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Old 04-02-2018, 09:16 PM   #1
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Portable air compressor / tire inflator

A couple of questions for those that have one and have used it- if you have just a cigarette lighter plug on yours, do you plug it into your vehicle or into the 12v in the trailer to inflate the tires.
Does anyone know if you would be able to,plug a 12 volt inflator into a converter plug for 120 and it would work?
Id like to have a dual voltage but if you could plug it into a 120v converter then that could work as well.

Any suggestions on which one/ type to buy?
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Old 04-02-2018, 09:39 PM   #2
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Does anyone know if you would be able to,plug a 12 volt inflator into a converter plug for 120 and it would work?
Id like to have a dual voltage but if you could plug it into a 120v converter then that could work as well.
I don't understand the question. The converter takes 120 V AC "shore" or campsite power and turns it into about 12 V DC to charge the battery and run everything that would otherwise be run by the battery. All "accessory" or "lighter socket" receptacles are 12 V DC , and all of them in the trailer are connected to the battery, and it doesn't matter much whether or not the converter is running (although the voltage will be a bit higher if the converter is on). So what would a "converter plug for 120" be; did you mean "inverter"?

If you're looking for an inflator which can run on either 12 V DC or 120 V AC... I can't think of one. Normally an inflator works with one voltage (because it would need an internal converter or inverter to be able to run on both); typically that's 12 V DC because that's typically what you have available in a vehicle, and if you're plugged into AC power you don't have to worry about running the 12 V battery down. You can buy an air compressor which runs on 120 V AC, but then you would only be able to use it when plugged into AC power, or by using the inverter (if you have one).

There is a huge range of quality - and cost - in 12 volt air compressors / inflators. You can get disposable junk for ten bucks, or serious hardware for a couple hundred.
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Old 04-02-2018, 10:14 PM   #3
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Here's a post from a previous thread where a forum member was pleased with a dual AC/DC model. Reliable air compressor for tires. Several other models are mentioned within the tread.
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Old 04-03-2018, 02:31 AM   #4
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Here's a post from a previous thread where a forum member was pleased with a dual AC/DC model. Reliable air compressor for tires.
Thanks, I missed that in the original discussion.

The product wasn't easy to find at Lowes, because of the description...
Kobalt 12-Volt Car Air Inflator Item # 791911 Model # KLDP1
It appears that we don't get this product at Lowe's in Canada.

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Originally Posted by War Eagle View Post
Several other models are mentioned within the tread.
I just read through the entire thread, and didn't see any other dual-voltage models mentioned - other than that specific Kobalt, they all list just one power source of 12-volt, battery powered, or 120 volt AC.
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Old 04-03-2018, 02:54 AM   #5
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I've only used my inflator for my trailer tires. I have two pumps. One cost me less than $20 at Canadian Tire and the other was left in my vehicle after my daughter and friends went on a camping trip. They also left a tent and a sleeping bag and a couple jackets.
The air pumps are cheap, and they do get hot, but so far neither has failed. They are also much smaller and weigh much less than the Kobalt mentioned previously.
I have BCAA RV Plus and a Toyota roadside assistance for backup.
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Old 04-03-2018, 06:48 AM   #6
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I carry both a 120v compressor in my truck as well as a 12v in my trailer. The 12v will operate best when directly connected to the battery.
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Old 04-03-2018, 07:03 AM   #7
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I went with a Slime brand 2 cylinder. It is 12 volt and hooks to the battery directly. I went this route since the reviews said that most 12 volt plugs don’t provide enough power. I find it provides a quick fill for the trailer tires. I won’t leave home without it!
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Old 04-03-2018, 07:37 AM   #8
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Choosing a compressor seems to be deciding on how long you are willing to wait to fill a tire. The bigger the tire the longer it'll take. The smaller lighter plug styles have a lower output, they also overheat quickly and will only run for a limited time before they need a break. The bigger 12v ones that hook directly to the battery put out more air and run longer before needing the same cool down time.

