I recently acquired a used Kobalt brand portable CO2 regulator (http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=166441-61735-J-6901-100
). The goal was to use this to supply CO2 to either 3 or 5 gallon kegs at remote sites.
The Kobalt is a Lowe's house brand of the original JacPak regulator. The JacPak "regulator only" has been spotted at Harbor Freight on occasion for a good price. The Kobalt version came with a case, safety glasses, coiled hose, and various air tools and quick disconnect connectors. They both accept paintball CO2 tanks. The 9oz I already had was refilled for less than 3 dollars at Aqua Care on Franklin St. I plan on getting a 20 oz soon. Other ways for remote CO2 supply include the Williams Brewing Paintball Regulator that also uses paintball CO2 tanks (http://www.williamsbrewing.com/BREWER_S_EDGE_PAINTBALL_TANK_R_P1791C148.cfm
), I know a couple of guys in the club have this. They also sell just the paintball tank adapter to hook up to your existing regulator. The DIY version is called the Big Gasser (http://www.schwedhelm.net/brew/biggasser.html
). Even the CO2 Injector that uses BB gun CO2 cartridges (http://www.williamsbrewing.com/BALL_LOCK_INJECTOR_P84C148.cfm
) works but you have to fiddle with it and it's hard to keep a constant pressure. The Kobalt only has one mini low pressure gauge and so it's very compact and should be "set it and forget it".
In order to also occasionally use the regulator for its intended purpose (air tools, air nailer, etc) I decided to just make a simple adapter from a air hose quick disconect to a threaded ball lock gas fitting. Ace Hardware could only get me there in two steps but if you special order you may get it in one step. I used a 1/4" F Flare to 1/4" F Flare and a 1/4" M Flare to 1/4" F Pipe Thread. You could just as easily cut off the QD end of the hose and use a swivel flare connector and hose clamp if you don't want to use it for anything else besides dispensing beer. My adapter looks like so:
I needed a good solid way to attach the regulator to the kegs. It comes with a really flismy plastic belt loop that just didn't look very sturdy and wan't practical. It looked easy enough to replace with a bolt and while I was at it I took the casing apart to see what was inside. It's a really tiny regulator and the plastic housing adds a lot of bulk, but also a lot of protection.
I just took off the plastic belt swivel and replaced it with a 1/4x20 bolt and nuts to hold it in place.
I made a keg handle hook out of some aluminum bar stock I had on hand and riveted on a cross support to keep it steady. It's all attached with a wing nut for removal.
And this is how it sits on a keg. That's about it. You have to just barely crack open the regulator to get 8 psi. I'm not sure how long it will last but others on the web have had good luck with it.