Tag Archives: IR

Running Your Garage or Shop Oil Lubricated Air Compressor in Cold Weather – below 32F

A fellow asked me the other day how I can run my shop Ingersoll Rand (IR) 2340 compressor, which is an oil lubricated 60-gallon compressor, in the winter in my unheated shop. The reason he asked is that as the compressor gets colder and colder, the oil gets thicker and thicker. The end result is that many compressors will not even start below 32F (0C) – the motor tries to spin the air pump, there’s too much resistance, the motor draws too many watts and trips the breaker… or burns out the electric motor. Because of this, many air compressor companies will tell you not to run your compressor when it’s below freezing. I’m going to tell you what I do and you can decide what works for you.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I just said that last part and it’s because I will not be liable for any problems you may have. I’m going to tell you what I do, or have done, and then you need to do some research, conduct some tests and decide what works for you.

Run synthetic oil – not conventional oil

The first thing I will tell you is to run a good synthetic compressor oil and not the basic Petroleum 30 weight oil that probably came with your compressor. I use Ingersoll Rand’s All Season Select Lubricant because I bought it in bulk a few years back. It’s pretty good but you do have other options as well. Note, it does need a crank case heater to not trip the 30A breaker my 2340 is connected to when it gets really cold (down in the teens or lower).

Another option is moving to the thinner 10W30 Mobil 1 Full Synthetic engine oil in your compressor. I did this some years back with a Husky compressor that I eventually replaced with the bigger IR unit I have today. Some guys go even thinner to 5W30 but I have a hard time recommending really thin stuff like 0W-whatever but there are definitely guys out there who do it on smaller compressors – I’m just saying that I would not do so personally. Note, we are talking about full synthetic oils here and not regular engine oil.

Regularly change your oil

If you have never changed your oil or don’t follow the maintenance schedule of your compressor and oil combination, you really need to. Contaminants and what have you can make it harder for the motor to turn the pump over – even in good weather let alone cold weather.

Run heating pads on your pump

A trick I learned some years ago for stationary compressors is to put one or two of the small oil pan heaters on the pump alongside the oil reservoir. I run one Kat’s 24025 25 watt heating elements that measure 1×5″ on each side of my pump. No more tripped breakers for me.

This is a Kat’s 1×5 25 watt heating pad. It has an adhesive backing to help position it. Clean the pump off first with brake cleaner so it will stick. I then add aluminum HVAC tape on top to hold it in place. There’s another one on the opposite side.
It has two layers of 3M 3350 HVAC tape on top to hold it in place and help distribute the heat into the crankcase. I’ve used a number of these aluminum tapes over the years and the 3M seems pretty reliable as long as the surface is clean,

Be sure to keep your tank drained

Condensation is more of a problem in the winter. The relatively warm moist air can condense on the walls of your tank and then go through your air lines causing your tools to freeze up. It usually happens when the weather really sucks and you need the tools the worst.

Start With No Load

One trick to try in a bind is to start with little to no load. In other words, empty the tank so the motor isn’t fighting both thicker cold lubricant and pressure in the line as well.

The thought process is that your bleed off valve that empties the line from the pump to the tank and to the pressure switch might be frozen up from moisture or bad/failing. For example, the switch on my IR 2340LF-V is a real cheaply made POS – I’m miffed about the quality and am not going to mince words about it. I’ve replaced it once already and as of this writing it’s starting to fail again about a year later after the last time and I already have a replacement on hand.

Also, one trick I learned from an old timer is to add more line or a reservoir between the pump and the tank so the motor can get a running start before it encounters resistance. Here’s a post I did some time back about that.

Conclusion

You definitely can run an oil lubricated compressor in the cold weather. It just takes a little planning and preparation is all. It’s my hope that the above gives you some food for thought and you can then research what will work best for you. You’ll notice that if you do some Googling around, you’re in good company with a ton of other folks trying to figure out what to do as well.

I hope this post helps you out.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


How To Run Oil-Lubricated Air Compressors in Cold Weather & Not Trip Breakers

Folks, my shop is unheated and the space where my 60 gallon oil lubricated Ingersoll Rand (IR) 2340L5-V sits can get well below freezing – sometimes even well under 20F. That presents a challenge because the lubricating oil gets thicker as it gets colder and this puts more and more of a load on the motor to start. What usually results is a tripped breaker -I know my 30amp breaker would trip regularly until I took some corrective actions.

