Pressurized CO2

How To Wire CO2 Solenoid

Here is a guide I’ve written for wiring a CO2 Solenoid; specifically the Fabco Directional Control Valve,Part # 3853-04-A287 AND the necessary adapter which is the Plug Sys 8 Mini, Part # 4552150.

Where to purchase a solenoid?

So for all those who are looking for a solenoid for their CO2 setup, I purchased mine locally in Mississauga at Sempress Canada for $33.90 total.

Here are the two parts you’re going to need

– Fabco Directional Control Valve, Part # 3853-04-A287 – $27
– Plug Sys 8 Mini, Part # 4552150 -$3

The staff at Sempress are actually well aware of our use for the solenoid in the aquarium hobby and will direct you to the correct parts if you happen to forget the model numbers before you arrive.

Where to buy the wiring?

Now onto the actual wiring of this device….

It doesn’t come wired so we’ll have to do a bit of a modification, but nothing a grade 2 student couldn’t do so don’t be afraid.

After purchasing your Solenoid and adapter so it can be wired, you’ll need to stop at your local hardware store and pick up a grounded 16 gauge 3 prong A/V equipment cord. This should read “16 gauge, 3 prong, 13 amps and 3 outlets” on the box. Although we will be cutting off the 3 outlets so that part is useless.

I purchased this wiring at Lowes for $10 for 16.4ft of cord, not a bad deal if you ask me.

Now that we have all the supplies we need for the build lets get started into taking everything apart. But before we do that lets just do a price recap

Whats it going to cost me?

– Fabco Directional Control Valve, Part # 3853-04-A287 – $27
– Plug Sys 8 Mini, Part # 4552150 -$3
– 16.4 FT A/V Equipment Cord- $10 (price will vary)

TOTAL PRICE- $40+tax

How to connect the wire to the solenoid

This is the Solenoid and adapter once taken apart.
Here is the A/V Equipment cord purchased from Lowes for $10
This is what it should look like once you cut the cord
Next you’re going to want to peel back the outer shell of the wiring and expose the wires. You may need to use wire strippers here to strip back the plastic and expose the copper tips as you will see in the next picture.
You’re now going to want to attach the fittings which came with the adapter, please note the order they go in so you do not spring a leak.
This is what it should look like after you’ve properly connected all the fittings.
Continued of what it should properly look like
This is where you’re now going to want to feed the wiring through the box, I found it very hard to work with since I have large hands so make sure to leave yourself enough room to be able to grab the wires.
IMG_0786_zps19a98846 IMG_0782_zps1e845cc4
Now you’re going to want to connect your wires to the appropriate slots. Please follow this as a guide when connecting as it’s impossible to take pictures of it once it’s connected.
Green = Earth/Ground
Black = Hot/Live (+)
White = Neg (-)
IMG_0788_zps6ecb152f IMG_0788_zpseb6456c5
Next we connect the ground wire (green) after connecting the positive and negatives (black and white)
Once all the wires are properly connected this is the end result
After this you can simply snap everything back into place and this is what you’ll be left with
Here is the end result
Here is what it looks like installed on a dual stage pressurized CO2 system for a planted tank/aquarium or hydroponics/aquaponics set up
IMG_1524 10635721_779822275407493_1084658317217286508_n


How To Build A Pressurized CO2 Set Up For A Planted Tank

Below I’m going to outline how to build a suitable dual stage CO2 regulator for a planted aquarium; I do not recommend using single stage regulators due to the fact that they do not keep a constant pressure like dual stage regulators do, nor do they react as fact to changes in PSI when wanting to make adjustments. Dual stage regulators will save not only your fish, but your time, money and stress when having to adjust your single stage regulator. Common single stage regulator brands include but are not limited to : Milwaukee MA 957, Red Sea CO2 Regulators (Including Pro Model), Aquatic Life Co2 Regulators, Azoo CO2 Regulator, and DC CO2 Regulators. Keep in mind there are MANY other single stage CO2 regulators, especially those coming out of China/Japan which I highly recommend to STAY AWAY from.

Here is a list of amazing dual stage regulators, keep in mind these brands also make single stage regulators so you must do your research when figuring out which model number will be suitable for our purposes:

– Matheson
– Concoa
– Praxair
– Prostar
– Harris
– Linde
– Air Gas
– Victor

Here is a regulator I use on one of my planted tanks, I’m a big fan of Concoa regulators and the 212 and 312 models are amazing for our purposes with a planted tank.

Here are a few shots of my set up, some are pictures from home and others are from a speech I recently did.

10635721_779822275407493_1084658317217286508_n 10325365_779822525407468_282483886373508481_nIMG_1521

One way to always tell if your regulator is dual stage without having to look up the model number is by looking at the back of the regulator; below is an example of a dual stage regulator and a single stage regulator, both in which I own.
IMG_1529 IMG-20141018-00270

The next important thing for your CO2 set up is your Solenoid Valve and Needle Valve, also knowing as a Metering Valve. I prefer to use a Fabco Solenoid with a Parker H3L although there are endless options when it comes to this step; Parker H3L’s are superior metering valves making them very hard to come by, and when they do it is not at a cheap price.

– Fabco Directional Control Valve, Part # 3853-04-A287 – $27
– Plug Sys 8 Mini, Part # 4552150 $3


Parker 2F-H3L-V-SS-TC with 1/8 NPT (Female)
Pricing – $50-$800 (All depends who you know 😉 )


The second last optional set is your bubble counter; this is more so something just to give you a visual representation of how much CO2 is going past the metering valve but is completely unnecessary once you understand the relationship between CO2 PSI, Regulator Flow, and Metering Valves.


The only other thing you need after the bubble counter is some CO2 resistant tubing, or the stuff from Home Depot or Lowes works perfectly fine; and a CO2 diffuser.

How you choose to diffuse your CO2 is up to you and entirely depends on the equipment you’re using for filtration and the size of your aquarium. With that said, CO2 diffusion is a whole other topic in itself which I will write about another time in a more detailed manner.

If anyone has any questions feel free to e-mail me or comment and I’ll help you out as much as I can.