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  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002

    Default cascade or compressor

    We have a three bottle cascade system in our station and were looking at adding 3 more bottles. I was wondering if any knows of a small compressor that can fill 6000 psi cascade size bottles. Our current problem is that the local companys that fill our cascade can only fill to 5200 psi. Is a small compressor worth the cost (price, maint. testing) or I am better to order 3 more bottles and keep getting them filled to 5200.

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    911 N. Sycamore St. Yep, that's really our address.


    A compressor is the way to go. No more humping those damn heavy bottles around to get them filled. We just went to high pressure SCBA and ordered a 6000 psi compressor. Two companies gave us prices of around $17,000 for the smallest 6000 psi compressor.

    It's amazing how much more you'll train on air when filling the bottles doesn't mean a big hassle.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    S.W. Virginia


    We went from a 3 Bottle cascade system to a compressor / storage system a few years ago and have never looked back.

    By adding 3 more bottles it sounds like you're already having (or anticipate) a capacity issue. While it's true that this addition would double your system's capacity, it's also going to double every problem you have now.

    Instead you could do like we did. We added a compressor (and a new fill station since ours was kinda homemade) to the cascade system using the cascade bottles as storage tanks. The compressor has a pressure switch (just like any old shop compressor) that keeps the tanks filled. When we need to fill SCBA (or SCUBA ) bottles all we do is set them in the frag tank, hook them up, adust the pressure regulator for the fill line to the proper pressure and open the fill valve.

    Since you already have a cascade system I'll assume that you already have a frag tank / fill station - in which case all you really need is the compressor itself.

    I would advise you to shop around between the different brands (I just use Bauer as an example since I'm more familiar with them), but Bauer offers a "Basic Package" line of no frills compressors that may just fit your budget.

    Bottom line - if your filling enough bottles that you feel you need a 6 Bottle cascade, then you may find that you're much happier in the long run w/ a compressor instead.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless

  4. #4
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Pt. Beach, NJ


    Just last year we replaced our entire system. We had an old Bauer with 2 5000 psi bottles. Problem with old system was that it was a low end compressor when it was bought about 15 years ago. It took 24 hours to fill the 5000 psi bottles. New system we have is a Mako. 4 6000 psi bottles, 3 bottle filling station. 3 hours to fill the 4 6000 psi bottles. We bought larger than what we currently need for the main reason we will have this for a long time and who knows what we are going to need in the near future. One thing to make sure of when buying compressor is to look at who will be servicing it. Our local Bauer service company was less than desirable in their performance and that played a big role in what we bought. Bauer and Mako both make great systems.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001


    While you're updating maybe you can add this to the list. We recently purchased an air unit for our city, since we use Scott 4500 bottles the cascade system run out of pressure quickly. As long as the cascade bottles are full, the system will fill the Scotts quickly, but as the pressure runs low, the filling process slows down.(as to be expected). The problem is that there is still a huge amount of air in the bottles (in cubic feet) but at low pressure. The answer is to purchase a booster pump, this takes the low pressure air out of the cascade system and boosts it to a higher pressure that can be used to fill the bottles not only faster, but you can top them all of the way off. In this way you can use all of the air in the cascade system. This system is portable,easily used and responds to calls. When the system is expended a compressor is used to fill the system at our FD shop. Hope this helps.

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