Having larger tires on the truck I opted for a higher output model. I've also never "had" to use it, but it makes me feel better when going off road or into remote areas.
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Old 04-03-2018, 07:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
... I just read through the entire thread, and didn't see any other dual-voltage models mentioned - other than that specific Kobalt, they all list just one power source of 12-volt, battery powered, or 120 volt AC.
The Kensun brand was mentioned favorably in the tread, and several of their current models are dual 12VDC/120AC, such as these:
https://kensun.com/products/air_compressor_model_h
https://www.amazon.com/Kensun-Perfor.../dp/B01J8Y91GC
Dual power seems to be a growing trend....
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Old 04-03-2018, 08:18 AM   #10
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Thanks for the replies, I will check the suggestions out.

I was also asking if you thought One could buy just a 12 volt compressor/ inflator and then connect it to a 12 volt adapter, such as you csn do with a 12volt cooler if you want to plug it into a wall socket electrical plug.
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Old 04-03-2018, 08:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chapitre View Post
... I was also asking if you thought One could buy just a 12 volt compressor/ inflator and then connect it to a 12 volt adapter, such as you csn do with a 12volt cooler if you want to plug it into a wall socket electrical plug.
Options are out there. Just Google it. But the component costs for 120V AC to 12V DC converters/transformers/adaptors starts to add up unless you have several 12V DC appliances that you want to power with 120V AC.
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Old 04-03-2018, 08:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
...bigger 12v ones that hook directly to the battery put out more air and run longer before needing the same cool down time.

Having larger tires on the truck I opted for a higher output model. I've also never "had" to use it, but it makes me feel better when going off road or into remote areas.
Copy that. I don't see the advantage of the 'emergency' compressor running on 120 vac. We've always got 12V available when we travel.

We carry the compressor only for adjusting tire pressure. Maybe someday, in the most dire situation, I'll have to augment a can of 'fix-a-flat' with air from the compressor. Like Padlin, I opted for a 'higher output' model (from Harbor Freight, less than $50 USD with coupon). Draws 30A, so hooks directly to battery only; rated for a little under 1.5 CFM; hose and cables are long enough to reach all tires.
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Old 04-03-2018, 09:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by War Eagle View Post
The Kensun brand was mentioned favorably in the tread, and several of their current models are dual 12VDC/120AC, such as these:
https://kensun.com/products/air_compressor_model_h
https://www.amazon.com/Kensun-Perfor.../dp/B01J8Y91GC
Dual power seems to be a growing trend....
These dual power units appear to be similar to computers with the brick ac/dc converter, they are really 12v appliances and the spec's indicate 12v efficiency which is low. I can fill a truck tire using my true 120v model in under 2 minutes, not 5 minutes they mention.
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Old 04-03-2018, 10:17 AM   #14
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I am on my second cheaper 12V air compressor, and it does do the job, albeit very slowly. I find using my bicycle floor pump and a bit of elbow grease I can actually go faster, and I always have one of those in the truck for bikes.

If the compressor I have goes now, I am going to upgrade to one that has a better output, and no doubt a longer life. The first 12V compressor I had failed and when I opened it up to fix it found it to be all plastic and not worth my time.
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Old 04-03-2018, 10:51 AM   #15
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I have the Viair 88P which I'm pleased with. It puts out a fair volume of air, well built with long hoses and leads, and a 45% duty cycle. I expect it to outlast me and be able to handle any tire I need to fill.

I bought the 88P vs the 85P because the 88P pressure goes up to 120psi. With D rated tires, I like to run the pressure at 65psi and the 85P can only go to 60psi.

