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Old 03-25-2007, 02:44 PM
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compressor help

I am in the market to get a air compressor. I have never had one before and am not sure what to look for. I looked at sears today and saw a couple I like but dont know if they will actually do what they say they do as far as run tools that I may use some day. I only want to buy once so I would rather get the right one the first time even if it is more than I need right now.
I am looking to spend around 450-500 for a 100 volt unit. Maybe 25-30 gal. tank.

Thanks for all your input and help guys and girls.

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Old 03-25-2007, 05:08 PM
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Are absolutely limited to 110 volts? What is going to be the main use for this compressor? Do you plan to do any auto body/paint work?
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Old 03-25-2007, 06:04 PM
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For $800.00 or a little less you can get a compressor that will probably handle anything you'll ever want to do with it. You can get a compressor in the $450.00-$500.00 range that will put out quite a bit of air but it'll have to be a 220v unit.

Danny
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Old 03-25-2007, 09:35 PM
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Well I just have 110 in my shop. 40 amp fuse so I kind of wanted to stay with that.
I would just use it for impact gun, ratchet, cut off tool and nailer but I may us it for a paint gun some day. That is why I wanted to get one that would do most things.
Maybe I will have to rethink this and go with 220 and run more [ower from the house.
How com everything worth while is 220.LOL. I guess its the old saying (need more power scotty).
Thanks for all the help. I guess I need to save more money to do it right the firt time.
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Old 03-26-2007, 01:10 AM
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I tried to get by with a little portable compressor that had a big "5 HP!" on the side, with little tiny print saying "peak". It worked ok for airing up tires, short bouts of running a siphon blaster, and laying on too much primer onto an '85 Caprice (and the surrounding landscape) using an old Binks sprayer. One day, it blew its little oilless piston right through the side of the compressor. I can't say it was wasted money, but I had intended to own a compressor not just pay for the use of an underpowered one for a while.

My next attempt went a little bit in the other extreme when I bought a 6 cylinder compressor at a military base surplus auction. It was originally powered by a 15 HP diesel engine and came with a 3/4" drive air ratchet and various tools for tank maintenance. The engine didn't run and the oversized tools ended up with my neighbor who runs a dozer and backhoe. I posted my intentions and questions here and oldred helped me determine the right motor size, duty and various parts needed to come up with an air system from that start.

Had I known how to make use of information from Hotrodders.com members here, I might not have let my eyes get so big over that tank maintenance compressor. A commercial unit can be had for less cost than what I eventually sank into my system. All together, I have a 90 CFM unit with a 60 gallon tank and a 7.5 HP 220V motor. It is a little short on pressure for some things, at 95 PSI.

You have the right idea: "do it right the first time".

[edited to add:]
Use that "search this forum" feature. It can save you some aggravation.

Last edited by grouch; 03-26-2007 at 01:12 AM. Reason: remembered something
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Old 03-26-2007, 01:20 AM
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There are quite a few threads on here about compresors. Do your research and Please, buy the best you can the first time. I see too many paople who are unhappy with what they thought was "good enough" for now.

Once you have a compressor and use it, you will use it for a lot more than you initially thought you would.

I have a 5 hp (portable) compressor with a 30 gallon tank. It is great for its portability, but almost useless around the garage. Air tools take a lot more air as does painting (been there..done that).

I currently own a 220V black max with a 60 gallon verticle tank. It is not two stage (as a commercial would be), but it works pretty good around the house. It does have trouble keeping up with my old DA though. Bigger is better in this case.

Oh...if you wire 220 into your garage..you then can run a MIG and whaterver other toys you can get.
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Old 03-26-2007, 06:14 AM
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Not having 220 in the shop can be a real handicap and unfortunately good compressors just don't come in 110 volt. Of the tools you listed a 110 will probably get you by ok with the notable exception of that cut-off tool, they are air hogs. The paint gun could also be used but you would be very limited as to the type and job size, HVLP guns simply would not work. If you do have to stay with the 110 then find the one with the highest AMP rating on the motor data plate and ignore any HP numbers listed because in all probability they will be phony. Don't even look, no don't even glance over, at the oil-less outfits because even though some of them may LOOK like they are decent sized they are VERY noisy, run really hot, wear out REALLY fast and almost never put out anywhere near as much air as they claim. Do that search on compressors and you will find that most of the non-commercial compressor makers simply lie about performance or at least stretch the truth to the breaking point and it is all too easy to get confused by these misleading sales tactics. With a bit of research you can go shopping with the info you will need to make the right choice and end up with a compressor that you can use and not one with just a great big tank and undersized pump that will not do the job.


Grouch- Just looking at those numbers you gave and thinking a bit, I am assuming a couple of things so I may be wrong, it would seem that with that much power you should be able to slow that pump down some more with a pulley change and easily get around 135 PSI or so at close to 30 CFM. A 7 1/2 HP electric motor should have nearly as much usable power as that 15 HP diesel.
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Old 03-26-2007, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoke
Well I just have 110 in my shop. 40 amp fuse so I kind of wanted to stay with that.
I would just use it for impact gun, ratchet, cut off tool and nailer but I may us it for a paint gun some day. That is why I wanted to get one that would do most things.
Maybe I will have to rethink this and go with 220 and run more [ower from the house.
How com everything worth while is 220.LOL. I guess its the old saying (need more power scotty).
Thanks for all the help. I guess I need to save more money to do it right the firt time.
Kind of answering your own question eh?

