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Even if you’ve got a big-ass air compressor around the shop or house, it’s always handy to have a smaller unit around for crap like blowing up bicycle tires or pumping up a car tire when the car’s out of easy reach of your big compressor.  Enter Black & Decker’s latest version of the small, portable air pump — the Air Station.

The ‘Station’s big claim to fame is that it runs on either 12V DC or 120V AC power so you can use it in the garage or house by plugging it into the wall, then carry it out to the car and plug it in a cigarette lighter power port to air up that aforementioned flat.

It weighs six pounds, which means it should be pretty easy to move around, and B&D claims it stores all its cables internally, which is always a big plus with these kind of tools.  (It really sucks to have to wrap cords around ’em when you’re storing ’em in the trunk or a closet in the house.)

It also features an auto-shutoff setting, which means you can dial in the pressure you want, then wait for it to shut off automatically when it reaches the set pressure.  This also sounds slick, because these little compressors can take a while to reach high pressures — or to inflate high-volume items like car tires.

The Air Station [Black & Decker]
Street Pricing [Froogle]

 

8 Responses to Finds: Black & Decker’s Air Station

  1. ambush27 says:

    yeah i have one of these, well not one of these exactly but a small compressor that runs off a “power port” of course mine isn’t nearly this fancy, but it is a lot smaller and weighs far less than six pounds.

  2. Cybergibbons says:

    These are also excellent for use as the air source when making water bottle rockets. I’ve not owned one this expensive, but the ones I have had have destroyed themselves after a few hours runtime.

  3. Paul says:

    I have one of those 12 volt plug into the lighter variety of air compressors. I think the thing threw a rod or something. I sorta remember having to do some work to it a while back to get it working again. I forget exactly what but I kinda remember it involving putting a concrete cut nail into it, then going wholly crap I can’t believe it is working again. So yeah I have to echo the sentiments of Cybergibbons when they speak of these little air compressors eating themselves for lunch. Now I am kinda remembering the last time I used my little air compressor smelling that model train cooked motor smell coming out of it after trying to get it to inflate a bicycle tire. So maybe the next time i use mine I am up for a motor swap in it?

    Lets hope the B&D model in this write up is a little beefer than the little compressors I have had experience with up til now. I will keep my eyes open for one at the B&D factory outlet store next time I am there.

    I have only recently pressed my little compressor into service since I have moved my full sized compressor to my new place, but am still at my old place for a bit. Man I really hate not having a real compressor. It is my firm belief that all houses should be plumbed for compressed air, just like they all are for water. Compressed air is at least as important to me as running water is. I can’t seem to live without the stuff!

  4. nrChris says:

    I think there is a big price premium on the B&D orange on this one. I have seen similar deals for a lot less coin, although your mileage may vary.

    Do people actually use these–like store them in their trunk just in case? I have a spare and AAA, and access to a shop compressor, which seems to cover me. I am certainly not totting one of these in my trunk with me.

  5. T says:

    I dunno about this particular model, but I carried one of the cheap ones in my trunk for better than 10 years. For a long time, I never had a place for a real compressor, so the cheap ass cigarette lighter one was all I had for car and motorcycle tires. It worked great for airing up tires as long as you weren’t in a hurry. Never having had triple a, and sometimes lacking even the most rudimentary semblance of a spare on some of my vehicles, that thing saved my ass more than a few times.

  6. Chris Ball says:

    Bah, buy a floor standing bike pump. I have one of the Canadian tire specials which would probably be a low rent version of this and a proper 12v compressor meant for 4x4ing.

    As near as I can tell, if you can plug it into a cigarette lighter plug without melting something, the bike pump is faster and more reliable (if more work). The proper ones start at about $100 bucks and will put as much air in a tire in five minutes as these do in half an hour. For a little compressor there is no substitute for current, I’m pretty sure that my proper one draws between 25-35 amps which quickly limit things to a direct connection to the battery.

  7. Paul says:

    Chris Ball Says:
    Bah, buy a floor standing bike pump.

    Heh yeah, I just got a Big Dog, Bulldog maybe is it?, bicycle pump last year at a flea market for $1. The guy who sold it to me must have been a real master mechasimo, because when I got it home the pump did not seem to work, until that is I cleaned the mud out of the chuck. Now it works fine. 🙂

    I have to admit bicycle pumps do work well. As I said in my earlier reply my junky mini compressor fried when I tried to pump up my bicycle tire with it, but the hand pump did it no problem.

  8. Spyder says:

    I actually have one of these to review for ya. They are pretty nice compressors – supposed to have a an ungodly (120 PSi or so?) safe operating limit. For mine that wasn’t even close – I got it to keep my “spare air” tank (6 gallon tire inflator tank) up to pressure. I have 3 vehicles, 2 of which seem to leak air any time I don’t use them for a couple of weeks, so keeping a tank of air handy is faster and easier than rigging an air compressor every time one of them needs a little air, and I can take it to the track and use it a few times to balance tire pressures during the day.

    At any rate, this thing is as loud as any electric pump I;ve had – considerably louder than most “roadside assistance” type cigarette lighter pumps I’ve had. The wall power circuit fried the 3rd time I used it, pumping the tank up from about 40 PSi to the 85 PSi I like to keep it at. That thing litterally COOKED – it was hot to the touch and smelled like it would be a total loss. I took it all apart, and it’s a pretty simple compressor – it’s a got 2 one-piston “2-stroke” style compressors plumbed together with 2 seperate electric motors. The circuit board for the 110v power circuit is nuked, but the 12V is a seperate power circuit completely, and works fine to this day, with a couple dozen cycles under it refilling the tank to 85PSi.

    I’d say if you’re going to use one of these with wall power, give it plenty of thermal consideration – it looks like the power circuit died of thermal stress, rather than popped components or a short. On 12V, it’s not much faster than the usual roadside emergency pumps.

    It DOES have a handy feature – other than the dual power capability – in that there is a rotating bezel on the front of the pressure gauge. Rotating that bezel moves a pointer to whatever pressure you want the pump to shut down at – and it works perfectly so far. Also, the pump does not need to be on for the pressure gauge to work – it just needs a pressure circuit into whatever you have it hooked up to. One drawback though is that it will not start up by itself – once the circuit switches off, you have to turn the thing off with the switch on the back panel and turn it on again before it will restart.

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