Whoopie Cushion regulator. Replace the gauge?

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  • Whoopie Cushion regulator. Replace the gauge?

    This is going to sound incredibly stupid, but my Central Pnuematic 3/8" regulator / filter is leaking somewhere. It sounds like a quiet little whoopie cushion. I have sprayed it down all over repeatedly but do not see any bubbles.

    I am starting to wonder if the leak itself is IN the gauge behind the face since that is the only surface where there is any potential for leak that I can not get to with the soapy water mixture.

    I like this setup because of the FRL connection brackets that seem to be not a feature carried over, or at least advertised on the Merlin branded units, and really the other side of the assembly is fine.

    Which begs the question.

    Where can I obtain a replacement gauge to be able to keep the function and stop the leakage?

    Pretty sure it is a 1/4" MPT fitting.the only rear fitting gauge from HF I have seen is a 1/8". I guess I could use a bushing but I would rather not...
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  • #2
    Is it the gauge or the regulator?
    Most regulators I have seen have a rubber diaphragm and when they fail the rubber diaphragm gets a small hole and leaks continually. trying to balance the pressure.
    Gauges seldom fail in my experience (which is from way back, but I doubt its changes much. Most pressure gauges have a metal bourdon tube that bends and moves the dial... bourdon tubes hardly ever fail in any way anything near as often as rubber diaphragms. There might be diaphragm repair/replace/overhaul kits for commercial regulators, Central Pneumatic or whatever, doubtful.
    Open the regulator and look. Should be mostly a spring, orifice and a rubber diaphragm in most.
    I suspect when the diaphragm leaks the leaking air can blow through the regulator and goes out the low pressure (regulated) side.
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 03-08-2022, 07:29 PM.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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    • dbhost

      dbhost
      commented
      Editing a comment
      I pulled the gauge off of the little compressor and swapped it over. It still leaks. I REALLY want to keep this going, or at least get a replacement that is as good and uses the FRL bracket. I found one on Amazon that looks like the Central Pnuematic but with gray plastics. I did find a leak on the back of the regulator / filter assembly which I fixed 1/4" plug, took it out, retaped it, leak solved.).

      I am wondering are diaphragms available and easy-ish to replace.
      Last edited by dbhost; 03-08-2022, 06:44 PM.

    • LCHIEN
      LCHIEN commented
      Editing a comment
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erFUilmkvrg

  • #3
    Tore it down and inspected the diaphragm. The outer edge of wavy and somewhat hard in places. I guess I should expect this since it is over a decade old... That actually explains the bleed down and whoopie cushion sound coming from the regulator. Pretty annoying as this is not very long after I got the piping system FINALLY done... Sigh...

    I ordered the new regulator / filter which should be here tomorrow, and will try swapping it in. I will of course. as I am prone, continue to seek a replacement diaphragm for the original and get it back into use soonest possible. I like it, it matches etc... And I hate to loose to a little rubber disk.
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    • #4
      So I should mention the filter regulator is stage 1, stage 2 is the oil separator, and stage 3 is the dessicant dryer. Harbor freight has the new Marlin brand but there are no FRL connector brackets for them.

      The regulator filter ordered on Amazon looks the same as my original except for gray where black was and manual instead of auto drain...

      Will measure up the original diaphragm and order one up.
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      • #5
        If you have a Tractor Supply store nearby, they sell gauges and regulators at a bearable price.

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        • #6
          So I am treating my compressed air system the way I did when I worked as a mechanic. When I go to open up the shop, close the drump valve, turn on the compressor and let it get up to pressure. Once at pressure pop the dump valves at the outlet blocks to bleed moisture that might have gotten in there, just a little burp each does the trick. And then let it do its thing until I am ready to close up shop. When I close up, turn compressor off, put on hearing protection and open the dump valve as it is loud..

          On the prior regulator / filter, it sounded like a quiet whoopie cushion type sound, and the compressor would cycle about once an hour leak test with soapy water showed nothing, but the whoopie cushion sound kind of gave it away.

          On the new regulator / filter, which was installed what, maybe noonish yesterday. There is still a bit of sound, it never fully gets silent, but it is VERY VERY quiet, and it sounds like a groaning pipe. It is so quiet I can not pick it up with my phone microphone. I literally have to have my ear right next to the regulator to hear it. And from noonish when I installed to 9:30 P.M. when I shut off and dumped the tank, there was no, and I mean completely no cycling of the air compressor after initial pressurization.

          I am not sure if I should be worried about that little bit of sound from the regulator. I have been doing some research on the matter as it has me concerned but it appears that there SHOULD be some bleed by as the regulator does its thing. The issue I was having the the Central Pneumatic is there was TOO MUCH bleed by as the regulator was working, and it was leaking enough to cycle the compressor which was unacceptable.

          I think FOR NOW, I have the situation handled, but I will still get the replacement diaphragm for the CP and get it back up to par as well.
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          • #7
            There are bleeding and non bleeding regulators. I think that bleeding ones will let off excess pressure while non bleeding ones will not let off excess pressure; they are a one-way regulator. This is all from memory, I worked around a lot of pneumatic equipment and sensors in 1975-1984 but that seems like a ling time ago, now.

            The difference is, you have a closed end load that need pressure and no airflow. If you have a non-bleeding type and lower the pressure setting it will not bleed air and will not drop to the new pressure until the regulated side loses air. If you raise the pressure it will go up. If you have a bleeding type regulator, then the air pressure will go down as you lower the regulator setting.

            However if you have a load that uses air, it doesn't matter which you use, the pressure will go down (maybe slowly if the load uses little air flow) with either type.

            You have to read the fine specs as to which you get. I think the bleeding type is normally what is supplied. But it can lead to using air.

            I used to have one of those big propane tanks fitted out with air fittings. It had a cross with a Schrader valve for filling, a hose to an regulator with an air chuck and a gauge.
            I filled it to 120 PSI from compressors and took it with me to fill bike tires. I could set a pressure and fill a number of 70 PSI bike tires. But I needed a non bleeding regulator or the tank would go flat on its own. A non bleeding regulator would hold air but was harder to set as the pressure on the closed end hose would not go down.
            Last edited by LCHIEN; 03-10-2022, 12:07 PM.
            Loring in Katy, TX USA
            If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
            BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

            Comment


            • dbhost

              dbhost
              commented
              Editing a comment
              If I turn it down you are right. Adjust pressure down, sound goes away, but gauge does not drop pressure until air is used or otherwise manually bled off the system. I should note, for example if I want it set to 90psi, I set to 90psi and it sits there quietly moaning. I turn UP 1 full turn, and then DOWN 1 full turn and it gets silent. I need to test, probably fill tires up or something but I need to run it until the compressor cycles and shuts off, and see if it will finally settle on its own. It does seem a bit, uh... Quirky. Might just be that it is new. I still want the diaphragm for my Central Pnuematic though.
              Last edited by dbhost; 03-10-2022, 03:22 PM.
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