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SurfLung
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RIX SA3E

Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:04 pm

What Have I Got Here?
- I bought this RIX SA3E Scuba Compressor used. It was apparently used in some sort of airgun business and came with an expired fire department type fiberglass wrapped reserve tank.
Image
- The vertical black tube on the left is the moisture collector for the 3rd stage and the one on the right is for the 2nd stage. The manual shows each with a simple petcock on the bottom for draining moisture. These have quite a bit more complicated plumbing with no manual controls that I can see. Are they automatic?
Image
- It looks like there's a pressure switch between the two vertical black tubes. I'm wondering if this thing was set up to keep the reserve tank filled and every time it dropped below a certain pressure the compressor would turn on automatically. If so, I may need to operate this with a reserve tank?
- There's a pressure gauge facing away from the camera on the left. It and the brass colored rectangle beneath it are labeled as the Back Pressure Regulator and is factory set for 1500 psi. The fill hose comes out the bottom.
- There's no hour meter or anything to tell how much use this has seen or whether it needs an overhaul. The guy who sold it said it was a business liquidation and he was told to "just take what you want"... He tried not to disconnect very much... Just the reserve tank actually. So, if it doesn't need an overhaul, I might be able to just plug it in an pump air?
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antique diver
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Re: RIX SA3E

Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:06 pm

Rix makes a nice compressor. Your moisture collectors (also called separators)are set up to drain automatically via the electric solenoid valve seen in the second photo to the right front of the 2nd stage separator, and the small cylindrical gold anodized aluminum pneumatic valve to right front of the 3rd stage separator. There is probably a timer in the little electrical control box laying beside the motor. If so, it is to actuate the solenoid valve every 15 to 20 minutes or so, letting both separators drain for a few seconds. They should also drain at motor shutoff, when the pressure switch between the two separators reaches its set pressure. That's adjustable by turning the black plastic sleeve clockwise to raise the pressure setting and ccw to lower the shutoff pressure.

Does the control box have push buttons for start and stop, or just a simple on/off switch?

There is no purification filtration on this unit. The short hose coming from your PMV (pressure maintaining valve), also called back pressure valve, goes to the filter if you desire to add one. The lack of a filter is a little controversial in that the Navy used them without filters on some units to fill their Scuba cylinders. I disagree with that practice because the air is not likely to always be dry enough to avoid some corrosion in your steel cylinders. I don't want water in my Aluminum ones either. Also the moisture content could possibly cause freezing of internal regulator parts in cold water. I added a short filter tower to mine to catch the moisture and take out Teflon and/or other particles that might come out of the compressor.

I hope this helps a little, and I would be glad to try and answer any questions you have about your Rix. I have an SA6 with gas engine that puts out 5 cfm. I am guessing the SA3 is 2.5 to 3 CFM. What horsepower is the motor?
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antique diver
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Re: RIX SA3E

Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:16 pm

There are pressure relief valves attached to each separator extending upward higher than the top of separators. If either or both of them leak, don't be immediately tempted to try to adjust them! That just means they are doing their job to relieve too much pressure due to some malfunction or adjustment to a different component needed, and raising the relief pressures could be hazardous to the machine and operator! :shock:

I won't bore you with more details here, but we can delve further into that if or when you want or need to know more. Feel free to contact me by PM or email.
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SeaHuntJerry
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Re: RIX SA3E

Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:22 pm

Thanks for sharing your wealth of compressor knowledge to SurfLung my buddy :twisted: :)

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SurfLung
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Re: RIX SA3E

Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:21 am

antique diver wrote:... we can delve further into that if or when you want or need to know more. Feel free to contact me by PM or email.
- Thanks Antique. I was hoping you would help me. Here's a picture of the control box:
Image

- I like the idea if the RIX not using oil so I don't have to worry about contaminations that come from oil. But, I AM concerned about "moist" air. My buddy Sea Hunt Jerry is very concerned about this too. From the discussion about your RIX SA6E, it looks like you have addressed it and solved it?
- My electric motor is 3 hp, 230 volts, 16 Amp... Like you said 2.5-3 cfm
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antique diver
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Re: RIX SA3E

Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:43 am

You are welcome. I was fortunate to have advice and help from others when HP compressors were new to me beginning in 1970, and that probably saved me from wrecking something expensive or hurting myself. I am still learning new stuff about them, and still fortunate to have friends that know much more than I ever will. So I am glad to help when I can.

