Older Hydrovane 502 compressor - suitable for intermittent use in small shop w/SMM2?
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  1. #1
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    Default Older Hydrovane 502 compressor - suitable for intermittent use in small shop w/SMM2?

    I recently got a Haas Super Mini Mill 2 for my workshop. We do light prototyping and R&D in this shop - have basic hand and power tools, a small lathe, laser cutter, manual mill, and now the SMM2. We were using a tiny 1HP 8gallon air compressor for light duty tasks (blowing things off, inflating things, etc.) but the SMM2 needs more air. It requires 4CFM @ 100psi minimum. So I'm looking to upgrade our air supply.

    We have some space constraints and I'd like to minimize the noise as much as possible. I came across an older Hydrovane 502 rotary vane compressor (pictured below) for sale locally. Talked to the seller and it sounds like it's seen very, very little use. There is also a dealer nearby that can service it if necessary. From what I see and read online, these Hydrovane compressors are pretty rare here in the US but I gather they're quite popular in the UK. It seems they can go a very long time without much maintenance (oil change, etc.) and they are relatively quiet. I believe this 502 model puts out ~8CFM @ 100psi, and it has a ~3HP motor (runs off 220V single phase, which I have in the shop), and a 30gallon tank. So, it seems like it would be enough for the mill.

    My question is this - how do these Hydrovane (or generally rotary vane compressors) do with intermittent use? There will be days and weeks where we won't need the mill, and may only need a tank of air here and there for light shop tasks. I've read some postings online that have said rotary vane and screw compressors don't like a lot of on/off cycling. There could be many days where the compressor might need to kick on just once or twice a day to refill the tank - would that be a problem for this kind of compressor? Another alternative is something like a 4HP model by California Air Tools, which make pretty quiet compressors.

    Any thoughts? Would particularly like to hear from anyone who has a one of the smaller Hydrovane compressors (HV01, HV02, 501, 502, etc.) and how it's been for you. Thanks!
    hydrovane502.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by miks View Post
    I recently got a Haas Super Mini Mill 2 for my workshop. We do light prototyping and R&D in this shop - have basic hand and power tools, a small lathe, laser cutter, manual mill, and now the SMM2. We were using a tiny 1HP 8gallon air compressor for light duty tasks (blowing things off, inflating things, etc.) but the SMM2 needs more air. It requires 4CFM @ 100psi minimum. So I'm looking to upgrade our air supply.

    We have some space constraints and I'd like to minimize the noise as much as possible. I came across an older Hydrovane 502 rotary vane compressor (pictured below) for sale locally. Talked to the seller and it sounds like it's seen very, very little use. There is also a dealer nearby that can service it if necessary. From what I see and read online, these Hydrovane compressors are pretty rare here in the US but I gather they're quite popular in the UK. It seems they can go a very long time without much maintenance (oil change, etc.) and they are relatively quiet. I believe this 502 model puts out ~8CFM @ 100psi, and it has a ~3HP motor (runs off 220V single phase, which I have in the shop), and a 30gallon tank. So, it seems like it would be enough for the mill.

    My question is this - how do these Hydrovane (or generally rotary vane compressors) do with intermittent use? There will be days and weeks where we won't need the mill, and may only need a tank of air here and there for light shop tasks. I've read some postings online that have said rotary vane and screw compressors don't like a lot of on/off cycling. There could be many days where the compressor might need to kick on just once or twice a day to refill the tank - would that be a problem for this kind of compressor? Another alternative is something like a 4HP model by California Air Tools, which make pretty quiet compressors.

    Any thoughts? Would particularly like to hear from anyone who has a one of the smaller Hydrovane compressors (HV01, HV02, 501, 502, etc.) and how it's been for you. Thanks!
    hydrovane502.jpg
    Since it has seen so little use if it was damaged by non use it would already be junk. No, siting around when not in use is not going to hurt anything.

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    Just so long as it gets hot enough to boil off any water in the oil.

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    You've found a gem in a stone pile. I have a 7.5HP unit, found it literally in a hedge row in a junk yard. Tank rusted out. I got it on another tank, and it's a smooth, quiet, unit, zero problems in 20 years. And it was well used when I got it. There is NO comparison to anything sold by Cali Air Tools. Grab it now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkmc View Post
    You've found a gem in a stone pile. I have a 7.5HP unit, found it literally in a hedge row in a junk yard. Tank rusted out. I got it on another tank, and it's a smooth, quiet, unit, zero problems in 20 years. And it was well used when I got it. There is NO comparison to anything sold by Cali Air Tools. Grab it now.
    dkmc - Wow. Good to know you've had a great experience with one similar and that this could be a keeper. Thanks for letting me know.

