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    Question Air System Question

    Guys, I'm in a jam and need some info in the next couple of days, I'm hopeful that you can all help out.

    Need some comparison notes for cascade systems.

    The question is simple, How many 30 minute 4500psi cylinders can I fill (not counting human error) with the following:

    4 bottle 4500psi cascade
    4 bottle 6000psi cascade
    4 bottle 6000psi cascade with a Sierra Booster Pump

    We're trying to sort out a few options here to see what is going to be the most cost effective but I simply have no idea where to start to compute these facts.

    Also, if anyone is running Sierra Booster Pumps, please feel free to share some insight good and bad on these units.

    Thank you all in advance for your much anticipated replies.
    FTM-PTB DTRT

    Everything I state on here is to support and aid my fellow firefighters. Everything I post is my opinion only, and in no way should be taken as an official opinion of any Company, Department, or Municipality I represent... oh and this includes Pierce Mfg, as so their legal department has advised me; since they apparently also invented the right to control "Free Speech".

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    You can also get a 2 stage Sierra pump I believe.

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    To answer your question

    4 bottle 4500psi cascade You may fill 4. At 5000 psi 22 fills
    4 bottle 6000psi cascade 38 fills
    4 bottle 6000psi cascade with a Sierra Booster Pump 47 fills

    You will fill fewer bottles with ASME CASCADE System but you should never have to pull the bottles out for testing.

    CASCADE Refill Chart Here is one place to look.
    Sierra Air System Booster Pumps And here is a link for thier Sierra Boosters.

    I delivered many trucks with these on them. You can expect to fill 25% more air bottles with a Sierra. Haskel claims 34% to 38 % more which I do not believe. I don't see how you can fill that much more when you are wasting the air to run the system.

    I always harp on people about adiabatic heating when training them on a compressor or cascade system. That is just a waste of your system. When filled your scba bottle should not be hot. Slow down and fill it at no more than 1,000 psi per minute. This is espically important when filling the SCBA for return to storage at the end of the fire. I would also suggest to carry extra tanks on your unit so you can not have a big rush when you arrive.
    Last edited by Fyrtrks; 03-26-2010 at 08:10 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyrtrks View Post
    To answer your question

    You will fill fewer bottles with ASME CASCADE System but you should never have to pull the bottles out for testing.
    This depends on where you are getting your ASME cylinders. I have seen them over 30 feet long before. In fact, within 5 minutes of reading this I was able to find six ASME MIL Spec cylinders with a design pressure of 8,800 PSI that are 32" in diameter and 14' long with a volume of 240 gallons.

    That said, I would not recommend them for apparatus as they each weigh 7 tons. ASME cylinders are great for stationary storage systems but aren't that great for mobile applications.

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    Number of small cylinders that can be refilled from various storage systems


    My volly Dept had a fill system with 4 bottle cascade, using 4,500 psi DOT cylinders. I can across a salesman who was clearing his inventory, and purchased two more for the system at $200 each (there was room to expand).

    I plumbed one cylinder into bank #1, and the other into bank #2. This significantly increased our cascading ability. Also, we have a small compressor on the system too, about 5 or 6 cfm. This allows the cascade to fill the cylinder near full, then use the compressor to top it off.

    Also, if your SCBA's are 4,500 psi, go with a 6,000 psi system. If you go with a 4,500 you will regret it. And... Every breathing air service tech (not salesmen) I've talked to warned against a booster pump.

    6,000 psi DOT cylinder weighs about 200 lbs I think. An ASME is double that.

    If you're talking about a large class 8 truck, an additional 800 pounds shouldn't break the bank. I'd opt for ASME if at all possible.
    Last edited by txgp17; 03-26-2010 at 07:06 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by txgp17 View Post
    Number of small cylinders that can be refilled from various storage systems


    My volly Dept had a fill system with 4 bottle cascade, using 4,500 psi DOT cylinders. I can across a salesman who was clearing his inventory, and purchased two more for the system at $200 each (there was room to expand).

