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Pressure Gauges

Pressure Gauges


The number and type of gauges on an air compressor unit vary depending on its model and type.

Modern air compressors typically feature electronic controllers with digital gauges for pressure monitoring and reporting. However, simpler machines like piston compressors may have one or two analog gauges. One gauge measures the pressure leaving the compression chamber, while another monitors the pressure in the tank.

An analog gauge typically reads in PSI (pounds per square inch), indicating the pressure of the air in a specific space.

When reading gauges, it's essential to understand the difference between PSIA (pounds per square inch absolute or atmospheric) and PSIG (pounds per square inch gauge). PSIA starts from complete zero in a perfect vacuum, equivalent to atmospheric pressure. PSIG, on the other hand, measures pressure relative to atmospheric pressure.

The pressure switch, found in some piston compressors, measures the outlet pressure of the pump. For instance, in select piston compressors, a 175/135 psi stop/start mechanism is utilised. This mechanism triggers the motor to turn off when the tank gauge reads 175 psi and restarts it when the pressure drops below 135 psi.

If a gauge does not show zero when the unit is off and the tank is empty, it needs calibration. This is typically done by adjusting a screw or knob to zero the dial when the unit is off.

Atmospheric pressure is assumed to be 14.7 psi for most technical data calculations. However, this may vary based on elevation, with higher elevations experiencing lower atmospheric pressure, affecting compressor performance.

For further information on gauges and their use in air compressors, it's advisable to consult an expert.

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The system

Pressure gauges are installed throughout compressed air systems in order to monitor, record or view system pressure. The closer to the generating equipment (air compressor), the higher the pressure is likely to be. When two gauges are installed either side of something, a filter, as an example, the gauges will indicate the differential pressure between the inlet and the outlet of the filter assembly. TSSA requires a pressure gauge, positioned for clear and easy visualisation on all types of pressure vessels.

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