I went through the same trials with the cheaper air pumps that were lower quality and seemed to fail right when you needed them. I guess this is one of those cases where quality outweighs cheaper.
https://www.amazon.com/Viair-00088-8.../dp/B005ASY23I
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Old 04-03-2018, 12:32 PM   #16
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+2 on the ViAir. I believe I have the same model, 88P (although I'm too lazy to go look and make sure). It fills tires much more quickly than the cigarette-lighter-plug models because it can draw more amps when connected directly to the battery terminals. Most of those plug receptacles are 10A, some are 15A. But the 88P will draw more than that. It feels like a quality piece of equipment. I will never go back to one of those cheap, slloooooww pumps.
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Old 04-03-2018, 12:59 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
The product wasn't easy to find at Lowes, because of the description...
Kobalt 12-Volt Car Air Inflator Item # 791911 Model # KLDP1
This is the one I'm using and I was very happy with it when I had to pump up the tires a few weeks ago for my first outing of the season. Long enough cord to go to the other side of the trailer. It didn't take very long to pump them up and I was able to set it to what pressure I wanted and it stopped once it reached that. It wasn't very noisy either. It fits in the small compartment under the dinette. My only other experience was with a much older one that took twelve years to pump up a tire and made a heck of a racket.
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Old 04-03-2018, 01:56 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by War Eagle View Post
The Kensun brand was mentioned favorably in the tread, and several of their current models are dual 12VDC/120AC, such as these:
https://kensun.com/products/air_compressor_model_h
https://www.amazon.com/Kensun-Perfor.../dp/B01J8Y91GC
Dual power seems to be a growing trend....
Thanks Dale. A Kensun unit was mentioned and illustrated, but with no suggestion of 120 V AC operation... and I didn't dig into the specs of every compressor mentioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
These dual power units appear to be similar to computers with the brick ac/dc converter, they are really 12v appliances and the spec's indicate 12v efficiency which is low. I can fill a truck tire using my true 120v model in under 2 minutes, not 5 minutes they mention.
That does appear to be what they're doing. It would make no sense to build an inverter into the appliance to run a 120 V AC motor on 12 V DC, so they use a cheaper AC-to-DC converter and use a DC motor. The converter is built-in, rather than being supplied as a separate "brick", at least with the Kobalt.

It isn't so much the efficiency, but the effectiveness which is low. They're simply low-powered. The Kobalt KLDP1 and both listed Kensun models which Dale listed each take less than ten amps at 12 V DC, so they're in the category of small units for plugging into any accessory outlet.
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Old 04-03-2018, 02:03 PM   #19
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Copy that. I don't see the advantage of the 'emergency' compressor running on 120 vac. We've always got 12V available when we travel.
I agree, but these compressors are sold for multiple uses. If you have an air mattress in the house or inflatable toys at the pool, you are more likely to have 120 V AC power to plug into. I even tried using a 12 V DC compressor via a converter with my motorhome, because the 12 V cord wouldn't reach from the rear tires to any DC socket, but I could easily run an AC extension cord.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chapitre View Post
I was also asking if you thought One could buy just a 12 volt compressor/ inflator and then connect it to a 12 volt adapter, such as you [can] do with a 12volt cooler if you want to plug it into a wall socket electrical plug.
That makes sense to me, but it is problematic. Although 10 amps at 12 volts is not much for an air compressor, it is still 120 watts and more than many computer power supply "bricks" can handle. I have a converter intended for use with a 12-volt cooler, but it is rated for less than 10 amps; I tried it anyway with a small air compressor (as I mentioned above) and the compressor wouldn't run.

The built-in converter in the dual-voltage compressors must be exceptionally cheap and lightweight.
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Old 04-03-2018, 02:25 PM   #20
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Another alternative for getting power to a compressor anywhere is to use a portable battery pack, of the type typically sold for boosting car batteries. I have had these with a built-in air compressor (such as the one currently in my car, which works well), but the packs usually have accessory outlets so you can just plug a 12 V DC compressor into a pack (which I do in the van). Even in my own driveway, I find it easier to grab the pack with built-in compressor than to run cords anywhere. The all-in-one unit is nice because I don't have to deal with any power cord, or with one of those lousy 12V accessory plugs.
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