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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

What have been your experiences with the following companies?

California Air Tools

Campbell Hausfeld

ROLAIR

I am leaning toward the California Air Tools due to the physical size and features available from them, but it seems that company hasn't been around as long as the other two.

Does anyone have any experience (especially with long-term reliability) of California Air Tools?

Any other input is welcome as well. Thank you!
 

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Well.... what are you going to with it? I’ve got a 7.5Hp, 80 gal, Ingersoll Rand. It can handle 20scf a min @125 psi. So unless you are a body shop, it’s plenty.

but, buy twice as much compressor than you think you need.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am considering getting two of the BendPak RBJ4500 Rolling Bridge Jacks. The specifications for them say they need 20 cfm at 100 psi.

I don't have three phase power. The most I can do is single phase 240 V @ 60 Hz. It seems that most of the motors on the units I find interesting are induction motors. Since induction motors have such huge inrush currents when starting, I would like to try to keep the current draw as low as possible. Ideally, I would pick a motor with no more than about 17 Amps steady-state, so allowing 3x for the inrush current would still be less than about 50 A @ 240V, which is the what the wiring in my garage is rated to support.

Also, I would like to keep the weight of the compressor down so it will be easier to deal with. Even better is a compressor which is portable. ROLAIR has one that is portable, weighs a little less than 300 lbs, but the cfm is slightly short of the 20 cfm (it is 18.8 cfm, which is probably close enough), but the induction motor draws 28 Amps. The inrush to that induction motor would probably be in the 75 Amp range. I don't want to slam every electronic device in my house every time it kicks on.

You mentioned Ingersoll Rand. I have already looked at those, but I looked again just now. I do like the Ingersoll Rand 7100E10, but that is 3 phase and weighs over 1000 lbs (not something I could install myself), and heaven only knows how much current it would draw (I can't find the specification on that). Anyway, the 3 phase makes it out of the question anyway.

What I need is a high hp motor, not induction-based (I know that would make the motor less durable, but I will run it very little), high cfm, smaller tank (to save weight and space), single phase. I just can't find anything like that.

What to do, what to do, what to do...
 

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Ok, to use a bridge jack (s), you don’t need 20 cfm. 20 cfm is a LOT of air. Even if it did use 20cfm, it’s not for a long time. What you require is volume.

my compressor is single phase, 240v, on a 30A circuit. I used to use it for doing light body work, (da sanders, hvlp paint guns, impact guns..) and it never broke a sweat. I’d bet that any compressor with about 40 gallons of tank, will be plenty.

i piped my garage (45x32) with Garage Pac 1/2” lines and fittings. The compressor doesn’t have to move, and I just plug tools in where needed, keeping the hoses shorter.. No 50+ foot hoses.

the IR 2475-N5 5 Hp or similar 80 gal would fit your requirements.

I would avoid oil less compressors. They are REALLY loud, and run hot., (not good for any kind of hd use)

invest in a good filter and a moisture separator.

If if I were to do it again, I’d have built a room to house the compressor. Oil lubed is quieter than oilless, but it’s still loud.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I did note that all of their rolling bridge jacks, including the RBJ25000, have the same cfm specifications. I didn't understand why a pair of jacks rated at 4,500 lbs each would need as much air as a pair of jacks rated at 25,000 lbs each. Also, it did not make sense to me why even a pair rated at 50,000 lbs total would need 20 cfm if the air is in a contained system that isn't venting. I understand that with a higher volume flow rate it would go up faster, but I still can't see why 100 psi at a low but steady volume flow rate wouldn't be able to get the job done, but just lifting much more slowly. It is on my to-do list to call BendPak to see if they will give me a more accurate specification.

Although portable isn't required, it would be nice. When we had the eye of the remnants of Hurricane Michael pass overhead last fall, all three vehicles had to go into the garage. I had to take a lot of stuff out of the garage, put all three vehicles inside, and then play 3D-Tetris to get everything else back in. The fewer fixed things there are, the more options that gives and easier it becomes. Also, the sprinkler system is on the other side of the house, so if it isn't portable I will have to run a 100 ft air hose to blow it out. Of course, that is only once per year around late November or early December, so it isn't a big deal.

Which Ingersoll Rand model do you have? Thank you!
 

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The new equivalent is a 2475-n7.5. It's plenty big enough.

A long line isn't a problem for what you are thinking of doing with the sprinkler system. Long lines are a problem for high flow applications like HVLP painting.

Pretty sure that ANY compressor in the 5 Hp range would easily accomplish what you need... But like I said, try to avoid the oil less compressors. They will overheat and fail. I've got a very nice piston, con rod paperweight to prove it. lol...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I never updated this thread with what I finally did.

I got the Rolair from Wisconsin. It is single phase 240 V, wired on a 50 Amp circuit.

Before I turned it on the first time, I wanted to take precautions about how much inrush current the induction motor would draw. So, to minimize the load on the motor at staring, I opened the tank drain valve, opened the pilot unloader valve, and opened the valve at the bottom of the manifold close to the output of the cylinders themselves. With those valves open, that was as close to zero load on the pumps as possible.

I then shut off every single breaker in the house, other than the one to the compressor itself.

As someone else turned the compressor on, I measured the inrush current in the breaker box on that one active breaker. The inrush current peaked between 148 and 149 Amps. Geez. I was hoping that the induction motor wouldn't actually draw 3x to 5x the operating current during inrush, especially with the pumps offloaded, although I knew it was possible... Anyway, thankfully, the inrush current didn't last long enough to trip the breaker. So, that is a win.

All in, I am quite happy with it, although I do wish the inrush current were substantially less.

