Two tanks and compressors?

Looking for some install advice. I currently have the conductors special 240 kit on my f250. My wife bought me the 200psi onboard air kit with the 5 gallon tank for Xmas. I was looking to add onboard air and another set of horns. I currently have the shockers in the middle of the truck, facing back. I wanted to add another set up front facing forward. The conductors special is a 150psi system and has a 2 gallon tank. Would it be better to run two independent systems, leaving the current setup the way it is and just adding the air kit and second set of horns? Or should I remove the 2 gallon tank and run both compressors on the 5 gallon? Or any other variation?


Personally I’m a fan of the good old KISS principle. I’d probably lean towards dropping the 2 gallon tank and just run twin comps on the 5 to keep it simpler.

If air volume isn’t a problem (i.e. your honks are short), I’d also suggest running twin compressors on a single 5gal tank. Likewise, if you don’t plan on using the front and rear horns together, feeding them from a single 5gal tank should be just fine.

If, however, you plan to use the horns together AND your honks are long, then my recommendation would be to get a bigger tank, connect both compressors to it, and sell off the 2gal and 5gal tanks. :slight_smile:

You could also get a regulator of appropriate CFM capacity to make your air last longer - run the tank at 200 psi and the horns at 120 or so.

Thanks guys. Looks like I’ll be pulling the 2 gallon and just run dual compressors. I would like to run both sets of horns at 200psi for max volume. My horn honks are typically short. Any suggestions on how to properly achieve this? One compressor is 150 and the other is 200.

You should not exceed the max working pressures of your compressors or tanks. It’s not just a safety issue, it’s also a wear/tear issue. My air system is at 200psi because EVERY critical component (fittings, unloader/check valve, tanks, lines, quick connect valves, regulator [when I emplace it]) is rated for a 200psi (or higher) working pressure. i.e. I am not exceeding working pressures of critical components like so many people tend to do.

Also, consider that it would only be your first honk at 200psi, anyway. As rjk suggested, the smart money is on the use of a regulator to regulate output to both sets of horns to 100psi or thereabouts. You’ll be lacking mere decibels of volume compared to the first honk, but increasing your honk time substantially in a 150psi system. You’ll also have more uniform volume from your honks until system pressure drops below 100psi – which, again, will take more time compared to an unregulated system. (It’ll also let you stay within the working pressures of your system – which is good for safety!)

Sorry if I’m a little lost, but the kit i installed initially didn’t come with any regulator. Does the regulator attach on the “out” port that the horns are connected to? Does HB sell this part or do I need to order somewhere else?

Like this?

Yup, that’s the right idea. You either use one of those for each output from the tank that runs to the horns (i.e. 2 lines to two different horns would require two regulators, each one inline from the tank to one of the sets of horns) … or you use one regulator between the tank and a manifold … and connect each set of horns to the manifold.

I’d personally use a pair of them (one per line to each set of horns) since it allows you more flexibility in controlling your horns AND it would allow you to completely shut off airflow to each set of horns (separately from the other) if the line between the regulator and horns was leaking or ruptured.

me, personally, I would connect both tanks together with a 1/2 inch line plumb on the 150psi pressure switch to the 5 gallon tank and plug off the now unused port on the 2 gal tank, have both compressors run off of the 150 psi switch, and have a 7 gallon 150 psi air system :cool:

I haven’t experimented with the shockers, but I know the “real” train horns like Leslies and Nathans actually get quieter if you exceed a reasonable PSI like 130 or so. They start to squeak and make odd noises if you run them too high.

Yes, well, you’d also put a York compressor on a bicycle if you could. Oh wait, you have… :eek:

Well, my buddy wants to buy the 2 gallon from me. I have another buddy that has a 5 gallon tank just sitting in his garage he doesn’t want. I’m thinking this…sell the 2 gallon to pay my buddy for the 5 gallon. Run both 5 gallons and both compressors, and either run them independant of each other (one compressor is 150psi the other is 200psi) and run my onboard air off the 200psi tank. I don’t anticipate needing onboard air often, but I have an atv I put in the back of the truck now and then so it’s nice to fill up the tires or use an impact to change a flat if I need it. I would obviously wire in a poressure regulator for both like someone mentioned, and regulate them down to like 110psi or whatever. Or…would it work if I bridged them together so both tanks fill to 200psi? Basically the 150 psi compressor would cut off at 150 and the 200 would continue until both tanks are at 200. I’m not sure if that would work, would it?

The entire air system is exposed to the pressure within the system. Thus, the 150psi-rated compressor will experience 200psi once the 200psi-rated compressor fills the system to 200. Both of your compressors and tanks should be rated for 200psi (working pressure, NOT burst pressure). All of your fittings and lines should also be – as should your pressure switch, pressure gauge(s), relief valve(s), manifold(s), etc. Presuming you care about safety…

I do care about safety, that’s why I’m here asking all the questions and seeking advice on how to properly and safely hook everything up. So what exactly is the benefit to a 200psi system over a 150psi system for train horns?

A tank at 200 psi has ~33% more air volume than the same tank at 150 psi – i.e. more air squeezed into the same space. As an example, 5 gallons of air at 200 psi is approximately the same as 6.65 gallons of air at 150 psi.

If you use a regulator to control your output, having more air in the same space (i.e. using a higher pressure system) translates to having to ask the compressor to add more air to the system … less frequently – something that could be important based on your capacity needs, the duty cycle of the compressor(s) involved, etc.

Using my system as an example, duty cycle wasn’t an issue … but capacity was. I had very limited space in which to work since I was not willing to put anything in the cab, truck box, or in the spare tire well … and since I have a winch located where I might have otherwise mounted horns. I wanted an 8 gallon tank to provide capacity for air tools, but 8gal tanks are huge and I had no space for one, so I settled for a pair of 2.5 gallon 200psi tanks and 1/2" plumbing throughout the system … which gets me very close to 7gal worth of 150psi air … considering what’s in both the tanks and air lines/manifolds on the truck while operating at 200psi.

Do I honk that much that I need it? No. I run air tools off the truck from time to time (always regulated), which is what my air system was built for … and capacity matters when I do, as it’s the difference between waiting on the compressor to add air … or not. Nailers and air ratchets are non-issues; by comparison, using a 6CFM cut-off tool is somewhat painful. (But I can do it … slowly … with starts/stops.)

Frankly, I wouldn’t want less than 5 gal for my Shockers … ever. If I had a Nathan or a Leslie (either of which is far more air-hungry than the Shockers, as I understand it), I’d probably be unhappy with 5 gal – even with the fast refills I get from my EDC. If I had more horns (like you do) I’d want more air… but I’m prone to long blasts when I honk, not short staccatos. :cool: