Using The Booster Pump – Part One, Overview
The HAM Team has been using the Booster Pump from Extreme BigBore Air Rifles. Here’s an up-date on what we’ve been finding out.
As a reminder, the Extreme Booster Pump is magic: well almost! It’s a device that allows you to fill your PCP air rifle to a higher – make that much higher – pressure than you have in your HPA tank.
For example, Say your HPA tank is down on pressure to less than 2,500 PSI and you want to fill your FX Impact to a full 3,625 PSI. Normally you’re out of luck without another visit to the dive store or pal with a HPA compressor.
But not with the Extreme Booster Pump. By using this device to connect between your tank and PCP air rifle – in less than a minute – you can have that Impact filled back to a full 3,625 PSI.
Being what’s technically known as an “Air Pressure Amplifier”, there’s no need for any electricity supply, or even a battery. It works solely using the power of compressed air. So it can be used on the range or in the field far from a power supply.
For more background about the Extreme Booster Pump and it’s benefits, check out this previous HAM post.
Now back to what we’ve been finding out…
Well, one thing we’ve found out is that there’s actually a new version of the Booster Pump. So we’ve been focusing on that.
In any truly outstanding engineering, the biggest challenge is to simplify a product while retaining – or even improving the performance. A simpler design generally improves reliability through the use of less parts: there’s less to go wrong!
Using less parts also can make the product easier to use if there can be fewer controls. Finally, simpler design MAY reduce costs, although that’s not always the case. (Fewer more expensive parts could be more costly than a larger number of cheaper parts).
The latest version of Extreme Big Bore’s product simplifies the original design by eliminating the low pressure gauge and flow restrictor. That’s the visible change, at least, there’s others inside. So now there’s no need for the user to adjust the low pressure flow.
Here’s a comparison of the two versions of the Booster Pump. First the new one…
Then the previous version…
Operating Parameters – Pressures
As with any product, there’s limits to what the Booster Pump can achieve. But they’re actually very wide.
Firstly, this is a product that’s intended to be used to increase the HPA pressure in PCP airguns. It’s not intended to be used to boost the pressure in another, separate, free-standing HPA tank.
Also, it’s clear that the Booster Pump can be used with benefit for the overwhelming majority of PCPs. But HAM would say that – while it could be used to boost the pressure in, for example, a Benjamin Discovery (2,000 PSI maximum fill pressure) – this is not really its intended environment.
Where using this device makes sense is when you have a higher pressure PCP that fills to 3,000 PSI or over. From there, the higher the fill pressure of your air rifle, the more the Booster Pump makes sense.
4,500 PSI fill pressure? Now you’re talking!
We have also tested the Booster Pump using HPA tank pressures down to 1,500 PSI. Yes, it can work with tank pressures as low as this, however having more like 2,000 PSI or above in your tank makes it a lot more effective.
Operating Parameters – Tank Capacity
Another variable is HPA capacity. That’s both in the gun being filled and the tank it’s being boosted from.
We have used the Booster Pump with both small – 90 Cu. In. capacity – and large – 550 Cu. In. capacity tanks. Let’s be clear, both worked fine. But the Extreme Booster Pump really is best suited for use with a larger capacity tank.
This is because using the Booster Pump requires a supply of low pressure air as well as High Pressure Air.
When the Booster Pump is actuated in connection with just an HPA tank, some of the air from that tank is regulated down to low pressure to operate the Pump. That low pressure air is used to compress a smaller amount of HPA to a higher pressure and so boost the PSI in your air rifle.
If you’re using a large HPA tank, the amount of air used by the Extreme Booster Pump in use is relatively small. However, with a small tank, that same amount of air is relatively large in comparison to the tank size.
The result is that the pressure falls quite rapidly in a small tank when using the Booster Pump. Every time you actuate the pump, it draws down more HPA to regulate to a lower pressure to operate the Booster.
So, can you use a small HPA tank with the Booster Pump – in an emergency, for example. But it’s clearly much better when paired with a medium- to large-capacity HPA tank.
Operating Parameters – Shop Compressor
The Extreme Booster Pump also can be used connected to a shop compressor. In this case, the shop compressor provides the supply of low pressure air that operates the Booster Pump’s piston when it is actuated.
However, you still need a HPA tank to be connected. It’s this air that will have its pressure boosted into the gun.
The ability to have a shop compressor provide the low pressure “operating air” for the Booster Pump saves the HPA tank from being drained to provide that low pressure air.
This is a beneficial saving if you – for example – have your HPA tanks filled at a dive shop and don’t want to waste any precious High Pressure Air. It’s particularly useful if you have a small HPA tank because the low pressure “operating air” drain can become significant, as we described above.
When using a shop compressor, the low pressure line in the Booster Pump is disconnected. The shop compressor line simply connects into the rear of the pump.
Oh and there’s one more thing you need to know about a shop compressor when using the Booster Pump…
It’s fitted with an Industrial-type low pressure hose coupling. So you’ll need to ensure that you have this type of coupling, or an adapter if you use – for example – the ARO type (like HAM Tester Doug Rogers!).
In Part Two of this review, we’ll give data on how we found the Booster Pump worked with specific combinations of pressures, tanks and airguns. Stay tuned…
Operating Parameters – Human Interface
Mostly this is pretty obvious. You can read the basic operating procedure in this previous HAM post.
But experience leads us to mention a couple of things.
Firstly, when everything is connected and the HPA tank valve opened, you’ll hear a rush of air as the whole system is pressurized – all the way to the airgun. Just wait a second or two until this has stopped and everything has settled before moving forward.
Secondly, the Booster Pump actually operates when you push down on the green actuating knob. This means that you need to push down steadily on this for two or three seconds each time each time you actuate it.
You’ll hear the Booster Pump compress the air and you’ll see the effect on your air rifle’s pressure gauge, too. The boosting stops once the large (low pressure) piston has reached the end of its travel, or if you let go of the actuating knob – whichever happens first.
So don’t “stab” at the actuating button, depress it slowly, steadily and deliberately. Also watch the pressure gauge on your HPA tank. Wait for it to return to full pressure after every actuation. Following these simple steps will help you to achieve correct operation.