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2QN Product Review

Nitrousaurus-X by Carnivore Performance

The Nitrousaurus-X system is the latest in nitrous bottle pressure management. It differs greatly from other styles of heaters. Not only will it heat a bottle, it will cool it and maintain constant temperature. This got my attention since I'm always looking for ways of improving my Nova's performance and simplify race day tasks. I contacted Dennis Clark of Carnivore Performance and he was gracious enough to give me the opportunity to test one of his units, so I'm passing on those impressions and findings to you.

When I opened the box, I found a great-looking Nitrousaurus-X unit that appeared to be of high quality and very well designed. While it looks a bit bulky at first glance, it's very light and easy to handle and the controls are clearly labeled and easy to use.

As a degreed Mechanical Engineer and hardcore racer, naturally I was very curious about the system's performance. I pulled out a 12 volt, 5 amp DC power supply and fired up the unit with a full 10 pound bottle inside. I first heated the bottle from 80°F to 94°F over the course of 69 minutes, which increased the pressure inside by 160psig. The ambient temperature ranged from 82.6°F to 83.8°F over that time.

Next, it was time to see how it works as a bottle cooler. Starting from 92°F and 1000psig, it cooled the bottle at a rate of 40psig/hr (ambient temps were again in the 82.9°F to 85.1°F range). At first, this seemed slow, but then I thought about how you'd use the unit on an extremely hot day: you'd mainly be trying to keep the bottle from gaining pressure, which would otherwise require excessive purging or wet rags to drop the pressure. For that, the system should work great.

Following the heating and cooling tests, I decided to see how well it would maintain temperature over time. I heated the bottle back up to 1000 psig/92°F and left the system running overnight in my 75°F garage. The next morning, the temperature and pressure were exactly the same; no change whatsoever!. In my opinion, this is a huge advantage of this system.

Enough playing in the garage, it's time to go racing! I wanted to see how the Nitrousaurus-X would perform in a race setting and also how it would respond to higher voltage. Carnivore advertises the unit as compatible with 12-16 volts, so I ran the unit off my truck's cigarette lighter on my 2 hour drive to the dragstrip. What I found was much faster heating and cooling at 13.7-14 volts (alternator voltage) than 12 volts. It easily heated the bottle from 75°F to 94°F in the two hour drive. In fact, it reached 94°F with time to spare, so I lowered the set temperature and found that it cooled much quicker at the higher voltage as well. I have not tested it at 16 volts, but I have no doubt it would work even faster when pushed to the upper end of the acceptable voltage range.

At the track, I used the unit to maintain bottle pressure until it was time to use that bottle. Talk about a time saver! Things get hectic between rounds of qualifying and eliminations, and taking time to watch a normal bottle heater is time that could be spent making changes or repairs to the race car, studying the data from the previous run or even just resting or getting a bite to eat. As long as there is at least 12 volts supplied to the unit, the temperature stayed right where I set it. When the time came to put the bottle in the car, there was no thrashing to get it to the proper pressure.

The Nitrousaurus-X system is not just for use outside the race vehicle, either. It's designed to be mounted in the vehicle, taking the place of traditional bottle brackets. It even has threaded inserts molded into the bottom for easy mounting. With the Nitrousaurus-X system you get four functions at once: bottle brackets, heater, cooler and blanket. Battery drain is very low, only 5 amps when heating or cooling and only about half of an amp when maintaining temperature. That's much less current draw than your typical resistance-style heaters which can suck a battery dry quickly.

The controls are very simple. A probe inside the unit senses the temperature of the bottle, and there is a digital display that shows the temperature of the bottle and also the pre-set temperature when the heat or cool button is depressed. To raise the pre-set temperature, press the heat button until the display shows the desired setting. To lower the set temperature, hold down the cool button. Not too difficult! Lots of things take skill...this isn't one of them.

Another advantage of precise temperature control is reduced purging. Nitrous is typically $4.00-$4.50/lb, and depending on how much pressure you have to purge off to get to your desired tune, you could easily be spending $2-$6 on each pass just for purging teh system! With the Nitrousaurus-X running in the staging lanes in your car, even if there is a big oil down and a long wait, the bottle will be at the desired pressure when it's time to make your run. The only purging that might be needed is following a change of bottles to get the air out of the line or to rid the line of any gaseous nitrous. Over the course of a typical race season, the major reduction in purging could add up to a considerable amount of money. For example, if the average purge uses $4 of nitrous per pass and you only make 100 runs per year, that will more than pay for the Nitrousaurus-X unit. Obviously this is a great return on the investment!

At this time, only a 10 lb. bottle version is being produced. If you'd like to see a 15 lb version or even a dual bottle setup, go to, contact Dennis Clark, and let him know what you'd like to see available! He can be reached at 866-405-8795 or

Overall, I've had a very positive experience with the Nitrousaurus-X system and Carnivore Performance. It's my recommendation that anyone serious about the performance of their nitrous-fed race or street car will benefit from the Nitrousaurus-X. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

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Copyright 2009 Bruce Johnson and Craig Watson