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Unread 7th May 2013, 01:41 AM
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Default Review: A tale of 3 air compressors

Gidday All

Well, I have alluded to this a few times over the last few days. Here goes.

I got my original single cylinder air compressor from Princess Trading just over a year ago, and wrote a mini-review of it here:
http://www.offroadsubarus.com/showthread.php?t=3382

particularly my post in that thread here:
http://offroadsubarus.com/showpost.p...3&postcount=20

Like NL's Kinchrome, it blew a few fuses in the few times I have used it.
I now realise that this was because of the dodgy power switch on the unit. It had always been 'soft' since day one.

About 3 weeks ago, it sh@t itself: blew yet another fuse, wouldn't start after cooling down, etc. Had just checked the tyres on the trailer (3x) and each of our Foresters (4x each) and put a couple of psi in each of them.

Sent an email to Princess Trading explaining the issue. They said "Sorry, you bought it over a year ago, so it is out of warranty."

I explained to them that their warranty was irrelevant, and that no court in the land would uphold that such a device that is in as new condition, having been used to inflate maybe 20 tyres was "... of merchantable quality, and reasonably fit for the purpose for which it was sold ... ", as per the requirements of the Sale of Goods Act.
I also informed them very nicely that this was the opinion of my solicitor and barrister, but that I had no desire to go down this route, unless forced to ...

So they then offered to replace the original for $60 or supply me with the twin cylinder version for $70. I suggested that $50 for the twin cylinder version would be a fairer price, all things considered, but said in the same email that I would be prepared to pay $60 for the 2 cylinder version. Prices included shipping costs borne by them.

All of this dickering was conducted very amicably, I must say.

They agreed, I paid the $60, and sent me the replacement 2 cylinder one, which I got just after Easter.

It arrived in a dreadful state. Bent handle bracket; one cylinder sitting at an angle to the crankcase, with a clearance of around 1/8th inch on one side! I didn't dare even try it to see if it worked, as could have exploded in my face ...

Another email to Princess Trading. They said send photos, which I did. Neither of their mail server will allow JPEGs as attachments to emails ... eventually got them to them by zipping the JPEGs up and sending them that way.

As soon as they saw the photos, they agreed to send me another 2 cylinder unit ...

The third one seems to work a treat! At last ... .

Now. It has never been in my nature to throw things away .

I didn't want to attempt any repairs while still negotiating with the supplier, but now, out came the tools.

Had to fix my old multi-meter leads first, that took an hour or so.

First I pulled the handle bracket and cylinder off the dead 2 cylinder one.
Straightened the bracket, as nothing else appeared to be damaged.

Seems that the cylinder head studs had been put in at an angle and had gouged the alloy thread in the crankcase for about 3 turns before locking with the build up of alloy on their threads.
Got out my metric tap & die set, and cleaned the gunge off the offending threads. Checked that there was some bite left in the crankcase threads. Three turns out of about 1/4" or so should still be within safety margins, I reckoned, just so long as there was some meat left in those first few turns where the studs had been cross-threaded.

Carefully checked that I had the cylinder head aligned correctly to the output valve on the piston, and re-assembled the cylinder (cast iron), heat fins (alloy) and the handle bracket and tensioned them down to about 4 ft lbs as a guesstimate.

Tested it on the car. Worked a treat. Pushes the pressure up to over 125 psi just by holding my finger hard over one of the attachment ends.

Now to the original, single cylinder one.

I suspected the power switch. Pulled the cover off this bit. Checked the resistance of the switch - 100% in both positions ...

While doing this, one of the terminals on the switch came adrift. It had very heavy wire soldered directly to the blade connector! That's why it sh@t itself ... Bloody thing was only rated to 6 amps @ 240V!! That's 1440W. Now Heat = amps^2 ... so even though the compressor is only drawing about 20-30 amps at 12V (360W), the heating due to the amperage is enormously greater at 12V: 900 {whatevers} vs 36 {whatevers} (I can't recall the proper units of measurement).

Before going any further, I connected the compressor up to the car battery and shorted the switch terminals. Yes. It did still work.

Anyway, I happened to have a dead PC PSU lying about that used the same rating switch. Ripped this out of the PSU and fitted it to the compressor, soldering the cut wires still attached to the switch to the 50A wires powering the compressor. If that crappy 6A switch is adequate, what's a few more Ohms going to hurt?

It now also works a treat, ramping up 125+ psi very easily.

