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Discussion Starter #1
Originally I posted this in MyGarage but I thought maybe it should go here instead.

Well I got tired of looking for a gas station with a "real" compressor after a day of wheelin' and I hate the puny 12VDC compressors out there so I found my own path.



I took a Porter Cable Air Compressor with 6 gallon tank and separated its component parts so it was a little more compact. I also built the enclosure (Not my best work, but it's difficult doing this sort of stuff in an apartment buildings' parking lot. Always worrying that someone will come out and yell at you for using power tools. But I digress)

I plan to finish the enclosure so the compressor and tank are not visible and to coat the entire enclosure in truck bedliner.

So now I needed power.



So I bought a 5,000 Watt Sunforce power inverter. I discovered that I would need huge cables to power it from the main battery so I cheated by installing an Optima Yellow Top battery in the back. It's currently hidden in this picture. I ran 2 guage cable up to the alternator for keeping the Optima charged.

But I figured what's the point of having so much power and just run the compressor off of it, so....



I should be able to run some small air tools off of the compressor and tank. There is a "Power-On" indicator light for the AC power so I can tell if everything is working. Originally I was going put a larger tank in the location where the spare tire is but I never got to that. I would then have to build a skid plate to protect the tank, etc. Perhaps for a later incarnation of this project.

As I have now re-arranged all of the compressors components and hidden the on switch and likewise with the power inverter I needed to work on controls. I ran wiring up to the dash and installed some switches.



The switch for the power inverter actually uses a small reed relay to turn on the inverter. I did this to limit the inverter only on when the cars accessories are powered. To do that I tapped the power line going into the 12 V accessory outlet that is only active when the car is on.

I couldn't resist putting another 115V AC outlet up front for convenience sake.

 

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Nice but I would just go get some cheap remnant capeting and apolster the back rather than bedliner inside the xk...butthats my opinion...looks good buddy
 

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Discussion Starter #6
very nice. i installed mine under the hood. buts its only a 12V compressor. how long does it take to fill up a tire.
Thanks! I've never tried it with an empty tank so I can only go by starting from the 6gal tank at 150psi. From there it takes about 10 sec to go from 28psi to 38psi. If I had all 4 aired down to 20 psi it would take around 30-40 sec per tire. Of course, I didn't have a stop watch the time that I did that so don't hold me to that number.
 

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Definetly an industrail strenth solution. I think that there is room for a 4KW generator and then you will need new springs like me. Are you sure that your name is not Tim Allen from Tool Time. It is a little overboard but we all learn when someone pushes the limits. If someone did not think outside the box where would we be.

Now I know where your name Chaos came from as I look at the cables in the left side of your storage box.

Good Job, my comments are all in fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Come on! A 4kw generator would just be ridiculous! I was considering a wire feed welder though. :)

Tim Allen does come to mind to me as well. I didn't get around to cleaning up my storage area. There's an extension cord and the air hose that you see there as well as some of my camping garbage from trip GWNF that I forgot to unpack.
 

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I had a 1.5 HP air compressor in my work van before .. powered by a similar heavy duty inverter.

I could run air tools off if it .. and also had the separate battery.

I need the back seats weekly so I can't anything permanently back there .. so In the Commander I think I will end up with a small compressor under hood with a tank under the Commander somewhere ./. I definatley need the inverter though .. I REALLY miss the one I had in the van.

What I REALLY want is a one cup microwave in the dash :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
What I REALLY want is a one cup microwave in the dash
Hmmm...I guess you don't really need the glove box. Or maybe you could get rid of the passenger airbag. You could just have all of you passengers sign a waiver when they get in.
 

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Another great addition to the Commander, thanks for sharing!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I went out to lunch with some co-workers and showed them the system. One said, "Now you could just ceiling mount at LCD TV/DVD combo." Another said, "Then all you need is a PC to be your media center for it."

Of course that sent my mind into dark places. I thought of the HP TouchSmart PC. 22" monitor, blue ray, touchscreen PC. My co-workers knew that I had gone off the deep end when I didn't refer to it as the driver's seat but the Command Console.
 

