Hello, folks. I'm trying to get back into building 1/72 armor, and I thought a nice present to myself to start would be a new compressor to replace my 20+ year-old Badger 80-2.
I picked up an Airbrush Depot TC-20T based on some great comments on Amazon, and on these and other forums, but I'm finding it totally unsatisfactory. The compressor starts reasonably quiet, but gets louder than my worn-out Badger as the pressure builds. It's too loud to comfortably talk over, or to use in my apartment without worrying about the neighbors, even in daytime.
Worse still, the compressor runs more than half the time while I am airbrushing at ~20psi; I thought the tank would let give it substantial downtime. It gets very hot, and its thermal protection shuts the unit down completely after 60-90 minutes of intermittent use. I may be running my brush a bit more than I normally would, because I am practicing technique rather than painting a real model, but I'm a bit shocked that I can overheat the unit so easily.
I'm having trouble reconciling my experience with the glowing reviews I have seen. When I spoke with TCP Global about it, they responded that the unit was for "light use" only, and they quoted the manual chapter-and-verse that the compressor should only run 10 minutes at a time and cool down for 15. I can't believe that many uses are lighter than running a single brush at 20 psi, or that anyone really uses an airbrush in just 10-minute cycles like that.
So, my question is: is this normal, or did I get a bad unit? Thanks for any feedback!
From your description, it sounds to me (no pun intended) like you have a bad unit. I've been using one for three or four years, and it is not very noisy (I can still follow a discussion on the radio played at a conversational level when I am 2 feet or so from the compressor and 6-8 feet away from the radio) when it is filling the tank or when it kicks on to replenish the air tank. I have not noticed it getting hot, even after running it for the better part of a afternoon and evening. There is a brass valve on the bottom of the tank that is useful for draining the water from the tank after a long session; you might want to check that it is closed tightly. A couple of times I have not tightened completely after draining the tank, the compressor did tend to run more than usual until I tightened it properly. I just use finger pressure to loosen/tighten, not wanting to strip the treads by over torquing it.