Article Author: Dean Bielanowski  

Problems setting compressed air pressure via regulator and keeping it there?

If you are having a problem trying to set the regulator on your air compressor which is resulting in the pressure in your air lines bouncing back up to maximum, even after you have set the regulator down to working pressure, or "pulsing" when you first allow air through until the air drops to the pressure you have set via your regulator... try this:

To set your desired pressure, allow your compressor to fill its tank to maximum pressure, connect your air tool and let air run through it continuously etc. While the air is running through, adjust regulator down to 0 pressure, so basically no air is coming through. Then start adjusting up to your working pressure until it is showing correctly on your second gauge (closest to air tool) and then lock the regulator down at that point. Doing it this way stops the air line filling back up to max pressure and "pulsing" the air flow again when you first allow air to run through again.

You can't start at max pressure and then try regulate down, at least it didn't work with the regulator I have on my compressor. I had to go to 0 pressure, then adjust up to desired pressure. This way it keeps the air in the line at the pressure you have selected after you have let go of the trigger.

May be obvious to many, but it's something the manuals never tell you.
This is also a very useful tip for spray painting and finishing. You can adjust your pressure up from 0 until you see a good flow of air and paint/finish coming from the spray gun. Then just lock the regulator at that pressure. It helps avoid having pressure set too high and giving a poor result and orange peel effect as well!

Also, if you bought a budget compressor, the stock regulator on the compressor may be poor quality. Adding a better regulator will give more accurate results and the better quality regulators are generally easier to adjust as well.

Other tips
Some regulators have an arrow marked on them to show direction of flow through the regulator. When adding a new regulator, make sure you attach it so that the direction of flow of air from compressor to air tool flows in the same way as the markings on the regulator.

- If you are spray painting or spray finishing, add an inline water trap to reduce moisture in the air lines and give you a better finishing result. Excessive moisture in the air line can ruin a finish, especially if you live in warm, humid areas.

- If you are setting pressure for a nail gun, you must first use a different air tool (such as an air duster or high pressure spray gun) to set your regulated air pressure first. Obviously, you cannot, and do not want to try and get air running continuously through a loaded nail gun!

Hope that helps!

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