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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

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  #1  
Old 2010-12-15, 9:11pm
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Torcha Torcha is offline
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Default Operating temp for oxycon

Hi everyone.

Just curious if you are familiar with guidelines for what range of temperatures you can run your concentrator? I have heard 60 degrees or as low as 50 degrees on the low end and about 90 on the high end. Thanks!
Alana
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Old 2010-12-15, 10:19pm
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The manual for one brand of machine states 5 to 40 degrees C is the operating temperature range. Yours may be different.

If you do not have a manual, Google and see if one is available on the net.
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Old 2010-12-15, 10:22pm
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Lorraine Chandler Lorraine Chandler is offline
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Concentrators were made to run in homes where temps are pretty comfortable and do not have a wide range swing from day to night. I would say 60-80 is best but others run theirs cooler or hotter. I have no idea if it shortens the lifespan of the unit or not?


I copied this from the ISGB forum. It helped me to know more about my concentrator. Hope it helps you.

To add a bit more technical info -- I compiled the following from several very learned technical experts when I was building my website, after spending a long time researching how seive beds operate. I'm going to quote a bit from those articles that I compiled:

"The air that we normally beathe contains 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen, 0.9% argon and 0.1% other gases. Oxygen concentrators are able to filter and compress the 21% of 02 in the air to a high enough concentration for use with lampworking torches. The purity of the oxygen produced by this kind of system varies from about 85-95%, depending on the amount of usage of the concentrator since it was new or was last rebuilt, and the liters per minute (lpm) at which the concentrator dial is set while it is running.

"Adsorption" is the name given to the tendency of many gas and vapor molecules to stick to solid surfaces. Oxygen concentrators use as their solid surfaces -- in the form of two "seive beds" -- a material called zeolite, to which nitrogen particles adhere for slightly longer than oxygen particles do. This is the reason that most of the nitrogen particles in the air are left behind on the seive beds after being pushed through them at high pressure, and the compressed "air" that comes out through the concentrator outlet is purified concentrated oxygen.

While operating, the first of the two seive beds becomes saturated with nitrogen fairly quickly, at which point, the concencentrator switches the air feed into the second zeolite bed, and vents the purified oxygen from the first bed out through a small outlet valve. This process is called "regenerating" the bed, and at about the time that it is completed, the second bed switches the air flow/purifying process back to the first bed.

Most concentrators switch back and forth in this manner every few seconds, and you will hear them "breathing" as they perk along while you are inhaling ordinary (but hopefully safely-ventilated) air. While one seive bed is "inhaling," the other is "exhaling," providing a constant and almost even flow of 85-95% pure oxygen all the time the unit is running.

As with all things living and mechanical, eventually lessened performance will occur. The most likely thing that will happen with a concentrator is that the seive beds will become so saturated with nitrogen and moisture that they will need to be "re-poured" with new zeolite. (Zeolite can only adsorb a certain amount of nitrogen before its ability to filter well becomes compromised.)

This is normal, and when this occurs will vary enourmously depending upon the humidity in your area, the hours that you use the machine, and whether the filters are kept really clean. (Dust and humidity are BAD enemies of concentrators.) The compressor inside the machine can also wear out and need to be rebuilt.

But a good reconditioned concentrator that starts out with new seive beds or has not been used for TOO many hours since the seive beds were last re-poured, should function well for several years before needing repair or replacement. Oxygen concentrators are built to last for at least 250,000 hours before they become too worn out to be worth rebuilding anymore -- but they will likely need to be rebuilt at least once, and perhaps more often, during their long lifetime.

That's the last of the material I am quoting from articles I found that were written by technicians who helped to design and work with these machines all the time (I paraphrased, of course, for my website.) The repair guy at my own local medical supply place, which supplies concentrators only for medical use, repours seive beds and rebuilds compressors all the time, just in the course of normal maintenance of concentrators that are owned or rented by patients.

While we're at it, it is very common practice to re-set the hours meter on oxy-cons frequently -- as often as every day, week or month with some patients, so the number of hours on a concentrator meter mean little or nothing. They probably do NOT reflect the number of hours of total use of a particular machine.

A used unit that registers, say, only 5000 hours, may have had its meter reset 100 times or more in the course of its use. So one that shows 5000 hours may actually have been used more and longer than one that registers 30,000 hours. It is the practice of my local repair guy, for example, to reset the meter to zero every time a machine is dispensed to a new patient. That is the only way that patients and doctors can easily keep track of the number of hours of use by that patient.

A couple of final tips: concentrators should not be left sitting for very long periods of time without operating them, if possible. So if you are not using your's for beadmaking for a long stretch, it is a good idea to turn it on and let it run for an hour once in awhile -- every couple of weeks, say, if you can -- just to keep it humming and happy. (But don't worry too much if you can't -- if it's in a vacation house, for example. Just make sure that it is as DRY as possible where it is stored.)

Also, it is bad practice to turn the machine off and on frequently during a beadmaking session. I understand that doing THIS is the single most damaging action for an oxy-con. So if you are going to be making beads all day, but taking breaks, just leave it running until you are really ready to quit working. (With the oxygen valve on your torch OPEN, of course.) Then shut everything down at once.

Margi
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Old 2010-12-16, 12:17am
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Thanks to you both for responding. I have an opportunity to have a vent from our new gas heater open to my studio. It is really a "put together" studio when we semi-enclosed our back screened in porch. So definitely not air tight, but we have some insulation boards up and it isn't too bad if it is in the 45 -50 degree range. Once it starts getting colder, it is a lot harder to bead because I worry about the concentrators. I was thinking adding the vent would be another way to keep it closer to at least 55 and not too humid.
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Old 2010-12-16, 7:37am
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I torch in our unfinished basement and have to have windows open. So, for me and oxy con I try not to be down there unless it's over 50. I'm betting that the humidity in the summer is worse for it than the cooler temps.
There have been previous threads on this subject and that's where I got my general 50 degree rule.
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