More air system trouble
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  1. #1
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    More air system trouble

    So I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but I seem to have air system problems way too often. I used to have one of those large desiccant dryers right off the valve of my compressor and I guess it was getting slammed by so much moisture that it would get "full" in no time, then pass that moisture and desiccant bits down the rubber hose onto the water separator/filter/regulator combo I have causing the exit of the dryer, the hose and water separator filter to get filled with the desiccant severely slowing air flow and eventually rotting. I got rid of the desiccant dryer and replaced that with an aluminum heat exchanger, which I mounted on the wall above the compressor, followed by a large water separator, and finally back down to the same combo separator/filter/regulator to my hoses. The regulator started to leak pretty badly a couple weeks ago, so I finally got a chance to check it out and I found that the quick disconnect to the combo setup blew out rusty, mushy crap and then the cans of the water separator and filter had this weird white mushy junk in it. I'm not sure what I am doing incorrectly with my setup. I don't know if I'm not changing the filters often enough, draining the separators often enough or if my setup caused the regulator to leak. Any advice would be welcomed.

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  2. #2
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    Re: More air system trouble

    It looks like you have several issues of design there and/or a blown gasket in the compressor.

    The heat ex changer is doing nothing hanging on the wall like that. Airflow is non existent at best. The iron pipes are rusting and the rust is going into the separator, clogging it up. The rust is continuing down into the Filter, clogging it up. It looks like a water drainage problem.

    The cast zamak or aluminum alloy of the regulator is probably corroding (galvanic corrosion) in contact with the Iron pipe., giving you wonderful white corrosion particles. Use copper and brass pipe instead.

    Do you have a drain on your compressor tank? Do you drain it daily after use? Are the separators and filters self draining or manual? Manual ones have to be watched like a hawk to keep from filling on a humid day.

    On top of all that, the regulators/filter is located at the bottom of a loop between the reel and the separator. At least make the separator level with them They just collect water there. Set the hoses and parts so the filters/reg/coalesc are where the water runs away from them, not toward them gravity wise.

    Not trying to be mean about it, but I'd say the reg/filter/coalesc/ exchanger are pretty much toast. Your lines including the one on the reel.will need to be flushed clean or replaced.

    While you're at it, check the compressor to ensure the compressor oil is good (not white or weird) and it is not blowing oil into the line. This would be caused by bad gaskets in the compressor.



    Hope you get it sorted out.
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  3. #3
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    Re: More air system trouble

    Just for the heck of it, have you ever had to add oil to the compressor? If so, what kind and brand did you add?
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  4. #4
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    Re: More air system trouble

    All what he said, plus, you need at least 50' of pipe before any sort of moisture control.

  5. #5
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    Re: More air system trouble

    Here is a old thread from another forum where I discussed my system. There is a lot of info on the net about how to set up a system.

    https://www.garagejournal.com/forum/...d.php?t=320787

    and somewhere to start studying:

    https://garage.eastwood.com/eastwood...d-air-systems/

    It takes a lot of reading, but it is worth it. Check out the major regulator manufacturers websites. they have a lot of info in there.
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  6. #6
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    Re: More air system trouble

    i think your filter/reg is stuffed from the desiccant going through it.
    sounds like the desiccant outlet filter failed.
    desiccant should be after the filters, not before it. dirt oil from the compressor stuffs it, properly caused it to clog and destroy the outlet filter letting it go through the system.

    pipes will need a big clean or replace. i suggest strip and clean all air tools.
    get rid of any iron pipe .

    mount the cooler off the wall and run a fan on it.
    tho it would be better to have the cooler mounted between the compressor and the tank. much more efficient heat transfer and gets rid of a slow point.
    keep the cooler lower in the room where its cooler. use ambient air temp to your advantage as much as possible.

    also get rid of as many quick disconnects as you can. they are horrible for air flow.