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    Default Older Hydrovane 502 compressor - suitable for intermittent use in small shop w/SMM2?

    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    Just so long as it gets hot enough to boil off any water in the oil.
    john.k - Ok, I get that it's good for it to be warm/hot. But, my question is this - If the compressor sits there overnight not being used, then the next morning we need a little air or perhaps parasitic loss in the air system accumulates to where the tank pressure drops below the minimum level. Then the compressor kicks on to refill the tank but *it's cold* because it's been sitting around for hours not compressing. Then maybe it kicks on once or twice more throughout the day a few hours apart. In other words, not a lot of regular, constant use some days. Is that an issue? I assume not but wanted to check. That's the situation we will likely have typically. Thanks.
    Last edited by miks; 08-17-2019 at 03:04 PM.

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    if you use the proper oil,which is supposed to shed water ,and not emulsify,you would probably need to have a frequent water drain regime......Personally,all my vane and screw compressor experience is where you have to be careful not to burn yourself on hot metal,or be scalded by hot oil..,and the heat from the coolers is like standing next to a forest fire.....But when I used to drain the air tanks,hundreds of gallons of water would be blown out.Autodrains never seem to work very long for some reason,even brass steamtraps wernt reliable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    if you use the proper oil,which is supposed to shed water ,and not emulsify,you would probably need to have a frequent water drain regime......Personally,all my vane and screw compressor experience is where you have to be careful not to burn yourself on hot metal,or be scalded by hot oil..,and the heat from the coolers is like standing next to a forest fire.....But when I used to drain the air tanks,hundreds of gallons of water would be blown out.Autodrains never seem to work very long for some reason,even brass steamtraps wernt reliable.
    Thanks for the additional input. Yes, I’d definitely get the correct oil, and could keep an eye on the water drain. We’ve used a solenoid-powered auto drain on our current small compressor (2 second purge every 45min, which is the max time span) and it’s held up ok, so we would probably put one of those on the HydroVane. Based upon what some others have said, I think we’re going to grab this unit and see how it goes.


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    Plus 1 million on USE THE RIGHT OIL ……………………..more Hydrovanes have been ruined through the wrong oil than anything else.

    PS - FYI hydrovane 502 manual - Google Search

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    Plus 1 million on USE THE RIGHT OIL ……………………..more Hydrovanes have been ruined through the wrong oil than anything else.
    For sure. I’m going to try and track down the manual for this machine (they seem a bit hard to come by) to get the oil spec. But, would you happen to know offhand the proper oil for a 502?


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    Use the appropriate Hydrovane Fluid Force oil and change it regularly.
    Choice is:-
    Fluid Force Red 2000 (A mineral lubricant for most installations under normal conditions).
    Fluid Force HPO (High Performance lubricant, a synthetic lubricant for hot and dusty environments and low ambient conditions).
    Fluid Force Clear (A PAO based lubricant with full USDA H1, approved for use in food and environmentally sensitive applications).
    Fluid Force Gas (Designed specifically for the Hydrovane gas compressor range for the compression of sweet, sour and bio-gases).

    That will be Red then.

    For seriously intermittent use there is (was?) an add on control box that bypassed the tank pressure switch and ran the compressor continuously venting excess air through the internal bleed until the oil was up to temperature. About 5 minutes running I believe. One day I may put something similar on mine but usually I just connect a tap to the airline and run the beast for 5 minutes if I'm going to be using it in short bursts. Main use for mine is on a blast cabinet.

    Seems to have worked OK for 14 odd years.

    Clive

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    IIRC (it's nigh 40 years since I played with them) one of the first signs of trouble with Hydrovanes is taking longer to get to pressure / not producing so much air, …..often caused by the vanes sticking - caused by the wrong oil ''gumming up the works'' ………..soon followed by nasty noises from the bearings with seal failure and track damage soon after.

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    One small gotcha with the later, smaller, hydrovane compressors is that the internal design was simplified to reduce the cost of manufacture with the knock on effect of making it impractical to re-build or do serious repairs to air end internals.

    So look after it and especially feed it the right oil.

