Porter cable compressor big enough?

by Brian A
(Toronto Canada)

HELLO, I have a porter cable pancake style air compressor, specs are :

150 psi max
6 gallon tank
2 hp
2.6 scfm @ 90 psi

I want to run a sand blasting cabinet , specs are :

5-15 cfm @ 120 psi

Does the porter cable have enough cfm to run the sandblaster ?

Bill says...

Nope, not even close.

Read the pages on sizing an air compressor for more details.



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Sep 05, 2010
100% duty cycle compressor
by: Brian A

Bill , could you recomend a compressor that would run 100% duty cycle for the blast cabinet (5-15 cfm @ 120 psi) thanks !


It were me, I'd be buying a 5 HP minimum, and only then if I was sure that I wouldn't want to use the compressed air for anything else. If you might need to run other tools at the same time, depending on what those tools were, a 5 HP may not be enough.

As to the brand, you need to research your local compressor sources. The best price will be found at the big box stores, but there you'll often not get after sales support and service.

If you are planning on using your cabinet for production work, you'll want an industrial compressor I should think.

I'm sure some of the advertisers on my pages would be glad to help.

You want to look for reliability, longest warranty, know who does the warranty and after warranty repairs, mean time between failures of the major components, what regular maintenance is necessary and how easy it is to do, lowest possible running costs (the cost to run them is always multiples greater than the cost to purchase them) and so on.

Talk to the pros.



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draining air by pulling the safety valve scares me

by ChrisH
(San Jose, CA)

I'm a newbie about air compressor and I bought a Porter Cable c2002 model.

I decided to break-in the new compressor by opening the drain valve and running the unit for 15 minutes. After I was done, I wanted to release the air.

After reading the instructions listed below, I pull the ring on the safety valve and a LOUD hissing/bang sounds came out. I was so scared that I ran out of the garage. It kept hissing from 150 PSI to 60 PSI. After it stopped, I went back and decided to release the drain valve slowly.

1. Did I do it right? Is that loud sound expected when I pull the safety valve?
2. Can I just open the drain valve instead of using the safety valve because it doesn't make that loud noise? If I can use the drain valve instead of the safety valve, is the drain valve going to lose it's seal and usage?

Thanks in advance,
still afraid of using the safety valve...

Here are the instructions from Porter Cable manual about draining:

1. Set the On/Auto/Off lever to "Off" and unplug unit.
2. Turn the regulator knob counterclockwise to set the outlet pressure to zero.
3. Remove the air tool or accessory.
4. Pull ring on safety valve allowing air to bleed from the tank until tank pressure is approximately 20 psi. Release safety valve ring.
5. Drain water from air tank by opening drain valve (counter-clockwise) on bottom of tank.

Bill says...

Re: 1) Yes, it's loud when you pull the ring on the PRV. I think they want you to use that method of draining the tank as in so doing, you are ensuring that the PRV will operate when it's supposed to. In effect, you are actuating and then closing it, helping to make sure it will be able to cycle on its own should it be required.

Re: 2) Yup, you can, and should, drain the tank using the tank drain valve. Know that most (all?) components in foreign manufactured compressors are the cheapest that money can buy, and so you do run the slight risk of wearing out the drain valve, but you run a similar risk by cycling the PRV frequently too. Both risks are low.

Chris, get in the habit of cycling the PRV once a week or so, even if it's loud. Wear a pair of earplugs and wear a glove on the hand that's pulling the ring. I check mine regularly. I just pull it out for a few seconds, and then push it back in. I don't wait for the air to bleed down to 20. That may be necessary for some PRV's to facilitate them closing properly. I haven't had that issue.



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Apr 15, 2011
I'm going to order an earmuff
by: Anonymous

Thanks Bill for the helpful response. I just ordered a $20 earmuff to help minimize the noise.


10-4. With these old ears of mine, I use a pair of insert ear plugs, and then wear ear defenders over them. Makes working noisy machinery a whole lot more pleasant, and I can focus on not doing damage to myself with tools, and less on the noise they make.


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porter cable jet stream cpf23400s blows breaker

by matt

I have a porter cable jet stream cpf23400s. It trips the breaker pretty much right on start up. I let a friend use it and it came back to me this way. He said it sparked ( he was using it on a sandblaster cabinet) and a little smoke. I am pretty sure it is the motor, any thought would be great.


Bill says...

Ask your friend what sparked, and where did the smoke come out.

If it is a lubed air compressor, did it come back with the correct amount of oil in the sump?

When it was being used, how long did it run at one time?

If the spark and the smoke came off the motor, then I'm with you, it's probably the motor. The question then is, why did it fail?

Pull the motor and take it to an electric rebuild shop to test and rebuild if possible, but make sure first, that your compressor pump works, and that it's not a seized pump that's stalling the motor and creating the problem.

Good luck.


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Dec 15, 2011
pressure switch
by: ds nuts

i had the same prob inside the pressure switch ther are 2 arms that de attach the switch if they are not set right they will not fully dissconect causing a arc and tripping the breaker solution under a blob of hot glue their is a plastic screw adjust as needed untill breaker stops tripping. if your problem continues then yor pivot point or points on your electrical disconnect arm might be broken if they are drill out the broken pivot point or points and stick a peice of metal or screw so it pivots properly the price of the piece is 90 dollers so its worth tinkering with it for a while best of luck

Dec 02, 2011
Change the plug
by: Anonymous

I cut the 3 prong off of mine and put a new one on. Haven't had a problem since.

May 23, 2011
Won't shut off
by: Anonymous

Just purchase a Porter cable jet streap cpf23400 air compressor at a garage sale. It seams to work OK however it continues to run without building up pressure, how could I repair it?


It, of course, depends on what's wrong. Wander over to the TROUBLESHOOTING page, and click the link to the pages of info on "won't build pressure". Review your symptoms with those referred to, and if still no idea, post another comment.

May 15, 2011
Sparks and smokes at plug
by: Anonymous

I have the same problem. Pops the breaker when using a regular size outdoor extention cord so I had to go to a larger cord. Worked fine for years. Now when I plug it into the extention cord it ( the plug) sparks and smokes. It has actually started melting the progs on the plug.


Your motor is under increasing load, and pulling more power.

Could be start capacitor, could be motor failure, could be a mechanical load issue. Not enough info to guess.


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My porter cable pancake 6 gallons compressor does not restarts


Bill answers...


What turns your compressor on (besides plugging it in :-) is the pressure switch.

When the compressor tank is completely empty, as soon as you plug in the compressor, the "low pressure" switch closes, starting the compressor.

When the pressure in the tank reaches the "high pressure" setting, the pressure switch opens the circuit, cutting off the supply of electricity to the motor, and the compressor stops.

When you start using your compressed air the pressure in the tank starts to fall. When it reaches the factory-set "low pressure" point, the pressure switch circuit will close, allow electricity to flow to the electric motor, and your compressor starts adding more air to your tank.

A pressure switch is just that; a switch that reacts to the air pressure in the system. Yours is not doing so.

If your pressure switch fails to start the compressor motor when the pressure in the system falls below the normal cut in point, then I suggest that your pressure switch needs replacement.



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Aug 29, 2014
Breaker tripping
by: Bill

See the page under troubleshooting about why air compressor blow breakers. Some things to check there.

Add a comment here with what you found if you still need help.


Aug 29, 2014
breaker tripping on startup
by: jim

I am trying to get this compressor working for a friend of mine. It is a Porter Cable CPF23400S-3. There is no air in the tank. As soon as I turn the switch to auto the motor spins slow and then starts to spin faster and the breaker trips.

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