Pancake Air Compressor Woes

Discussion in 'Tools, Equipment and Supplies' started by Jim McClain, May 14, 2019.

  1. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    When I was a mad master installer, way back in the early aughts (2003-4?), I bought this twin tank compressor. It has been used for installing hardwood, trims of all sorts, painting and keeping the air up in my Segway. It has been pretty faithful for a lot of years and the only things I've had to deal with were hoses.


    It popped a tank today. Little, tiny hole in the top tank that points right at the side of the bottom tank - I can get my finger on the hole, but that's about it. I am desperately trying to finish the bathroom remodel I started last summer, just now getting the drawer fronts done and Psssssssssss, the dang tank springs a leak. Most of the work I have left involves the finish nailer.


    Back when I bought the Emglo, I think I paid more than a hundred bucks, maybe even more than 2, I don't remember. I found 2 air compressors I could get in Reno that I could afford, both of them $99.00. There were cheaper ones, but they didn't have very good reviews and they didn't have very good specs either.

    air-compressor-craftsman.jpg air-compressor-porter-cable-c2002-64_1000.jpg

    The Lowe's 6 gal. Pancake Compressor is a Craftsman, but it looks exactly like and has nearly identical specs as the Home Depot 6 gal. Compressor branded Porter-Cable. I'm guessing they are the same product. I get a 10% Veterans discount at both stores (I have to be sneaky at HD because their discount is only good if your disability is service connected - it takes a clerk who doesn't feel like checking the VA card real close). But with the drive over and back, 160+ miles to get a 9.90 discount, the compressor would cost me more than 130.00 with gas.

    Fortunately, Home Depot has free delivery and promises by Thursday (2-days). So, without the discount (can't get it online), but with the free delivery, I'm paying 106.18. But is it a decent compressor? Reviews are good, but I don't trust product reviews as much as I used to.

    Well, I didn't feel like working on that damn vanity today anyway. I sure hate spending money on stuff I hadn't planned on. :( That old compressor did last me a long time though. I guess it paid for itself several times over.
  2. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Could you put a patch and a band clamp to stop the leak?
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    I have the porter cable pancake compressor and it does what I need it to. It keeps up with me doing 1/4” underlayment. Only issue I’ve noticed is that after it’s done filling up sometimes it has a faint high pitched squeal from air leaking out back through the pump? It’s real slow but also real annoying. Doesn’t do it all the time and it’s not too loud to make me buy another one but it is there. I also switched out one of the hose connectors with a universal connector because everybody and their grandmother always seems to have a different connector than what I have.
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  4. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    A guy at work has the porter cable, it doesn't keep up with the big Senco stapler, SKS I think? I have a single tank Makita, big quiet, and it won't keep up either. I gifted that to my son and bought a Hitachi twin tank. Works great. But, I digress, That compressor should handle your finish nailer no problem
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    No. It's a 15 year old tool that got nearly daily use for 3 years and sporadic, but frequent use after. I figger that hole is just the beginning. It's also really noisy and pisses off the neighbors. The new one will be about 82 decibels, which is still loud, but I'm guessing the old one is somewhere around 90.

    Hey, good idea. :)

    I'm sure you're right. I can always return it the next time I go to Reno, if it turns out to be crap.
  6. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    Those were the best back then, now everything is crap. I would try and fix it if you can. I had a Makita twin tank that sprung a leak and not one person would weld it to stop the leak.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    My last twin tank got a hole from where the leg was welded to the tank. I was told the repair was too great a liability.
  8. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    I can understand that. It's not inconceivable that rust buildup could get loose and clog the drain valve while welding. The tank could get really hot, expand the air that's in it and bust that thing wide open. When I saw that this tiny little hole was not at a weld or seam, I wondered what else could give way. Fifteen years was a good lifespan for that tool. A hundred bucks for a new one is cheap insurance, I think. And if I end up having to move to a place I can't do woodworking, I'll have less trouble selling it.
  9. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I use to have that Emglo (HCV4?) replaced the top end once. Ended up selling it, noisy yes, bulky. The drain lines I can’t understand why they’re not at lowest point. I have another one same style(medium size) and I tilt it, rock it back and forth to get water out. Large volumes of compressed humid air is like a water pump.

    Emglo sold years ago I thought to Dewalt. I have a single barrel tank Dewalt I’m happy with, been looking for a Twin cylinder for large CFM for awhile.

    I suppose all tools that look like a quality brand the rights were shared with China to copy reproduce it and sell less expensive. Anything harbor freight sells is a copy, signed over. I use to wonder how they got away with that.
  10. Chris Mha

    Chris Mha Charter Member Senior Member

    Patching or otherwise trying repair a compressor tank is not safe. There is a hole in it because the inside is rusty. I've heard of situations where these older compressors have exploded. Not a good idea to try to repair
    • Agree Agree x 3
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    • Appreciation Appreciation x 1
  11. Tom Potter

    Tom Potter I Support TFP

    Man, I wish you were closer. I'm sitting on at least 3 compressors that are just collecting dust. Would have been happy to gift you one.

    I'm a freak when it comes to my compressors. I always make sure their drained after every use. In the humid summer it's not uncommon to have a 5 gal piss out a cup of water.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    Look into the shipping costs. I'm sure I can cover them for you.
  13. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Well, when things break it’s slways interesting to discover what’s new and improved. I rented a 10kw generator the other day, outside at the rental the yard guy went to get the key. I thought he got the bosses key because it had a remote on the key ring thinking it was to his car. Nope remote start generator, pretty cool though I use to start my van unknowingly a few times.
  14. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    On second thought....@Jim McClain , if you could buy any one you wanted, that you can handle weight wise and would fit your needs and maybe some wants, which one would it be?
  15. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    That's very generous of you, Barry, but the one I ordered is going to be here tomorrow (according to HD). Looks like more rain tomorrow too, so even if it's not here 'til Friday (according to my calcs), it'll be okay. I'm not absolutely sure the Porter-Cable is the one I would have gotten if I had more time and money, but the videos and reviews I've seen make this compressor look pretty good. It should do everything I have in mind for it easily. It's also only 30#, which is light enough for me and it's small enough for the space I have. I'm satisfied with my choice, even if it was kinda rushed.

    And thanks to @kylenelson, the compressor is costing me only $82.21 instead of 106.18. Thanks for the donation, Kyle. And thanks, @Tom Potter, for the kindness. If I lived 3,000 miles closer to you, I'd definitely take you up on that. :)
  16. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    Less than that ;)
    • Appreciation Appreciation x 1
  17. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    Thank you Barry, thank you very much. I should pop a compressor more often. Now I get $4.88 for my trouble. :bow:

    Now I'm under pressure to make these drawer fronts and trim work absolutely perfect. :blink: Hmmm, thanks a lot.

    Can anyone send me some asp'rin? I think I have a headache.
    • Funny Funny x 1

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