    I plumbed one cylinder into bank #1, and the other into bank #2. This significantly increased our cascading ability. Also, we have a small compressor on the system too, about 5 or 6 cfm. This allows the cascade to fill the cylinder near full, then use the compressor to top it off.

    Also, if your SCBA's are 4,500 psi, go with a 6,000 psi system. If you go with a 4,500 you will regret it. And... Every breathing air service tech (not salesmen) I've talked to warned against a booster pump.

    6,000 psi DOT cylinder weighs about 200 lbs I think. An ASME is double that.

    If you're talking about a large class 8 truck, an additional 800 pounds shouldn't break the bank. I'd opt for ASME if at all possible.
    I absolutely concur with going to 6,000 psi. As has been mentioned, if you have a 4,500 psi system, you won't get your SCBA cylinders all the way to 4,500.

    We have a 4 cylinder 6,000 system in our Special Service truck. Last year we sent many of our 4,500 psi 1 hour cylinders out for hydro test. So when they came back, I was able to fill 15 of them from completely empty before the last cascade cylinder was down to 4,500.

    In the next couple of years we will probably replace that truck. Pulling the cascade cylinders for hydro test is a monumental pain. So much so that we just send the whole truck to our vendor and let them do it all. But that gets pretty pricey.

    I was going to recommend going to ASME cylinders to eliminate that problem. But after looking at the chart that Fyrtrks posted and seeing how many fewer SCBA cylinders could be filled, I'm not so sure that's the way to go at all. That vehicle gets called to away games for air details. I have filled 30 plus cylinders to full from 1,500 to 2,000 psi. I don't want to see that capability essentially cut in half. Weight isn't an issue here, but capacity is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyrtrks View Post
    I always harp on people about adiabatic heating when training them on a compressor or cascade system. That is just a waste of your system. When filled your scba bottle should not be hot. Slow down and fill it at no more than 1,000 psi per minute. This is espically important when filling the SCBA for return to storage at the end of the fire. I would also suggest to carry extra tanks on your unit so you can not have a big rush when you arrive.
    I agree. One of my pet peeves is everyone in a hurry to fill the things after training or a call so that the next day I get to go back and top all of them off because they dropped 500 psi after they cooled...
    "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefengineer11 View Post
    I absolutely concur with going to 6,000 psi. As has been mentioned, if you have a 4,500 psi system, you won't get your SCBA cylinders all the way to 4,500.

    We have a 4 cylinder 6,000 system in our Special Service truck. Last year we sent many of our 4,500 psi 1 hour cylinders out for hydro test. So when they came back, I was able to fill 15 of them from completely empty before the last cascade cylinder was down to 4,500.

    In the next couple of years we will probably replace that truck. Pulling the cascade cylinders for hydro test is a monumental pain. So much so that we just send the whole truck to our vendor and let them do it all. But that gets pretty pricey.

    I was going to recommend going to ASME cylinders to eliminate that problem. But after looking at the chart that Fyrtrks posted and seeing how many fewer SCBA cylinders could be filled, I'm not so sure that's the way to go at all. That vehicle gets called to away games for air details. I have filled 30 plus cylinders to full from 1,500 to 2,000 psi. I don't want to see that capability essentially cut in half. Weight isn't an issue here, but capacity is.
    I'll trade trucks with ya!

    I want to thank EVERYONE for the help this round... tremendous help brothers!

    Our scenario is this:

    We currently have a 4 bottle system on our rig with a fill station. The bottles are 6000psi DOT cylinders. There is currently no booster pump in place.

    Our compressor will only fill to 4500psi. The 4500psi system worked fine when we all had 2216 SCBA units. However, we have recently moved into 45min 4500 SCBAs and now the mobile cascade just isn't worth crap. Powers to be wanted to run out and buy an entire new truck and air system all together when we're not talking much at all by comparison to replace just the compressor with a 6000psi unit, and possibly adding a booster pump to the rig.

