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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: hellbound on March 18, 2013, 08:23:44 PM

Title: pin vs ball??
Post by: hellbound on March 18, 2013, 08:23:44 PM
Hi, so after all this time bottling, I'm finally getting sick of it. I've never done the keg thing before due to lack of space, but I think I'm just going to have to put the foot down and get another fridge.

Question is, considering I've never kegged before, what's the best route to go with kegs? Pin lock or Ball lock? Is one type easier to use/clean than the other? I think I remember that pin locks are cheaper? Are there any significant differences that I should be aware of or consider?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated,

Cheers! and thanks!

-Dave
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: tygo on March 18, 2013, 08:25:14 PM
If I were starting out kegging right now I think I'd go with pin lock just because they're cheaper and easier to find than ball lock kegs at this point. 
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: jeffy on March 18, 2013, 08:42:11 PM
I have both.  It doesn't take much expense to get some of each kind of quick disconnect and put a "T" in the gas line so you can use either.
Ball locks are much more widely used and have a narrower diameter so you can fit more of them in a chest freezer, but pin locks are much easier to identify the in/out ports.  Heck you can do it in the dark, which is more often than you might think.
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: blatz on March 18, 2013, 08:52:38 PM
+1 to jeffy -
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: hellbound on March 18, 2013, 08:57:06 PM
Ok, thanks.

Are most set-ups (CO2 and regulators, dispensing disconnects, etc.) configured for ball locks or pins? which is easier to use?
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: snowtiger87 on March 18, 2013, 09:07:23 PM
Ball locks are much easier for me to use - also the skinny factor is a big deal to me as well.
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: blatz on March 18, 2013, 09:09:44 PM
Ok, thanks.

Are most set-ups (CO2 and regulators, dispensing disconnects, etc.) configured for ball locks or pins? which is easier to use?

they are all built by you, so its whatever you have.

I went with all pins when I started out because pin kegs will fit under my kegerator's compressor whereas pins were just a smidge too tall.

aside from that, it doesn't really make much difference - if you get the flared fittings, you can swap out to whatever rather quickly.

I have about 18 pins, but have 4 shorties that are ball lock.  no problems for me to swap around.
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: Joe Sr. on March 18, 2013, 09:58:17 PM
I see converted pin locks for sale these days more than anything.  So the size difference becomes moot, since you have a pin lock keg with ball lock fittings.

I think you should go with whatever you can source most easily and affordably.  Functionally, there should be no difference.
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: rapurcell85 on March 19, 2013, 01:37:12 AM
Either way you go, I would strongly recommend getting the flared fittings.  It is so easy to swap between the pin and ball lock kegs that it doesn't matter which type of kegs you buy, which can be nice if you find a great deal on pin lock kegs, but you already have ball lock kegs.  Also, if you end up with ball lock kegs, but have a friend that brings over a pin lock keg, you can easily put it on your taps and they will not have to lug around any fittings or gas cylinders.
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: BrewQwest on March 19, 2013, 02:51:22 PM
I also have both.. I like the pin locks because it is impossible to put the wrong fitting on the wrong post..If you have ever put a pin lock gas fitting on the liquid out fitting (or vice versa) it is a real PITA to get it off again... the good thing about the ball locks though, it the ease of releasing pressure in the keg via the pressure relief valve... none of my pin locks have a pressure relief valve in the cover so I have to remove the gas connector and push down on the poppet valve to relieve pressure... cheers!
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: hellbound on March 19, 2013, 06:51:59 PM
I see converted pin locks for sale these days more than anything.  So the size difference becomes moot, since you have a pin lock keg with ball lock fittings.

I think you should go with whatever you can source most easily and affordably.  Functionally, there should be no difference.

Thanks, that seems to be the smartest route for me so far.
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: hellbound on March 19, 2013, 06:52:26 PM
I also have both.. I like the pin locks because it is impossible to put the wrong fitting on the wrong post..If you have ever put a pin lock gas fitting on the liquid out fitting (or vice versa) it is a real PITA to get it off again... the good thing about the ball locks though, it the ease of releasing pressure in the keg via the pressure relief valve... none of my pin locks have a pressure relief valve in the cover so I have to remove the gas connector and push down on the poppet valve to relieve pressure... cheers!

How important is a PRV?
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: jeffy on March 19, 2013, 09:20:43 PM
I also have both.. I like the pin locks because it is impossible to put the wrong fitting on the wrong post..If you have ever put a pin lock gas fitting on the liquid out fitting (or vice versa) it is a real PITA to get it off again... the good thing about the ball locks though, it the ease of releasing pressure in the keg via the pressure relief valve... none of my pin locks have a pressure relief valve in the cover so I have to remove the gas connector and push down on the poppet valve to relieve pressure... cheers!

