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Discussion Starter #1
Ok well since I am taking the year off this year I am taking this time to get ready for 2009 and the more I read the more pneumatic props sound like a do able thing to add. Now I was reading phantasmechanics web page on using pneumatic props. They recommended a 1/2 to 1 horsepower compressor. Now I have a 2 hp 8 gallon compressor. Only problem is when it recycles it is really loud. So what are people using to power the pneumatic props and where are you placing the compressor and how you running the lines? Do they have quiet compressors that would work? Do you have a bunch of air lines run everywhere? I have thought about a couple of options like uses several portable tanks and just run the props on Halloween. Or just putting the compressor in the back yard and running the air hoses to the front. If I did that what are the best lines to use? The best option would be able to find a quiet compressor. In suggestions or feedback would be great.

-Thanks
 

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HELLoween Ubber Lord
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pends on how many props you use.I would put it in the back & run an airline to front.
Plus the longer hose carries more air, (never use extension cord) & you can add extra tanks for air,i convert propane tanks for added air supply.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am only go to use it on maybe 2-3 props as it stands now. Yea I know not to use ext cord, it would be plugged into a distro box or in a outlet that is hung from the panel in the back.

I would like to find a quieter compressor though that I could hide in the bushes on the side of my house so I don't have to make a long runs. Do they make quiet compressors and how does everyone else set up there pneumatic props?
 

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You could always make a cover out of syrofoam the stuff that you make gravemarkers out of and add some foam rubber glued to the inside of the cover, then cover up the compressor and it would quiet the sound down alot.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
MDF insulated with jute padding would probably work better but making a box is definitely a good idea. Cut a hole in the top for power and one on the side for the air lines out. That is giving me some good ideas for that part. Thanks

I am really interested on how others set up their pneumatic props and run the air lines. Also if you are using a compressor where do you house it?
 

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Hauntless
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This is my first year using a compressor so I haven't tested it in the field so-to-speak.

I had the salesman plug in a oilless compressor and then an oil-lubed one (supposed to be more quiet) so I could compare the noise. Well, the oil lubed one is a bit quieter but it's still noisy! My haunt is going to be in the garage and I really can't tolerate any noise from a compressor in there. So, that made the decision easier. I will run air lines to the garage and the compressor will be in the back yard. I got the oilless and saved a bit of money. This is the one I got: Craftsman 17 gal. Vertical Air Compressor - Model 16737 at Sears.com It's a 17 gal, 150 PSI, 1.1 HP.



Then I consulted with an electrician to see how I was going to power this thing. He checked the amps it needed, whistled, and told me that I needed to find an underutilized circuit for it. He was right about that. When I tested it on the garage circuit it was running fine right up to the time the fog machine kicked on. It tripped the circuit breaker. So I'm going to run an extension cord out the kitchen window for this guy. The electrician said that I could use an extension cord for it as long as it is the correct gauge and do as short of a run as possible.

The compressor pumps up to 150 PSI and then kicks off until I drain it down to 120 PSI, then it runs again. My prop uses 48 PSI and I figure I'll get 12 or so routines before the compressor needs to recharge again.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow that is a really good price on that compressor for that size. I am not really crazy about the uprights but would be space saving during the off season. So they demoed them for you at Sears? I might have to go up there and give them a look then.

I am good power wise. I have a 200 amp panel on my workshop in the back which is pretty much for my Christmas and Halloween displays. More Christmas then anything since it pulls around 125 amps when full own. Then I have a sub panel on the back of my house with 20 amp outlets off it. So plenty of power... Fog machines pull a lot of power, a lot more then most people know and figure into there electrical needs. My 1700 watt machines pulls 15 amps alone so that is one circuit right there. Just make sure you are running 12 gauge ext cord and you will be good with yours.

I am curious what others do when these props are in there yard. The way my house is set up the Garage is in the front and if I left it in there I would have to run air lines across walkway and paths to the front yard and definitely don't want that. Ideally I would like to put it on the side of the house if I can find a quiet compressor. I may try building a box like suggested but use MDA and Jute padding. I think that would quite it substantially.
 

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Toby, the guy who runs the Haunt31 yard haunt (Halloween Countdown Clock) in Lake In The Hills, IL has his air compressor in the basement. He ran air lines up to his garage and has quick disconnects built right into the wall of the garage. He also dug holes on either side of the sidewalk that goes from his driveway to his front porch, and then permanently burried a pvc pipe under the sidewalk. Every Halloween he just digs up a little mulch to reveal the pvc pipe and he feeds his air hoses and electrical under the sidewalk via the pvc pipe. I think he has a pretty big compressor, but I don't know the specifics. He runs something like 20 or so props off his air and has at least a couple of additional air storage tanks.
 