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I think that the weakest link in the system right now is the battery or the ability for the battery to be recharged and supported during the time that you are using the 110Volts.

The 5,000 watt invertor will draw about 44 Amps from the battery during full load. This will give you a theoretical run time of less than 90 seconds, however the voltage will drop below 12 volts before that. You could add more batteries or upgrade your charging system. I do not know the charging amperage of the stock altenator. Make sure that you do not burn up your altenator charging and keeping up with the large current draw of the batteries. I suspect that you will learn quite a few things from supporting this install.

Make sure that you put a few circuit breakers or fuses in the system.

I am not being critical at all and I look forward to your posting on how it works out.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The 5,000 watt invertor will draw about 44 Amps from the battery during full load. This will give you a theoretical run time of less than 90 seconds, however the voltage will drop below 12 volts before that. You could add more batteries or upgrade your charging system. I do not know the charging amperage of the stock altenator. Make sure that you do not burn up your altenator charging and keeping up with the large current draw of the batteries. I suspect that you will learn quite a few things from supporting this install.
For 5kw of power, 44 Amps is the AC current draw at 115V. The DC current draw at 12V is 416 Amps. Take into account 90% efficiency on the inverter would give us a top end current draw of 463 amps. The Optima Battery has a 55AH rating. That yields a life of approximately 7 minutes at full draw. Okay, I don't have the specs on the OEM battery but let's just say it has a capacity that is 70% of the Optima. That provides us with an additional 4.9 minutes at full draw. This yields 11.9 minutes of run time on the batteries alone. Probably a little less than this as the inverter shuts down if the DC voltage drops below 10.5 volts.

Okay, here's where things get a bit 'fuzzy' for me. I know that my alternator is a 160 amp alternator. What exactly 160 amps means with respect to an alternator I'm not sure. I will work under the possibly false assumption that it means it can create 160 amps of current at some rpm of the engine. That would then reduce the draw on my parallel battery set up to 303 amps and extend the run time to about 18 minutes before the batteries are drained and you burn the alternator. So let's call it 15 minutes at full draw.

In real life, I have run a circular saw, an electric weed eater and the compressor. Not at the same time though. I didn't check the power draw for the saw or the weed eater but the compressor peaked at around 1400 W. I doubt I will ever push the system close to the 5kw mark. The most I expect to be utilizing 100% at any given time would be the one 15 amp 115V AC circuit in the rear of the vehicle. Possibly a laptop or cell phone charger in the front. I have toyed with the idea of getting the extension cord one would use for a generator to plug into a standard 115VAC 15amp outlet so I could use my Commander as an emergency generator.

I do like the idea of the circuit breakers though. My outlets are designed for a 15 amp circuit and my wiring for a 20 amp circuit.

You may now ask, "Why a 5000 watt inverter if you only plan to use it at 40% capacity?"

My reason for that was uncertainty. I couldn't find reliable documentation on the starting current draw for the compressor. I believe I read it could be as high as 7 times the running draw. The running draw is 10.5 amps. That would put my startup current at 73.5amps! That translates to 8325 watts of surge. The inverter is rated for 10,000 watts of surge. The next step down in inverters(that I could find) only yielded a 5,000 watt surge rating.

Okay, is everybody sufficiently bored?
 

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Hmmm...I guess you don't really need the glove box. Or maybe you could get rid of the passenger airbag. You could just have all of you passengers sign a waiver when they get in.

I had plans to put a little storage system on the dash on the passenger side ... like for papers and maybe some small tools, phone charger, etc

As soon as I actually LOOKED at th dash with that thought in mind, I realized the air bag is located there :)

Make you wonder though how many people might leave stuff laying on the dash ... heck even one of those dogs with the moving head stuck on there, could kill someone or at least blind them when the air bag went off :(
 

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Nice mods here, for sure. As someone said earlier, it's pushing the envelope, and that's a good thing.
 
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