Air Compressor Plumbing

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CoupeBoy
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Air Compressor Plumbing

Post #1 by CoupeBoy » Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:41 pm

I recently bought a "real" aircompressor.

My old Campbell Hausefeld
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MAGNA FORCE 60 GAL. VERTICAL AIR COMPRESSOR
It worked good for years for airing up tires and very, very minimal tool operation.
But it was worthless for anything that consumed large quantities of air.
And it seemed like it had to run forever to get up to max pressure (shutoff) and as soon as I started using it, I'd be listening to it run again.

Earlier this year, I bought, but haven't built a Harbor Freight 40lb sandblast cabinet, and I plan on buying a 100lb compressed tank style for big jobs like engine bays or frames.
I bought a Chinese hand held plasma from my neighbor, one of the reasons I think I had problems with it was an inconsistent air supply.
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There was a bit of a learning curve..
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Eventually I'm going to try my hand at painting. All these require air, lots of clean, dry air.

All of my previous air compressors have either been the "all in one" type where you take it out of the box, screw in the air hose quick connector and start using it.

The one I bought went on sale, $50 off, which I promptly paid back to them to extend the warranty from 2yrs to 4yrs.
I've been doing my best to follow the instructions
Single Stage, Belt Drive, Electric Air Compressors Operator Manual
I luckily have a professional electrician for a neighbor so the wiring is done.

This is the first time I've ever seen blade connectors for 230v connection.
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I already followed the 1/2hr initial break in procedure, followed by an oil change.

Now comes the real fun part, the plumbing of air lines.

This is the diagram they include in the manual as a
Typical Installation.
There are some parts of this recommendation that make me scratch my head and I will be deviating for my installation.
For example, I don't think I'll be doing the drop line top U-bends before dropping down, I think I will simply Tee off the main line and drop it right down.
And I will not be adding in the bypass(es)
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So far.. 1" out of the compressor to a 1" ball valve to a 1"x1"x1" Tee, moisture trap on the bottom, and up top I screwed in a 1" male x 1/4" female plug/adapter so I could hook up a cheap pressure regulator I had sitting around until I get the rest of the system created. This isn't how it is actually plumbed in, this was my dry fit testing, where I found that I needed to reverse the ball valve orientation, in this picture, I couldn't open the valve all the way because the handle ran into the tank. :bang: but that is exactly why I did a dry fitting before wrapping all the fittings with teflon tape and tightening them down.
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My shop is 28x32, whichever previous owner built the shop put in (3) x 220/230/240 (whatever you kids are calling it these days) plug ins.
1 by the single car garage door, and then diagonally across the garage in the farthest away corner, he put one down low in the corner and another about 6ft away.
The compressor calls for 15amp, but my plugins all say they are 30amp.
Good thing these are P&S instead of P-n-S, otherwise I'd have to use my inner child voice and laugh at them.
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This is the part I gripe a little bit.. it was $33 at Home Depot for the 10-3 wire (8ft) and the plug in end.
$33 for a simple plug in pig tail.. I've bought plenty of oven and clothes drier pig tails over the years for about $15-20 each, I never thought building my own would cost more..
(rant over, force myself to remember I'm trying to 'do it right' the first time)

My plan is to keep it as simple as possible and keep it all 1" for the main line, but from what I'm seeing, dropping down to 3/4" may be more cost effective.
I've been looking into using a short hydraulic line (2-4ft) after the ball valve and Tee, to get over to the wall and then I'll mount a "Master" pressure regulator (set at 100-120lbs) and at minimum some sort of moisture/oil trap.
Then I'll run it up to the ceiling and around the South and West walls of the shop with a couple drops at the workbench (southwest corner), between the doors I want one connection up high for a future hose reel, one down low for general use, and potentially one through the wall to the outside for future sandblasting (or painting), and then back up along the ceiling line, I'll continue the run over to the corner and add another drop for the sand blast cabinet.

I may connect the outside air connection to the same drop as the line for the sand blaster. The reason for that is I am planning on adding a desiccant drier on that line to ensure the cleanest/driest air.
Each drop along the walls would have its own pressure regulator (90lbs) and drain. (see letter "k" in the diagram above)
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Re: Air Compressor Plumbing

Post #2 by rbohm » Sat Jun 11, 2016 9:51 pm

use the U drops, it helps keep water out of the line that go to the tools. the air compressor will generate a lot of moisture in the system, and you need to keep that out of the tools.
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woodbutcher
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Re: Air Compressor Plumbing

Post #3 by woodbutcher » Sun Jun 12, 2016 12:40 pm

:hmmm: I think that the 30 amp notation on the wall plug is the max rating for that plug.Also just a little FYI,keep the supply lines about 4 feet off the floor.It`s a lot safer for you to install and work on.Don`t use black iron or galvanized pipe as eventually you will have rust and other problems with it.Might want to check into the Rapidair plumbing systems for air distribution.Comes in 3/4" id.I believe that Maxline is the maker.
Good luck.Have fun.Be safe.
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Re: Air Compressor Plumbing

Post #4 by ludwig » Sun Jun 12, 2016 7:26 pm

What Leo said about the receptacles. That is the max amperage rating.

If the specs call for 15 amps, you change the breaker at the box, not the receptacle. Put in a 15A 220 breaker. OTOH, if that is the average load rating (15A), you might want a 20 amp breaker for spikes, like at motor startup. Use the 15A first if that is the motor label rating. The worst that could happen is that it trips frequently. If so, it's too small. Then go to 20.