How important is a PRV?

It is more convenient than important. 
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: hellbound on March 21, 2013, 02:11:55 AM
i see that the pin lock kegs on midwest have PRV's. Is there a way to convert a lid to have a prv?
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: Joe Sr. on March 21, 2013, 04:32:26 PM
i see that the pin lock kegs on midwest have PRV's. Is there a way to convert a lid to have a prv?

I think the difference is that ball locks have PRVs that you can open manually by pulling them up.  On pin locks it's more of a safety valve that releases when pressure builds too high.

Of course, since I don't have any pin locks I don't know for certain, but that's what the internets tell me.

I'd personally be wary of drilling through a lid, but I suppose you could rig something.  Wouldn't it be easier just to release pressure on the gas side?
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: bluesman on March 21, 2013, 04:45:18 PM
I prefer ball lock kegs because they're easier to release pressure (PRV), smaller diameter (can fit more kegs in kegerator), eventhough they tend to be a little more expensive. Pin lock kegs will suffice , but I prefer the ball lock overall for performance. Spare parts are quite expensive, so I recommend sticking with one or the other.
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: hellbound on March 22, 2013, 04:26:54 AM
i see that the pin lock kegs on midwest have PRV's. Is there a way to convert a lid to have a prv?

I think the difference is that ball locks have PRVs that you can open manually by pulling them up.  On pin locks it's more of a safety valve that releases when pressure builds too high.

Of course, since I don't have any pin locks I don't know for certain, but that's what the internets tell me.

I'd personally be wary of drilling through a lid, but I suppose you could rig something.  Wouldn't it be easier just to release pressure on the gas side?

I know that you could just depress the poppet on the gas side, but isn't that a PRV?
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/pin-lock-5-gallon-reconditioned-keg.html
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: klickitat jim on March 22, 2013, 07:07:35 AM
I just recently bought three ball lock corneys and a kit to build a two tap kegerator. I built and learned a lot along the way. I did not know about size dif between ball and pin but got lucky and bought the skinny ball locks. With some cutting and carving I got two to fit in a 4.4cf magic chef

"Freedom is temporary unless you are also Brave!" - Patriot

Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: jeffy on March 22, 2013, 11:19:17 AM
i see that the pin lock kegs on midwest have PRV's. Is there a way to convert a lid to have a prv?

I think the difference is that ball locks have PRVs that you can open manually by pulling them up.  On pin locks it's more of a safety valve that releases when pressure builds too high.

Of course, since I don't have any pin locks I don't know for certain, but that's what the internets tell me.

I'd personally be wary of drilling through a lid, but I suppose you could rig something.  Wouldn't it be easier just to release pressure on the gas side?

I know that you could just depress the poppet on the gas side, but isn't that a PRV?
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/pin-lock-5-gallon-reconditioned-keg.html

Yes, photo #4 shows a pressure relief valve.  I've seen them on some pin lock kegs, but not very often and usually they had been modified to fit or the whole cage had come from a ball lock keg.
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: punatic on March 22, 2013, 12:13:43 PM
Alright!  A topic I can really get into!

I've been playing pinball since I had to stand on a milk crate to reach the bumper buttons (WAY before Tommy)

My favorite machine?  Bally's Fireball!!!  Hands down. 

Cornelius kegs?  I have a s***load of those.  I use them to store low wines in, for the most part these days.  A couple of C-kegs full of low wines at 40% is the perfect charge for a spirit run on a sanke keg boiler.




I serve my homebrew from six-tels.  sanke connections s*** all over ball and pin(head)lock connections.
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: Jimmy K on March 22, 2013, 12:49:41 PM

I know that you could just depress the poppet on the gas side, but isn't that a PRV?
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/pin-lock-5-gallon-reconditioned-keg.html (http://www.midwestsupplies.com/pin-lock-5-gallon-reconditioned-keg.html)
Many reconditioned pin locks have had their lids replaced or modified with a manual PRV. I'm not sure you can do that yourself - I don't even know where you'd buy the PRV parts. You can buy replacement lids, but I think they're around $15. Starts to get into 'Why am I saving money on a used keg?' territory.
Title: Re: pin vs ball??
Post by: hellbound on March 23, 2013, 12:16:33 AM
So, long story short, looks like those are good buys for the cost.

thanks.

-Dave