An explosion is unlikely due to safety valves that prevent excessive pressure. But on mobile equipment in particular, the air compressor shaft is often driven directly by the engine, continuously compressing air whenever the engine is running. This is inefficient and hard on the air compressor.
This is where the air governor comes in.
In this lesson we will be taking a closer look at an air governor. We will examine the internal structure and the operation of the governor.
Despite how it looks from the outside, the governor is a surprisingly complex device.
The side of the governor has three external ports.
The top half of the governor contains the adjusting screw, pressure setting spring, and the lower spring seat/spring guide combo.
The bottom of the governor has the piston.
Within the piston there is the exhaust stem with its spring and the inlet/exhaust valve and its spring.
The governor is usually attached directly to the compressor.
The inlet port connects the governor to the air reservoir it regulates.
As the air pressure in the reservoir increases, the piston and inlet/exhaust valve shifts up against the resistance of the pressure setting spring.
Once the air pressure reaches the pressure setting of the pressure setting spring, also known as the cut-out pressure, the exhaust stem pushes the inlet/exhaust valve open.
This seals the exhaust stem against the inlet/exhaust valve, blocking any air from escaping out the exhaust port.
There is now an open passage through the piston which connects the inlet port to the unloader port.
This allows air entering from the inlet port to exit out the unloader port, unloading the compressor and initiating the air dryer purge cycle.
The piston will remain shifted as long as the reservoir pressure is above the cut-in pressure, which is roughly 25 PSI less than the cut-out pressure.
Once the pressure drops below the cut-in pressure the pressure setting spring forces the piston back to its original position.
The inlet/exhaust valve will once again be closed and the exhaust stem path will be opened.
Air in the unloader line can now pass through the exhaust stem and out the exhaust port.
It is important that the exhaust port not be plugged. If the air from the unloader line is unable to escape through the exhaust port then the compressor will not be able to build pressure.
Now the compressor can build more air pressure and the dryer can begin its charge cycle.
The complete cycle looks something like this!
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