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Old 03-28-2005, 04:48 PM
oldred oldred is offline
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Luke-there has been a lot of discussion about compressors here lately and we have been trying to expose the myths and misconceptions about air compressors. Number one rule DO NOT fall for the common sales gimmicks such as "peak" or "maximum developed" HP ratings as these mean NOTHING! Look at the AMP rating on the motor data plate as this tells the real story and I will bet that the compressors you mention are no more than 15 AMPS@230 volts.(a real 7 HP motor would be rated at over 30 AMPS@230 volts). Also don't be swayed by the size of the tank since the CFM is what runs your tools and tank size, which determines the on/off cycle rate, WILL NOT(contrary to popular belief!) help the compressor keep up with air hungry tools if the CFM rating is low. A lot of the manufacturers today simply mount a small pump with a low power motor on a big tank and then give ridiculously inflated power and performance numbers so that the buyer thinks he is getting a BIG compressor when in reality he is getting a machine that he will spend a lot of time waiting on for it to catch up! Campbell Hausfeld is one of the worst offenders out there for this shady type of marketing but unfortunately there are many others also so it is sometimes confusing trying to sort out the good from the bad. In my opinion, and building and installing air systems is part of what I have been doing for over 30 years, if the manufacturer uses dishonest sales methods such as inflated "peak" power ratings then I would strongly suggest looking to the more reputable companies like Ingersoll Rand, Eaton or Quincy for example. These will cost a little more but the performance difference is amazing! As a rule of thumb you will need at least 12 cfm@90psi and be prepared to spend some time waiting on it to catch up even with that when using a tool such as a DA sander, 18 CFM@90 PSI is much better and 24 CFM@90 PSI is better still! Remember there is just no such thing as a 60 or 80 or any "GALLON" compressor since when all else is said and done if the CFM is not there then nothing else means a thing as you will run out of air no matter what the tank size and HP numbers!
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