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AC Condenser/Evap as shop compressor cooler?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by BadDog, Jun 4, 2003.

  1. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    I have the AC stuff stripped out of my son's K5 setting around in the way. Not likely to sell any of it, so I was thinking of using one of the coils as a cooling coil for my compressor. Last week end, with temps near 100 and more humidity than normal, even the tank was hot to the touch after a while running the DA. By the time it was time to prime the hood skin, air cooling in the lines had caused enough water to make trouble. As a result, I want to find a way to cool the air between compressor and tank. Hence, my question.

    Anyone see a problem using the AC condenser between pump and tank? It’s really a bit bigger than I would like, but who cares hanging on a wall, and there is no such thing as too much cooling in this respect. Looks like it might be a little restrictive, but I wonder if it would be worth it? Otherwise, maybe the evaporator minus the orifice and junk?

    Anyway, through some sort of cooler, into a water trap, and then the tank. I could just use the tank as a trap, but it's a pain to bleed and much easier with a ball valve at shoulder height.

    What do you think?

    And before anyone says anything, yes, I know you can run a coil of copper tube, but these things are made for the job with additional transfer capacity due to the fins and all...
     
  2. 77fixer

    77fixer 1/2 ton status

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    I think it would work great to condense the moisture out so you can actually remove it with a water trap. Will it remove enough heat without the airflow, though? Since I have not removed mine from the truck I am considering plumbing the condensor into my OBA system.

    Brett /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/k5.gif
     
  3. BIGJ

    BIGJ 1/2 ton status Author

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    It sounds like a great idea, and I have the same spare parts laying around. I'd love to see a tech write up on this, hint, hint...... /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif


    BIGJ
     
  4. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    One of the best tricks is to remote mount you compressor and plumb some fixed lines with a T with a drain just before your water seperator. The T will collect some of water on it's own. THe extra line alows the air to cool. The water seperators are not very effective right at the compressor. Get 30feet of line between them and they are pretty good.

    Your condensor idea is a good one but it does have some room for improvement. The biggest is the way a real line dryer works is it is refrigerated. If you set the condensor in a tub of cool water or even ice water it would become very effective and make the water seperator work better. Problem is you would need to change out the water every once in a while when it got warm.

    Heck give it a shot. Try it with a fan blowing air on it and see how much more water the seperator collects. The extra distance for it to travel will help that's for sure.

    I have been thinking about moving my compressor out of the shop where it will have better airflow around it and doing some upgrades to help with this exact problem.
     
  5. mosesburb

    mosesburb For Rent Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Hey Russ,
    I have a 12" electric fan (used) that I am not using now that you could use on your condenser/cooler. I realize some extra work will be required to make the 110V run the 12V fan, but if you're interested, I can put my Monty Hall jacket on and make you a helluva deal on it /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif.
    Nick
     
  6. gravdigr

    gravdigr 1/2 ton status

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    As I posted in another thread I am a professional sandblaster in a monument shop and water in the lines is a huge hassle, here is how we tackled it without buying a $4,000 aftercooler.

    First a little science. Air almost always has moisture in it, known as humidity. Hot air can hold more moisture than cold air. Now when your compressor runs it sucks in air and compresses it effectively increasing the amount of humidity per cubic foot of airspace. Since the air and likely your air tank are both hot this moisture stays in it's gas form until it gets away from the hotter tank and lines, where it condenses. Picture a glass of ice water on a humid day, all that water on the outside is moisture condensing to the cold glass.

    What we did was use this principle to "suck" the moisture out of our air. We sunk 2x300gal air tanks 6' under ground. At this depth the ground is a constant 50-55 degrees F. The tanks get cold, the warm moist air goes into the tanks, moisture condenses on the tank walls, nice dry air comes out the top. Now the setup we are using may be overkill for you since we are pushing 125CFM at 100psi. Maybe sink a 9 gal tank in the ground. We put fittings at the lowest points of our tanks with lines coming out the drain the moisture out of the tanks.

    Another thing that helps is to run your lines up and down. Moisture does not like to go up (probably why rain falls down) and the more rises you have in your line the dryer the air will be. Jus remember to put draincocks at the bottom of each rise.
     
  7. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Will it remove enough heat without the airflow, though?

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Not sure, it has it's work cut out though with temps over 100 ambient. However, most "shop" setups have only a 10' length of copper tube coiled up between the compressor and the tank and that seems to work, or at least help allot. With our (typically) low humidity, I think it would be ok...
    [ QUOTE ]
    One of the best tricks is to remote mount you compressor and plumb some fixed lines with a T with a drain just before your water seperator.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Yep. Back when I had a body shop in humid AL, I had my big compressor with a secondary tank (compressor locked) set off with about 20' of copper tube between them. Hard lines came off the second tank and went into a water trap (like the "T" with a dongle) and then into a home made TP style filter. Worked well enough for the shop. For the paint booth we had a nice 3 stage filter to finish it off.
    [ QUOTE ]
    If you set the condensor in a tub of cool water or even ice water it would become very effective and make the water seperator work better. Problem is you would need to change out the water every once in a while when it got warm.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Too much trouble. /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
    [ QUOTE ]
    I have been thinking about moving my compressor out of the shop where it will have better airflow around it and doing some upgrades to help with this exact problem.


    [/ QUOTE ]
    Thought about this too. Plus, it will be SO much quieter...
    [ QUOTE ]
    I have a 12" electric fan (used) that I am not using now that you could use on your condenser/cooler

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Thanks, but I've already got a small 110 I can use. Would have a certain coolness factor though wouldn't it?
    [ QUOTE ]
    We sunk 2x300gal air tanks 6' under ground.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    You don't sink much of anything in the ground out here without heavy equipment, and sometimes blasting. It's all rock, so you rarely find basements out here, and pools cost too much.
     
  8. gravdigr

    gravdigr 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    You don't sink much of anything in the ground out here without heavy equipment, and sometimes blasting. It's all rock, so you rarely find basements out here, and pools cost too much.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Well my name isn't just for looks I put our tanks in with our backhoe and digging in central PA is no great shakes either.
     
  9. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Hmm, looking and thinking more, I think the restriction may be too high. Added length alone adds back pressure. The current compressor line is 1/2". The condenser is 1/2 in and 3/8 out, with dual 3/8 transfer coils. Cross section area of 3/8 line is 0.346" and 1/2 is .616. So, the transfer coil has similar cross section to a 1/2" line. But, there is twice as much tube (length) to get the same volume, and a much larger perimeter (still more friction) for the same cross section area. To make things worse, there is a single 3/8 exit line. Just to make things more interesting, I noticed the 1/2 input line is crimped pretty bad at the sharp turn entering the coil.

    Now I'm thinking that it may create too much backpressure on the pump leading to premature pump failure and inability to keep up with rated CFM (which I need). Any of you engineering experts out there care to verify or debunk my rough analysis? I have no training or expertise in this area, I’m just thinking my way through this, so I could be completely off base.

    Now, the evaporator seems like it might work better. 1/2 input, 3/4 output, and much shorter. In fact, the evap would have to be very low restriction to work efficiently anyway. Also, much smaller and easier to mount. However, it is much more dense and I don’t know how well it will work without dedicated air flow (fan and shroud). I also wonder if it can take the heat… Maybe I’ll just get 10’ of 1/2 (or 3/4) copper tube and just make a simple intercooler coil…

    <sigh>

    I guess that’s why everyone uses tube and I never heard of anyone using AC parts before..
     

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