  7. #7
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    Re: More air system trouble

    Way too much over thinking there. My system runs two 7.5 HP IR compressors with a timer drain on each tank, 1' black iron pipe to the shop, The first 75' goes uphill from the compressor outlets 14' vertically with another drain leg on that. No filter or regulator, If I do use a filter/regulator for painting etc. it's plugged into the nearest drop. I very rarely see any moisture in this system. But I do live in a low humidity area. My experience with desiccant filters is not that good, I use coalescing filters for moisture. Had a "Motorgard" brand come apart and plugged every nook and cranny in my plasma cutter. No Bueno for me any more.

  8. #8
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    Re: More air system trouble

    Are your auto drains working properly, not plugged up and expelling moisture, if so can you increase the cycle time and/or interval so more moisture is removed each cycle, are they electric drains or pnuematic?
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  9. #9
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    Re: More air system trouble

    Best thing I ever got was the HF air drier. Works a treat! My strait air hose is like a water hose at times, not a drop threw the drier.

    https://www.harborfreight.com/compre...yer-40211.html
    12v battery, jumper cables, and a 6013.
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  10. #10
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    Re: More air system trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by Housedad View Post
    It looks like you have several issues of design there and/or a blown gasket in the compressor.

    The heat ex changer is doing nothing hanging on the wall like that. Airflow is non existent at best. The iron pipes are rusting and the rust is going into the separator, clogging it up. The rust is continuing down into the Filter, clogging it up. It looks like a water drainage problem.

    The cast zamak or aluminum alloy of the regulator is probably corroding (galvanic corrosion) in contact with the Iron pipe., giving you wonderful white corrosion particles. Use copper and brass pipe instead.

    Do you have a drain on your compressor tank? Do you drain it daily after use? Are the separators and filters self draining or manual? Manual ones have to be watched like a hawk to keep from filling on a humid day.

    On top of all that, the regulators/filter is located at the bottom of a loop between the reel and the separator. At least make the separator level with them They just collect water there. Set the hoses and parts so the filters/reg/coalesc are where the water runs away from them, not toward them gravity wise.

    Not trying to be mean about it, but I'd say the reg/filter/coalesc/ exchanger are pretty much toast. Your lines including the one on the reel.will need to be flushed clean or replaced.

    While you're at it, check the compressor to ensure the compressor oil is good (not white or weird) and it is not blowing oil into the line. This would be caused by bad gaskets in the compressor.



    Hope you get it sorted out.
    Ugh, I had a feeling that my design was a cluster**** of problems. So can I run a rubber hose off of the outlet valve on the tank to the heat exchanger like it is, but mount it between the fan and compressor motor? I have not checked the oil in the compressor recently. I changed it a couple weeks ago, it doesn't seem low and there is a low oil shutoff on the compressor. I thought I heard of people using iron pipe in their set ups before? I guess I will have to eliminate the use of anything that is ferrous. The compressor has an auto drain that releases after each compressor cycle. I'll take everything apart and redo everything with a new coalescence/filter/regulator mounted slightly above everything else, only non-ferrous fittings and pipe, mount the heat exchanger to the guard of the compressor between the motor, and make sure my second hose and reel hose aren't full of crud. I don't think you are being mean, I wanted honesty in the advice. I would be surprised if the gasket was blown since the compressor is slightly underrated to run my dynafile, but it does keep up, only turning on every 30 seconds or so (I haven't actually timed it) while I'm using that air tool.


    Quote Originally Posted by Housedad View Post
    Just for the heck of it, have you ever had to add oil to the compressor? If so, what kind and brand did you add?
    I changed the oil recently and I bought oil for my Chicago Pneumatic compressor to avoid any warranty problems or just problems in general. I have never had to add oil and it does have a low oil shutoff. I realize that it could potentially go bad, but the sight glass shows it to be full.


    Quote Originally Posted by walker View Post
    All what he said, plus, you need at least 50' of pipe before any sort of moisture control.
    I'm limited on space, (my biggest gripe at the moment) so running that much line isn't really feasible until I have a bigger shop.


