As JBL's head of marketing, I was very curious to see what our development department would come up with to improve the existing CO2 systems.
Das Kernstück - der Druckminderer
Their centrepiece is a new pressure reducer that reduces the 60 bar CO2 cylinder pressure to around 1.2 bar, which allows us to adjust the CO2 supply in very fine doses. Visually, I like the new colour, a titanium grey, very much. The anodised aluminium is also much better than the steel previously used. When screwing the pressure reducer onto the CO2 supply cylinder, you immediately notice how easy it is to turn the union nut. This is because all parts are now CNC milled with high precision and no longer consist of cast parts, which have more manufacturing tolerances. Now fewer aquarists will reach for their spanners to tighten the union nut, because two fingers will do the trick!
When I open the CO2 reusable cylinder, the two pointers jump to their scale ranges, enabling me to adjust the working pressure higher or lower on the pressure reducer at the front, just as I want. I chose the PROFESSIONAL version of the pressure reducer because I always prefer one with a solenoid valve attached. You’ll recoup the extra costs for the solenoid valve after three CO2 fillings at the latest, because switching off the CO2 supply at night saves almost half the CO2.
The solenoid valve attached can be turned freely. I like this because I want to route the CO2 hose past the cylinder on the right. Individual adjustment options are always good, because somehow everyone wants something different from the default setting. One improvement is no longer visible from the outside, but it is important for reliability: the seal between the pressure reducer and the cylinder has been changed. It used to be an O-ring and now it is an almost indestructible sealing washer.
Now I'll take a closer look at the two alternative pressure reducers: The cheapest version BASIC does without the two pressure gauges for working and cylinder pressure. This also makes the adjustment option for the working pressure superfluous. Honestly: this version is also made of anodised aluminium, looks chic titanium-coloured and serves its purpose perfectly. Okay, there's no pressure gauge to show me the remaining cylinder pressure, but it's not as if the gauge slowly drops on Thursdays and we can wait till Saturday morning to fill it. These gauges read full, then drop to zero pretty quickly. And it always happens on a Saturday evening! I got myself a disposable reserve cylinder for this. The JBL system can be converted from multi-use to disposable (or vice versa) in less than a minute with an M6 Allen key.
The third pressure reducer is the ADVANCED version. It has both pressure gauges, but doesn’t have a solenoid valve attached. Who needs this version? I don't know...or do I? If you already have a separate solenoid valve for a night shut-off, you could use this pressure reducer and simply connect your solenoid valve downstream. So it does make sense after all.
The CO2 reactor and the bubble counter with check valve have not been changed. Why should they be? They were always great and you don't change something that works perfectly. With the reactor, which always reminds me of a multi-storey car park driveway, I still like the fact that I can expand it with modules. When I bought a taller aquarium, I didn't have to throw anything away. I just added two modules and now the multi-storey car park driveway is two floors higher. The longer the way, the more CO2 can be dissolved in the water.
Well, I am impressed! The new pressure reducers look great, are really of absolutely high quality and can be screwed onto the cylinders using two fingers without any need for tools. I can't really think of anything to complain about in our development department.