Generator/Air Compressor

Old 09-18-2004, 09:25 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2001
Location: New Jersey USA
Posts: 82
Generator/Air Compressor

Since I currently live in an apartment, and do all of my wrenching over at the storage facility where I keep my car, I am looking to get a gas-powered generator and an air compressor(electric) to help me out while working over there. Yet another reason(or excuse) to buy some more tools!

Any suggestions? I'm thinking Honda for the generator and Craftsman for the compressor.


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Old 09-22-2004, 02:28 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Easton, Pa.
Posts: 5,871
If the compressor will be electric, match the starting current to the power capability of the generator.
If the compressor has a starting current higher than the generator will handle the generator circuit breaker will trip and never be useful for that purpose.
Example, if the compressor motor consumes 7 amps, the starting current will be close to double that (14 amps).
The generator should have a 20 amp out put capability. A 15 amp output is cutting it to close for starting the unit as well as doing it under partial load of air pressure in the tank.
In terms of WATTS, 14 amps times 120 volt = 1680 watts.
The generator should be 2000 watts or higher running power with peak watts somewhat higher.
You must also consider any lighting that is on when the compressor tries to come on line.
For lighting in a trouble light that takes almost no current and give light as good as a regular 60 watt bulb, get a 13 watt flouresent twist type that is a higher kelven temperature and has a bluish looking light from a little bit of mercury in it and only uses .200 amp. It will look funny at first but you will get use to it and their hardy about dropping and give a lot of light.
Theses are good for use on a portable power packs that have an inverter giving 120 vac. A good size pack will run this bulb for close to 10 hours.

Last edited by Bluegrass; 09-22-2004 at 02:40 AM.
Old 09-26-2004, 07:41 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2001
Location: New Jersey USA
Posts: 82
Hey Bluegrass, thanks for the info. I did buy a compressor yesterday, Sears had a good deal on a 6HP/33 Gallon vertical unit with a 1/2" impact, 3/8" ratchet, air hammer, and 25' hose with quick disconnect fittings included for $300.

Looks like I may also get a Craftsman generator rated at 5600 watts with a 8600 watt surge capability. It's kinda big size-wise, but better to have the extra capability than not enough. Rule of thumb I'm seeing is 3x the VXA rating for startup, so the compressor being 120V and 15A comes out to 1800W running, 5400W startup which is well within the capability of this particular generator. I was looking at Hondas with similar capacity,but they are $$$.

Thanks again
Old 09-26-2004, 05:35 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Easton, Pa.
Posts: 5,871
Good enough, you got the point.
I have the same compressor.
The motor on these units is a higher speed than more normal motor and belt drive pumps types.
This will cause it to draw the higher starting current plus starting right in pumping under some load before the start winding is tranfered to the run winding in the motor.
The motor to pump is direct drive without benifit if belt drive gear reduction and very noisey.
If I had it to do over again, I would get the traditional belt drive pump type.

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