    Quote Originally Posted by Housedad View Post
    Here is a old thread from another forum where I discussed my system. There is a lot of info on the net about how to set up a system.

    https://www.garagejournal.com/forum/...d.php?t=320787

    and somewhere to start studying:

    https://garage.eastwood.com/eastwood...d-air-systems/

    It takes a lot of reading, but it is worth it. Check out the major regulator manufacturers websites. they have a lot of info in there.
    Thank you, I will check those out.


    Quote Originally Posted by tweake View Post
    i think your filter/reg is stuffed from the desiccant going through it.
    sounds like the desiccant outlet filter failed.
    desiccant should be after the filters, not before it. dirt oil from the compressor stuffs it, properly caused it to clog and destroy the outlet filter letting it go through the system.

    pipes will need a big clean or replace. i suggest strip and clean all air tools.
    get rid of any iron pipe .

    mount the cooler off the wall and run a fan on it.
    tho it would be better to have the cooler mounted between the compressor and the tank. much more efficient heat transfer and gets rid of a slow point.
    keep the cooler lower in the room where its cooler. use ambient air temp to your advantage as much as possible.

    also get rid of as many quick disconnects as you can. they are horrible for air flow.
    I tossed the whole desiccant thing a while ago because of all the **** that it messed up in the previous system, I guess some of that desiccant was left in the inlet fitting of the combo thing I have. I'm going to buy a new one and start all over with the whole setup, minus the hoses if I'm lucky enough where they didn't get full of any rust and other junk.

    I'm going to mount the exchanger between the fan and the tank. My shop is in the garage where I don't have any control over the temperature. I have 2 disconnects to make it easier to service the system in the case that my design sucks and I need to fix it or for maintenance. There are only 2 disconnects, the one you see and another that connects to the hose reel.


    Quote Originally Posted by 12V71 View Post
    Way too much over thinking there. My system runs two 7.5 HP IR compressors with a timer drain on each tank, 1' black iron pipe to the shop, The first 75' goes uphill from the compressor outlets 14' vertically with another drain leg on that. No filter or regulator, If I do use a filter/regulator for painting etc. it's plugged into the nearest drop. I very rarely see any moisture in this system. But I do live in a low humidity area. My experience with desiccant filters is not that good, I use coalescing filters for moisture. Had a "Motorgard" brand come apart and plugged every nook and cranny in my plasma cutter. No Bueno for me any more.
    Like you, I will never use desiccant again, not just because my use of the one I had was flawed, but I don't want to have to worry about it or have to change it. I wish I lived in a low moisture area, but that is not the case. My garage is about 13 x 20, so I cannot realistically run that much pipe, especially when I'm hoping to be in a bigger space by Fall.


    Quote Originally Posted by CAVEMANN View Post
    Are your auto drains working properly, not plugged up and expelling moisture, if so can you increase the cycle time and/or interval so more moisture is removed each cycle, are they electric drains or pnuematic?
    The compressor has an auto drain that releases after each cycle and the water separators I have are supposed to auto drain. Since the regulator has been busted and leaking the system has been running at a much higher pressure than when I had the regulator set at 90psi, so every air tool I have used during that time caused the cycle time of the compressor to be significantly longer, especially my dynafile, which is rated for demands slightly higher than my compressors output and would run constantly until the use of the dynafile ceased. I have tried to use the air compressor as little as possible lately.

  11. #11
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    Re: More air system trouble

    How do you expect to take heat out of the air stream after the air has already cooled to room temperature in the tank?

  12. #12
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    Re: More air system trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil5 View Post
    How do you expect to take heat out of the air stream after the air has already cooled to room temperature in the tank?
    What makes you say that?

  13. #13
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    Re: More air system trouble

    I would put a auto drain on the tank if there isn’t one already. You could then mount your cooler to your compressor so the flywheel fan moves air through it copper pipe looped around from the cylinder outlet to the cooler will provide extra cooling. Make sure cooler is mounted with outlet down or it will fill with water. You could put a colescing filter between the cooler and tank or on the tank outlet depending where you want to try to remove the water
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  14. #14
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    Re: More air system trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by DanRT View Post
    What makes you say that?
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  15. #15
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    Re: More air system trouble

    Another thing to consider with an undersize compressor is that it runs nearly constantly and never allows the air to cool and condense moisture in the tank.