So I now have a small herd of compressors ... .

BTW, the carry case that the 2 cylinder unit comes with is smaller than the one that came with my original single cylinder unit, but the inner lining of the case is as not strong (both had been broken in transit by the weight of the 2 cylinder units, which are considerably heavier than the single cylinder unit). Nor is it as well designed, IMNSHO. The flexible hinge is also a weak point. Stupid! They make a good item (the carry case) and then spoil it for want of a couple of cents worth of plastic!

Continued with some pics in the next couple of posts ...

Last edited by Ratbag; 7th May 2013 at 04:07 AM. Reason: fixed grammar ...
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Unread 7th May 2013, 01:41 AM
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Part 2: Damage to the replacement dual cylinder compressor noted at delivery.

Bent handle bracket:


Whole compressor:


Gap between crankcase and piston cooling fins (and piston misalignment):




Case damaged by the weight of the dual cylinder compressor (about 6.6 Kgs):




The internal material of the case is far thinner at the bottom than it obviously is at the top ...

As NL said (IIRC), perfectly adequate design buggered up by poor quality control and manufacturing.

Last edited by Ratbag; 8th May 2013 at 06:52 AM. Reason: added photos and info
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Unread 7th May 2013, 01:42 AM
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reserved Part 3
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Unread 7th May 2013, 02:47 AM
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Interesting. A good design will never overcome shoddy assembly...

I wonder if there's a prob with my switch? Other than that the Kinchrome seems pretty good, certainly pumps the tyres up fast
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Unread 7th May 2013, 04:01 AM
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Great write up Ratbag

They picked on the wrong person when they tried to screw you over mate

Well done for giving it to them

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Unread 7th May 2013, 06:19 AM
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I've found princess trading excellent to deal with too.

My dual cylinder failed also and they replaced it and paid for shipping.

Imnsho the units pictured are rubbish and best avoided no matter what brand is written on them.

I'm glad I took back the $189 Projecta version and bought the $60 one.
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Unread 7th May 2013, 06:52 AM
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Gidday NL

Quote:
Originally Posted by NachaLuva View Post
Interesting. A good design will never overcome shoddy assembly...
Spot on there, mate. A lesson that we in Oz really need to learn; re-learn; keep on learning

Quote:
I wonder if there's a prob with my switch? Other than that the Kinchrome seems pretty good, certainly pumps the tyres up fast
The switch on my single cylinder one is on its last chance. If it blows again, I will replace it with a line switch with a (much) higher amperage rating.

The switches on the two twin cylinder units are much better quality (unlike the carry case ... ), and without pulling one of them apart, they look to be rated at 240V 10A.

The carry case could be reinforced with two bits of 3 ply, one each side of the hinge.
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Unread 7th May 2013, 06:55 AM
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Gidday Mr T

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr turbo View Post
Great write up Ratbag
Thank you, kind sir.
Too buggered to post the rest tonight, or the photos. I have some photos of the broken bits, but none of the complete unit/s.

Quote:
They picked on the wrong person when they tried to screw you over mate

Well done for giving it to them

Regards
Mr Turbo
They were actually a pleasure to deal with at all times, and once they got the message that they were not the determiners of what was acceptable; the Sale of Goods Act was and is, they were very cooperative and helpful.
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Unread 7th May 2013, 07:05 AM
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Gidday ST

Quote:
Originally Posted by stilson View Post
I've found princess trading excellent to deal with too.

My dual cylinder failed also and they replaced it and paid for shipping.

Imnsho the units pictured are rubbish and best avoided no matter what brand is written on them.

Sorry mate, which "units pictured"? Am I even more buggered than I think I am, or did I miss something?
Quote:
I'm glad I took back the $189 Projecta version and bought the $60 one.
I have seen the single cylinder unit for just under $300 at tyre places !!
I have also seen the Projecta Typhoon version, and it is identical at over double the price on FleaBay.

The Princess Trading version seems to be good (except for the cheap and nasty switch ... ), and the Princess Trading person I spoke to said that they had been selling these for 7 years now, with very few failing.

I will probably buy one of their air jacks soon.
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Unread 7th May 2013, 01:05 PM
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Lol, soon to be pictured!

I've had two of these units fail and a friend has had one go also.

The Projecta let the smoke out first time I turned it on, the princess's valves went and I'm not sure of my friends.

100% failure rate though can't be ignored.
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