Small auxiliary compressor tank
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Chicago, USA
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    Default Small auxiliary compressor tank

    Hi all,

    I have an 80 gallon 5hp compressor that gives around 14cfm at 90psi. I've found that I don't need the 80 gallon capacity most days, and I end up not switching on the compressor because it 1) seems a waste and 2) takes a while for the tank to fill up.

    My old compressor is a 4hp 20gal Campbell Hausfeld unit. I was trying to sell it for a while, but I've now dropped the price down to the point that it's probably better to keep it. I'm wondering if I can use it instead.

    My question is this:

    Would it be reasonable to plumb the 20gal tank in as the primary tank, and have the 80 gal as an auxiliary tank? That way, I could close the valve to the big tank and just fill the 20 gal when I need a little air. For the odd occasion I need to blast something, I can. Open the valve and have 100gal capacity.

    Or, would it be better to keep the motor and pump on the smaller compressor intact, and just plumb both compressors into the same air line run? Are there any concerns/safety issues with either approach?

    Thanks in advance


    Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Baytown, Texas
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    You can do either one. correct plumbing it will work.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Hatch, NM Chile capital of the WORLD
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    Why do you have to disassemble to the little compressor to take the 80 gallon tank out of the equation?

    Its not rocket science, shut offs and by-passes where needed..

    Small compressors can just be plugged into any quick connect in the system.. with a shutoff going to the big tank,
    which you probably should have anyways. I have quite a few
    female to female adaptors kicking around for just such an occasion. Technically the adaptors are male male,
    but connect female to female.. A shut off in the middle of the penis's is handy, though not necessry if
    you move quick.

    I have a feeling that you are overthinking this. Which is better than under-thinking it and making a mess.

    Not a big deal to shut off the big tank and pipe in (either hard or through a normal air OUTLET)
    a smaller compressor.

    Story: If you care, but it is similar to your situation.. About 4 years ago, the motor on my big
    compressor shit the bed.. Below that compressor was a little 20 gallon craftsman..
    Used as an accumulator. close the shutoff to the big tank, fire up the little guy and keep going..

    Problem was that the little guy didn't have enough capacity to run everything.. (it actually did,
    but thats a pressure switch problem, it shut down at about 150psi)..

    So off to the orange chinese store to buy a $150 21 gallon, single stage 120psi compressor. That ran
    the lathe fine, the craftsman ran the mills. Then the Craftsman puked.. And what do you know,
    the POS HF compressor could run everything.. As long as there weren't a bunch of tool changes.

    So now, I have one compressor that runs it all, most of the time, unless I'm doing a lot of tool changes.
    All I have to do is un-hook one air line, with a female to female adaptor, and fire up a second POS compressor

    Don't overthink this. Its not electricity. It can go out where it comes in and vice-versa... Its a closed system
    within your own shop, and its pressure, its not directional..

    Your idea is fine, just don't make it more complicated than it has to be.

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Modesto, CA USA
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    Sounds like you need to clean the check valve into the big tank. The big tank should hold pressure for a week or more if it's output valve is closed after use.
    Bill D.

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