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Ajskennels
01/03/2015, 10:02 PM
hi gang, first time posting in this section so bear with me, anyways i just acquired a Alpha 170 that was sapposed to have a bad pump ( RD 1000), got it home and decided to dry test the pump to see if the block would turn the impeller, it did, so then i decided to get a 5 gallon bucket of water and put the pump in it to see if it would pump, plugged it up and it shot water out of the bucket nearly to the ceiling, so i figured id get a tote and set the skimmer up to see if it would skim, it did with no problems, so i said looks fine to me broke it down and cleaned it up real good, decided to test run it in the same tote b4 i pulled my other skimmer out of the sump and now it won't skim, well not totally anyways, if i remove the nozzle it will skim but still not as good prior to the cleaning, i know for a fact the motor block is good, if i remove the whole intake venturi it will suck my hand tight up to the volute, if i disconnect the pump from the skimmer and leave the venturi off it moves so much water in the tote it looks like a hurricane blowing in it, has anyone else had this problem and if so how did they fix it, and if its already been answered I'm sorry for asking again,

ps i posted this in the vertex cone thread but figured it may not get read there as prior to my post it was a month or so since the last post

slief
01/04/2015, 09:30 AM
Is this the version with the adjustable volute (threaded nozzle on the inlet)? If so, how many turns out is that? It should be around 1.5 turns out to start. If it's all the way in, you won't get any air.

If this doesn't have the threaded inlet, there is a gray fitting that slips into the pumps inlet. Then there is a semi short red pipe that slips into the gray piece. There should be two different size red pipes that create different amounts of air. The shorter pipe creates more air than the longer one.

Ajskennels
01/04/2015, 10:53 AM
its got the adjustable nozzle, I've got it turned nearly all the way out just to keep it from pulsating, it seems this is a common problem with this skimmer

Ajskennels
01/04/2015, 01:51 PM
its defiantly a problem with the water to air intake ratio, and water level, I've tried all different water levels and it seams to have less pulsation at around 9" and the nozzle is still turned nearly all the way out, i personally don't think the adjustable nozzle was a good design, a simple needle valve on the silencer to adjust the air intake would had been a better, simpler design JMO

vanillagorila
01/04/2015, 02:54 PM
You are using salt water in that tote for your testing, right?

Ajskennels
01/04/2015, 03:00 PM
of course, lol that reminds me of a skimmer i went to buy from a guy one time, he filled up a 20g tank with the hose and put the skimmer in it to show me how well it skimmed, after about 30min of me standing back and watching him get frustrated because it wouldn't produce any bubbles, he finally said dude i don't know whats wrong with it if you want it just make a offer, i said you do know a skimmer don't skim fresh water don't you, i probably could have got that skimmer for $20 but i just couldn't do it

slief
01/04/2015, 06:32 PM
the nozzle is still turned nearly all the way out, i personally don't think the adjustable nozzle was a good design, a simple needle valve on the silencer to adjust the air intake would had been a better, simpler design JMO

The adjustable nozzle is a great thing. I've had countless skimmers including an Alpha for 4 years. Mine originally came with the 2 different nozzles and then when the adjustable version came out a handful of months later, I switched to the adjustable one. It allows for great fine tuning and unlike a needle valve that only impacts airflow, the adjustbale nozzle also impacts water flow. It really does make fine tuning much easier with water levels that vary one sump to the next and differing salinity levels. All of which impact how much air to water flow you want inside the skimmer. There is good reason why the Red Dragons are considered to be one of the best skimmer pumps on the market and aside frm the block, it's their volute and impeller design that allows them to produce some of the best foam of any skimmer pump.

That said, "almost all the way out" is way too much and with it out that much, you will get a ton of surging in the skimmer body and bubbles that won't generate much if any foam. Like I said, you should be starting around 1.5 turns out and never need to exceed 2 turns. In fact, you could even end up between 1-1.5 turns out. That said, if you tried 1.5 turns already and let it run that way for a little while, then it's possible your block isn't working right. If it were me, I'd start at 8.5-9" and 1.5 turns out and allow it to run that way for a day or two and see what the foam looks like. Once you have that setting and run it for a day, I'd like to see a video of the foam head and the skimmer body so I can ascertain what's going on to better help you.

