Air compressor troubleshooting

hello. Im slowly getting everything together. i got a 29 gallon compressor that delivers 6.5 scfm @90 that goes into a 27 gallon reserve tank with one desicant dryer.i still feel like im going through consumables a little to fast. my question is i am thinking about getting an air dryer instead of the copper tube setup thinking that if i get dryer air it will work better. thanks in advance for any responses

I just added a copper manifold in front of my harbor freight dryer. I didn’t like how fast I was going through desiccant beads in the summer. Without the dryer I would consume the beads in a few cuts. With it, it lasted a weekend.

Go copper manifold first. I just built a 40 foot one with 4 auto drains. I didn’t think I could spare the wall space but I made it work. With refrigerated dryers, it’s all recommended you have several feet of air line prior to the dryer itself.

I can’t think of anyone I’ve seen post about an Aftercooler on their smaller compressor, but you may want to look into that. Air drops 200 degrees as it passes through my Aftercooler. Gives a much lower starting point for the drying setup to do its thing and collects a little less than a teaspoon of water every time it cycles.


again I must agree with brownfox…

just installing the copper cooler collects a huge amount of water…I was surprised at what my 25" unit did…I even put a fan on it…I plan to install a refrigerated unit on next week…

cooling the air is critical…

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by copper cooler do u mean the copper lines running down the wall? also the refridgerated unit is that like the harbor freight air dryer or is it different?

here are a couple of threads with some interesting photos

My climate here is summer 24/7/365 :smile:
What I don’t recall seeing mentioned and something I do have on my compressor: At the very bottom of the tank, there’s a condensate bleed-off fitting. I removed this, installed a fitting and some tubing which leads to an auto-bleed solenoid valve and discharges any accumulated condensate to the outside of the shop every 30-minutes or so.
Of course I have the usual filters on the air output including Motoguard “toilet paper :smile:” filter before the plasma cutter.

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every compressor has a manual tank drain…putting in an automatic drain is great…if you are getting enough water in the aurto drain to drain that much…you might want to install the air cooler between the compressor and the tank…and add an auto drain to that…copper takes bnetter to moisture than a steel tank…I do as much as possible to avoide water in my tank…prevents rust…prevents dirty air…saves life on filters…

What I really want, is an auto drain that doesn’t blast full Monty every time it drains. I want a slow opening solenoid to just ease it out and not make me fear someone is shooting a potato gun at me every time it drains.


Mine shoots outside the shop so the neighbor to the west gets it! :rofl:
The compressor is in the shop, so my family and I have lived with that two-stroke noise for the last 16-years :crazy_face:

Is there such a thing as a slow opening solenoid? I’ve looked a bit, but I’m not sure if there is something that would achieve a slower venting

inline needle-valve or some sort of cobbled-up restriction in the line itself maybe?

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Back to the original topic, lol. Post pictures of your consumeables. Do you have the telltale swirls of moisture on your electrode.

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I do have the swirl marks. i thought it was normal. so u think an airdryer and aftercooler will give me better cuts and consumable life?

George will tell you…black marks are a good indication of moisture in the air…also your swirl marks go in opposite directions from eachother…means you are flipping the ring over when changing consumables…try to keep it constant and then you will be able to find a direction that produces better cuts.

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the opposite swirl marks are my fault. i tried switching it and it cut worse and thats when the tip seemed to go bad.So i can assume its moisture in the line thats causing this and my compressor is good?

I can not tell is you compressors are good…
I have a pressure gauge on the outlet of my reserve tank and make sure at all times I am above the 90psi for my plasma.