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Need to

look at duty cycle of the compressor relative to what you're trying to power...PSI is not as important as CFM's and duty cycle....for instance, I use 1 33 gallon Craftsman at 150 PSI (props are regulated down to between 40 and 60 psi) and 1 15 gallon compressor at 125 psi output...they power 14 pneumatic props cycling once about every minute or so. Air flows from the compressors to two 3/8 hose lines to another "reservoir" tank (15 gallon capacity) where the air is distributed to 9 of the props via common air manifold. The remaining props share another 3/8" hose split to the remaining 5 props. The duty cycle determines when and how often the compressor will run to re-fill the tanks. Here are pics of the 9 valve block, computer control and the reservoir distributor.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
WOW that is a nice little elaborate set up. I don't think I will need that much but sure would be nice to have it though...LoL

Anyone got pictures of their lines running to their props so I can see how you are running them and hiding them? I was thinking of just using landscape staples for the runs to hold the lines down.
 

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or with a keg that big fill it up & turn it off.. the tank should handle fo quite a while b4 it hits low presure.. it cycles on again becaust it assume you are using power tools n stuff that need alot more ari at hi pressure,, depending on how many props you use and how long the bursts of air are that is.
test it out you can just use a air pistle set your pressuire & squeeze for how long you wont the prop up then stop.repeat until you run out or below 25 psi.
 

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Hauntless
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Wow, I've pulled some great ideas off this thread. First, find a way to run air lines from my basement up to the garage.

Second, I could turn off the compressor pump after it fills up and run the props until it runs out of pressure.

Third, I'm insanely jealous of the 200 amps that Texan78 has to his garage. LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The 200 amp breaker actually runs to my workshop that is in my backyard. Since it is its own free standing structure and it is a certain size it can be service with it's own power. My uncle is a electrician so we did all the work. When the power company came out to run the main service feed and I told them why I need so much they thought I was nuts. The outlets and fixtures in the shop run off of one 20 amp breaker which is all I need really. Since the workshop is not in use during the holiday season I can use that circuit if I need it. NEC will allow you to have up to 200 amps service through overhead delivery. My house only has 150 amps with a 125 amp sub panel. So the shop was built pretty much just for building and facilitating my holiday displays. Next to the main panel in my shop I have a wall of GFI outlets. In the side of the shop are 3 4" PVC pipes that run through the wall from the inside to the outside. This allows me to run main power runs from the shop panel down the side of my house to the front yard to 4 way distro outlets for my LOR controllers. When it is not in use those pipes are capped with those rubber sewer caps with a clamp. So in total I have 325 amps of usable power for my Halloween and Christmas display. The Halloween only uses 80 amps but the Christmas uses just over 150 amps. I run a computer animated display like Mark does but for my Christmas display and a small animated display for Halloween. Most of the Halloween is static but next year it will be much more since I am taking Halloween off this year. My Christmas display has 50,000+ lights that are countable and uses 112 LOR channels plus DMX lighting with fog and snow machines and projection animation. So in order to power all of this I needed a separate panel but to do this I need a way to get the 200 amp service so building the workshop allowed me to do that.

So since I am moving into pneumatic props next year along with animatronics I wanted to see how everyone set up the pneumatics run to there yard. Putting it in the garage is out of the question because the lines will run across paths. Also I enclose the carport so you would hear it. I am liking the idea with the MDF box lined with jute padding though. I would like to get the compressor as close to the front yard to keep the main runs down. What do people use for reservoir tanks? Are you just using portable air tanks?
 

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I like the landscape staple idea! I run mine in the basement with the lines out a window. Storage is the key, the more tank space the fewer recharges (though each recharge cycle is longer) your lines are part of the storage space too. Next year sees a new 80 gallon 2-stage (autobody and paint are my number one hobby!).
 

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you can use old propane tanks or portable air tanks. (anything that was designed for high pressure. you can get portable air tanks from walmart for $22 for a 7 gal tank. you put a T fitting coming out of the tank and on one side run to your props the other side goes to your compressor. the side going to the compressor put a check valve in between the compressor and the tank that way air can only flow to the tank and not back to the compressor. and if you use a propane tank make sure you install a safety valve so you don't kill your self .

On another note I would be careful enclosing the compressor because the pump gets hot and needs airflow to cool it off. and excess heat may ruin the compressor. so you might want to design a box that has some kind of cooling fan that blows outside air across the compressor motor/pump.
 

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they have blow off safety valves so if the tank gets too full the valve will open releasing the pressure. but I have a snap on 30 gallon, 5.0 HP air compressor and even that cannot put out enough pressure to over fill the portable tank so you don't have anything to worry about unless you use a old propane tank that is in questionable condition with rust on it . but if you want to be extra cautious set your regulator on you compressor to put out lees psi than the tank is rated for.
 
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