One option you can run with is to run variable weight thinner synthetic oil in the winter. I don’t want to run into issues with my pump so I stick with IR straight weight compressor oil so I’m not really keen on doing that. There are guys who will disagree with me and that’s why I point out the option.

The solution I put in place works great. I simply put two Kat’s 24025 25 watt heating pads that measure 1″x5″ on each side of my pump level next to the oil reservoir. These heaters were designed to warm fluid reservoirs including those with oil. I’ve used a ton of them over the years for warming pressure tanks and what have you and have not had one fail yet. My oldest units are probably 3-5 years old and no problems — I just use them during the Winter.

In terms of heating my compressor’s pump, I just run mine non-stop in the Winter but if you’d really rather only run them when it is at or below freezing, there are thermal power plug adapters that only turn on when it is that cold. Note, at 25 watts they do not heat fast. If your pump is real cold it could take it a while to get up to an acceptable temperature. That’s one reason why I just let them run and I can turn the compressor off independent of the heaters.

Along with the little 1×5 units, I use one larger 4×5 Kat’s 24100 pad at the bottom of my compressor to allow me to drain the condensate that would otherwise freeze. I do not run that non-stop as it is 100 watts. It’s on a thermally switched outlet that turns on at 35F and off at 45F. Yeah, it may run more than I need it to but I haven’t invested in a better controller yet for that part. I will list the digital controller I plan on getting some day so you can decide.

Installing is about as easy as it can get. The Kat’s units have a self-adhesive back and must be installed before you plug them in or you will ruin them. Clean the surface of oil and dust, peel the cover off the adhesive, stock the heater on and wait the prescribed time then plug it in and it warms up. Note, I have only used them on steel surfaces. They get hot and I would not be inclined to install them on plastic for example.

Kat’s products are made by Five Star Manufacturing and they have a ton of different products for different applications. Click here for their website.

This is the Kat’s 24100 4×5 heater that I have at the bottom of my compressor to keep the condensate from freezing.
This is the Farm Innovations TC-3 that governs when the 4×5 heater turns on and off. I’ve been using it two years now without any trouble,

The setup works great. No more tripping breakers due to thick oil caused by cold weather. I hope it helps you out.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Replacing the Pressure Switch on an Ingersoll Rand 2340L5-V Air Compressor

I live in a rural area and wind up doing a lot of my own repairs. About 2-3 years ago I invested in a 60 gallon Ingersoll Rand (IR) 2340L5-V air compressor which is their entry-level “Value Line” of industrial compressors. In hindsight, had I known more about “value” meaning “we made it cheaper”, I would not have made the purchase. Yes, it’s held up way better than my consumer air compressors but a buddy’s big Quincy compressor rocks and that is another story.

At any rate, I use a ton of compressed air for pressurizing my casting tanks and running all kinds of air tools. One of the reasons I went with the 2340L5-V was that I kept burning out the little 30 gallon consumer compressors. Failure is a big deal for me because when a compressor goes down in my shop, almost all work stops.

At any rate, I knew something was going on with my compressor before it stopped running completely. At the end of the air fill cycle that brings the tank back up to pressure, the switch would shut off but then there wasn’t any bleed down to relieve the pressure on the pump. This meant that the compressor may or may not restart without tripping the 30A breaker and it got worse with time. After this got really annoying, I decided it was time to fix it.

I did some reading and it turned out there were two likely culprits – either the check valve was leaking air back or the pressure switch was failing. I had problems with the check valve on other compressors so I jumped to conclusions and replaced that first. It didn’t fix the problem. Argh.

This is the 23474653-R pressure switch. It is just the switch and does not include the gauge, blow off valve or bleed off line (unloader) that you see.

So that left the pressure switch and this is where things just went sideways and I got frustrated. In searching online and calling the parts department, IR’s own parts department sold me the wrong switch and I was down for almost a week. So you don’t go nuts, you must make sure people know if you have the 2340L5 or the 2340L5-V because their pressure switches are different. You can make the better switch from the 2340L5 work but it will take a bit of re-plumbing the lines to do so. I may actually try that some day.

