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Old 03-25-2003, 07:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Best 12V Portable Air Compressor?

I read the info about the Extreme compressor posted by Corey. It's a beautiful thing, but a budget buster and isn't portable enough. I need one that plugs into a 12V accessory outlet and can fill reasonably quickly. I went through three kinds of el-cheapo units (from GI Joe's) last year tuning cars at road racing track days. They each expired after about 30 days (four track days) use. Can anyone suggest a decent pump (not a tank) in the $50 +/- range? TIA...
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Old 03-25-2003, 08:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Best 12V Portable Air Compressor?

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Originally posted by BT17R
I need one that plugs into a 12V accessory outlet and can fill reasonably quickly. Can anyone suggest a decent pump (not a tank) in the $50 +/- range? TIA...
That does not exist. I'm afraid you're going to have to spend some money if you want a compressor that will last a long time and fill tires quickly. The cheap compressors don't have a duty cycle anywhere close to 100% so they will burn out sooner rather than later. You will also have to either hardwire it or connect straight to the battery with alligator clips (both solutions are easy to do). The 12V outlets aren't designed for the kind of current good compressors need.

I wouldn't suggest caddy compressors either because I don't know how long they'll last (since you're using at the track), but you can try it.

The only thing I can suggest is the "Truck Air" compressors, but I don't know how they perform or what their duty cycle is (I have my doubts).

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Old 03-25-2003, 08:51 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I use a Coleman compressor I bought for under $20. Its ok for topping of tires but takes forever to fill a flat tire. You may want to consider a CO2 system like Corey's just for the speed and convenience. Also these small electric compressors are VERY loud and your neighbors will get annoyed if you use it all the time.
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Old 03-25-2003, 09:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The absolute best one is made by Oasis Off-Road.
http://www.oasisoffroad.com/trailheadAirCompressor.html

But it's expensive, isn't portable and has to be hard mounted.

In a close second is the Extremeaire, which I just ordered (portable version) through Mike at XtremeOff-Road. He just became an authorized dealer, so drop him a line.

In third place would probably be the QuickAIR compressors by Sun Performance... but you probably won't be happy with their duty cycle. (40 minutes @ 40 psi)
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Old 03-25-2003, 11:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Truck Air

I used to have one of the Truck Air compressors. Long story short, I had to air down in the mountains, and trying to air back up well, it took over 15 minutes to air one tire from 12 psi to 20 psi and then the compressor crapped out. This is what convinced me to get my Power Tank. I would not get a compressor any less than one of the 100% duty cycle ones. And since I am used to being able to run air tools, well only a Power Tank or one of the Extreme Air compressors are even suitable. My Truck Air is somewhere at the landfill here on Whidbey Island.
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Old 03-25-2003, 11:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'll have to agree with what else was said here.
Most 12 v ones won't live very long if you use it a lot for airing back up.

If you go with a 12v one, get the one Phong just got, it is 100% duty cycle, and can power airtools I believe without the use of a tank.

Gotta have at least 90 to 110 PSI to turn over a 1/2" impact wrench.

That's the compressor I'd go with if I did not have my Power tank.
959 kb vid with impact wrench two Octobers ago.
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Old 03-25-2003, 12:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Great tips everyone, thanks for re-arranging my attitude (and budget) Quality pays, pay-to-play, it's true.

phong, what's Mike's phone/email? He isn't listed as a dealer yet.

Corey, cool vid. What model tank is that? How long will it run your impact wrench?
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Old 03-25-2003, 01:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The Thomas air compressors (no relation) do work quite nice and would work for you needs.. Here is a page with an install in a Cruiser.. 'Course.. it ain't $50!!

Lookie here

CO2 is the cheapest way to go for "real" air...
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Old 03-25-2003, 01:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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BT, it is the 10 lb tank, and it has enough oomph to fill 40 tires from 15 PSI back upto 30 PSI again, that's why I like PT's.

If you were to run an air tool continuously, it would go for about 25 minutes.
But using the impact to change tires doesn't use that much C02, as it's short bursts.

That vid I had the tank set at 90, and it actually dropped down to about 80 PSI which was to low.
When doing air tools you wanna crank the gauge up about 20 PSI higher than the job requires.
I now crank it to 110 PSI, and when you pull the trigger, it drops to about 90 PSI which is perfect and the tool runs faster.

Just changed over my tires a week ago with it, and it sure is nice.

It costs me about $16 to get the tank refilled locally.

More info here.
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Old 03-25-2003, 01:44 PM
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