thanks man

Oh I forgot to mention you can get all of this stuff at any pet store like pet smart etc or you can pick this stuff up at any gardening store that sells hydroponic equipment, along with more powerful pumps

You guys don’t need to mess around with long lengths of aquarium tubing and pe pump tubing because the setup is rather flimsy without a connector, AND the pump would require more suction with a longer tube creating more stress on the pump.

Instead all it takes is a quarter inch of silicone aquarium tubing (usually blue or black like the one pictured in an above post), and your regular pe pump tube. Just lube the quarter inch of silicone tubing with vegetable oil or spit an wedge it on the pump output, then wedge the pe pump tubing over that.

Everything should stay in place with very little maintenance because the lube prevents cracks in the seal and the nipple on the electric pump wedges everything nicely. Just my $.02 from experience.

When I get time to make my own I want to see how difficult it would be to instal a female quick disconnect to the pump. I mean drilled and glued inside so everything stays easy to disconnect and put away without worrying over loss of suction.

Does anyone gave an idea of how I can create an adjustable pressure bleed valve? I want something I can dial into that will bleed off excess pressure when a pump goes above the desirable hg. I’m thinking it would have to be something with a pressure gauge, one way valve, rubber diaphram, and spring.

I use the valve that came in the box with my pump and it works fine. For really accurate vacuum settings you could try making a water life tube so that a consistent vacuum is maintained. I thinjk that is what I am going to do. I might even make more than one since setting multiple vacuum settings would be inconvenient otherwise,

Just to clarify:

These pumps vary in the amount of suction produced. I have experimented with 3 pumps so far - all three had different amounts of maximum suction. However, when testing the same pump, it seemed to produce the same maximum amount of suction repeatedly - after many on/off cycles.

The amount of suction from these small electric aquarium air pumps needs to be measured. To measure the suction simply connect the outlet of the electric pump (after converting to suction) to the outlet of your brake bleeder pump with no other fittings in the tubing. After a few seconds the pump will sound more quiet and reach maximum suction. Note the value on the gauge.

Hopefully you have an electric pump that produces at least 5” Hg suction.

If you want to use less than the maximum suction of your pump (and it seems less than 5” Hg is the general recommendation these days) then you must lower the suction in some way. Over the years, there have been many discussions (here and elsewhere) about the need for expensive regulators. While you can certainly use a regulator, you do not NEED a regulator - you can lower the amount suction by simply adding a “controllable leak” into the tubing somewhere between the pump and cylinder. The “controllable leak” lets you bleed off some of the suction thus lowering the maximum suction from say 5” Hg to 3” Hg. You can make a “controllable leak” by simply adding a tee connector and a on/off valve - the stiffer (or tighter) the valve the better because you don’t want the valve changing once you set it where you want it. With the gauge attached you can now adjust the suction to a lower level than maximum. Put the valve on a tee connector! Simply putting a valve in the line (without a tee) will NOT reduce the suction but rather simply reduce the air flow, thus slowing the process - if that’s what you want, fine, but remember it is the “controllable leak” that reduces suction.

Now for you regulator guys - go for it - let us know how it works for you. The only advantage I see for using a regulator is a faster pump up. A regulator will keep all the suction in the system. The “controllable leak” with 8 feet of 1/4” silicone tubing, a 1.75” cylinder and a single output pump (Tetra) seems to reach desired suction in less than 5 seconds. I can live with that! Anything faster and I would be concerned about tissue trauma - but to each his own. A double output pump (Tetra) might reduce the time by 2-3 seconds.

As for types of valves: As I said before, I like the drip irrigation valves like the picture I posted but you can also get valves at the pet store in either plastic or metal. The plastic valves that came with the pumps I purchased were garbage as were the tee connectors - both fittings produced unwanted and unreliable leaks in the system. When I have more time I will post some pics and links.


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