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Old 07-28-2009, 06:00 PM   #1
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To weld or not to weld, that is the question.

I'm assembling a five zone hydronic heating system and just bought all the 1.5" fittings necessary to hook it up. Not only were the parts pricey, but it will take a while to assemble them, so I was thinking maybe I should just weld up a manifold (well, two, actually, one for the supply, one for the return). It'd just be a piece of 1.5" steel pipe with holes drilled in it and 3/4" nipples welded over them. Seems easy enough and I can't see why this wouldn't work fine. I'm debating whether I should put a 1.5" to 3/4" adapter on the end of the pipe (need a shutoff valve per zone or I'd go straight to a 1.5" pump flange) or make all the zones the same and just use a cap. Can anyone think of any objections to the plan? Thanks.
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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
Date: 1979

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:07 PM   #2
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Hmmm....drill and then weld, or weld and then drill? I'm leaning towards weld and then drill. Seems like it'd be harder to mess it up.

Ran the numbers and manifolds would save me 26 1.5" joints.
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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
Date: 1979

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:22 PM   #3
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If you weld then drill you can leak test each nipple before drilling.

I'd be more inclined to use solder, coz I'm better at making that not leak
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:24 PM   #4
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Oh, if you wanna get real fancy you can try the lab glassblowers trick, put a little air pressure in the main pipe and heat a spot with the torch, then hopefully it comes up in a bubble, you can file off the top and use it to mate the nipple in.
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I remember The RoadWarrior..To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time..the world was powered by the black fuel & the desert sprouted great cities..Gone now, swept away..two mighty warrior tribes went to war & touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing..thundering machines sputtered & stopped..Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:27 PM   #5
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Have I mentioned I'm a coward? Neat idea, though.

Copper, huh? If I can get 1.5" copper pipe by the foot that might be worth looking into. I've never soldered copper together except at a standard fitting. Would that be strong enough? Drill a hole the size of the 3/4 pipe, stick it in and solder it, I guess. The system only runs at 12-15 psi or so. Food for thought.

This has me considering my own PEX manifold as well. See how this one goes.
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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
Date: 1979

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:04 AM   #6
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Evidently there are PEX manifolds made in exactly this manner, so it should be strong enough. I'm pretty handy with drilling and have the equipment for holding round items (although still an amateur - EE, not ME!) so maybe I'll give it a shot for my PEX system. As far as my heating system, because I'm hanging heavy pumps off of the manifold, I think the extra strength of steel is a wise idea. Give me an excuse to practice my welding technique as well!

For PEX I think the one valve per appliance model is a bit of overkill (I have a big house so that'd mean a lot of extra PEX tubing at 20 cents a foot), but two valves per room (hot & cold) with a small manifold at each makes good sense to me and would be cheaper than having individual shutoff valves at each appliance. I like PEX over the CPVC I have been using because there are no fumes. Makes it impossible to do in winter.
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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
Date: 1979

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 07-29-2009, 07:59 AM   #7
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OK, got it designed and bought the parts. I chose to orient the pumps in different directions since it allows them to be spaced closely but still enables them to be wired up easily. This lets me get away with the 12" 1.5 inch nipples my local store stocks (somebody stole their 1.5" die). Chose to put the fifth pump on the end since the difference in price between an end cap and the adapter wasn't much. The grey parts would be the ones welded together. I'll need to grind the 3/4" pipes to get a better fit on the 1.5" pipe for welding. I'll then drill afterward as the ability to pressure test easily is worth a lot. Good call on that, Road Warrior.

I know the scale is way off and I neglected the shut off valves for simplicity. Each pump will be supported on the side away from the manifold since they're rather heavy.

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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
Date: 1979

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 07-29-2009, 08:51 AM   #8
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How are you controlling the pumps?
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Old 07-29-2009, 09:03 AM   #9
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I am rolling my own circuitry, as you no doubt suspected. I hadn't really thought about it much yet. Lemme take a second....well, since there are no electric zone valves (there are check valves to keep the pumps from sucking from each other) it seems like a one relay per pump setup would do the trick.
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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
Date: 1979

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 07-29-2009, 10:07 AM   #10
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This would be one of those times where it would be very cool to build a centrally controlled zoned system. Temperature probes in all areas going back to a digital panel that controls pumps, furnace, and even reads oil level in the storage tank and gives you a number. I'm currently working on a project that controls the AC temp and fan setting based on light levels, time of day/season, and motion. Getting it to recognize 'kyle isn't home' without being touched is turning out to be the hardest part lol.

Microcontrollers are fun!
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