The Start-Stop box is a good setup for your compressor because it won't come on by itself unexpectedly. Starting will only occur when you push the Start button AND the pressure switch is reading a low enough pressure. Once the pressure reaches the appropriate point, the machine will shut off, and will not start again by itself. You must push the button again. You will determine by experience how low the pressure must be in the output line for the machine to restart when you push. For example, if your off pressure is set to 3000 psi, it may not come on until the pressure drops to 2000 psi(just an example as each switch type has its own span from on to off.

Yeah, you really need a drying filter, but it doesn't have to be a real large one with that compressor. I'll try to post a photo of mine later, and will keep my eyes open for something appropriate at a reasonable cost.

BTW, the PMV is usually mounted at the discharge side of the filter, but on the Rix it is recommended to have one where yours is to hold back some pressure on the final piston as quickly after startup as possible. It is a floating piston, driven by a sort-of "piston" that is attached to piston rod, and the air pressure holds them together to keep from banging the two together excessively.
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Re: RIX SA3E

Mon Apr 07, 2014 2:21 pm

- Should I be considering this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Water-moisture- ... 4897.l4275
Moisture separator by Walter Kidde Company. Proof pressure 3000 p.s.i., Minimum burst pressure 5000 p.s.i. Accumulated water capacity 9.5 cu. in. 1/4" o'ring ports, 1/8" npt drain port.
SurfLung
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Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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SurfLung
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Re: RIX SA3E

Mon Apr 07, 2014 2:57 pm

antique diver wrote:BTW, the PMV is usually mounted at the discharge side of the filter, but on the Rix it is recommended to have one where yours is to hold back some pressure on the final piston as quickly after startup as possible. It is a floating piston, driven by a sort-of "piston" that is attached to piston rod, and the air pressure holds them together to keep from banging the two together excessively.
- Can I plug this thing in and turn it on without damaging anything? I'd like to see if it'll pump up the back pressure.
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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: RIX SA3E

Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:14 pm

Before plugging it in you might turn it over a couple of rotations by hand just to make sure nothing is binding, then go ahead and run it.
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SurfLung
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Re: RIX SA3E

Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:26 am

A Phone Call from RIX...
- I sent an email to RIX and one of the support guys actually called me on the phone. I wanted to ask what their official story was on the issue of moisture in the air coming from the basic compressor.
- The technician said yes, there definitely is too much moisture for scuba diving tanks. I asked why and he said Fire Departments prefer the moist air because fire fighters have dust and smoke issues in their throats and the moist air is more comfortable for them to breathe.
- I then asked if they had a system for producing dry scuba diving air. And again he said yes, they have a drying tower that costs about $2500. Yikes.
- I also asked him about the apparent automatic drains that are installed on the moisture separators of my compressor and he said those are definitely an upgrade that did not come from RIX. The compressors come with manual petcocks.
- Well, I bought this thing to learn about compressors and I've learned a lot already. I'm not putting $2500 into adding that drying tower but I'm sure there's a reasonable way to get the rest of the moisture out...
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Re: RIX SA3E

Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:57 am

Yes, there is a more reasonable way to get the moisture out... Do not even think about spending that much $$! I will look into some locally available options, which aren't cheap, but compared to Rix's item will certainly be more affordable, I hope. A fairly small filter tower is probably all you need. Give me a couple of days to try and track something down. Also, I have noticed some others have recommended an internet site for compressor do-it-yourselfers, but I don't recall the name. Maybe someone could chime in here with some help on that.

The fellow at Rix was a little misinformed with the comment about fire fighters.
While it is true that they would probably "prefer" the moist air (as would most divers), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires the air to be very dry at dewpoint of -65 F. All fire departments with paid firefighters usually must comply with the NFPA regulations. Dessicant filtration is typically required to meet this stringent low moisture level.