    Again everyone, you gave me the facts I needed to confirm my suspicions and plead my case. Now we can have some extra money aside to put new toys on our new step-ladder... errr.... Quint that's on it's way.
    FTM-PTB DTRT

    Everything I state on here is to support and aid my fellow firefighters. Everything I post is my opinion only, and in no way should be taken as an official opinion of any Company, Department, or Municipality I represent... oh and this includes Pierce Mfg, as so their legal department has advised me; since they apparently also invented the right to control "Free Speech".

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    Quote Originally Posted by laddertruckgoes View Post
    I'll trade trucks with ya!

    I want to thank EVERYONE for the help this round... tremendous help brothers!

    Our scenario is this:

    We currently have a 4 bottle system on our rig with a fill station. The bottles are 6000psi DOT cylinders. There is currently no booster pump in place.

    Our compressor will only fill to 4500psi.
    Could be wrong, but I don't know of any compressor that can only go to 4500 psi. It should be able to be reset to at least 5000 psi. I won't be much help, unfortunately, but it will at least help until you can get the system upgraded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firepundit View Post
    Could be wrong, but I don't know of any compressor that can only go to 4500 psi. It should be able to be reset to at least 5000 psi. I won't be much help, unfortunately, but it will at least help until you can get the system upgraded.
    Correct, that was my mistake. The regulator we have on the output side is either 2250 or 4500. The compressor itself is 5000, however I've never known it to do better then 4700ish before it shuts down.
    FTM-PTB DTRT

    Everything I state on here is to support and aid my fellow firefighters. Everything I post is my opinion only, and in no way should be taken as an official opinion of any Company, Department, or Municipality I represent... oh and this includes Pierce Mfg, as so their legal department has advised me; since they apparently also invented the right to control "Free Speech".

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    Quote Originally Posted by laddertruckgoes View Post
    Correct, that was my mistake. The regulator we have on the output side is either 2250 or 4500. The compressor itself is 5000, however I've never known it to do better then 4700ish before it shuts down.
    Talk to your friends in Pennsauken or Trenton (Hamilton Twp., actually). They ought to be able to set it straight for you, whenever they finish burning Trenton down. But what are your cascade cylinders rated for? It's stamped into them near the top. Should say something like 3A or 3AA xxxx for their pressure rating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by laddertruckgoes View Post
    The compressor itself is 5000, however I've never known it to do better then 4700ish before it shuts down.
    That's typically controlled by a cut-off switch. I think some models can be adjusted. There are a lot of things that can be done to a compressor to make it fit your needs a little better.

    A service tech explained to me once that one dept he serviced had their compressor system plumbed where it automatically filled the storage vessels in reverse order.

    All the air went to bank #4 until it was full, then air went to bank #3 and so on. This removed operator error, and helped ensure there would be adequate pressure to make a complete refill. They even make automatic switching gear to perform cascading for you. It makes training an operator much easier.
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    ASME vs DOT. There are different variants of both bottles(cylinders), a ASME does NOT necessarily mean less capacity, you need to know which ones to use. It DOES mean more weight. Do your homework. For 4.5's a 6000 is a necessity. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefengineer11 View Post
    Talk to your friends in Pennsauken or Trenton (Hamilton Twp., actually). They ought to be able to set it straight for you, whenever they finish burning Trenton down. But what are your cascade cylinders rated for? It's stamped into them near the top. Should say something like 3A or 3AA xxxx for their pressure rating.
    The cylinders were replaced a few years ago in both the truck and the inhouse and both sets are 4 - 6000psi.

    I will be in touch with Air Power shortly for the compressor. The truck was installed by Breathing Air Systems. Do you know where they're located at?
    FTM-PTB DTRT

    Everything I state on here is to support and aid my fellow firefighters. Everything I post is my opinion only, and in no way should be taken as an official opinion of any Company, Department, or Municipality I represent... oh and this includes Pierce Mfg, as so their legal department has advised me; since they apparently also invented the right to control "Free Speech".

