Harbor Freight Rikon Impeller Upgrade – Is It Worth It? #1: Intro and Bottom Line

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Blog entry by clagwell posted 12-01-2019 05:00 PM 2005 reads 1 time favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Harbor Freight Rikon Impeller Upgrade – Is It Worth It? series Part 2: Airflow Measurement Setup »

As many other people have already done I swapped my 10” HF impeller for a 12” Rikon replacement. Performance is subjectively better but I wanted to know how much improvement I actually got. There were several questions I wanted to answer and I’ve done a lot of testing that’s resulted in quite a bit of data. I’m using the blog format to help organize the presentation of that data.

I won’t make you wade through all of the up coming posts to get to the bottom line though. Here are the short answers:

1- How much better is the suction?

Roughly a 10% flow rate increase, 20% pressure, varying with the amount of restriction in the rest of the system (hoses, ducts, etc.).

2 – How much does the current increase?

That depends on flow rate. For typical operating conditions it will be in the 15 to 20% range.

3 – Will the motor burn up?

Well, running the fan all by itself, that is, no restrictions on either end, the motor can easily overheat even with the original impeller. Under normal operating conditions the temperature rise will be 15 to 20C higher with the Rikon impeller. That decreases insulation life by a factor of about 3 to 4. So, no it won’t “burn up”, but it certainly won’t last as long.

4 – Does startup current increase?

The starting current is about 60A regardless of impeller choice but the larger rotational inertia of the larger fan causes the current to stay at that value for a longer time. To reliably start the dust collector with the Rikon impeller the circuit breaker’s trip curve needs to allow 60A for about 4 seconds.

Actual answers are, of course, more complicated than that. I’ll get into the details in later posts for anyone who’s interested.

Oh, and about that original question? Was it worth it? I don’t know. It’s provided plenty of entertainment in the form of taking measurements, plotting results and fitting curves. I made the modification after using the HFDC for about eight years so to me it was an incremental improvement. Compared to similar dust collectors with similar performance there’s a cost advantage, but part of that cost difference is due to the motor, which is marginal for a 12” fan. More on that in a later post.

-- Dave, Tippecanoe County, IN --- Is there a corollary to Beranek.s Law that applies to dust collection?

1 comment so far

View jamsomito's profile


689 posts in 1671 days

#1 posted 12-01-2019 06:35 PM

Hey, my new rikon impeller is stilling on the cart of my HF DC as I’m reading this, cool :)

Nice summary, and very nice measurements / curves. Seems about what we expected, but I don’t believe I’ve seen as much of a scientific summary before. Thanks for the insight, looking forward to your more detailed posts later. I’m interested to hear your test setup and your system configuration and your “subjective” thoughts on real world performance differences.

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