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Thread: Boosting Helium through a Compressor

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    RBW Member r0ckcrew is an unknown quantity at this point r0ckcrew's Avatar
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    Unhappy Boosting Helium through a Compressor

    Guys / Gals

    I have a Hamworthy 2.4 HP compressor and would like some information on boosting helium through it.

    How do you introduce the helium to the inlet?
    Do you use external cooling for the added heat generation of the helium?

    Or, is it a case of dont bother and save up for a booster?

    All comments gratefully accepted.....

    /Tommy

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    Re: Boosting Helium through a Compressor

    Don`t know about that compressor but I have been boosting all gases with an old Poseidon (Bauer) with no problems.

    I just take a big black plastic bag (150 liters) and put the compressors sucking hose inside it through a hole that I cut at the bottom. Then I just slip the bag over the storage bottle and tape it tightly against the bottle side. Then just bleed constantly a suitable amount off gas to the bag while the compressor is running and sucking. You need to be carefull with the supply tank valve, you don`t want any overpressure in the bag. Also you don`t want the compressor to suck it empty. I have not seen so big a difference in the heating of the cylinders. I don`t pump so long times and just make sure that the garage door is open so that the fan can get plenty of fresh cooler air.

    This has worked for me so far. I might get a booster later...

    JH
    Last edited by jhaaja; 3rd August 2006 at 12:10.

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    Re: Boosting Helium through a Compressor

    Quote Originally Posted by r0ckcrew
    How do you introduce the helium to the inlet?
    I have been pumping Helium and trimix thru my compressor for the last 5-6 years.

    The method I use is invented by a friend named Michael Fisch. It is roughly a modified 2nd stage taking feeding gas from an ordinary 1st stage, and feed straight into the compressor inlet. Michael has since modified it further and adding a "baffle" to save the amount of chatter on the 2nd stage.

    Go search for "omni booster" on The Deco Stop. I think Michael Fisch lurks on here...

    Another method use by another friend (Davy on RBW)is using a welding 1st stage to feed instead of using the scuba 2nd stage to save on rebuilding it. He might chime in soon.

    The last method is using the trash bag method. Continuously manually fill a trash bad (or any plastic bag) with feeding gas. On the other end of the bag feeds straight into the compressor. This method requires constant monitoring.

    Michael also pumps Argon which is even worse on heating up the compressor. But I limit the pump duration since only pumping small tanks, so no issue with over-heating.

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    Re: Boosting Helium through a Compressor

    In the shop I used to do gas fills for I used to use an old Mistral (two hose reg) fitted to the supply bottle. Fit the inhale hose to the compressor inlet. It worked fairly well.

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    Re: Boosting Helium through a Compressor

    One idea I saw that was neat was the use of a childs bouncy bag (rmember the one that had two pointy ears that you hold on to). Cut off the tips of each ear and place an outlet pipe on one that goes to the compressor and an old 2nd stage taped to the second one.

    As the reservoir of He in the bouncy bag drops the second stage will go into debit and feeds the reservoir.

    You could probably dispense with the reservoir and feed the comprresor dircetly for the 2nd stage but a collapsing bag gives you more time to turn off the compressor before you do any damage.

    F

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    Re: Boosting Helium through a Compressor

    Quote Originally Posted by CCR900
    One idea I saw that was neat was the use of a childs bouncy bag (rmember the one that had two pointy ears that you hold on to). Cut off the tips of each ear and place an outlet pipe on one that goes to the compressor and an old 2nd stage taped to the second one.
    The technical name is a Space Hopper

    They're best only used with Helium because they are a pain in the arse to clean for O2 service :D

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    Re: Boosting Helium through a Compressor

    Quote Originally Posted by jhaaja
    You need to be carefull with the supply tank valve, you don`t want any overpressure in the bag. Also you don`t want the compressor to suck it empty.
    JH
    Why not? What harm is there in having ~1-2 psi above ambient at the compressor inlet?



    Tobin

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    Re: Boosting Helium through a Compressor

    We have been pumping Helium through our compressor using a continuous flow method for a couple of years.

    Our intake to our compressor sucks in air through the normal snorkel and Helium from a G via an industrial regulator (Co2 & Argon) attached to the G. A hose runs from the G/indutrial reg to the air intake. We set the flow rate of Helium on the industrial reg to say 15L/min and control the quantity of Helium by time (stop watch).

    A few simple calculations are required to work out how much Helium needs to go in over what time period.

    This method is simple (no fiddeling with bags), cost effective, ($100 Au for an industrial reg), you can extract every last bit of helium from the G, you don't stuff your compressor because you are pumping Helium and air simultaneously, no need to start/stop your compressor, versatile as if you go away you can take a G and fill in the field.

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    Re: Boosting Helium through a Compressor

    like this

    Just keep the bag inflated and make sure the guy reading off the pressure knows the difference between PSI and Bar
    Attached Images

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    Re: Boosting Helium through a Compressor

    Quote Originally Posted by cool_hardware52
    Why not? What harm is there in having ~1-2 psi above ambient at the compressor inlet?



    Tobin
    I guess that that kind of small overpressure is not harmfull but if it is more it might make the compressor running hotter. If you let the compressor suck a vacuum to the bag it can suck oil to wrong places. At least that is what I have heard. Please correct me if I have my head up there

    JH

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