What type of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) / Nitrous Oxide (N2O) tank /
bottle / cylinder you need!
Nitrous Tanks, Bottles and suitable Valves
While it's relatively easy to find
perfectly good C02 (Carbon Dioxide) or Nitrous Oxide bottles/tanks in a variety of
places like fire extinguishers, pubs, welding suppliers, and home brew
suppliers, most areas of the
world have a Luxfer bottle supplier. So it may just be worthwhile actually
LUXFER manufacture all of the
bottles pictured here. They
manufacture a very large proportion of all the ones used in Diving,
Welding, Industry, Fire Extinguishers, Medical etc, around the
world today. Most of which are entirely
suitable for cyclic use with Nitrous Oxide Gas
All bottles designed or already in use for CARBON
DIOXIDE (C02) are perfectly suitable for use with NITROUS OXIDE (N2O). The two
gases are very similar. Do NOT be tempted to use any other type of tank or
But while Luxfer make them they will only sell in
bulk. So you have to find what you need from other suppliers like fire
What Size do you want? Big is best (in this case!)
Bikes - Ideally you will be
looking for 2lb up to 2.5lb Alloy bottles. These can be
painted in any colour, anodised in almost any colour, or
polished to a mirror finish like my old one also shown on this
page at the bottom. (That's an ex fire extinguisher bottle
from my workshop by the way!)
Street Cars - a 5lb bottle is ok for smaller boost levels,
but a 10lb, or even 15lb one will last much longer! If you
have the money and space to spare.
Drag Race - 10lb or
15 lb will be required. When larger power boosts are needed
pressure reduction due to bottle cooling is also an important
factor as well as quantity. Bigger really is best for ultimate
performance - Use 2 or 3!
Or, for those
doing this on the cheap! Or for the DIY people, be advised
that ANY C02 bottle that is used to store Liquid Carbon
Dioxide gas, like in a fire extinguisher, or a pub C02 bottle
is completely compatible! If it works for C02 it will
be great for Nitrous Oxide as well -- If unsure of the
markings then ASK SOMEONE THAT UNDERSTANDS THEM! Don't guess - the wrong
tank/bottle can explode and kill you.
This of course means your sources
of bottles is actually enormous! They are EVERYWHERE once you start to
notice them! Any C02 Fire extinguisher, is fine! They may be
red, or black at least here in the UK. Also welding sets,
(electric) use them, so they are in most workshops already...
Better still, EVERY Bar and Pub, and restaurant uses them for
the beer and soft drinks. Go & look round the back! Chances are
that there will be 5 or 6, 14lb to 16 lb bottles with valves just
laid about... I am NOT suggesting you steal them, but you
could "ask" someone? Other places, are factories, diving
places, etc. The CO2 bottles really are all over the place
once you start to notice them. And you can
also try home brew suppliers, they sell them to the public too.
Obviously old or used bottles will need re spraying,
or polishing etc; before they can be pressure tested and certified safe by a
fire extinguisher test centre or similar. All these dates are already on the
bottles, along with the empty, full weights all stamped
into the metal. If its not you have the wrong bottle!!!
Bottle or Tank Valves.
Obviously most used bottles will
not need one because they already have one. Most valves are
pretty similar, and have a large bore through them, so they
will be fine. They also always feature a "rupture" disk which
fails if an overpressure situation happens! For example
if you leave a overfilled bottle, or a bottle is left out in
the sun too long, the internal pressure may get too high. So
rather than the bottle explode, the disk fails and you lose
all of your expensive Nitrous! Still better safe than sorry.
Only use a valve with one of these "blow off" devices.
Valves can be bough from Fire Extinguisher renovation service
places, or Welding supply shops, and the people who sell the
bottles like the Home Brew suppliers.
An admission, example of what
I am stupid, I use a bottle with a
normal plumbing "ball" type valve in it on my bike! As
in the picture below. Its small and neat, but in the event of
the bottle getting overfilled, and being left to warm up, it
could explode! I know this though, and its only used for
racing, and the weights, and temperatures are monitored, and
its never filled fully... And its left empty after racing.
Don't do it! It may kill you... Looks pretty though.
2.25lb CO2 Fire extinguisher
bottle, with a cheap chrome plumbing "ball" type valve. DO NOT
USE these valves, they have no over pressure safety blow of
device and the bottle could explode in extreme/hot conditions.
The Nitrous valve in this picture is a home modified air
solenoid, and works up to 140BHP extra.
Special CO2 thread adapter - to fit on a pub C02 bottles
valve thread. A Special Thread Adapter that screws onto a normal C02 bottle
valve, and allows connection to "conventional" BSP threads is
From the bottle we need to connect a 1/8th BSP
threaded adapter to allow us to use commonly available
braided "brake hose" type tubing (or 4mm nylon adapter) to feed the Nitrous Solenoid.
As it happens these are fitted to most CO2 Fire extinguishers.
They allow the "horn" to connect to the bottle.
ones are plastic, which is no use to us, but all the rest are
brass which is great news! You local fire extinguisher
maintenance company can get/give you some of these.
plastic horn is damaged, they throw the whole "arm" bit away
too! The bit they unscrewed and threw away is the bit you need! You could buy
new ones too from the same place, or from welding/home brew
suppliers, or any big tool shops that sell regulators. They
are sold as "Regulator C02 adapters", and cost a few pounds.
They will need the other end drilling and tapping 1/8TH BSP
which you can easily do with hand tools. Common sense will see this done!
the term NOS is incorrect as this refers to an specific
company (called Nitrous Oxide Systems, in the US)