What Is Duty Cycle and How Does it Relate to Train Horns January 26, 2012

Duty Cycle and Air Compressors, where do we start?  Duty cycle represents the amount of time an air compressor can operate before needing a rest to cool down.  It is calculated as a percentage of time, normally set to 10 minute periods. D = R/T with “D” being duty cycle, “R” being run time before resting and “T” being the total time. When looking at an air compressor that has a 30% duty cycle, it can be ran for 3 continuous minutes before it will need to rest and cool down.  Since we are operating in 10 minute time periods this particular compressor will need 7 minutes to cool down before it can operate again. What do you really need out of an air compressor for a train horn kit?  First thing to point out is most kits on the market are overkill.  While there are advantages to having a 100% duty cycle air compressor and a 5 gallon air tank, for the purpose of the train horn kit all you really need is a 30% duty cycle air compressor and a 2 gallon tank.  Mainly, you want to check the psi that your tank can hold, as the psi dictates the loudness of the kit.  I feel that 150 psi is the sweet spot and anything over that you really don't see that much improvement in performance relative to increase in price. If you have any questions please send me a email and I would be happy to answer them for you.  marc@trainhornsdelivered.com


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