    Given that a proper re-build of a hydrovane air end is an expensive, finicky, business there is probably some truth in the factory assertion that these changes meant it was more economical to buy a new air end to replace a worn or broken one than to do a serious rebuild.

    Probably true in the context of a compressor designed to run for 100,000 + hours with only routine servicing. New price of a basic tripod mount 502 is around the £2,500 mark so I guess that if it dies after 100,000 hours you've had your moneys worth. Once you factor in the price of skilled engineer time to actually do a re-build all new makes sense for high users. Flip side for low uses is you can't economically freshen up one with minor internal issues due primarily to neglect.

    Clive

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    MMM? didn't know that Clive,mind you, the ones I played with 40 years ago were already ''old''
    Last edited by Limy Sami; 08-19-2019 at 05:03 PM. Reason: typo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    MMM? didn't know that Clive, mind you, the ones I payed with 40 years ago were already ''old''
    Rather you than me mate. About 60 odd seals in the old brutes I believe.

    Was told by a retired air compressor serviceman that you'd need to regrind some of the innards to properly refurbish the insides of the newer type, 502 to 505 I think, so its more work than it can possibly be worth. I gather what you can do is a lot simpler tho'. He was making good pocket money by putting single phase motors on trade in 3 phase ones from his old firm and doing any needful servicing.

    Clive

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clive603 View Post
    Use the appropriate Hydrovane Fluid Force oil and change it regularly.
    Choice is:-
    Fluid Force Red 2000 (A mineral lubricant for most installations under normal conditions).
    Fluid Force HPO (High Performance lubricant, a synthetic lubricant for hot and dusty environments and low ambient conditions).
    Fluid Force Clear (A PAO based lubricant with full USDA H1, approved for use in food and environmentally sensitive applications).
    Fluid Force Gas (Designed specifically for the Hydrovane gas compressor range for the compression of sweet, sour and bio-gases).

    That will be Red then.

    For seriously intermittent use there is (was?) an add on control box that bypassed the tank pressure switch and ran the compressor continuously venting excess air through the internal bleed until the oil was up to temperature. About 5 minutes running I believe. One day I may put something similar on mine but usually I just connect a tap to the airline and run the beast for 5 minutes if I'm going to be using it in short bursts. Main use for mine is on a blast cabinet.

    Seems to have worked OK for 14 odd years.

    Clive

    Clive603 - thanks for all the oil info. I just purchased the 502 and - amazingly - there was actually an authorized dealer/service shop in the same town so I swung by there after purchase. The guy I spoke with there said that "CS300" lubricant (pictured) is what current Hydrovanes come with. I mentioned the Fluid Force Red 2000 and he said he wasn't sure they could even get that (anymore) but that he'd check with the tech. If you or anyone knows about the CS300 or if I should stick only with the FFR2000 that would be good to know.

    Noted your process for warm up on intermittent use. We may do the same.
    2019-08-19-14.53.58.jpg

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    Guys - thanks for everyone's input on this. It's been very helpful. I went and checked out the 502 in person today and it sounded smooth and quiet. So, I grabbed it. I'm having a local Hydrovane dealer (coincidentally there was one right in the same town - what are the chances?) do a regular service on it to make sure everything is good to go. Looking forward to making some chips with this little guy.

    Does anyone by any chance have a PDF of a 502 manual they could share? I tried Google and I can only find a bunch of sketchy links to sites that seem to be fishing (lots of random non-compressor info on the page) or want you to register for free access. The dealer was able to scare me up a parts list, but the manual would be nice to have.
    2019-08-19-15.04.38.jpg

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    Nevermind about the manual - the dealer sent me one just now.

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    When it comes to oils just use whatever Hydrovane currently recommend. It does change over the years. I'm not a compressor guy. Just a satisfied user so just going by what I have in my last bottle and by the information I could easily find.

    I believe Hydrovane changed oil suppliers a little while back so maybe the official oil has been re-named.

    In the UK there are folk selling Vaneforce oil which is said to be made by the previous supplier of official Hydrovane oil and just the same. If you are ordinary user guy how can you know?

    Skimping on oil and service items to save £20 - £30 is penny wise and pound foolish.

    Clive

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clive603 View Post

    Skimping on oil and service items to save £20 - £30 is penny wise and pound foolish.

    Clive
    I know, the old Agricastrol MP Tractor oil used to 4X em up a treat

    (And when shown the lube data plate they bleated ''but that's what we had'' 4Xing Farmers


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