|Author: Scott Wilson May 2000||
The Power Tank, new only a few years ago, has carved out a significant niche for itself in the four-wheel aftermarket. The Power Tank is a portable on-board air supply. The unit consists of a Carbon dioxide (CO2) cylinder, regulator, handle, air hose, and air fittings. Lockable brackets are available to safely secure the Power Tank in your vehicle. Competitive pricing, high pressure capability, silent operation, compact size, and high volume capacity are all reasons many people are turning to Power Tanks instead of air compressors for their on-board air needs.
The P-10 Power Tank holds ten pounds of liquid CO2. Liquid CO2 evaporates inside the cylinder, and the CO2 gas exits through the regulator to whatever it is you need to fill up or power. The regulator can be easily set anywhere from zero to 140 PSI! With 140 PSI at your fingertips, you have enough power to seat the bead on a tire or even run air tools.
|Filling up after a day on the trail|
Filling tires at the end of the trail is a VERY different experience using the Power Tank, compared to using a 12V compressor. First, the Power Tank is fast at filling tires. Filling one of my 35" tires from 10 PSI to 30 PSI took me only 30 seconds. Two minutes after I start filling up I can have all four of my 35" tires back up to street air pressure without even removing the valve cores! Second, the Power Tank is quiet. You can fill up with no noise other than the quiet sound of gas moving through the line. With 12V compressors you have to put up with the loud buzz they make as they run, and trucks that use belt driven pumps require the engine to be running while filling up. There is no need to raise your voice to be heard over your Power Tank.
The Power Tank is also well priced. The cost of a quality 12V compressor, air tank, air line with fittings, pressure switch, 12V relay, switch, wire, and installation time will go way beyond the cost of a Power Tank. Best of all, the Power Tank has no installation time, and only a few minutes is required to bolt the cylinder mount onto your vehicle. Advanced Air Systems HIGHLY recommends mounting the bracket to the vehicle. The tank should be secured for the safety of the passengers in the vehicle. In the event of a roll over the tank needs to be secured so that no injuries result from a loose cylinder flying around.
One advantage the Power Tank has over every other on-board air system powerful enough to maintain 140 PSI is that its portable! This is especially handy when an air tool (drill, cut off wheel, die grinder, impact wrench, you name it!) is needed to make trail repairs, even if the broken vehicle is in a hard to reach place, the Power Tank can easily be carried to where it is needed. The solid aluminum handle makes transporting the Power Tank easy, and also serves as a regulator guard.
The list of uses for the Power Tank is only limited by your imagination. A few of the common uses are filling tires, seating beads, running air tools, dusting/cleaning out parts during trail repairs, filling air mattresses, and powering air lockers.
The only drawback to using a Power Tank is that the air source is exhaustible. At some point in time you're going to use all of the CO2 in the tank, and have no more air pressure. For most people one fill will last several wheeling trips, so running out of CO2 is not a common issue. The tanks can be filled at welding supply stores, or carbonic service stores (stores that service restaurants with CO2 and syrup for sodas). Fills range from $9 to $16 for 10 pounds of CO2.
The P-10 Power Tank can fill a 33" tire from 15 to 30 PSI, 26 times before running empty. On an average one-day wheeling trip I will engage my front air locker half a dozen times and then fill the tires on 3-4 trucks at the end of the day. I've found my P-10 has enough air for two one-day wheeling trips in it (while filling several trucks tires each trip), and often still has enough pressure to blow the dust out of my cab before it runs empty. Air lockers require very little air to activate, the number of times you could activate an air locker on a full power tank would EASILY be in the hundreds of times.
|Power Tank Ultimate System|
For those of you that might use more than 10 pounds of CO2 on a single trip, or would just like the convenience of having a back-up for your tank, Advanced Air Systems has added the 'Ultimate System' to their line-up of products. The Ultimate System is the P-10 Power Tank, with one extra 10-pound cylinder. The advantage of this system is that you've always got a spare bottle to swap in. If your primary tank should run dry, the replacement cylinder can be swapped in place in only a couple of minutes. The Ultimate System supplies enough air to fill 52, 33" tires from 15 to 30 PSI!
Due to the pressure regenerative process CO2 goes through as it changes states, from liquid to gas, the pressure gauge on the bottle will only give you a rough indication of how much CO2 is left in the cylinder. To measure exactly how much CO2 is left in the cylinder you must weigh it. Because of this, many people just choose to refill their cylinder before their next trip. Whatever left over CO2 there is in the cylinder must be removed, then the cylinder can be filled again. Obviously some CO2 is wasted if the bottle is going to be filled before it has run empty.
The Ultimate System is an excellent way of being sure you're getting the most use out of the CO2 fill-ups you pay for. With a 2nd cylinder waiting to be swapped in, the first cylinder can be used until it has run completely empty.
The Ultimate System is also a great convenience for those spur of the moment wheeling trips. Say you've gotten a last minute call to go wheeling and you're preparing your truck late one night for a trip the next morning. You check your Power Tank and discover you forgot to fill it after running the tank dry last time. With the Ultimate System you can swap in your fresh tank, and get the empty filled at your convenience, after your wheeling trip.
For more information on the Ultimate System, contact Steve Sasaki at Advanced Air Systems.