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Old 01/29/2012, 11:49 PM   #1
disaster999
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CS-1 recirc skimmer pros and cons

I have the skimmer for over a month and operational wise, its been great. It pulls more skimmer than my bubble magus nac 7 and I like how I can feed the skimmer with my biopellets.

I have a wrote a detailed review on the skimmer here http://web1.reefcentral.com/forums/s...7#post19699647 but I guess it was too long for most people to read. So I thought I'll post up a shorten bullet form here for people to see and suggestions for the avast team to consider in revising their skimmer down the road.

Pros:
  1. Cost - high performance, at a fraction of the price.
  2. Fun - if you are into DIY
  3. Customizable - Avast allows you to experiment with the skimmer with off the shelf parts.

Cons:
  1. Biggest problem I have so far with this recirculating skimmer is the placement of the silencer. water will back flow into the silencer and flood it if you turn off the skimmer. A fix for this suggested by avast was to drill a hole in the bottom of the silencer but this for me wasnt acceptable.
  2. Collection cup is a major pain to put on or take off. An easy fix I noticed is if the grove where the o-ring sits is turned deeper, the o-ring wont pinch the neck of the cup that tight making it easier to put on and take off
  3. Too much vibration/noise from the pump. At least in my case the vibration from the skimmer is resonating throughout the stand and the entire floor where the tank is.
  4. The silencer isn't doing a good job of silencing the noise from the pump.

I'm in no way of bashing avast, I am just pointing out some of the problems/flaws Ive encountered while running the skimmer for a month. I hope avast do take into consideration some of the problems Ive listed while revising their skimmer.


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Old 01/30/2012, 10:36 AM   #2
slowsoaks
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I was having the same problem with the silencer. It would fill with sw, dry and eventually the foam in the silencer was encrusted with salt. I made a DIY silencer with 3/8 ridged tubing and a jar and is working well. I try to turn off the recirc pump and leave the pinwheel pump running when I feed. I haven't really had vibration problems with this pump.
Mike


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Old 01/30/2012, 02:35 PM   #3
swanny
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Why is drilling a hole in the silencer unacceptable. I did that and put a rubber stopper in, works like a charm for .39 worth of parts and about 10 seconds of drilling. The collection cup issue has been brought up and easily solved, use silicone grease to lube the o-ring. And for your last issue I have very little vibration with mine, I sit it on a plastic piece of tupperware. Just my .02 with the skimmer, I love mine, absolutely best bang for the buck IMHO.


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Old 01/30/2012, 08:13 PM   #4
disaster999
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I guess its just me. I wouldnt mind if they stated it in the manual to drill a whole in the silencer to solve the flooding silencer issue, but to tell me in the forums when I have that problem just didnt really sit right with me.

I will have to look into the silicone grease method...if I can find it in Hong Kong. One time I had to use so much force to take the cup off it flew out of my hands when it eventually came off and half the skimmate emptied back into the tank. I was pretty ****ed.

as i stated a few times, i like this skimmer too. its really good bang for the buck. its just the little things thats annoying me


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Old 01/30/2012, 10:17 PM   #5
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I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence! LOL


I actually had the opposite problem with the skimmer cup o-ring leaking. Apparently there was a batch of neck rings that were cut deeper. Simple fix. Ran a bead of glue in the grove and rotated until dry. Then lots of silicon grease to seal everything up and it works great!


Get a reservoir for your skimate and plug your cup in. Between that and a Swabbie I've only pulled the collection cup once in 6-9 months... Every month and a half to two months or so, I'll pull the Swabbie to clean it and wipe the collection cup with a paper towel - and that only for the outside of the neck because the inside is perfectly clean.


I slipped some 1/2" LDPE (ice maker) line over the inlet to my silencer, ran it through the floor and out the wall to pull in fresh air and solve a CO2/low pH problem. Solved the pH problem and as a side benefit, the silencer is just that - dead silent now.


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Old 01/31/2012, 11:53 AM   #6
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Question

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Why is drilling a hole in the silencer unacceptable. I did that and put a rubber stopper in, works like a charm for .39 worth of parts and about 10 seconds of drilling. The collection cup issue has been brought up and easily solved, use silicone grease to lube the o-ring. And for your last issue I have very little vibration with mine, I sit it on a plastic piece of tupperware. Just my .02 with the skimmer, I love mine, absolutely best bang for the buck IMHO.
does it have to be a certain kind of silicone grease? can i get that at home depot? and what do you lube specifically? the entire o-ring, or just the side of it?


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Old 01/31/2012, 12:04 PM   #7
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You can just buy regular old home depot silicone grease and lube the outside of ring. It will not hurt anything in tank because it shouldn't touch water and I don't think it would hurt the tank if it did anyways. This solution was suggested from Justin at Avast as there have been a few complaints, a minor inconvenience for such a kick butt product.


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Old 01/31/2012, 12:24 PM   #8
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You can just buy regular old home depot silicone grease and lube the outside of ring. It will not hurt anything in tank because it shouldn't touch water and I don't think it would hurt the tank if it did anyways. This solution was suggested from Justin at Avast as there have been a few complaints, a minor inconvenience for such a kick butt product.
Awesome, thanks. I am still putting my CS1 together. Will continue when I get home tonight, and use the grease if I need too. A simple fix to a minor problem for sure!


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Old 01/31/2012, 12:31 PM   #9
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Awesome, thanks. I am still putting my CS1 together. Will continue when I get home tonight, and use the grease if I need too. A simple fix to a minor problem for sure!

No problem, be sure to drill a small hole in the bottom part of silencer as well. It will fill up with water when you turn the skimmer off and it needs a drain. While at home depot getting the grease get a small rubber stopper to plug that hole. When you turn off skimmer and turn back on simply drain the silencer then replace stopper, simple. You'll love the skimmer I promise. It pulls all kinds of gunk out my 120g. Let us know how you like it down the road.


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Old 01/31/2012, 01:39 PM   #10
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No problem, be sure to drill a small hole in the bottom part of silencer as well. It will fill up with water when you turn the skimmer off and it needs a drain. While at home depot getting the grease get a small rubber stopper to plug that hole. When you turn off skimmer and turn back on simply drain the silencer then replace stopper, simple. You'll love the skimmer I promise. It pulls all kinds of gunk out my 120g. Let us know how you like it down the road.
any chance you could tell me what size hole or stopper to get? or can you post a photo of your skimmer/hole/stopper, so i can see what you did/where you drilled, etc?


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Old 01/31/2012, 02:59 PM   #11
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I drilled the hole with 3/16" I believe and the stopper needs to be smaller than that because they are tapered. Just drill on the bottom of silencer anywhere where there is a spot that will not hit the other hole already there. You'll see when you start to put the rest together tonight it's easy.


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Old 02/01/2012, 08:01 PM   #12
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I drilled the hole with 3/16" I believe and the stopper needs to be smaller than that because they are tapered. Just drill on the bottom of silencer anywhere where there is a spot that will not hit the other hole already there. You'll see when you start to put the rest together tonight it's easy.
Did you use a #000 or #00 stopper? My Lowes only has #00 which are 3/8" and that seems pretty big.


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Old 02/01/2012, 09:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disaster999 View Post
I guess its just me. I wouldnt mind if they stated it in the manual to drill a whole in the silencer to solve the flooding silencer issue, but to tell me in the forums when I have that problem just didnt really sit right with me.

I will have to look into the silicone grease method...if I can find it in Hong Kong. One time I had to use so much force to take the cup off it flew out of my hands when it eventually came off and half the skimmate emptied back into the tank. I was pretty ****ed.

as i stated a few times, i like this skimmer too. its really good bang for the buck. its just the little things thats annoying me
You can also use the included emery cloth (sandpaper) to sand out the o-ring groove a little bit. A few thousandths of material removal should make it easier to take the cup on and off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rainmkr07 View Post
does it have to be a certain kind of silicone grease? can i get that at home depot? and what do you lube specifically? the entire o-ring, or just the side of it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by swanny View Post
You can just buy regular old home depot silicone grease and lube the outside of ring. It will not hurt anything in tank because it shouldn't touch water and I don't think it would hurt the tank if it did anyways. This solution was suggested from Justin at Avast as there have been a few complaints, a minor inconvenience for such a kick butt product.
Yes, the standard kind found in the kitchen plumbing section works well. I am going to start including a little packet of it with all skimmer kits.