Ajskennels
01/04/2015, 07:14 PM
here is some pics, 8" water level, it seams to be producing good bubbles and foam, you be the judge, nozzle is probably 4-5 ( i read in the manual to turn it out small turn at a time until the pulsing stopped)full turns but it still pulses slightly, I'm gonna let it run and see if it stays consistent

http://i973.photobucket.com/albums/ae219/ajskennels/IMG_0412_zps04899283.jpg (http://s973.photobucket.com/user/ajskennels/media/IMG_0412_zps04899283.jpg.html)

http://i973.photobucket.com/albums/ae219/ajskennels/IMG_0411_zps857c0f95.jpg (http://s973.photobucket.com/user/ajskennels/media/IMG_0411_zps857c0f95.jpg.html)
http://i973.photobucket.com/albums/ae219/ajskennels/IMG_0410_zpscd73072c.jpg (http://s973.photobucket.com/user/ajskennels/media/IMG_0410_zpscd73072c.jpg.html)
http://i973.photobucket.com/albums/ae219/ajskennels/IMG_0409_zpsb117479f.jpg (http://s973.photobucket.com/user/ajskennels/media/IMG_0409_zpsb117479f.jpg.html)
http://i973.photobucket.com/albums/ae219/ajskennels/IMG_0408_zpsffb14aa8.jpg (http://s973.photobucket.com/user/ajskennels/media/IMG_0408_zpsffb14aa8.jpg.html)

slief
01/04/2015, 09:35 PM
The foam looks decent. I still think the volute could come in some more but first thing I think you need to do is address the water level. From the looks of it, I'd say you are going to need another 1/2" of water level in the sump at the least. I normally suggest getting the foam up a bit higher and then using the wedge pipe to adjust from there which is why I say another 1/2" with the wedge pipe open A well tuned skimmer should be producing consistent dry skim with the wedge pipe wide open and never need the wedge pipe closed more than 1/2 to 3/4 to get a really wet skim.

Like I said, your skimmer seems to be working just fine from what I can see. You just need to fine tune it. If you close the nozzle, you will get more water into the skimmer and finer air bubbles. The end result will be a higher water level in the skimmer which will push the foam head up further while also creating smaller bubbles which will make a denser foam but I would address the water level first then play with the nozzle. BK suggest 9"minimum and while I would normally suggest less, this skimmer has a very big neck and unless you have a heavy load, you will likely need to run it deeper to keep it consistent.

Ajskennels
01/04/2015, 10:18 PM
its actually opposite if i close the nozzle, less water goes in, in fact when its all the way closed its as if no water is going in at all, at least very little anyways, with the nozzle closed there is hardly any suction when i put my hand in front of the nozzle, the wedge pipe is probably half open in the pics, if i open it all the way, the water falls to just above the water line in the sump, that is if the nozzle is less than the 4 turns I've got it at now, at the moment if i open it all the way up it falls to around 3/4 full on the body but if i close the nozzle anymore it falls lower, i doubt theres anything wrong with the motor block, as i said in the first post it works fine, heck i could probably hook it up and use it for a return pump, I'm not sure how much head it wold push with that impeller but it is defiantly strong, also i read in a old post ( about the same problem with the same model skimmer ) jeramy from premium aquatics said that the red dragon pumps either work or they don't, theres no in-between. but oh well i guess this thing just has to many more adjustment variations than I'm use to, my RO runs in 7" of water and I've got one gate valve to deal with, yeh the pump is twice the watts of this red dragon but its also 1/3 the price, I'm not knocking this skimmer and I'm not gonna let it whip my butt, ill figure it out, in the mean time I'm gonna have to dump some skimmate from my RO in tote because it has sucked everything out of this 10 gallons of water from my water change.

slief
01/04/2015, 11:09 PM
its actually opposite if i close the nozzle, less water goes in, in fact when its all the way closed its as if no water is going in at all, at least very little anyways, with the nozzle closed there is hardly any suction when i put my hand in front of the nozzle, the wedge pipe is probably half open in the pics, if i open it all the way, the water falls to just above the water line in the sump, that is if the nozzle is less than the 4 turns I've got it at now, at the moment if i open it all the way up it falls to around 3/4 full on the body but if i close the nozzle anymore it falls lower, i doubt theres anything wrong with the motor block, as i said in the first post it works fine, heck i could probably hook it up and use it for a return pump, I'm not sure how much head it wold push with that impeller but it is defiantly strong, also i read in a old post ( about the same problem with the same model skimmer ) jeramy from premium aquatics said that the red dragon pumps either work or they don't, theres no in-between. but oh well i guess this thing just has to many more adjustment variations than I'm use to, my RO runs in 7" of water and I've got one gate valve to deal with, yeh the pump is twice the watts of this red dragon but its also 1/3 the price, I'm not knocking this skimmer and I'm not gonna let it whip my butt, ill figure it out, in the mean time I'm gonna have to dump some skimmate from my RO in tote because it has sucked everything out of this 10 gallons of water from my water change.