For the tools and uses you described IMHO wait and get a bigger 220v compressor. You'll find impacts and rachets don't have enough torque and da's, grinders, paint guns are "air eaters" and none perform well running on a lower CFM machines for any length of time - then there is also the issue of airline contamination from excessive running time from using a "too-small" compressor.

If you can find a well maintained unit and don't mind buying used...I found a used Commercial 5hp Devilbiss w/pressure blaster and extras for $850USD on craigslist.

This unit was used in a home shop so didn't have the hours a professional shop would have put on it - was clean and well maintained (one of the big things to check is the tank drain...if it's pushing out rusty looking water you have to be concerned about the life expetency of the tank.)

I ended up wiring a 125 amp sub-panel to the shop and ran 220v wiring to the compressor myself - not really a difficult task but the wiring materials cost nearly as much as the compressor - but - now I have a seperate panel feeding anything else I want to add to the shop later.

All in all I probably have about $1200.00 into the compressor, pressure blaster, sub-panel, wiring, conduit, copper pipe, regulator air/filters, couplings, hoses, etc (it all adds up ) ~ but I can handle anything I throw at this setup and it keeps up with no problems so ultimately well worth every penny and time spent.


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Old 03-26-2007, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
Grouch- Just looking at those numbers you gave and thinking a bit, I am assuming a couple of things so I may be wrong, it would seem that with that much power you should be able to slow that pump down some more with a pulley change and easily get around 135 PSI or so at close to 30 CFM. A 7 1/2 HP electric motor should have nearly as much usable power as that 15 HP diesel.
I can't find manufacturer's specs on the compressor and the little information that came with it (on tags) indicates it's rated at 90 psi. The lower pressure means it cycles on and off more often than it would if I pushed it to 135, but I don't know what (or even if) there is some part of it that causes it to be rated only to 90. At least it's not running continuously in a desert sandstorm in a battle zone now.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rambo_The_Dog
All in all I probably have about $1200.00 into the compressor, pressure blaster, sub-panel, wiring, conduit, copper pipe, regulator air/filters, couplings, hoses, etc (it all adds up ) ~ but I can handle anything I throw at this setup and it keeps up with no problems so ultimately well worth every penny and time spent.
That shows just how valuable the information shared around here really is. I ended up with about that much in just my compressor, tank and motor because I had so little information when I bought the first, most expensive part. In addition to not having all the wiring, sub-panel, etc., that you got, my compressor itself is almost a complete unknown with respect to what conditions it's been through, how much life is left in it, and where replacement parts will come from. It could be said that Hotrodders.com members could have saved me $400, if I had known to search here first.
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Old 03-26-2007, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
That shows just how valuable the information shared around here really is. I ended up with about that much in just my compressor, tank and motor because I had so little information when I bought the first, most expensive part. In addition to not having all the wiring, sub-panel, etc., that you got, my compressor itself is almost a complete unknown with respect to what conditions it's been through, how much life is left in it, and where replacement parts will come from. It could be said that Hotrodders.com members could have saved me $400, if I had known to search here first.
Sometimes you have to weed through some "chaff" in the reply posts but I have to agree this is a great site with some really good regular contributors whose advice can not only save you money - could even save your life or marriage or both
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Old 03-26-2007, 08:25 PM
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Look at Eaton compressor's site, I have the 5hp 80 gal single stage which is about 1200-1300 shipped to the house depending on where you live. It runs everything you mentioned and more. After having this, the motors & pumps on the home depot type compressors look like toys. This compressor is quiet & puts out enough air to pump up & shut off while running impacts, cutoffs, 1/4 & 3/8" ratchets, 6" DA sander, air hammer, air drill. The only thing I have that will make it run constant is a cheap die grinder holding the lever down, during normal use it will shut off. I'm one of the guys that was looking to get a 26 gal IR garagemate but got this instead & am SO GLAD that I got the one I did the first time around. Got to miss having conversations with the wife as to why I need another compressor when I already have one, etc. You will NEVER regret having too much compressor but you will regret too small of one everytime it won't do what you want it to.
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Old 03-26-2007, 09:00 PM
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Seems I am always harping about the compressor outfits stretching the truth about their specs (or just out right lying!) but Eaton is a notable exception. You can count on the numbers on those things and if it says 5 HP then it is 5 HP and the AMP rating on the data plate will back it up. Buying an Eaton is money well spent.
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Old 03-28-2007, 01:35 PM
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One mistake people make is that since they have a compressor, they feel like they need a lot of air tools. It costs more to run an air tool than an electric tool. An electric tool is a bit heavier than an air in most cases, but then you have a bulkier, heavier air hose to drag around. You can't unplug it and take it almost anywhere either. I was thinking about buying some more air tools until I ran across this. It makes perfectly good sense -- every time you have a ocnversion from one type of power to another you have a loss. With air it's a pretty big one! It costs 30-35% more to run an air tool over an electric.

Some things you can't do with electric power, but this is something that should be taken into consideration when planing your tool purchases. Just because you have air doesn't mean it's a good thing to use it! That said, I'm looking to buy a 60 gallon 220V compressor also. My 25 gallon 3 hp (peak) 110 direct drive (at least it's a piston compressor) just isn't enough anymore!
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Old 03-30-2007, 10:42 PM
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Thanks for all you advice and help everyone.
I am glad I didnt just go out and buy one.
Thank you.
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