When you’re out playing paintball, the last thing you want is to run out of air in your tank. But if you don’t have a CO2 cartridge on hand, what can you do? In this blog post, we’ll teach you how to use an air compressor to fill up your paintball tank. Keep reading for all the details!
Compressed air is everywhere
What’s the difference between compressed air and CO2 cartridges?
Paintball tanks are pressurized with carbon dioxide gas. When you shoot your paintball marker, this carbon dioxide passes through a regulator that releases it into your gun to push your paintballs through the barrel.
CO2 acts as an immediately available source of pressure that enables your marker to fire paintballs.
Compressed air is just that – compressed air. It’s available in tanks, but it doesn’t have the immediate power characteristics of CO2.
Why do I need to fill my tank with an air compressor?
If you play paintball enough, you’ll eventually push your gun too hard. You’ll start to experience misfires, where the gun shoots even though it appears that you pulled the trigger.
Misfires can be caused by a number of sources, from broken paintball marker components to dirty/clogged barrels and valves. But if your gas tank runs dry, so will your marker. You may also have issues with a regulator.
When you push your gun too hard, the valves and regulators need a high volume of gas flow to function properly. For that reason, it’s important that you know how to refill your CO2 tank with an air compressor.
How do I do it?
Thankfully, refilling your paintball tank is quick and easy – as long as you have the right equipment. You’ll need a screwdriver, an air compressor that fits onto the tank’s stem, and a CO2-compatible gas tank.
Once you have everything together, follow these steps:
Step 1: Disconnect your paintball marker from its compressed air hose.
Remove your gun’s visor or other components so you can access the valve assembly. You want to be able to easily pull the stem out of your tank.
Step 2: Remove the valve assembly from your paintball marker.
Unscrew and remove the valve assembly. It has either a clockwise or counterclockwise thread, so you’ll need to turn it in the proper direction (usually clockwise). Most markers come with their own special tool for valve removal.
Step 3: Twist the stem out of your air compressor and screw it onto your tank’s stem.
Check to make sure that it fits snugly against the tank’s stem. If not, use some tape or another method to ensure a secure connection. Make sure you don’t tighten it too much, though, or you may damage the stem.
Step 4: Turn on your air compressor and slowly open its valve.
Be careful when opening the valve of your air compressor – it shouldn’t take much effort to do. If you open it too quickly, it can spray compressed air into your marker and tank assembly. Check for leaks by looking for bubbles around the stem. If you see any, turn off your air compressor and let everything sit for a minute before trying again.
Step 5: Continue turning on the air compressor’s valve until it starts to produce CO2 gas.
As soon as you hear some hissing sounds coming out of the stem (and not just compressed air), you’ll know that you’ve started to push CO2 into your tank. You can close the valve at this point, but keep the air compressor running – we still need it for step 6.
Step 6: Open your marker’s valve and let it fill up with compressed CO2.
With everything still attached, open up your paintball marker and allow it to fill up with CO2. You may hear a sound like water slowly moving through your marker. If you do, that’s okay and normal.
Step 7: Disconnect the stem from the air compressor and screw it back into your paintball marker.
Once your marker is full, disconnect it from the air compressor. Then screw the stem back into your marker, taking care to turn it clockwise (for most markers).
Step 8: Reconnect your gun and recheck its velocity.
Reattach your gas line and check to see if you’ve got a steady velocity reading. If not, take off the air compressor and screw the tank’s stem back in. If you still don’t have a steady velocity, remove the air compressor and try again.
Once your marker is back up to speed, give it some test shots to make sure everything’s working properly. If you’ve got no problems, then congratulations! You just refill your CO2 tank without having to buy another one.
Why does it matter?
Refilling your CO2 tank with an air compressor helps save money in the long run. Even if you have to spend a little more on an air compressor, it’ll still cost less than having to buy another top-quality CO2 tank.
Besides that, refilling your tank will also save you time. Top-notch CO2 tanks can take up to six weeks to ship; if you don’t want to wait that long, then the air compressor route is your best bet.
It’ll also save you space in your marker’s storage area. Without a bulky tank taking up room in your equipment bag, it’ll be easier to lug around and much more comfortable to hold when you’re shooting.
Another benefit is the increased portability. Some CO2 tanks come equipped with their own portable air compressor, but if your tank doesn’t include that feature, then you’ll probably have to carry around two separate pieces of equipment. Using an air compressor frees up some extra space in your paintball gear bag.
How much does it cost?
In terms of money, it doesn’t really matter whether you get a brand-name CO2 tank or an air compressor. Just make sure you shop around for the cheapest unit possible.
As far as price is concerned, both methods are evenly matched. Some small tanks come with their own portable air compressor, but that convenience comes at a steep price.
Most 2-packs of CO2 tanks cost about $35, while most small portable air compressors can be found for $45 or less. If you plan on refilling your tank a lot and/or buying multiple tanks, then it might be worth it to just invest in an air compressor – but since we’re talking about only a few bucks either way, it’s a decision you’ll have to make yourself.
This method of refilling your CO2 tank only takes about three minutes, so if you’re the impatient type, it’s probably best to just buy a brand-new tank. However, some people might want to save money and space in their gear bag, which is why air compressor refilling is such an effective option.
So – to sum it up – if you’re not in a hurry and don’t mind spending a few minutes of your time, then air compressor refilling is an effective way to refill your CO2 tank. As long as you’ve got an air compressor around, it doesn’t take much more than three minutes and will save you money and space.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Why doesn’t my CO2 shoot at high velocity?
A: There are many factors that affect your marker’s FPS. If you’re not sure what’s wrong with it, be sure to contact your local paintball shop for help.
Q: If my CO2 tank got a leak, do I have to be careful when refilling?
A: Yes, if your tank or remote line has a leak, you need to make sure you don’t overfill it. If you do, then there’s a chance of the CO2 expanding and causing the tank to burst.
Q: How do I set my velocity?
A: If you’ve already adjusted your velocity screw, then there’s a chance that you might have turned it too far and caused your marker not to read a velocity reading. To fix this, just back out the velocity screw until your marker starts shooting at the proper velocity.
Q: How will I know it’s safe to start refilling my tank?
A: This is more of an individual judgment call, but some people like to wait until their marker is out of ammo or not expect them to shoot right away. Some markers don’t immediately reset between shots, so you might want to wait a few seconds before refilling.
Q: How do I reset my velocity after refilling with an air compressor?
A: If you’ve been using your CO2 tank with an air compressor, then there’s a chance that it doesn’t have the proper hardware for adjusting the velocity screw. In that case, just continue playing or shooting targets until your marker’s velocity resets.
If you’ve got any more questions, check out the FAQ below or leave a comment!
Thanks for reading!