How to convert from Sanke to Ball Lock

Posted by Homebrew Beer on

Often times, kegerator systems are sold with a commercial Sanke-type coupling to allow owners to quickly tap into a standard commercial keg and dispense beer.  However, many owners want the ability to tap either a commercial or a homebrew (corny) keg without the need for tools and mess. There are a couple of different ways to complete this conversion, but this has proven to be the easiest and most cost effective.

Parts List

Included with the kegerator purchase (assumed)

  • Sanke coupler
  • gas line, 5/16" to be connected to the CO2 regulator
  • beer line, various sizes possible, but running into the tower and connected to the faucet(s)

Required conversion parts

  • One each of the Sanke Gas and Liquid ball lock adapters.  $15.95 each
  • One each of the ball lock Gas and Liquid disconnects. $5.49 each
  • Two FML swivel nut and barbs to connect gas and beer line to the disconnects.  $2.59 each
  • Two Easy Turn hose clamps. Aprox $1.59 each

If you are reusing the tubing that came with the kegerator, this is normally the extent of what you need to. Cost is approximately $51.24 to convert ONE Sanke adapter to corny ball lock.


   
The image above left shows a standard Sanke coupler outfitted with both a gas and liquid ball lock adapters. The image on the right shows to top of a standard Corny (Cornelius) keg with the liquid and gas posts on opposite sides of the central lid. The coupler included with the kegerator may have come with beer nut connections to air line and beer line. That tubing should be reused, but the beer nuts and tailpiece connectors should be removed. NOTE there is normally a rubber flow control diaphragm inside the gas port of the Sanke coupler. DO NOT REMOVE THIS. Its job is to ensure beer does not flow into the regulator.

 


This image shows the standard gas (grey) and liquid (black) ball lock disconnects, both with MFL 1/4" fittings. The lower section is spring loaded and can be retracted while positioning the disconnect over the post, then released to lock it in place. Grey is ALWAYS gas and connects to the post marked IN, while black is ALWAYS liquid (think black = beer) and connects to the post marked OUT. On the Sanke coupling, the gas is the lower post, the liquid is the upper post.

 


This image shows the correct connection of the gas and liquid disconnects on the Sanke coupler. The disconnects will attach to the coupler in exactly the same way as they will connect directly to a corny ball lock keg. 

 

      
Tubing is connected to each of the disconnects, with consideration of the fitting size on the opposite end of the tubing. For example, gas line is normally red 5/16" ID tubing, and most of the CO2 regulators come with that size barb connection in place. Therefore a short (3-5") length of 5/16" ID red hose will connect between the gas disconnect and the regulator. As mentioned earlier, there is no reason not to reuse the tubing that came with the kegerator. Measure the ID (inside diameter) so the correct FML connector can be purchased and remove the beer nuts and tailpieces.

The gas disconnect needs the corresponding 5/16" FML fitting and swivel nut to connect the air line to it, then the air line is connected to the grey disconnect. Similarly, depending on the ID size of the beer line in use, select the corresponding FML fitting and swivel nut, and connect the beer line to the black disconnect. Use a hose clamp on all connections to prevent leaks.

 

Once this is done, you will be able to very quickly swap from a commercial keg to a homebrew keg by just moving the black and grey disconnects from either the Sanke coupler or the corny keg. If you system came with two Sanke couplers, you will need to double this build out in order to have both taps ready to accept either a commercial or corny keg.


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