Next up is a Bendpak HD-9 with two RBJ4500. I have the air for them now. :)

Oh, by the way, I got the ATD Tools 7763 air filter/dryer from toolpan<dot>com, plumbed it with Milton 1/2" G-style couplers and plugs, 1/2" Anderson Metals elbows and pipe fittings, various lengths of 1/2" Goodyear and 1/2" Continental hoses, and other parts from Dixon Valve round it all out. The only items I bought for this setup which were not made in the USA were some Eaton 5657-12 dust caps for the G-style couplers. All of the other ones I was able to get from Dixon.
 

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That sounds like a really nice setup you have put together, Rodney. Maybe what I would do if I still had an income, and wasn't spending so much money on Ron Fellows schools.

I thought that initial current is what starter capacitors are for. Obviously, short duration surges are OK with normal (non-GFCI) circuit breakers.
 

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Just FYI I have had this small Campbell Hausfeld for about 20 years. 5 HP, 22 gal tank and you can see the other specs on the label; it is clearly not up to your needs or the spec on your new compressor. But wanted to note that has been very reliable. Only problem I ever had was that it once developed a leaky shutoff valve and would slowly lose pressure but had it fixed and it has been fine ever since. Always check/drain the tank at least once a year. It is an oil-less compressor and as such is a bit noisier that regular ones. Since it holds pressure for a long time I leave it shut off until I need to add some pressure. Also something you might want to consider: I have it piped through a manifold of copper pipe for both a garage connector and down to my basement workshop to have air there when I need it. Very handy and easy to do as I assume you can sweat 1/2 inch copper pipes. Only had to run about 20' of pipe. Food for thought. -Bob

PS I have to once again ask, why can't this website provide a way for pictures to be rotated so they are upright? The picture below is upright on my phone, on my computer and on other forums. Have been asking for a long time, been told admin is working on it, but have not seen the improvement. Unless I am missing it. -Bob
 

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I have had this Campbell Hausfeld for about 20 years. 5 HP, 22 gal tank and you can see the other specs on the label; don't know that it is enough for you but wanted to note that has been very reliable. Only problem I ever had was that it once developed a leaky shutoff valve and would slowly lose pressure but had it fixed and it has been fine ever since. Always check/drain the tank at least once a year. It is an oil-less compressor and as such is a bit noisier that regular ones. Since it holds pressure for a long time I leave it shut off until I need to add some pressure. I have it piped through a manifold of copper pipe for both a garage connector and down to my basement workshop to have air there when I need it. Very handy and easy to do. Anyway, my $.20. -Bob
Nice, compact unit, and it plugs in to a standard 110VAC outlet. My only concern is your use of copper pipe. I have been told that that is dangerous for compressed air.

EDIT: Never mind, I don't know where I got that information. Nothing wrong with copper piping, as far as I can tell.
 

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Oh, and bridge jacks aren't using the air to directly move the jacks, they are using the air to power the hydraulic pump that moves the jacks.
 

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Ok, I'll back you up.. DON'T use COPPER pipe. Most copper pipe is crap. Don't use PVC, (yes, people try...)

Look, if you really are on a budget, use black steel pipe with threaded connections. An actual air line supply system isn't that expensive. I used Garage Pac and it was less than $500 for 100ft of pipe, and all the fittings, (elbows, tees, outlets, drains, 1/2"id pipe) I did my garage, put 5 outlets in various places.. When I later finished the garage, (insulation, framing, drywall), I removed 2 legs and used them to plumb my wife's welding studio. (Yes, she is an artist and she welds metal sculptures amongst other art. Virginia Sperry Studio)
 

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Nice, compact unit, and it plugs in to a standard 110VAC outlet. My only concern is your use of copper pipe. I have been told that that is dangerous for compressed air.

EDIT: Never mind, I don't know where I got that information. Nothing wrong with copper piping, as far as I can tell.
Actually, 1/2" copper is fine as it has a maximum working pressure of 1,242 psi, but what is dangerous is regular PVC pipe, which can explode with a lot of shrapnel; one needs schedule 40 if using PVC but there is better purpose-made plastic piping out there for compressed air. I have used copper for years simply because it is really quite cheap, I am comfortable sweating copper pipe and know it works for this. I have a moisture trap and drain in the basement for that part of the line. --Bob
 

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Hello Everyone,

What have been your experiences with the following companies?

Campbell Hausfeld

Any other input is welcome as well. Thank you!
I bought a Campbell Hausfeld compressor at a flea market 19 years ago. It was always a bit noisy, but it got the job done for me (airing up tires and powering a couple of air tools from time to time). It became more and more noisy, until one day it would not get up to pressure. So, a closer look revealed:
20190601_113401.jpg
and:
20190601_113423.jpg

After quite a bit of shopping around, I found someone who had replacement piston and cylinder for this obsolete unit:
20190826_115949.jpg

Meanwhile, I went to the local big box hardware store and bought this unit:
20190826_120054.jpg

I found the Kobalt unit to be much quieter, and with sufficient capacity for my use. I finally received the replacement parts for the old C/H unit, and by the time I put it back together, it was quieter than it ever had been since I bought it. So, now I have two compressors.

My conclusion is that an oil-free, direct drive air compressor can last probably 30+ years with infrequent use before the piston performance drops off. My advice is to buy a reliable brand, like those listed in the OP, or Ingersoll Rand, just get the most you feel you can afford. Buy it new, not at a flea market, because you won't save that much money anyway.

As I find myself ambling into geezerhood, it seems that anything I buy that will last 30+ years, I am buying for someone else, anyway. :)
 
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