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Got a 110v CA. Air Tool Compressor but Moved to S. Korea

2 replies
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  • Member since
    February 2013
Got a 110v CA. Air Tool Compressor but Moved to S. Korea
Posted by Blaze on Monday, July 1, 2019 6:00 AM

I have an aluminum tank 4.2 gallon California Air Tools Compressor 110v that I use for my airbrushing needs but I took a job in South Korea and of course their power grid is 220v. I don't think I want to run it using a step down transformer primarily due to the lack of efficiency and heat build up. I'm not sure if the cycle difference would cause damage to it in the long run anyway? Moreover, it's a bit overkill when not pulling double duty running power tools which I shouldn't be doing much of here. 

That leaves me with a couple of options...

If using a transformer won't hurt anything it's probably the path of least resistance. Given my CA Air Tools tank size I could turn it on long enough to top off and then back off again; only leaving it on during extended sessions.

If using a step down transformer is potentially harmful to the compressor then I guess I'm in the market for something new. I've been looking on the web and surprisingly I haven't seen many units listing voltage ratings. I'd prefer something quiet with a tank and dual voltage if possible that is a quality design without breaking the bank. 

The Sparmax TC-610H plus or TC-620X are about all I've found but I'm pretty sure that there must be a lot more options given how many countries use 220v.

Advice and suggestions appreciated.



  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Monday, July 1, 2019 7:23 AM


First off, it would help to know how much power exactly does the motor of your compressor have. I guess it will be a few kilowatt - that leaves you with the primary problem of finding a transformer that's powerful enough - and it will be very heavy and expensive, too. And I believe the motor would run OK, maybe turn a little slower. Other option you could try looking into would be an inverter - but that might be even harder to find than a transformer powerful enough.

Looking at how the California's are built up, maybe you could buy a replacement motor from them - one running with 220V. Install that motor an you're good to go, and after returning to US, you switch the motors again and you still use the same compressor.

Now I don't buy compressors - I build my own using a fridge compressor as the heart of the system. They are very quiet (sound just like a fridge operating) and work nice. Can also be had cheap (most come from wrecked fridges). All the other parts you would need, you already have in your compressor - the tank, all the valves, regulators, quick disconects - maybe that could work for you here, switch the compressor part for the fridge compressor, or just add a few "tees" in pneumatic lines and you would have a "dual-voltage" system.

Anyhow - good luck with your projects and have a nice day


All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

  • Member since
    February 2013
Posted by Blaze on Monday, July 1, 2019 8:07 AM
Thanks for the reply Pawel. It's their 2hp dual tank 4.6gal Model so about 1.5kw if my understanding is correct. Do to the number of folks from the US step down transformers are readily available and I have a 2Kva 60hz transformer already. That said I think I'm still going to shop around for a dedicated dual voltage airbrush specific unit and save/store the CA Air Tools unit. Utilities are expensive here and the heat and clumsiness of using the transformer seems a bit counterproductive? Plus my hobby room has shrunk in size so using a dedicated airbrush compressor will save me some space too. I don't know I' probably just looking for an excuse to buy a new piece of kit! Like the idea of your DIY but trying to avoid a project so a retail product works better given my conditions.


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