The air compressor intakes air, filters it and pushes it into your air tank. Every single horn requires a compressor and the louder horns require more air and higher pressure, so it is important to have a compressor that is rated for your size tank and intended pressure.
Generally, there are two main types of air compressors: Fast-Fill and Constant or Heavy Duty. Fast-Fill compressors do exactly what it sounds like: fill your tank up fast. Fast-Fill compressors sacrifice duty cycle for speed, so usually kits with Fast-Fill compressors are best suited for people that only want to blow their horns a lot and often and want to make sure there is air in the tank ready to honk again as soon as possible.
On the other hand, Constant or Heavy-Duty compressors sacrifice speed for a longer or constant duty cycle. A compressor’s duty cycle determines how long the compressor can run continuously without having to stop to cool off. If you are going to be doing any regular pneumatic tasks, such as tire inflation or air suspension, you will want a compressor with a long or constant duty cycle.
Some compressors can be both Fast-Fill and Constant Duty. Viair’s 485 series compressor is a great example of this with a constant duty cycle up to 200 PSI and a fast fill rate.
You want to make sure that your compressor is installed upright and is kept away from moisture and debris. Some compressors are more water-resistant than others, so ensure the kit you purchase is designed to be out in the elements if you plan on installing your system on the exterior of the vehicle as there are some systems that are designed for indoor use only, such as our HornBlasters 127H Air Source Unit and 228H Air Source Unit. While our exterior systems are designed to withstand the elements, keeping your compressor as dry as possible is going to ensure the longevity of your system. If needed, the filter for the compressor can be relocated to a dry area such as a toolbox, using the Air Filter relocation kit supplied with the air compressor.
Another important part of installing your compressor is making sure you don’t over-torque your check valve. Your check valve is the small metal piece that connects your leader hose from the compressor to your air tank. Make sure your torque wrench is set to no more than 15-17 pounds of torque. Your check valve is a directional valve and if it is broken it will cause air back into your compressor, rending your air system inoperable. If you must use something other than a torque wrench to tighten, make sure you are only going a little past hand tight.
The Air Tank: The size of your air tank determines how much air you will have to work with. Being familiar with your air tank is important in knowing that you get the right size for what you plan to do with your system as well as make sure that it is properly maintained to ensure your system last as long as your ride does.