I'm kind of surprised at the small amperage of some of the modern motors you buy these days. I just got an air bath tub that wants a 15A, 120V. Seems kind of small to me for a water pump and blower, but that's what it says on the label.

I have a Sears compressor, new like a year ago. Made in China, what else. The bedrooms require AFCI (arc fault circuit interruptors). They read the load curve and cut off if it is a square wave - like a short circuit in the wire. Except that this stupid compressor takes off from 0 to max in one turn, so the breaker always trips because it thinks there is a short. If there was a capacitor in the switch, I don't think it would be a problem. Part of me is waiting for Sears to finally go down the drain. The other part of me wants Sears to finally get it together and get good again.

The reason I mention my compressor is that you probably have a China-made compressor too and it will pull max voltage at startup, especially if it is recharging the tank rather than starting on an empty tank.
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CoupeBoy
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Re: Air Compressor Plumbing

Post #5 by CoupeBoy » Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:40 pm

woodbutcher wrote::hmmm: I think that the 30 amp notation on the wall plug is the max rating for that plug.
You are probably right, I'm not an electrician.
woodbutcher wrote:Also just a little FYI,keep the supply lines about 4 feet off the floor.It`s a lot safer for you to install and work on.
I understand the reasoning, but I am going up as high as I can on the wall and possibly across the ceiling.
woodbutcher wrote:Don`t use black iron or galvanized pipe as eventually you will have rust and other problems with it.Might want to check into the Rapidair plumbing systems for air distribution.Comes in 3/4" id.I believe that Maxline is the maker.
I've been looking at the kits and comparing costs with what I can buy retail. Where I work, we have a branch of the company that does all our building setup and maintenance. He said they use PEX and get their fittings from a local plumbing supply store. He also offered to get me the company discount after I get my plumbing planned out.

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Re: Air Compressor Plumbing

Post #6 by CoupeBoy » Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:50 pm

ludwig wrote:If the specs call for 15 amps, you change the breaker at the box, not the receptacle. Put in a 15A 220 breaker. OTOH, if that is the average load rating (15A), you might want a 20 amp breaker for spikes, like at motor startup. Use the 15A first if that is the motor label rating. The worst that could happen is that it trips frequently. If so, it's too small. Then go to 20.
As I stated before, I am no electrician, and my shop has (3) 220v outlets in it, I don't know if they are all on the same circuit or not, so at this time I am inclined to NOT change the breakers in the fuse box. What I may consider doing is creating a plug in for the original wall plug, then into a small fuse box. Then I'll pester my neighbor again and see what options I have for output. I will for certain have a couple 220v outlet ports on it with several styles of recepticles (old style/new styles/twist lock) the small box will have a 15amp breaker. For now it will only be used for the compressor, but with multiple recepticles it could be used for other purposes.
ludwig wrote:I'm kind of surprised at the small amperage of some of the modern motors you buy these days. I just got an air bath tub that wants a 15A, 120V. Seems kind of small to me for a water pump and blower, but that's what it says on the label.
I rarely question the electricians or their ratings.
ludwig wrote:I have a Sears compressor, new like a year ago. Made in China, what else. The bedrooms require AFCI (arc fault circuit interruptors). They read the load curve and cut off if it is a square wave - like a short circuit in the wire. Except that this stupid compressor takes off from 0 to max in one turn, so the breaker always trips because it thinks there is a short. If there was a capacitor in the switch, I don't think it would be a problem. Part of me is waiting for Sears to finally go down the drain. The other part of me wants Sears to finally get it together and get good again.

The reason I mention my compressor is that you probably have a China-made compressor too and it will pull max voltage at startup, especially if it is recharging the tank rather than starting on an empty tank.
I'll keep it in mind if I see anything weird.

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Re: Air Compressor Plumbing

Post #7 by B RON CO » Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:35 pm

Hi, I am not an electrician but I have done this many times. I learned from an electrician and feel my work is safe. I would either change the wall to match the compressor or make the compressor match the wall. 220 circuit plugs come in different shapes for different amp loads. So you can't plug a clothes dryer into an outlet for a small welder. The wall gives you 2 110 volt wires (probably black or red) and 1 neutral (probably white) and 1 bare copper. The panel box should have 2 circuit breakers one underneath the other kind of teamed together maybe 15, 20 or 30 amp. These 2 are hot. The white and copper join all the other neutral wires in the panel box and should not be hot. I would try 2 20 amp breakers which must match your panel box manufacturer ( Murray, Square D, etc). Make sure these are located and off before you touch anything. Everything in the panel box should be safe to touch except the center bar which the circuit breakers clip into. Any new or old wiring must be at least 12 gauge. Maybe 10 gauge on a very long run. As for the air pipe the drops will keep more moisture lower in the pipe and drier air for your tools. It looks like a good set up although the pipe run should be higher on the left and slightly pitch downward to the right. On my system I put 90 degree drain cocks at "K" and "D". I basically go from T to B with 1 inch copper, and I tried to use 2 45 degree bends separated by about a 1 foot section instead of all 90 degree bends for smoother airflow and less friction in the airline. A larger pipe will act as a log for a little more air storage and less restriction and better performance. My excuse to spend more on the supplies is that I save by doing it myself. A real air supply system is a whole lot better than plugging the air hose into the compressor. The run of the pipe will give the air a chance to cool off. Hot air contains more moisture. That is why you shouldn't put your dryer right onto the compressor. Good luck
B RON CO. Still workin' on it!

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