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Thread: Anyone use a dessicant air dryer?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    4,226

    Default Anyone use a dessicant air dryer?

    I'm plumbing my shop for compressed air, and a buddy gave me a used Camair TS-10, a unit that has a "coalescing" filter and a chamber that holds something like 10 pounds of silica gel.

    I'd like to use it, but the "refresh kit", which is a new filter, a moisture indicator (a sight glass type of thing) and a refill of desiccant, is something like $150, which as I'm in Alaska, will be closer to $200 by the time it's shipped up here.

    I won't mind that as much, however, if the desiccant lasts a couple years or more. My air requirements are minimal, really only using a blowgun on occasion in the machine shop, filling the occasional tire, and once or twice a year, maybe a couple days of heavy fabrication where I'll wind up using die grinders and air sanders extensively. That's about it.

    Locally, my humidity is low to moderate, with most of the winter being very low, of course. I really only have to drain the compressor maybe twice a year, and get about a cup each time.

    Anyone have any idea how long that ten pounds of desiccant might last?

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Alaska
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    346

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    Hi Doc,

    With some knowledge of your operation I think you will be just fine with the TS-10. How long the desiccant last will depend on your usage, quality of your compressor, installation and humidity when in use. But the short answer is use it and when the desiccant gets saturated dry it in an oven. Or rig up a re-generator to dry the desiccant in place manually. A re-generator would consist of a heater in the desiccant chamber, a vent and a fan blowing dry air to carry the moisture away. It sounds simple but it's quite involved and more than I'd want to get into right now.

    Handle the desiccant with care as most types that I'm familiar with turn to powder when handled roughly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Yeah, and maybe don't run air through it for things that don't need dry air. I only use mine when I'm painting.

    And don't forget to drain your tank of water regularly...

  4. #4
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    Jul 2017
    Location
    Springfield Mo
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    I wouldnt mind having one, though i honestly dont 'need' one. If you run spray guns, yeah, you need a moisture filter, but most tools to my knowledge dont require them. Be nice to have just to keep die grinders from spitting condensate in your face.

    Dunno that id want to pay that price for a refresh kit though. You can find 10lbs of silica gel online for ~$90, and you may or may not be able to find that locally for less. Cant see any reason that wouldnt work the same

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    198

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    The desiccant can be reused until it gets soaked with oil from the compressor. If your compressor is in good shape and does not pass much oil, you could regenerate the silica gel or activated alumina a number of times before it looses itís ability to remove moisture.
    Last edited by Jim Williams; 08-08-2018 at 07:05 AM.

  6. #6
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    Apr 2014
    Location
    Ventura,CA.
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    Hi Doc, we have 5 paint booths at work that we use a combo of coalescent and bulk desiccant filters on . We buy bulk desiccant from these guys: https://www.agmcontainer.com/
    It is alot cheaper than the kits. We tried reconstituting the desiccant by heating and drying and did not seem to have much success. We use the Devibiss brand of desiccant chamber. Jim

  7. #7
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    Jan 2003
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    Temple, Tx
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    I have used both desiccant and refer types of dryers. Maybe it is just my style, but I would not consider the desiccant dryer - too much hassle. I do get that it was free. Maybe not a fair comparison since I live in a place where stuff is easy to get, but I would not take a free desiccant dryer myself.

  8. #8
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    Apr 2014
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    Ventura,CA.
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    Bruce, was the dryer you used a chamber type or what? The ones we use all you do is open up the top and bottom,the old desiccant beads drain out, and you put new ones in.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2008
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    Kent, U.K.
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    2,426

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Nickel View Post
    I'm plumbing my shop for compressed air, and a buddy gave me a used Camair TS-10, a unit that has a "coalescing" filter and a chamber that holds something like 10 pounds of silica gel.

    I'd like to use it, but the "refresh kit", which is a new filter, a moisture indicator (a sight glass type of thing) and a refill of desiccant, is something like $150, which as I'm in Alaska, will be closer to $200 by the time it's shipped up here.

    I won't mind that as much, however, if the desiccant lasts a couple years or more. My air requirements are minimal, really only using a blowgun on occasion in the machine shop, filling the occasional tire, and once or twice a year, maybe a couple days of heavy fabrication where I'll wind up using die grinders and air sanders extensively. That's about it.

    Locally, my humidity is low to moderate, with most of the winter being very low, of course. I really only have to drain the compressor maybe twice a year, and get about a cup each time.

    Anyone have any idea how long that ten pounds of desiccant might last?

    Doc.
    Doc, you're resident on the Madmodder forum aren't you? Have a look at Andrew Mawson's dessicant air drier that he built for his plasma cutter. The whole build is well documented there.
    Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

    Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
    Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
    Monarch 10EE 1942

  10. #10
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    Mar 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter. View Post
    Doc, you're resident on the Madmodder forum aren't you? Have a look at Andrew Mawson's dessicant air drier that he built for his plasma cutter. The whole build is well documented there.
    -It's been a long time since I was on MM, but I went and had a look. Not a bad setup, actually, but in this case, no, there's absolutely no way I'd use a water filter housing with a plastic/polycarbonate bowl as a pressure vessel. Given the heat of the incoming air, the constant hammering of the compressor and the pressure spikes of simply using air tools- and the bowl is only rated at 150 psi, with a working pressure of 100 psi- the risk of that thing detonating is more than I'd want to risk.

    In any case, if I was going to use a desiccant dryer anyway... well, that's the point here, isn't it? I already have one. No fabrication necessary. Mine holds (presumably) about ten pounds, his holds two.

    I did note that his two pounds of desiccant were at least 50% saturated after just a month. I have no idea how much he uses his air (I'll presume likely a lot more than I do) nor how humid it tends to be around his place (again, I'll presume on average more than around me) but at least it's a small bit of data.

    My unit holds roughly four times the desiccant, so if his lasts a month, mine would last about four months at his level of use. So with presumably lower humidity, and probably considerably lower overall use, a year per "charge" probably isn't out of the question.

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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