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  1. #1
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    cpw's Avatar
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    Charles (54)
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    Question HELP! We bought an air compressor...

    All my past experiences with compressors have been in shops where they had what they had so that's what we worked with, so essentially, I know nothing.

    We bought a Kobalt QUIET TECH 26-Gallon Portable Electric Vertical Air Compressor. It comes with 1/4" couplers, and I was going to switch them out for Milton 1/4" V-style high-flow couplers and just use Milton 1/4" V-style for all my connectors.

    BUT, in my research I was left with the impression that the threaded ends of both 1/4" and 3/8" couplers and plugs were identical (this makes no sense to me, but that was the impression I was left with). In other words, that I could switch to 3/8" couplers and plugs if I wanted to, as long as I was swapping them out.

    Questions:
    1. Is it true that the threads will match, so I could swap up to 3/8" couplers and plugs?
    2. If so, is there any real advantage to that? Or should I stay with 1/4" because the compressor is sized for that?
    3. Also, what's the best way to add water filtration to a portable compressor like this?


    TIA,
    Charles
    "Live like no one else, so later, you can LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE!"
    -Dave Ramsey

  2. #2
    Senior User Fishbucket's Avatar
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    Joe (52)
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    Re: HELP! We bought an air compressor...

    I don't think there would be any advantage of a garage shop to run more than 1/4 hose. And as you found out, 3/8 hose still only has 1/4 npt threads.
    If you were to be painting cars, or doing a lot of sand blasting, then maybe run something bigger. But again, the outlet at the compressor is the restriction of cfm.

    There are small water separators that can be piped right off the compressor.. Personally, I don't use one. A couple drops of oil in the tool before using has done me well in years of construction and home woodworking
    I do keep the tank drained of condensate each day after its used.

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  4. #3
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    Re: HELP! We bought an air compressor...

    I would upgrade to the 3/8 ID couplers and hoses if you are going to use any continuous flow equipment (i.e. spray gun, air grinder, air drill, air sander, etc). Drop to the 1/4" the only the last few feet before your tool if you want a more flexible/lighter hose. The 3/8 hose has a lot less flow resistance, and also will hold more air to reduce pressure drops. I use 3/8 on mine, and can run 100 to 150' of hose to get out to my work without having to move my 350 lb compressor. It does make a difference.

    Go
    Practicing at practical woodworking

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  6. #4
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    Re: HELP! We bought an air compressor...

    Charles - there are two different dimensions on air couplers. On one end of the coupler will be a pipe threaded connection - typically 1/4" NPT for small compressors and 3/8" NPT for higher CFM units.

    The other end of the coupler is where the quick disconnect is. It is this end that is the "v-style" end of the connection, and the quick disconnect fittings are available in several different styles.

    You can basically use anything on your compressor if it will mate up to the threads (typically 1/4"NPT).

    Even if you use 1/2" high flow hose, if your piping on the compressor itself is only 1/4" you will still have a restriction.

    I like using 3/8" ID air hose for when I need to make long runs of hose (snaking 100' of air hose across the sawmill lot from the barn for example). There are two advantages of a larger hose. Less friction flow losses in longer runs and more CFM available to high CFM air tools such as die grinders and 1/2" air impacts. I also use some 1/2" ID air hoses with industrial fittings for my 3/4" air impact when working on the heavy equipment.

    For most homeowner uses, 1/4" id air hose is fine.

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    cpw

  8. #5
    User Pop Golden's Avatar
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    Re: HELP! We bought an air compressor...

    If both are 1/4 in. The restriction of the 1/4 in. is there. Even if the 3/8 holds more air it's still going through 1/4 in. reduction of flow. I would stay with the 1/4. Water reduction in this neck of the woods is needed if you're doing anything other than powering air tools. I have 2 compressors one powers nail guns & blows down equipment. The other is a small hot-dog compressor for air brush. I use water based paint for the brush. Water based paint & water = a sloppy mess. I have doubled up on 2 small water filters at the compressor with an additional in line filter at the gun. seems to work ok. On the larger ("Emglo" 2 tank portable) I drain the tank 2 or 3 times a year. After draining I pump WD-40 in the filter input for the 1st. refilling. WD-40's original use was to separate moisture from metal surfaces. It works well.
    My real paint system is a HVLP system. I know of no way to separate water on a HVLP system. My saving grace is my go to finish is alcohol based shellac.

    Pop

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