Extending capacity of small air compressor

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 05-16-2014 06:39 PM 896 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4795 posts in 3270 days

05-16-2014 06:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have a small air compressor I use for brad and pin nailers. I was thinking about connecting my AC with a 5 gallon air tank; the idea is to reduce the recover time the compressor runs. By doing this, do I really save on overall run time? With the tank, I can drive more nails before the AC cycles, but the AC runs longer to fill the tank.

5 replies so far

View jmartel's profile


7956 posts in 2177 days

#1 posted 05-16-2014 07:26 PM

Overall run time, no. What it will do is extend the time period until the compressor kicks on the first time. After it kicks on the first time, it’ll have to re-fill both tanks, so it will run longer.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2941 days

#2 posted 05-16-2014 07:42 PM

Plus you need to understand that the actual “run time” when the compressor kicks on will double, triple, etc. depending on just how much larger your new tank configuration will be. You may want to consider that you will be asking that compressor motor to possibly work much harder than it may have been designed to run. In other words, extended run times will shorten the life of your compressor.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View harveysoriginals's profile


107 posts in 1513 days

#3 posted 05-16-2014 07:44 PM

I have done this and am currently using a small Hitachi compressor tied to a 17 gallon tank that used to be a Lowes compressor that I cannot get parts for! It definitely does take longer to fill BUT, as jmartel says above, it takes a lot longer to get to the point when it needs a refill.
This has worked very well for me and I am glad I did this!
The tanks are tied together with an open air hose.
Good luck with yours!

-- The most dangerous tool in my shop is the one I am currently using! Harvey

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2034 days

#4 posted 05-16-2014 10:33 PM

Here’s what I did with mine….

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View bigblockyeti's profile


5140 posts in 1747 days

#5 posted 05-16-2014 10:55 PM

I would be worried about exceeding the duty cycle of the compressor. You mentioned it was a “small” compressor, if adding a 5 gallon tank to a 1 or 2 gallon compressor I would certainly recommend against that. If it’s a 20-30 gallon compressor, an extra 5 gallons wouldn’t represent nearly as much extra work on the motor and pump.

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