Next comment, do not go with the model number on the pump housing itself. The model number you need is printed on the big silver decal on the tank – not on the pump. The pump will say “2340” but that is not your specific model.

Right there outlined in yellow is the model number you must go by. 2340L5-V in my case.

For whatever reason, IR parts sold me the wrong part even though I asked the fellow to confirm it was right. So, frustrated and with my compressor down, more discussions were held and web searches done and the correct part for the 2340L5-V’s pressure switch is a 23474653-R. Interestingly enough, Tractor and Supply Company (TSC) is an IR dealer and the local store had one of these switches on the retail shelf. This gives you an idea that they are viewed as a wear item if a retailer is going to tie up the money and shelf space to stock one. It was $79.99 and they only had one so I called and confirmed with the clerk that they had one before I drove over. I’ve had way too many situations where a website said “X” was in inventory and when I went to the store, it was not so I try and confirm now. Thankfully, I drove to the store and picked it up.

I removed the cover already but this is what comes in the box. You will need to move your gauge, blow off valve, bleed down line, rear pipe plug and electrical lines over from the old switch to the new one.

Comments On The Swap

So, when it comes to the repair, it’s a fairly easy swap. I took a few photos from different angles to make sure I didn’t forget anything plus I labeled anything that might get turned around. Gone are the days when I try to keep it all in my head. Between my age and interruptions, I find it way too easy to forget things.

Two real important safety comments. Fully drain the compressor – in other words let all of the air out and open the floor drain. Why open the floor drain? Because it’s your double check that it is empty.

Second, please make sure the power is cut. I use a heavy stove/appliance cord going to a wall outlet. I both cut the breaker and unplug the cord. Why do both? It’s your double-check. If you are in a multiperson environment, follow lock out procedures.

Note the top two poles are the hot legs coming from the wall.
Folks when you go to remove the blead-off / unloader line, it is held on by a compression nut fitting. Let me give you a piece of hard won advice – use a flare nut wrench if you can to support as many sides of the nut as you can or worst case use a proper fitting box end wrench. Don’t ever use an adjustable wrench or you will likely round the corners off the nut as the jaws of the wrench give. Now IT does give you a new nut and that is plain 1/4″ copper tube if you screw up bad but you can re-use that whole piece if you are careful with removal and re-installation.
Okay so the top two terminals are the hot legs from the wall. The middle set of terminals are the hot legs going to motor. Down on the bottom you have the neutral from the extension cord and the green/neutral going to the motor. These are thick wires in a tight space so be careful working things into position.
Here’s an odd little thing I encountered. The pipe plug that goes in one unused position of the switch is actually 10mm. Why? I have no idea. The 10mm fit best so I ran with it. Everything else was SAE. For example, the housing itself that you see just above the wrench uses a 3/4″ wrench.
Use pipe thread tape on all fittings and properly support the pipes and what not so the right things you care about are moving in the right direction. For example, I used a pipe wrench on this nipple to keep it from turning while I both removed the old pressure switch and installed a new one.
Lesson learned, stay organized. That is a small magnetic tray. I cleaned all fittings and installed new pipe thread tape before reinstalling them.

Bottom line is that I installed the new pressure switch and the compressor proper bled off the pressure from the pump after cycling. In talking to IR parts they mentioned to me that this is the most common reason for the bleed down not to happen in my series of compressor – not the check valve. I believe that now. The pressure switch seems cheep and really strikes me as a consumable part now. Lesson learned.

By the way, I found out during the actual swap that IR printed the part number on the inside of the switch cover. Why hidden inside? If they had it on the outside, then this would have all been way simpler.

Also, next time my compressor stops unloading, I am going to order one of these switches vs. waiting for failure and having to scramble. It’s my fault for putting it off but I had a ton of other things going on and eventually it bit me.

I hope this helps you out as well. Bottom line, if you have a 2340L5-V then the correct pressure switch you need to order is the 23474653-R. That way you can avoid the drama I ran into.

One last shot of the right pressure switch box with the part number on the top right 🙂

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Here are switch listings on eBay. Be careful that it is a real IR part or a quality replacement vs. an inferior knock off that will not hold up.