I just took a look at the manual. It looks like the Alpha 170 nozzle is different than the 200, 250 and 300 nozzle. I stand to be corrected as the 170 pump may well work in reverse. Sorry for the confusion on that. I still stand by raising the water level and then reassessing.

Klaus Jansen
01/06/2015, 12:15 PM
Pulsating has to do with any factors...

* the bushings are blocked on the end of the rotorshaft....
* the electronic from the motorblock are damaged ...
* the waterlevel in your sump is to low ...
* wrong nozzle , to much closed nozzle or blocked silencer ....

Pulsating say, the water dont come quick enough to the needlewheels... thats make the pulsating sound....

And slief are correct ... the diameter of the nozzle are different for the older Alpha-Skimmers...

hope, it helps....

best egards .. Klaus

slief
01/06/2015, 07:00 PM
One more thought. I went through this with another Alpha owner. While his symptoms were a bit different, there were similarities. Have you inspected the airline tubing for any holes? A hole in the airline will reduce airflow and increase water flow into the pump which will reduce foam making ability and could also possibly cause some surging.

Klaus,
Thanks for chiming in as well. Hopefully your input gave this gentleman some other things to look at.

Ajskennels
01/10/2015, 04:22 AM
everything seems fine now, its been running 4 days in 8 1/2" of water, nozzle 4 turns out, no pulsing, its not pulling nothing out but i assume its because theres nothing in the water left to pull but it still has a slight foam head, i guess all it needed was for me to take the time and do a little reading and help from you guys to learn how to tune this thing, my only problem know is it won't fit in my sump:-(

slief
01/10/2015, 08:54 AM
everything seems fine now, its been running 4 days in 8 1/2" of water, nozzle 4 turns out, no pulsing, its not pulling nothing out but i assume its because theres nothing in the water left to pull but it still has a slight foam head, i guess all it needed was for me to take the time and do a little reading and help from you guys to learn how to tune this thing, my only problem know is it won't fit in my sump:-(

I was wondering what happened to you. Glad it's working better now. If you close the stand pipe or raise the water level a 1/4" more it should start producing more skimmate.

Ajskennels
01/14/2015, 01:14 PM
ok, so i finally had time this past weekend to modify my sump and put the skimmer on a running tank with a steady bioload other than the tote, its been running since late sunday night, and seems to be doing great, its pulling some chunks, here is a vid slief its a little shaky and out of focus but its the best i can get without setting up a tripod i cant really get a shot of the foam head from the top but its nice and foamy, let me know what you think and if i may need more adjustments, now remember this skimmer was practically given to me and was supposed to have a bad pump but its obviously working, im thinking he just dident have the patience to tune it and just gave up (BTW i did purchase another used pump and it did the same exact thing)
http://youtu.be/NJc1y1ui8Tk

slief
01/14/2015, 01:38 PM
ok, so i finally had time this past weekend to modify my sump and put the skimmer on a running tank with a steady bioload other than the tote, its been running since late sunday night, and seems to be doing great, its pulling some chunks, here is a vid slief its a little shaky and out of focus but its the best i can get without setting up a tripod i cant really get a shot of the foam head from the top but its nice and foamy, let me know what you think and if i may need more adjustments, now remember this skimmer was practically given to me and was supposed to have a bad pump but its obviously working, im thinking he just dident have the patience to tune it and just gave up (BTW i did purchase another used pump and it did the same exact thing)
http://youtu.be/NJc1y1ui8Tk

That's some very nice foam! I'd say you have it pretty well dialed in as it seems to be skimming beautifully!

Ajskennels
01/14/2015, 02:30 PM
yeh, its pulled all that and there is hardly any build up on the neck, and that stuff is as black as tar and its almost like mud, its starting to make me a believer in those high dollar skimmers