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SurfLung
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Gas or Electric?

Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:20 pm

Gas or Electric Compressor Power... Which is Best?
- I've been thinking about converting my RIX SA-3E to gas powered. Last year, I topped out on the capacity of my SUV for carrying enough twin tanks for me and my buddy to make 5 dives on a Fortune Pond trip. We opted for towing a small trailer to carry six of our doubles sets and carried 4 more in the car along with my 100 lb. scooter. I was thinking that if we stayed any longer than two days, I'd have to bring a compressor to refill tanks.
- But my compressor runs on a 220 volt dryer outlet. MAYBE the motel owner would let me plug it in and fill my tanks. But the noise level of that thing is too high to inflict upon the comfort of the other guests (the RIX is oil-less and the bottom of the cylinders is open air and noisy).
- I was thinking if I converted it to gas powered, I could fill tanks at a rest area or other remote location without disturbing anyone's solitude.
- But what are the downsides to filling tanks at home with a gas engine?
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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captain
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Re: Gas or Electric?

Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:12 am

My compressor was originally electric and converted it to gas many years ago for portability. Main issue is engine exhaust, I have a 6 foot tall intake pipe to move the intake away fro the exhaust. I also try to position the compressor so the exhaust is down wind from the intake. It is louder with the combined noise of the compressor and gas engine You will need a higher horsepower gas engine than the electric motor.The electric motor was 3 HP but a 5 HP gas engine is required because of the low starting torque of a gas engine.

Like any small gas engine they can be hard to start at times , and only can run so long without refueling. No such problems with electric.
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antique diver
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Re: Gas or Electric?

Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:42 am

You might as well make it portable. The convenience is great!
"I get plenty of excercise just pushing my luck!"

tbone1004
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Re: Gas or Electric?

Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:42 pm

if you have the small trailer, can you just go find a relatively cheap 2500w+ generator that will do 240v? Probably a bit more expensive than converting it to gas, and obviously bulkier, but then you have a generator which isn't the worst thing to have around if you're staying multiple days, and you can keep the rix electric for filling at home. You're going to be in probably $350 for the gas motor, plus pulleys/belts, etc. Used generators are $500-$1000 so if you have the space and can take the trailer, then I'd go the generator route. Justify it to your wife by saying you won't have to worry about the power going out in the winter ;-)

This one is enough to run a SA6, but the price isn't that bad and to get 220v it appears you need at least 4kw
https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hnp/ ... 91456.html

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Bryan
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Re: Gas or Electric?

Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:21 am

The generator route is a good idea. Carefully check the starting load amps between the two as I ran into this problem when I did this with mine. Also size the wire gauge of your pigtail one size larger so you have minimal resistance on startups.

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Doing it right should include some common sense, not just blindly following specs and instructions. .Gary D, AWAP on SB

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SurfLung
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Re: Gas or Electric?

Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:49 pm

I'm actually quite surprised at the amount of encouragement you guys have given me toward the gas engine conversion. I had gotten the impression that most people prefer the electric. I think my own RIX was formerly gas powered and converted to electric. I think SwimJim's compressor was formerly gas powered, too... But now converted to electric.

The RIX SA3 manual specs a Honda GX160 engine and I found these for sale at Northern Hydraulics for $189. Wow! That in itself makes it tempting just as a fun project! My filter array is currently mounted separately above and behind the RIX... I'd need to make some sort of bracket. On the other hand, the only time I'm likely to need portability is if I stay somewhere longer than my supply of tanks will last.

Here's another consideration... I can't run it gas powered in the house. And in the winter, it has to be brought in the house as a precaution against freezing and cracking anywhere that moisture condensation may have gathered. Right now its -15 below outside, I have the RIX set up downstairs and can pump tanks anytime if I need to. In the Summer, I set it up out in the garage where I can close the garage door and cut down on the noise for the neighbors. If it was gas powered, I'd have to operate it with all the doors open for exhaust ventilation.

Okay, this is deciding itself in favor of leaving it electric powered. But one of these years, I'd like to take a full weeks vacation at Fortune Pond. And when that day comes, I will convert this baby to gas powered and fill tanks as needed for the entire week.
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

tbone1004
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Re: Gas or Electric?

Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:03 pm

Bryan wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:21 am
The generator route is a good idea. Carefully check the starting load amps between the two as I ran into this problem when I did this with mine. Also size the wire gauge of your pigtail one size larger so you have minimal resistance on startups.

Sent from my SM-J700T using Tapatalk
with the size of the electric motors on the rix and the size generator you need to get to get the 220v output it should be more than enough. If you were trying to run a SA6 it would obviously be more of an issue.

@surflung, any thoughts on the generator thing for when you are travelling for that? Or do you happen to have one already since you're in the great white north? Stick in the trailer and haul it with you...

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SurfLung
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Re: Gas or Electric?

Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:30 am

Weighing the Alternatives...
- I appreciate the suggestions for using a generator but that idea just isn't catching on with me. Yet another piece of equipment to haul. I'm wanting to either convert my RIX to gas powered or just leave it electric and use it here at home. So (for me anyway), the generator idea is out.
- Truth be told, I have so many scuba tanks right now that I probably only run the compressor 4-6 times a summer for marathon tank filling sessions. Once they're all full, I can make 4 twin 38 dives before running out of those favorites. After that, I can re-fill my little twin 38s a few more times by cascading from the many other filled singles tanks.
- This stored air capacity plays into my need (or lack there of) for gas powered portability... I can just Bring More Tanks. It keeps coming back to that easy solution. If we're already hauling a trailer, we can just bring the tanks we need. A side benefit to that is that I don't have to fill tanks between dives. I can relax and visit with my buddies, eat good food, and soak up the sun!
- Indoor Use? I have a 220v outlet wired downstairs so I can fill tanks in the winter. But this was really just installed so I could test the compressor when I was re-building it last winter. I filled all of my tanks last Fall before bringing the compressor downstairs, and I have enough to last all winter... The lakes are frozen and I only use air for an occasional pool dive. So, I really don't need to operate the compressor indoors.
- It Comes Down to a Matter of NEED: I can see no down-side to converting the RIX to gas power. But I don't really NEED it to be gas powered thanks to my stored air capacity. Whether its gas or electric powered, I would probably use it the same way I do now. So I'm deciding against doing the conversion.
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

swimjim
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Re: Gas or Electric?

Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:39 pm

I take my 3/4 ton van to dive outings so simply bringing more tanks is the way I deal with it. The last time I was able to do Sea Hunt I had enough 72's for the whole weekend and a couple AL80's for back up. They came in handy when Jonathan Bird showed up with out tanks. I was able to lend him and his coworker tanks and all was well.
My Max Air did start it's life as gas engine powered. I like to be able to run it in the shop during the winter and spring months. I welded up some engine mounts for a 220 single phase motor from my "parts" floor sanding machine. If desired, I've got all the parts and could easily go back to gas.

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