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    Breathing Air Systems has an office in Illinois, but thought they had others as well...

    Check this link for all their office locations:

    http://www.breathingair.com/contact.aspx
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    Quote Originally Posted by laddertruckgoes View Post
    Correct, that was my mistake. The regulator we have on the output side is either 2250 or 4500. The compressor itself is 5000, however I've never known it to do better then 4700ish before it shuts down.
    Get a trained service tech in perhaps.

    Discussed compressors with out regional Bauer factory rep recently. His position is that if you're using 4500psi SCBA buy 5000psi pump/cascade. That substantial extra expense of a 6000psi system is a total waste of $. If you really want it you can put in 2 more stage 4 cylinders for way less $ than buying an extra compressor stage.

    Some sales guy sold us on 6000psi and is now living fat in his condo on a beach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireinfo10 View Post
    Get a trained service tech in perhaps.

    Discussed compressors with out regional Bauer factory rep recently. His position is that if you're using 4500psi SCBA buy 5000psi pump/cascade. That substantial extra expense of a 6000psi system is a total waste of $. If you really want it you can put in 2 more stage 4 cylinders for way less $ than buying an extra compressor stage.

    Some sales guy sold us on 6000psi and is now living fat in his condo on a beach.
    That line of thinking only works if your fill station and cascade bank are hooked to your compressor. A 5000 psi cascade will fill a lot fewer 4500 psi bottles than a 6000 psi system. The problem occurs when trying to top off the bottle to full pressure. A 5000 system will use the volume and require more cubic feet to get them topped off as you only have a 500 psi "excess" pressure differential.

    The price difference between a 5k & 6k psi system is not that big as to make it a viable option in most cases. When we bought our AFG funded system we were still using 2216 SCBA's .We got the 6000 psi system as the difference between the 5 & 6k was less than a $1000.00. We now have a system 7 years later that will handle our new 4.5 packs and still fill almost a hundred 4.5 bottles before we need to refill the cascade. Good sorward thinking has paid off in our case.
    Last edited by islandfire03; 03-30-2010 at 06:41 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    That line of thinking only works if your fill station and cascade bank are hooked to your compressor. A 5000 psi cascade will fill a lot fewer 4500 psi bottles than a 6000 psi system. The problem occurs when trying to top off the bottle to full pressure. A 5000 system will use the volume and require more cubic feet to get them topped off as you only have a 500 psi "excess" pressure differential.

    The price difference between a 5k & 6k psi system is not that big as to make it a viable option in most cases. When we bought our AFG funded system we were still using 2216 SCBA's .We got the 6000 psi system as the difference between the 5 & 6k was less than a $1000.00. We now have a system 7 years later that will handle our new 4.5 packs and still fill almost a hundred 4.5 bottles before we need to refill the cascade. Good sorward thinking has paid off in our case.
    That's the FACT,Jack! a 5000 system(four bottle)DOES NOT fill many 4500 packs without a pump. Cut and dried. T.C.

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    You fill off the cascade cylinders not the compressor.

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    And you will fill DAMN few 4.5's(to capacity) with a FOUR bottle 5000 cascade WITHOUT Compressor or booster support. Done it enough times to be FAIRLY confident of my statement. With Four 6000's you will fill a LOT more

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    Quote Originally Posted by npfd801 View Post
    I agree. One of my pet peeves is everyone in a hurry to fill the things after training or a call so that the next day I get to go back and top all of them off because they dropped 500 psi after they cooled...
    I've been there plenty of times. We have 2216psi bottles, so its less than 500psi, but still a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireinfo10 View Post
    You fill off the cascade cylinders not the compressor.
    I realize that> A four bottle 5k psi system will not fill many 4.5 bottles to full before your cascade pressures are too low. If the compressor needs to be constantly run to top off the cascade to 5k it wll be more costly and have a shorter lifespan.

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