Pressure switches installed in air compressors are designed to regulate the pressure level at which the compressor turns off and on. The switch is normally connected to the pressure tank and mounted directly to the compressor or a pressure gauge located outside the tank.
Pressure switches can be differentiated by a number of factors such as the size of the action, contact rating, differential setting, and electrical connection type making it important to select an appropriate switch for your specific application.
What is an Air Compressor Pressure Switch?
An air compressor pressure switch is a device that monitors the air pressure in a compressed air system and activates or deactivates the compressor automatically when the pressure drops or rises beyond set thresholds. This is done to maintain an optimal level of pressure across the compressed air system, ensuring proper functioning and preventing breakdowns or damage due to over-pressurization.
The compressor pressure switch has two adjustable screws, one labeled ‘Cut In’ and the other labeled ‘Cut Out’. The Cut In screw increases or decreases the cut-in point and indicates at what pressure the compressor will turn on.
The Cut Out screw adjusts when the compressor will turn off based on pressure. This ensures that both over-inflation and deflation are prevented and that proper operating pressures are maintained for optimum performance. The switch also acts as an efficiency regulator, allowing for more efficient operation of your compressed air system.
How Does an Air Compressor Pressure Switch Work?
An air compressor pressure switch is a safety device that regulates the pressure of an air compressor. It helps to prevent the system from becoming over-pressurized and conserve energy by switching the compressor off when the pressure drops below a certain level.
Pressure Switch Components
Understanding the components of a pressure switch on an air compressor can help you to diagnose any problems that may arise and make informed decisions when replacing it. An air compressor pressure switch normally has four components: a lever(s), a “Normally Open” contact, a “Normally Closed” contact, and a diaphragm assembly.
The diaphragm assembly pushes the lever down as the pressure rises and falls in the tank. The contact is typically made of brass, copper, or steel and works like an electrical switch; when it is pressed down to contact the other component, electricity flows between them.
When the pressure reaches its maximum or minimum value, depending on the set point of your air compressor pressure switch, one of two things will happen: either the Normally Open contact will remain open (thereby maintaining some “deadband” before switching) or it will close. When this happens, it either causes your motor to start if it’s off (switch turning on), or stop running if it’s already started (switch turning off).
When set correctly, your air compressor pressure switch should activate at roughly 115 PSI for standard stationary compressors with 175 PSI being ideal for mobile units. Your pressure settings should be carefully adjusted depending on your specific use requirements as not every application uses exactly 115 PSI or 175 PSI as their upper limits.
With two levers in some designs and three levers in others – low-pressure cutoff, high-pressure cutoff, and unloader valve – there are many individual elements within any given unit that are worth inspecting both prior to installation and after each repair in order to ensure everything is working properly for optimal performance.
Pressure Switch Mechanism
The air compressor pressure switch senses the pressure inside an air tank. Most residential air compressors come with a factory preset pressure switch that operates typically in the range of 110 to 125 psi. It is the job of the pressure switch to turn off the motor when it senses that the maximum amount of filled air has been achieved or when there is not enough air in the tank, then to turn on when there is a drop in pressure all within very short time intervals.
There are five main components within an air compressor’s pressure switch, each one serving its own purpose:
- Set Point Spring – This is a spring-loaded device located within the switch; it determines what level of pre-set operating range the machine will reach before auto-shutoff.
- Diaphragm – When this flexible wall is subjected to variations in pressure, it moves accordingly, responding either by opening or closing depending upon how much force is applied.
- Unloader Valve – This valve releases any excess air that has been compressed beyond what was initially set as a goal for maximum capacity so that new compression cycles can begin again relatively rapidly.
- Contacts & Connectors – Located within the enclosed assembly are two contacts that open and close when directed by changes in diaphragm position; these contacts connect themselves to either one side or another side of the electrical supply dependent on machine performance parameters.
- Manual Pressure Adjustment Screw – This particular feature allows operator intervention whereby they can manually change desired operating criteria based on need at the time of use.
Benefits of an Air Compressor Pressure Switch
A pressure switch helps control the air compressor by turning the unit on and off at a pre-set pressure according to the user’s needs. This article explains the benefits of using an air compressor pressure switch.
One of the biggest advantages of using an air compressor pressure switch is that it allows for efficient and accurate operations due to its automated functions. This means that when you turn on the appliance, it will shut off when it reaches a certain level. This helps to ensure safety, as many models can be set for a minimum start-up pressure to prevent overfilling, which is dangerous.
Air compressors with a built-in pressure switch also make controlling multiple processes easier by regulating components connected across multiple machines or systems operating independently but simultaneously with fewer mistakes or miscommunications between machines. Air compressors with built-in switches can help make multi-system operations more automatic too reducing manual handling errors or parts damage in assembly lines which increases overall efficiency in any workplace air handling system.
In conclusion, air compressor pressure switches are a vital component in the operation of an air compressor. They serve to both control the power to the motor and detect when a minimum pressure is reached for the setting chosen, allowing for the electronic components to turn off and on as needed. Pressure switches are available in various types, ranging from traditional contact models which require physical contacts to switch on and off, to more modern solid-state models which use digital signals.
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