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Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

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msc
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Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby msc » Thu May 19, 2016 7:08 am

I returned my 2nd HF compressed air dryer after it had an internal leak as soon as I installed it. I have been cutting without it, draining the compressor tank and drain valves I have in my system often. I have several loops and drains in the system as well as a Motorguard filter just before my cutter and I don't get any visible moisture in the valves closest to my PM 45. I get a lot of moisture from the valves closer to the compressor. My consumables seem to last a good amount of time.

My question is, do I really need a dryer? I do live in south Florida so humidity is very high to say the least. I don't mind buying another dryer if it will make a difference but hate to spend the money if it won't.

How do I know I really need one?

Thanks, Mark
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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby sphurley » Thu May 19, 2016 7:45 am

I live in Southern California, dry 99% of the time. I took the hose off my plasma, put a high volume air nozzle on it and blew air on a steel plate for 5 minutes. After seeing the water droplets form on the plate I bought a dryer. ( I have an intercooler on the compressor already)
Just my 2 cents.
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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby tnbndr » Thu May 19, 2016 8:20 am

I returned my 2nd HF compressed air dryer after it had an internal leak as soon as I installed it


It can't hurt anything! Buy the one sold on this site Made in America. I've been running mine steady for two years without an issue.
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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby PlasmaSpider Store » Thu May 19, 2016 9:38 am

tnbndr wrote:
I returned my 2nd HF compressed air dryer after it had an internal leak as soon as I installed it


It can't hurt anything! Buy the one sold on this site Made in America. I've been running mine steady for two years without an issue.


Thanks for the recommendation tnbndr!

If your looking for a link the dryer tnbndr is suggesting this is it http://plasmaspider.com/shop/dryers.html and keep in mind you still need to filter the air before it gets to this unit.

Image

Another more cost effective alternative in terms of initial cost is a desiccant dryer/filter combination like this one http://plasmaspider.com/shop/dryer_sharpe6760.html

Image

Both units will do a great job, the desiccant dryer actually has a lower dewpoint and will eliminate more humidity that the refrigerated dryer but requires the desiccant to be dried or replaced periodically.

If you live in Florida I can guarantee you will notice immediate positive results after the installation of a quality filter/dryer.

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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby Brand X » Thu May 19, 2016 12:15 pm

This company makes some of the best ones.. No drying of the media. Just get consumed... Bag of pellets has lasted me about 20 years..Still have half of them.. I use a local brand of pellets,came from a wood mill out of Portland (Camas) So options there too..

http://vanairsystems.com/component/allv ... ryers.html

http://vanairsystems.com/products_desic ... -lite.html

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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby jimcolt » Mon May 23, 2016 2:56 pm

To answer this question..... Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ? I would first ask where do you live..... You stated: "I do live in south Florida so humidity is very high to say the least."

So.....My answer is yes, an air dryer is advisable.....so is an auto drain on your compressor tank. In high humidity I always recommend a refrigerated dryer as they require less maintenance (no dessicant).

Too bad you had issues with the Harbor Freight unit....I have heard good things about them. Personally I use a Dayton (from Graingers) refrigerated dryer that I bough on Craigslist for $75. Here in NH I run it only during humid summer months (June, July, August....part of September) with good results. Jim Colt Hypertherm

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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby msc » Mon May 23, 2016 10:09 pm

Thanks Jim. I do have a replacement coming from Harbor Freight. Hopefully the 3rd one will work as intended. I now drain my tank and system valves every few cuts to keep the air dry.

Other than increased consumable life, what other benefits should I see with dryer air?
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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby jimcolt » Tue May 24, 2016 8:25 am

Because of the longer consumable life you will get more consistent cut quality and lower operating cost (buy less consumables). Jim

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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby gamble » Thu May 26, 2016 7:53 am

I have the hypertherm air dryer. Or one that looks identical to it by RTI. Was about $120 on ebay and it works great!
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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby msc » Sun Jun 05, 2016 1:15 pm

So this week my 3rd Harbor Freight compressed air dryer arrived. I installed it and sure enough, another internal air leak. I thought I would just repair it but it is leaking from a cluster of tubes coming together and I can't see the leak. I know it is HF and all but one would think at least one of the 3 units would be ok. Oh well, back to the start :(
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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby little blue choo » Sun Jun 05, 2016 1:52 pm

Damn msc, you have some kind of luck. I have been running my HF air dryer for about 15 months with no problems. When I went to Arclight back in Feb. of 2015 that is what they were running and recommended them highly. I do remember reading the Max inlet air pressure should not exceed 125PSI, so I regulate my down to 120 before interring the dryer. What inlet pressure are you running? Just a though.