FWIW, we are in the process of redesigning the CS1 neck & silencer assembly. The silencer will attach to the collar, making it higher and less likely to flood during power outages. The new collar design is trickier to assemble, so we are testing out the design to see if it is within the ability of non-acrylicsmiths to successfully build. The single piece grey collar is nice from a DIY point of view due to it's simplicity, but getting those o-ring grooves to the exact depth (again, within a few thousandths tolerance) can be tricky for the lathe. The sandpaper trick is not particularly elegant but it does work.

Justin


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Old 02/01/2012, 09:53 PM   #14
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Oh, meant to add- thanks for the input to those of you who chimed in with clever solutions

I will add the hole drilling to the CS1 manual. We will probably just have the router add the hole in future kits too.


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Old 02/06/2012, 10:49 AM   #15
swanny
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Thanks for offering a great piece of DIY equipment for a great price! These are very minor issues IMO and look forward to see the new design.


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Old 02/08/2012, 02:29 AM   #16
disaster999
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glad we can help improve on the skimmer.


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Old 02/09/2012, 07:51 PM   #17
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glad we can help improve on the skimmer.
I turned my new CS1 on tonight. And your #3 con (how loud it is) is definitely true for me. When my tank is running without the skimmer, the mag 9.5 return pump can barely be heard. But when I turn the skimmer on, wow it's loud. I think it's massive vibrations from the pump maybe? And on a wooden floor it's pretty loud.

Do any other CS1 users have a "trick" to making the CS1 quiet? Since the tank is in my living room, silence would be very very important.

(I did the silencer hole trick, worked great btw thanks for that tip!)


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Old 02/10/2012, 08:44 AM   #18
swanny
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I have my cs1 on a small tupperware bowl to raise it and I can't hear a thing, no vibration at all.


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Old 02/10/2012, 08:52 AM   #19
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I have my cs1 on a small tupperware bowl to raise it and I can't hear a thing, no vibration at all.
someone else recommended removing the square piece at the bottom and letting the 4 legs rest on the sump without it. have you tried this?

anyway you could post a photo of your bowl?

i have a small square tupperware container I could try? just turn it upside down and put the skimmer on it, or put the skimmer inside of it?

i was also considering putting a mousepad under the 4 legs, maybe that would help?


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Old 02/10/2012, 10:48 AM   #20
swanny
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Yeah, turn it upside down and put it on top. I poked a few holes in it to allow flow through it and it works great. Mousepad might leach junk you don't want. You could also use some aquarium silicone on the bottom to dampen the vibration you have. I have used the silicone on vibrating pumps and it works well.


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Old 02/10/2012, 05:53 PM   #21
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I have some little conical rubber feet that we used to use on the old CS1 pump stand when it was a side-mount version. I will see if there is a way to use these on the pegleg version, and if so will send out some to those of you who need them.


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Old 02/10/2012, 08:35 PM   #22
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I have some little conical rubber feet that we used to use on the old CS1 pump stand when it was a side-mount version. I will see if there is a way to use these on the pegleg version, and if so will send out some to those of you who need them.
i would LOVE those!


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Old 03/19/2012, 11:34 PM   #23
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anyone have any problem with the nylon thumb screws binding in the acrylic?

it was pain to remove the screws holding the body to the bottom plate and the gate valve thread was binding pretty bad with the acrylic. im about to oil the thread to see if that will free it up.


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Old 03/19/2012, 11:34 PM   #24
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anyone have any problem with the nylon thumb screws binding in the acrylic?

it was pain to remove the screws holding the body to the bottom plate and the gate valve thread was binding pretty bad with the acrylic. im about to oil the thread to see if that will free it up.


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Old 04/05/2012, 08:49 PM   #25
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after several months of using this skimmer, i found some more interesting facts about it.

one major issue is the recirculation mod makes this skimmer so loud it drones throughout the entire house. i finally couldnt take it and turned it back to a regular skimmer. i could hear myself think again.

second of all, the nylon nuts that threads into the acrylic and PVC legs expands under water and makes it near impossible to unscrew or screw back into the material without having to think you are going to shear off the threads. some same material or even stainless steel thumb screws would be ideal. i wouldnt mind paying for it if it means easier maintenance


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