A while ago, I bought this 6 gallon compressor at Home Depot––Porter-Cable 6 Gal. 150 PSI Portable Electric Pancake Air Compressor-C2002 - The Home Depot––for $99.00. I jumped at the chance because I had been waiting for the price of one of these compact compressors to come down from $120, literally, for years. I have an old noisy monster commercial 30 gallon compressor in the garage but I want to get rid of it and replace it with a portable unit. 6 gallon ones seem the minimum size to get. But when I got home and looked at the HD reviews, and found out Amazon had it for $90, I got the impression that the reason the price had come down is because the model was cheapened with inferior parts. I read reviews like:
The (pressure cut off) switch goes bad, does not turn off the compressor when it reaches 150 psi, and then the relief valve opens to prevent damaging the tank. The problem is so common with this unit that the manufacturer cannot keep the replacement part in stock. So many compressors break with this problem that the part is always back ordered. And even then, you need to decide if you want to spend $30 and 90 minutes to fix a $99 compressor. (Knowing it will happen again)
It worked fine for a few years using it maybe twice a year. Then it had a problem where the the pressure in the tank would rise but the other gauge showed 0 pressure. I went on the internet and found that this is a common problem with this unit. Inside the regulator the parts are plastic junk. Porter Cable no longer makes a rebuild kit (but when they did it was the same plastic junk)and you have to buy a new regulator for about 50 bucks.
A textbook cost reduced design. I did a quick tear-down and found the following.
- The tank pressure limit switch is an extremely inexpensive, nonadjustable unit supposedly rated for 15A switching. While the motor load is called out at 10A, in service the pressure switch contacts appear to weld shut and prematurely fail to open at 150PSI, causing the pressure relief valve vent avoiding disaster. You can find many end user documented cases of this problem. This may however be remedied by addition of a 20A 120VAC relay to switch the motor load and will eliminate premature failure of the pressure switch (part cost of the pressure switch is $25 ±, where the proactive relay modification will set you back about $5).
- The compressor piston appears to be some sort of sintered lubrication impregnated alloy running in a drawn stainless steel cylinder. No idea what the expected life on this engineering feat may be but I’m not very optimistic. I’d pick up a replacement sintered piston ring and cylinder sleeve if PC would offer these at a reasonable price. Otherwise after the pressure switch modification above, these appear next in line to wear in service such that the pressure achieved (one of the few market differentials for this unit) and effective air volume displacement of the compressor will gradually decrease (repair part cost $25 ±).
- The motor is an inexpensive universal, brushed type which contributes to the runtime racket. The brushes while reasonably substantial, are a presumed wear out component with a replacement pair setting you back a whopping $20 ± per set. Other expected wear items such as the compressor reed valve plate seems to be a reasonable design and is inexpensive to replace. Ball bearings and even the timing belt are available elsewhere as generic parts.
and on and on…
Amazon reviews were similar.
I haven’t opened the box or brought it back yet, but I am looking for an alternative. I am willing to spend more but there’s a limit.
I only need it for nailgun use, tire filling, air blowout, and occasional small angle grinder.
What are alternatives that people here have found more reliable?