Here is the filter tower that I use, with a 3 part filter cartridge AIM-240, which has molecular sieve, Hopcalite (CO catalyst) and charcoal. I'll check at August Industries to see if they have any take-offs or used equipment. New is still too costly.

For information you can also contact them direct at 972-245-7000 and ask for Brian. Tell him I referred you, and hopefully he won't hang up on you. Let me get in touch with him first and I'll let you know something tonight.

oops, forgot to include this: http://augustindustries.com/Purificatio ... _info.html
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Re: RIX SA3E

Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:33 am

SurfLung wrote:- Should I be considering this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Water-moisture- ... 4897.l4275
Moisture separator by Walter Kidde Company. Proof pressure 3000 p.s.i., Minimum burst pressure 5000 p.s.i. Accumulated water capacity 9.5 cu. in. 1/4" o'ring ports, 1/8" npt drain port.

I just noticed this earlier post. This is a larger, probably more efficient, moisture separator than on the Rix, and a good item, but won't get the level of drying and the added advantage of the gas and particulate filtration of a filter chamber with the replaceable cartridges that I mentioned. Since you have the factory separators, I wouldn't spend the money on this, which is almost as much as a used 5000 psi filter tower will cost.
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Re: RIX SA3E

Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:28 pm

Hi Eben:
This compressor stuff is also all new to me, and I really appreciated all the help I received from members on both The VDH and VSS websites. One recommendation I got from several people was to contact Jim Shelden who is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to compressors. You can contact him at his website which is: http://www.sheldensportinggoods.com or you can call him at: (316)992-0505 After I obtained my Cornelius compressor I wanted to add a filtration tower and I purchased a 21" unit from him which also has a bleed valve that allows me to blow off any condensate. If I recall correctly I believe I paid $178.00 for this filter / separator, and the best thing about it is that it has a user refillable cartridge to put your filtration material; charcoal, hopcalite, etc. Best of luck with your project! :D Terry Stevens
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antique diver
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Re: RIX SA3E

Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:47 pm

Vintagediver wrote:....Jim Shelden who is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to compressors. You can contact him at his website which is: http://www.sheldensportinggoods.com or you can call him at: (316)992-0505 After I obtained my Cornelius compressor I wanted to add a filtration tower and I purchased a 21" unit from him which also has a bleed valve that allows me to blow off any condensate. If I recall correctly I believe I paid $178.00 for this filter / separator, and the best thing about it is that it has a user refillable cartridge to put your filtration material; charcoal, hopcalite, etc. Best of luck with your project! :D Terry Stevens
I was trying to think of that website. $178 sounds like a decent deal on a 21" filter tower, but I would like to see a photo of it to see what it is. I have been trying to find something for Eben but the local compressor supply shop hasn't been very good about getting back to me with my request for something similar! :(

Terry, if you don't mind please post a photo of that or tell me where to find your previous photo that I remember you put up when you got it.

Eben, in light of the lack of cooperation that I have had today with AI, I suggest that you at least give Sheldon a call and tell him what you are doing. I am sorry that my efforts today did not pay off yet :oops: , but I will also continue to look too.
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Re: RIX SA3E

Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:13 pm

Bill: I'll have to see what I can come up with in regards to getting some pictures posted. Hate to admit it; but I'm not a real whiz when it comes to getting them posted on any website. :roll: As per the filter / separator that I bought from Jim I'm pretty certain that it's a converted Sprague Hydraulic accumulator that he builds. I was originally going to buy one of the 14" models that he had for $147.00; but he was out of them and said that he was having problems obtaining more of them. That's how I wound up buying the 21" model. I wound up building a small wood stand to support it and it is then connected by an HP hose to the compressor. The Cornelius compressor I have (130R1500) also has it's own separator; plus there is also one on the tower that I bought from Jim. This way I actually have two blow off valves I can activate to get rid of any condensate. So far I've used it once for a test fill and it works great! 8) Just recently I also installed a back pressure valve; so now I'm ready to start pumping my own brew! :D Damn; that gives one a feeling of independence!! 8)
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