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Paul A H

Sparmax Zeta Compressor with Smart-Stop Hanger

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Sparmax Zeta Compressor with Smart-Stop Hanger

Airbrushes.com

 

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Sparmax is a well-known manufacturer of airbrushes, compressors and accessories based in Taiwan. Their products enjoy a reputation for quality and durability and are popular amongst modellers and other users alike. The Zeta is an all-new compressor which features a world first - Sparmax's unique smart stop technology. Unlike conventional auto stop compressors, which activate through defined pressure values, Sparmax's design uses an electronic sensor that detects when the airbrush has been placed into the holder and switches the compressor on and off automatically. The system is compatible with pressure regulators and bleed valves and maintains your preferred working pressure even after the compressor has been paused and re-started. 

 

The Zeta system comprises a conventional low maintenance, oil-less single piston air compressor. It has a single outlet which connects to the new Smart Stop Hanger set. The Smart Stop Hanger clamps onto a desk or table (or even the outer case of the compressor itself), but unlike conventional hangers it also features a pressure regulator, moisture trap and an electronic sensor which detects when the airbrush has been replaced. The hanger connects to the compressor via a 4 meter PU hose and an electronic cable which plugs into a socket on the compressor itself. A 2 meter braided hose is also included, which is a nice touch.

 

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The compressor arrives packed into a sturdy cardboard box which features a picture of the product on the front. The compressor is secured inside the box with sturdy foam pieces which prevent it from moving around inside and also provide adequate cushioning against any bumps or shocks. The hoses are sealed inside plastic bags, while the Smart Stop Hanger slots inside a pre-cut foam sheet. The on-off switch is located at the back of the compressor, which all the other controls are on the Smart Stop Hanger. The pressure regulator is easy to use and precise in operation. The compressor can output a maximum 60 PSI - enough to blow your model off the desk - but a more suitable working pressure can be obtained by pulling up the collar of the regulator and twisting it until the desired pressure is achieved. The pressure gauge is clear and responsive and has a reassuring, quality feel to it. The moisture trap is on the underside of the regulator and operates with a simple spring-loaded valve. 

 

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The compressor itself is quiet in operation and vibration is extremely well controlled (particularly when compared to my off-brand Chinese compressor, which vibrates so much it scurries across the table like a jack russell chasing the postman). The Smart Stop Hanger works extremely well, switching the compressor on and off without any fuss or drama. You can also stop the compressor yourself just by pressing down on the hanger. If for any reason you want to disable to Smart Stop feature, you can just unplug the electrical connection on the front of the compressor. The airflow is smooth and consistent, lacking the pulse associated with cheaper, less well made compressors. As implausible as it sounds, I swear it has breathed new life into my Iwata brush, producing fine atomisation of paint and buttery smooth application. 

 

Conclusion

 

Scale modelling is often described an an inexpensive hobby (usually by modellers seeking to justify their latest purchase to their better half), but a compressor is one of the few 'big ticket' purchases that a modeller will need to make. While a cheap compressor can be had for below £50, it will quickly show its limitations and is unlikely to prove to be durable in operation. This compressor, with its 2 year guarantee, will prove to me a much more sensible investment. The Smart Stop feature, far from being a gimmick, is a genuinely useful feature that will save energy and also save you from having to reach around to the back of the compressor to switch it on and off. Overall this is a high quality item that can be highly recommended.

 

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A novel idea, I like the way it is away from the compressor as well.

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