It was while locating a steady compressed air leak on the air compressor that I found I had a broken compressor manifold.
The manifold was connected to the tank, was the base upon which the compressor pressure switch sat, and provided the ports to connect the tank air gauge, the pressure relief valve and the line over to the discharge coupler.
This first photo shows what this manifold looks like when installed on my small home workshop air compressor.
The white arrow points to the compressor manifold. You can see some of the accessories that are plumbed into this manifold – the PRV with the ring on it to the right, and the back of the tank gauge protruding out from the manifold to the left. What you cannot see clearly from this image is the pipe out to the discharge coupling on the far side. That pipe has the regulator on it and then leads to the coupler.
What you also cannot see is that the manifold, which appears to have the pressure switch mounted on top of it, is actually part of the pressure switch. The pressure switch had to be fully disassembled to remove the broken compressor manifold. Oh my, pressure switch parts all over!
This next image shows the manifold after it had been removed from the compressor and the various accessories removed. The white circle identifies the crack in the casting. Don’t know how the crack came to be. Might originally have been a manufacturing flaw.
What to do about a broken compressor manifold
I spent quite a bit of time trying to chase down a new manifold base for my air compressor. No luck. It seems you cannot purchase a separate manifold base. You have to buy a whole new pressure switch to get a replacement for your broken compressor manifold. That may not be such a bad thing, as the old pressure switch is in a gazillion pieces now, due to having to disassemble it entirely to get the compressor manifold off.
I could build a manifold from copper fittings. I could then attach my pressure switch to my home built manifold, yet, it also meant that I would have to buy a new pressure switch anyway, so I opted out of building my manifold myself and ordered a new pressure switch.
Oh, and if you are interested, I’ll talk a bit about how to build your own manifold on the next page.
All compressor manifold bases are not created equal, however, so I had to make sure to get the right one.
This is a 4-ported manifold
The image below is showing the bottom view of a pressure switch manifold, one with 4 ports to connect things to. The four ports are indicated by arrows.
This next image is of a pressure switch mounted on a single ported manifold.
In acquiring my new pressure switch I had to be sure to get a four ported manifold base as the old pressure switch had that format, with items plumbed right into it.
The single ported manifold is selected when the line from the tank to the discharge coupler contains the tank gauge and the pressure relief valve, or these accessories and the pressure switch may be located elsewhere on the air compressor, and not part of the manifold at all.
So just make sure when you order a pressure switch, that not only do you get one with the same voltage, the same (or close to the same) cut in and cut out pressures, one that has the same connection to the unloader valve as your original pressure switch, but, also a pressure switch with a manifold that has the same number of ports as your original.
And that’s how I dealt with this broken compressor manifold. When the new pressure switch arrives, I’ll add a couple more photos of the new install, and hope to see my little compressor back in action then.
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