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SurfLung
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Cheap Compressor Filters

Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:47 pm

Cheap Compressor Filters...
- I've seen these advertised on Ebay and it tweaked my curiosity. I wanted to see for myself:
1. Are they compatible with Lawrence Factor pre-packed filters?
2. Is the moisture condenser tower of decent design/function?
3. Are the towers robust enough for high pressure?
4. So I ordered a set to see for myself.
Image

Lawrence Factor Compatibility...
- The closest thing I found is the Lawrence Factor 15XXX series that fit Coltri MCH-6 filter tubes. These are same diameter but a little too long. I think the LF filter tube can be shortened into a convenient re-packable tube that would fit. On the other hand, the filter that comes with could also be re-packed. There's a difference in the two filters at the O-ring seal. Personally, I would want the filter to be about 2/3rds 13X Sieve and 1/3 carbon.
(Below: Lawrence Factor is on the left)
Image
Image

Moisture Condenser Tower...
- I am particularly interested in the moisture condenser design because I had to make one for my old Coltri MCH-6 and my old Tornado Kidde actually uses aquarium rocks for condensation surface area. I don't know if this design is unique but it looks better than what was in my old MCH-6 as well as what's in the new MaxAir 35. It looks like it keeps incoming condensation better separated from outgoing dry air.
Image
Image

Robust Design/Construction
- The specs say these filtertowers are rated to 300 BAR or 4351 psi.
- They are thick aluminum construction and heavy.
- Dimensionally they are comparable to the MaxAir 35 and Coltri MCH-6 filter towers.
Image

Additional Thoughts/Comments...
- My challenge right now in trying these out is that they have input and output threads of G1/4. I have other plumbing to hook up and will need these to be adapted to 1/4 NPT for pressure switch, OPV, PMV, etc.
- The all carbon filter they come with isn't that shocking... It wasn't all that long ago that MCH-6 filters were all carbon. Some of the other Ebay filters are being offered in 3-part filter materials so I would not be surprised if these get offered that way too.
- Meantime I can either shorten Lawrence factor before use or re-pack.
- These filters have a clever extraction method... The tops are threaded for a bolt. Screw it in and you have a nice big handle to pull out the filter.
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
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Chris
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Re: Cheap Compressor Filters

Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:35 pm

I was going to buy one and build my own canister for bulk media if it didnt already have a repackable one, but then I saw the shipping cost.

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SurfLung
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Re: Cheap Compressor Filters

Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:47 pm

I Just Received the Adaptors...
Image
- I'll let you know how well they work.

Edited 2/4/2020 - These adapt to 1/4 NPT which is one solution. But as you'll see below, adapting to JIC 4 is a better solution for me.
SurfLung
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Re: Cheap Compressor Filters

Tue Feb 04, 2020 11:24 am

JIC Adaptors...
Image
- I found the simplest solution for me to hook up this filter array and try it out... JIC Adaptors. I bought two adaptors that convert 1/4 BSP to JIC 4 (or AN4). They fit and seal perfectly. All I have to do is connect my Fill whip to the OUT port and my regular JIC equipped output hose to the IN port.
1. My fill whip has a JIC 4 connector plus a back pressure regulator (BPR), pressure gauge, and bleed valve.
2. The JIC 4 inlet connection is common to most compressors... Including my RIX SA3... Which also has a BPR (so plenty of check valves).
3. In other words, it's ready for a trial run if I use my RIX SA3 compressor... So that's what I'll do tonight after work.

Thoughts and Considerations:
1. I like the moisture condensation tube design. It's definitely more sophisticated than the old Tornado Kidde condenser (with aquarium rocks for surface area). It's also an improvement over the original screen dissipator system on my old (1980s) Aerotecnica MCH-6. It works somewhat like the condenser on my old OLMEVA 6000 filter array but different. It is not as sophisticated as the condensers on the RIX SA3... But its certainly a well thought out design
2. On the other hand, I'm not so sure the FILTER tube is of sufficient capacity. Certainly if the filter is small, you have to change it more often. But in another discussion about my old Aerotecnica MCH_6 filters, someone mentioned "dwell time" of air moving through the one single filter tube. Of course this speaks to the fill rate of the compressor. And maybe 3-4 cfm gets suffient dwell time with just the one filter tube. I'm pretty sure I can adapt Lawrence Factor filters to work in this filter tube.
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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SurfLung
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Re: Cheap Compressor Filters

Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:46 pm

This Will Be All For Awhile...
Image
- After an earlier run, I discovered considerable condensation in the hose coming down from the filter array... The moisture had pooled above the check valve and everything below the check valve got blown out by the auto drain. So this time I put the check valve up near the filter array and connected directly to the compressor outlet. So, the hose leading up to the filter array condenses a fair amount of moisture that runs back down the hose. On my RIX compressor system, I installed a bleed valve at the bottom and I am able to drain this hose condensation. On the Tornado Kidde, I can just use the auto drain function to blast out the hose moisture... I believe this is pretty close to the way I will eventually plumb the Tornado/Kidde.
- As for the effectiveness of the Cheap Filter Array, I have some comments/conclusions...

