Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Record Power AC400 air filter review

I've had this unit for just over 12 months now and thought I would share my thoughts about it with the woodworking community.
The unit came is a large well protected box and was complete with all accessories.
The main unit
A remote control
Batteries
Rubber Feet
Hooks and chains

The specification of the unit is:
  • Outer Filter: 5 Microns
  • Inner Filter: 1 Micron
  • Overall Dimensions: L514 x W431 x H258 mm
  • Sound Rating @ 1 m: High Speed 69 dB
  • Medium Speed 67 dB
  • Low Speed 62 dB
  • Air Flow: High Speed 409 CFM
  • Medium Speed 362 CFM
  • Low Speed 260 CFM
  • Motor: 120W, 230V, 50Hz, 1 Ph
  • Timer Settings: 1, 2 and 4 hours
  • Weight: 14 kg
                      As I live in the UK it is set to run at 230 V ac. In practice the unit is suitable for shops of up to 113 m3 in size. My shop is around 90 m3 so one unit is more than adequate.
                      Essentially the AC400 comprises a steel box with pierced removable covers on either end. The motor is directly attached to the impeller to make up an efficient centrifugal fan. These type of fans are extremely quiet in operation.


                      Siting

                      Record Power state that the unit is to be mounted at least 2.13M above floor level. I have mine mounted in between the roof trusses in my shop about 2.3 metres above floor level. There is a lifting handle should you want to carry it up a ladder. Rubber feet are provided should you wish to situate it on a high shelf.
                      AC400 in position in my shop as
                      seen from below


                      Sketchup view of where the AC400
                      is located in my shop

                      The unit is located above the table saw and hand-tool area in my shop. I have it positioned with the outlet 2/5ths away from the wall on the shorter axis of the shop. My shop is around 5 m x 6.5m so it is essentially about 2m away from the wall. This asymmetric positioning apparently creates a natural air circulation.

                      Controls

                      The unit is plugged into a mains electricity socket which is switched permanently on. You can control the unit in two ways:
                      1. Climb up a ladder and operate the controls on the unit
                      2. Use the supplied remote control.

                      The remote control appears to be an infrared sender unit as you have to point it at the AC400 at the outlet side. There must be an optical receiver on the outlet side somewhere. I must confess I cannot see it but my eyes are not as good as they used to be - my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

                      Operation

                      Controls on the remote are very concise, clear and easy to use.
                      Pressing the green button switches the AC400 motor on in low speed mode. Pressing the green button again changes to medium speed, once more into high speed. If you press again you go back to low speed and so on. The LEDs on the AC400 register the speed you are currently running at and are very useful.
                      The yellow button engages a timer function starting with 1 hour, press again for  2 hours and press again for 4 hours.
                      This is incredibly useful as it automatically switches off so you can leave the shop while it is still running knowing that it will eventually shut itself off.

                      Noise

                      What noise?? Seriously in operation the AC400 is really quiet. You barely know it is on. There is no hum just a gentle blowing. At high speed its noise rating at 1m away is 69db which is normal conversation level.
                      As the thing is up in the air you are not disturbed by it especially in a workshop which has much louder noises around.

                      Performance

                      Before I got the unit there always seemed to be a "fog" in the air which lasted quite sometime after the last machining operation. Now it is dispersed very quickly and the shop appears to stay clean after I have swept it. Sure there are still odd bits of dust on flat surfaces but it is much better now.

                      Filter cleaning/replacement

                      The filter cartridges are really easy to remove from the AC400 and it can be left in situ. There is a simply steel spring clip holding the outer filters in place. Once extracted these can be vacuumed with the shop vac or replaced. The inner 1 micron filter lasts a bit longer and also can be vacuumed.
                      The cost of replacement filters is not very high. I think dependant upon usage you may be able to clean them 2 or 3 times a year and then replace the 5 micron filters. The internal ones should last much longer before replacement. 

                      Five Year Warranty

                      Record Power stamp this on all their products to stand by the quality of their products. They will support any manufacturing faults that arise in that very long guarantee period. Not many companies offer this sort of warranty these days and Record Power need applauding.

                      Faults

                      I have had one fault with my AC400 and it happened 12 months into ownership. I don't use it 24/7 just when I'm in the shop doing machining operations. A couple of weeks back I had used it one night and then the next day it wouldn't start. I checked the batteries in the remote and also tried to operate it with the manual controls. This proved fruitless.
                      There is a 1 amp 1-3/8" long fuse on the control panel. I removed it and found that it hadn't blown but tested it just in case. All was OK. 
                      So I went onto Record Power's website and as I had previously registered all of my RP equipment serial numbers there I raised an incident.
                      Within 24 hours I had a response and they said they had identified a fault with the PCB controller due to faulty components on other similar units. A new PCB was despatched to me and I received it next day.

                      Disassembling the AC400 is relatively straight forward only requiring a #2 PZ screwdriver. I was easily able to replace the old circuit board with the new one and had it working within about 10 minutes of the postman handing it to me. All in all top marks of 5 stars to Record Power support department.

                      If you are not too certain of how to replace it yourself RP also offered to get one of their engineers to do it for you. All you had to do is take it to your nearest RP supplier.
                      Burnt out AC400 PCB
                      It looks nasty but was easy to replace

                      Conclusion

                      Record Power have made a superb, relatively affordable, air cleaner for use in a woodshop. I can heartily recommend this for weekend warrior usage or indeed semi-pros too. With the inclusion of an excellent 5 year warranty combined with superb customer service you can't go wrong with this unit.

                      6 comments:

                      1. Record Power recently (Dec 2014) announced a recall of the AC400 PCB - see my post in December 2014 for more details. I have emailed them and they are sending me an updated circuit board to fit myself. I'll blog about that when I receive it hopefully in the first few weeks of January 2015.

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                      2. See my blog entry in January 2015 for an update showing the Mark III PCB being fitted.

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                      3. Thanks for sharing the article. Such an amazing review.

                        Heating and Cooling Etobicoke

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                      4. Thank you ,A really good review I have just purchased this same unit .today .best wishes .

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                      5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on that air filters. It means a lot.

                        Heating and Cooling Woodbridge

                        ReplyDelete