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Can 1/3 hp air brush compressor handle a 5 gallon tank?

Published Categorized as Air Compressor Troubleshooting, Airbrush, Badger No Comments on Can 1/3 hp air brush compressor handle a 5 gallon tank?

Can 1/3 hp air brush compressor handle a 5 gallon tank? I bought a badger 480-2 airbrush compressor. The 4 liter air tank is shot…it is rusted through. Would like to piggyback the compressor on a new air tank. The 5 gallon tanks are easy to find and inexpensive. Would a tank this size put too much strain on this small compressor motor? This was a question from Jon.

Badger 402 air brush compressor
Badger 402 air brush compressor

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Jon, there are many 1/3 HP pumps on 5 gallon tank air compressors. If they come from the store or factory like that, they are properly sized for pump and tank.

The issue with putting a pump from a small air compressor onto a larger tank, regardless if it is an airbrush compressor or not, is always one of Duty Cycle. Duty Cycle is the designed in length of time that a particular compressor motor and pump can run before overheating due to run time, and length of time a particular model can run before it MUST be shut down to allow it to cool to an acceptable level before restarting it.

The 480-2 evidently has a thermal overload switch that will shut the compressor down when the temperature of the motor reaches 110C or 212F. That being the case, you may be OK as the thermal shut down will protect the motor from heat-related harm.

If you decide to use the 5 gallon tank, monitor the fill cycle to ensure that your 480-2 does not shut off on overload and start again over and over again as that type of cycle will ultimately damage the motor.

Badger’s site has the manual for this compressor and it can be downloaded from there or, I’ve taken the liberty of downloading it and providing it here for you to download as well.

You might also try contacting Badger directly at: [email protected]

Update: As for contacting Badger, I did so, based on you and others behalf asking the question about the duty cycle of the 480-2. “Rick” was kind enough to reply in July 2019 with the statement “As long as it’s in good working , and properly maintained, it should work out fine for you, best – Rick”.

Well, there you have it from Badger themselves though I’d have preferred a bit more information including what the actual duty cycle of the compressor is.


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By Bill Wade

About Air Compressors has been helping folks with their Air Compressor Problems since 2002 online. We're a community of DIY and Compressed Air professionals who are keen to support everyone across the globe with their air compressor issues and troubleshooting. Whether you're trying to identify an old air compressor, or troubleshoot an error code on a sophisticated new industrial air compressor - the community at About-Air-Compressors.com is here to help you

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