1. I never did see any significant moisture accumulate in the moisture condenser... At least not enough to see it physically drain from the bleed valve. This could be due to the way I tested it, however. Once by using my RIX which already drained significant moisture before the air got to this filter array. A second time I ran directly from the Tornado/Kidde so that the cheap filter array should have been the primary moisture accumulator. Again, after filling a 42 cf tank, I did not see enough moisture accumulate to physically see it drain from the bleed valve... BUT, a significant amount DID condense in the hose below it (as described above).

2. The Filter media tube is more of a project than I feel like pursuing. The Lawrence factor filters are similar in size but not a correct fit... I think the original filter that comes with this set could be re-packed with 13X Sieve and activated charcoal. But it wouldn't have that nice blue test strip like the Lawrence Factor filters.

3. Overall, it looks like this "Cheap Compressor Filter" system could be made to work but, for all of the extra effort to make it so, I think I could get a ready to go condenser and filter system from Jim Shelden or just use the same filters as I have for my RIX compressor.

4. Finally, On my last run I developed an oil leak on the Tornado/Kidde compressor. I'm going to have to track that down and fix it... Hopefully just a loose connection.
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SurfLung
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Re: Cheap Compressor Filters

Mon Mar 30, 2020 10:20 am

Update...
- This subject was not welcome on another forum. But now with the China Virus raging thru the country it's even worse, I'm sure. For me, it is still unfinished work which I hope to wrap up in just two more postings. I set out to see how well these things work or can be made to work.
- I was trying to do this alongside my restoration of the Tornado/Kidde compressor. But complications and set-backs with the compressor kind of forced me to set this aside until the compressor issues were solved. The compressor is out of the woods now so, I am finishing up with these filters.
- I have run the compressor and filled a test tank several times thru these filters.
1. The moisture condenser appears to work fine. The humidity in my basement was very low on my first try with this system and I wasn't getting very much moisture condensation in the filter when filling a 42 cf scuba tank. But later I discovered a lot of the moisture had condensed in the hose running from the compressor up to the filter. So yesterday the humidity in my basement soared to 62 and filling the one 42 cf test tank resulted in a substantial amount of condensed moisture to drain.
2. On the other hand, the original FILTER tube contained only activated carbon (no 13X Sieve) so no further moisture absorption there. I thought about re-packing it with 13X but I don't have any of the blue test strips.
3. Thought about modifying a Lawrence Factor filter and I really didn't feel like doing that. THEN, I discovered I already did it when I modified a LF filter for re-packing to use on my little Aerotecnica MCH-6 compressor. The modification requires it to be a little shorter to fit the Chinese filter tube. Notice I moved the original internal spring to external use.
Image

The media retaining screen is held in place by a snap ring.The mod is on the left and original Lawrence Factor on the right.
Image
- I filled my 42 cf test tank last night through this condenser/filter combination and it seemed to work fine. What I'd like to do is fill it several more times and see if the blue test strip starts to change and how many fills it takes to change as the 13X Sieve soaks up moisture. My little Aerotecnica has a similar 2-tube condensation and filter system that I can compare with.
- When that's done, I'll consider this review finished and post one final update.
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Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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antique diver
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Re: Cheap Compressor Filters

Mon Mar 30, 2020 11:07 am

Looking good. Don't throw out the test papers when they turn white. They may turn back to blue if stored in the 13x for a while, and be re-usable. We used to recycle little drying capsules (made like small perforated medicine capsules) within the old Suunto SME computers that way with excellent results. When changing the batteries the capsules were usually found to be pale, so we would replace it with one (that had returned to blue color) from the used batch stored in a little bottle of the Sieve.
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couv
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Re: Cheap Compressor Filters

Mon Mar 30, 2020 5:47 pm

Keep it coming Eben, I'm enjoying every word.
antique diver wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 11:07 am
Looking good. Don't throw out the test papers when they turn white.....
Is there a source for test papers? My neighbor has a compressor and we made a re-packable cartridge for the filter downstream of the moisture separator. It would be handy to have a test strip in the top portion of the 13x so we don't replace it too early/late.

Cheers,

Couv
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antique diver
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Re: Cheap Compressor Filters

Mon Mar 30, 2020 7:05 pm

couv wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 5:47 pm
Keep it coming Eben, I'm enjoying every word.
antique diver wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 11:07 am
Looking good. Don't throw out the test papers when they turn white.....
Is there a source for test papers? My neighbor has a compressor and we made a re-packable cartridge for the filter downstream of the moisture separator. It would be handy to have a test strip in the top portion of the 13x so we don't replace it too early/late.

Cheers,

Couv
Here's a source for small dime-size discs that would work for that purpose. Also note the device that it was intended to go in. That viewing device goes in the circuit just after the final filter tower, and allows a peek at the sensor paper at any time. You could just use the paper disc in your filter cartridge if you made if of clear tubing. https://www.augustindustries.com/produc ... ndicators/

A Free source is the paper strip out of a larger Lawrence Factor clear cartridge. You can remove the paper from an expired cartridge and it should revert to blue color pretty soon when place in service with new molecular sieve. Just find someone who uses those cartridges and have them save you one.