  16. #16
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    Re: More air system trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by DanRT View Post

    I'm going to mount the exchanger between the fan and the tank. My shop is in the garage where I don't have any control over the temperature.
    it really needs to have the hose go from compressor to cooler to tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil5 View Post
    How do you expect to take heat out of the air stream after the air has already cooled to room temperature in the tank?
    Quote Originally Posted by 12V71 View Post
    Another thing to consider with an undersize compressor is that it runs nearly constantly and never allows the air to cool and condense moisture in the tank.
    tanks do not cool down air very well. better than nothing but cooling surface to air volume is crap.
    plus if your using it when its running the hot wet air goes in and straight out of the tank with no real cooling and taking the water with it. even worse if the tank outlet in near the inlet.

    using a cooler after the tank is ok, but you usually need a much bigger cooler for it to be effective and not reduce your air flow.

    compressed air dryers are great. however some cheap small ones leave out one of the heat exchangers which makes them less efficient and can cause problems with cold air hitting your tools, and the tools sweating.
    also they have fairly low max inlet air temps so you need to run a cooler before it. there is high temp ones made which basically have their own cooler built into it.

  17. #17
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    Re: More air system trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by VPT View Post
    Best thing I ever got was the HF air drier. Works a treat! My strait air hose is like a water hose at times, not a drop threw the drier.

    https://www.harborfreight.com/compre...yer-40211.html
    Does that dryer have to be on all the time?

    If not how does it work?
    Do you have to turn it on manually when you want air?


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  18. #18
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    Re: More air system trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    Does that dryer have to be on all the time?

    If not how does it work?
    Do you have to turn it on manually when you want air?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    its a refrigerated dryer. need to turn it on a little while to cool down before you need to use air.

    judging by the reviews, its a cheap unit thats missing the one of the heat exchangers. the tell tale sign is the people complaining of cold air outlet and it "blocks up" after a lot of running.
    tho you could fix that by getting one out of a scraped machine. the heat exchanger cools down the incoming air using the outgoing air, which also warms up the outgoing air.
    that increases efficiency and stops icing up issues.

  19. #19
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    More air system trouble

    Yeah
    That’s what I thought...

    Seems like a pain in the neck unless you leave it on 24/7

    When I need air I like to be able to just grab the hose and it works.

    I run a motor guard filter and a big desiccant filter along with a tank auto drain.

    That simple set up seems to work pretty good

    But I’m not painting

    Only using air tools and plasma cutter occasionally


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  20. #20
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    More air system trouble

    ........
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  21. #21
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    Re: More air system trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    Yeah
    That’s what I thought...

    Seems like a pain in the neck unless you leave it on 24/7

    When I need air I like to be able to just grab the hose and it works.

    I run a motor guard filter and a big desiccant filter along with a tank auto drain.

    That simple set up seems to work pretty good

    But I’m not painting

    Only using air tools and plasma cutter occasionally


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    not recommended to leave them on 24/7. those type are like your fridge except the compressor in them runs all the time. there is another type (cyclic dryer) which turns on/of like your fridge but i'm not sure if they are available that small. still i wouldn't leave one of them running all the time either as it increases power bill for no gain.

    as long as you get the compressed air cooled down, a standard filter will do most of what you need. the only added bit is a coalescing filter. usually can get them in the modules like your pressure reg and filter. just cost a bit more. make sure it has a differential pressure gauge on it.

  22. #22
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    Re: More air system trouble

    I turn mine on when I need it. Flip the switch, within seconds it is chilled and ready to work. After I am done I switch it off and pull the hose.

    No issues with it yet. Nearly a year with it now, I run it for my plasma table which I use every other day for a few hours or so depending how much work I have.
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  23. #23
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    Re: More air system trouble

    Is the white, milky stuff oil from your air compressor? Did you use motor oil?
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