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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby msc » Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:08 pm

Hey Rick. My compressor puts out around 150 psi and I didn't regulate it down. I just checked the manual and it states max operating pressure is 140 psi. But the air started streaming out the moment I hooked up the air supply. I can't imagine that 10 psi over the operating pressure would cause it to leak that bad that quick. In any event, I read your post, ran out to the shop with anticipation, unpacked the dryer which is being picked up on Tuesday, hooked it back up using a pressure regulator at 120 psi and guess what? It still leaked :(

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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby motoguy » Sun Jun 05, 2016 5:39 pm

msc wrote:Hey Rick. My compressor puts out around 150 psi and I didn't regulate it down. I just checked the manual and it states max operating pressure is 140 psi. But the air started streaming out the moment I hooked up the air supply. I can't imagine that 10 psi over the operating pressure would cause it to leak that bad that quick. In any event, I read your post, ran out to the shop with anticipation, unpacked the dryer which is being picked up on Tuesday, hooked it back up using a pressure regulator at 120 psi and guess what? It still leaked :(

Mark


Although, whatever blew out at 140+ PSI isn't likely to have healed/re-seated itself, in order to seal at 120. I would have been surprised if it had sealed after being blown. If that was the cause, of course.
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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby jimcolt » Sun Jun 05, 2016 5:51 pm

It sounds like you likely over pressured all 3 of them. Be careful.....your Powermax45 has a maximum pressure of 120 psi. Too high and the plastic filter bowl in the regulator / water separator will crack and leak.

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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby little blue choo » Sun Jun 05, 2016 5:52 pm

You must have a newer model or a newer Manuel. LOL My says 120psi Who can tell with all this Chinese stuff on the market today. I wish you luck with what ever you decide to do.

Rick
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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby msc » Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:05 pm

I have a pressure gauge at the inlet to my PM45 and I am careful to keep the pressure below 120. Do you really think 10 psi could blow out a line. I suspected poorly soldered connections.

I was hoping that maybe there was a relief valve to prevent over pressurization that was activated and reset.
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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby see&see » Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:48 pm

Another way to go is replace the air dryer with an after-cooler on the hot line out of the compressor head like they do on the industrial systems. I have the one pictured below and it traps about 95% of the water before it reaches the compressor tank. That and a desiccant filter followed by a Motor Guard carbon filter just ahead of the Hypertherm cutter eliminated 100% of the water traces in the Hypertherm bowl. Just be sure and monitor air pressure just before the cutter in case the motor guard gets full of desiccant dust. My motor guard element has lasted a year with zero pressure drop to the cutter so far..

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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby msc » Sat Jun 25, 2016 4:22 pm

Ok, so I got another HF compressed air dryer and hooked it up and this time I used a pressure regular and keeping it at around 115. So far so good.

Do you keep it on all the time or just when using air? Also, should it be cycling. Ran it for a few hours , idling, and it never cycled off?

Thanks, Mark
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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby tnbndr » Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:04 am

Do you keep it on all the time or just when using air? Also, should it be cycling. Ran it for a few hours , idling, and it never cycled off?

I keep mine running all the time but I live in Wisconsin, not always humid. I have the one sold from here and it cycle on and off all the time and has a gauge on the front telling me when it is in the right zone for dry air.
Being you are in Florida it may take a while to reach its peak or if it is that humid it may run constantly to keep up.
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Re: Do I need a Compressed Air dryer ?

Postby Stout » Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:01 am

Hypertherm support said "A regulated 85 psi air supply is required.". I have mine set to 100 psi after the first water separator right at the compressor. Then through the air dryer. There is a paper filter at the power supply, about 50 feet away, that I check about every year. No moisture ever.
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