In fact, if you remind me occasionally I will mail you one next time I change out a cartridge of mine or one from a Fire Department.
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couv
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Re: Cheap Compressor Filters

Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:06 pm

antique diver wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 7:05 pm
couv wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 5:47 pm
Keep it coming Eben, I'm enjoying every word.
antique diver wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 11:07 am
Looking good. Don't throw out the test papers when they turn white.....
Is there a source for test papers? My neighbor has a compressor and we made a re-packable cartridge for the filter downstream of the moisture separator. It would be handy to have a test strip in the top portion of the 13x so we don't replace it too early/late.

Cheers,

Couv
Here's a source for small dime-size discs that would work for that purpose. Also note the device that it was intended to go in. That viewing device goes in the circuit just after the final filter tower, and allows a peek at the sensor paper at any time. You could just use the paper disc in your filter cartridge if you made if of clear tubing. https://www.augustindustries.com/produc ... ndicators/

A Free source is the paper strip out of a larger Lawrence Factor clear cartridge. You can remove the paper from an expired cartridge and it should revert to blue color pretty soon when place in service with new molecular sieve. Just find someone who uses those cartridges and have them save you one.

In fact, if you remind me occasionally I will mail you one next time I change out a cartridge of mine or one from a Fire Department.
That would be great as the cartridge is clear.

Thank you very much.
A sincere THANK YOU to all at VDH who make this wonderful resource available and to all the thoughtful contributors.

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SurfLung
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Re: Cheap Compressor Filters

Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:51 pm

Blue Test Strips
- The strips seem to be stuck on the inside wall of the clear tube of a Lawrence Factor filter. When I made up my re-packable LF filter, I used one where the strip had turned from blue to pinkish white. I dumped out the old 13X Sieve and dumped in some NEW 13X Sieve. The strip turned back to its original blue color almost instantaneously. I only used it a few times in the Aerotecnica MCH-6 compressor before putting it away last Fall. So, when I found it just recently, it was still pretty strongly blue but it was lighter blue than original strip color.
- For this current test, I replaced the 13X Sieve again with brand new media. And, I have now filled my test tank 18 times through this filter without it starting to fade or change colors. I can tell the 13X sieve in the bottom of the tube has started to look soggy. But the 13X sieve higher up and right behind the test strip still looks fresh and the test strip has not started to fade.
(This is exactly the same way my 13X filter tube behaves on the Aerotecnica MCH-6... Color change starts at the bottom.)
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Re: Cheap Compressor Filters

Mon Apr 06, 2020 11:42 am

Final Thoughts...
- I hate to say it but, the "Cheap Chinese" Filter System appears to be working very well with my re-packable Lawrence Factor filter modification. First, I think the moisture condenser tube is working as well as (but probably better) than the repair-job we did on my little Aerotecnica MCH-6 condenser. And second, I think the re-packable Lawrence filter is serving well at absorbing the remaining moisture, oil, smells, and tastes. I can't see any way that the air can go anywhere but through the filter media. Compared to the Aerotecnica MCH-6 filter media it seems about the same capacity. The specs in the manual say the Aerotecnica should last for 19 or more fills of 80 cf tanks. This is under fairly moist humidity conditions. I have done 23 fills of my test 42 cf tank and the blue strip has not yet started to change color... But I'm filling less volume and probably drier humidity conditions.
- I think a big part of it is the internal design of the condenser. Look at the drawings showing the insides above. The condenser is capturing a heck of a lot of moisture and oil from the air before it gets to the filter media... Extending filter life. I have breathed the air from a scuba tank and it has no taste or smell. I've also breathed it from just turning the tank valve on and standing in the air stream.
- Here's a BIG Factor: Remember I'm using a Back Pressure Regulator, so there is very good efficiency in the condenser and filtration system. From a purely mechanical perspective, there's no reason why this system shouldn't work as well as it seems to be working.
- Safety Factors: Being manufactured in China, some here have questioned the safety of this filter system. I don't have the capability to test metallurgy, plating content, etc. The threads and O-ring recesses all seem precise and snug. Although my test tank is only filled to 2,000 psi, I have a 2900 psi safety Over Pressure Valve which I have run the pressure up to several times to check the valve. I haven't sent an air sample in to see if the air is officially Grade E breathing quality. But, I haven't done that for my other compressors, either. Yes, I know I should do that.
- So here ends my evaluation of the Cheap (and highly controversial) Chinese Compressor Filters.
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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antique diver
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Re: Cheap Compressor Filters

Mon Apr 06, 2020 11:07 pm

Back to the Blue Strip subject. I did a little testing of a test strip taken from a totally expired Lawrence Factor filter cartridge. The strip had turned from a solid blue color (dry indication) to a totally tan, which indicated high moisture content in the filter cartridge. I put the strip into a little vial of 13x Molecular Sieve, left it for two days, then inspected it today. It had completely turned back to the original blue color.

Couv, as I mentioned earlier I can mail you this free moisture indicator strip if you can use it. Contact me via my email link with your mailing address.

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couv
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Re: Cheap Compressor Filters

Wed Apr 08, 2020 6:11 pm

Thanks Bill,

email sent.

Couv
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