Sizing and Selecting Camlocks

Camlock image from Homebrewtalk.com

My “research” amounted to finding this image of the “normal” C-type camlock on the Homebrewtalk forum and reading the associated post.  Note the difference in IDs between the 1/2″ male adapter and the 1/2″ normal C-type camlock.

I had an opportunity to find some excellent deals on camlocks recently, and so investigated my options fully and recently purchased a suite of them from ProFlow Dynamics.  A bit of research shows their prices to be about as cheap as it gets; bargainfittings.com has some comparable prices–some more expensive, others less expensive–but didn’t have expedient shipping options.

I selected a “C Special” type Camlock.  These are reportedly a high-flow type, and in comparison to the “normal” C-type camlock, the inner diameter (ID) difference appears obvious.

Supposedly, the barb portion normal C-type camlock has an outer diameter (OD) of approximately 1/2″, in order to easily accommodate the 1/2″ ID of selected tubing (I recommend thick-walled thermoplastic tubing to avoid collapsing when used with a pump).  Therefore, it would only make sense that the normal C-type camlock would have a greatly-reduced ID.  I think the picture from the Homebrewtalk forum clearly demonstrates the difference.

Camlock and Tubing ID Comparison

A comparison of the inner diameters (IDs) of the 1/2″ ID thermoplastic tubing and the 1/2″ ID “C Special” type camlock. They appear to be identical!

Despite the larger OD of the “C Special” camlock, I was able to force 1/2″ ID thermoplastic tubing on to it with a little muscle.  No boiling necessary.  I’ve read that, with the stretching needed to fit 1/2″ tubing on the “C Special” camlock, no further device is needed to avoid leaks.  Nonetheless, I was able to squeeze a small stainless steel worm clamp (albeit with great difficulty) in place.

In some anecdotal testing, I found the flow rate for these camlocks to be exceptional.  I replaced a 1/2″ hose barb—which was really 1/2″ on the outer diameter, and quite a bit smaller for the inner diameter—and experienced quite a bit higher flow rate.

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