The Mini Compressor

By Kurt Wilde

I'd like to take the credit for this one, but actually I got the idea from an issue of Motorcycle Consumer News. However, before I got around to building it, I'd lost the issue and had to start from scratch.

The Mini Compressor is a small tire inflator that runs on the 12 volts available on any modern day motorcycle. What sets it apart from most products available is it's size. A typical automotive inflator is very bulky. There are some inflators available commercially for motorcycles, however, they are relatively expensive. Consider that the total cost of this project ran me $22.91. Compare this to the Cycle Pump advertised in the Rider Warehouse catalog for $77.00. Sure their pump looks better, but works the same.

The finished compressor.

Parts List

  • Compressor - Campbell Hausfeld RP1200 - US$9.96
  • Box - Radio Shack 6X4X2 - US$4.99
  • BMW Connector - BMW - US$7.96


  1. Disassemble the inflator. Everything but the compressor, hose and wires can be disposed of.
  2. Remove the switch and solder the wire directly to the motor.
  3. Modify the box to accept the air hose and wire. I used a 'hot knife' to cut a slot in the box.
  4. Drill some air holes in the box.
  5. Drill a couple of holes for wire ties. These will be used to hold the compressor in place.
  6. Fasten the compressor to the box with wire ties.
  7. Optional: Replace the cigarette lighter connector with one that works on the bike of your choice. I used a BMW-style connector since that will fit both my bikes. I also cut off most of the wire, leaving only enough to reach either tire. This makes packing it up easier.

The original case and the new one.

The pieces

In the box.

How does it work?

Fantastic. Not only does it give the added security of having a reliable way to inflate a tire in case of a flat. It also makes it possible to keep tire pressures at their optimal levels. This of course increases tire life and contributes to rider safety. And all for less than twenty-five bucks!

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