Choosing the correct power level for use in your Ramset, Hilti, Simpson, Powers or other powder actuated tool is easy when you keep in mind a few basic principles and understand what the different power levels are.
As a rule of thumb, you will want to use the lowest power level that will get the job done. This provides a safe fastening and demands less of your PAT tool. Keep in mind, that in concrete you are typically looking for ¾” to 1” embedment and in steel, you are looking for a embedment of ½”. There are some variables such as if the steel is thinner than ½” you will pierce it which is fine. When choosing a pin for your application, keep these numbers in mind and you will have the correct length of pin. At that point, you want to start with the lowest power level available for the tool. Usually when you have the correct power level, you will still have some of the fluting still left on the pin after you install. If your pin doesn’t set to the desired depth, jump up to the next power level.
Power levels for Ramset and Hilti tools are somewhat standard throughout the industry, all though you will see some exceptions here and there for specific tools and applications. Loads are distinguished by numbers and color. For numbers, low to high, 1-5. They are also identified by color going from low to high: Brown, Green, Yellow and Red. For the strip and disc loads you may not find the brown very easily, start with green and you should be fine. It is important that you test your tool rather than just compare it with what others are using on the job. Different tools may be set a little different. For instance, a yellow in a disc tool may closer to the power developed by a strip tool with the same color load. Power loads for Ramset, Hilti, Simpson, Powers & other PAT tools.
Some tools have a power adjustment feature. I am not a big fan of these tools (more working parts) but they offer you the luxury of stocking just one power level. Remember though, they can only drop the power level of a load, not increase what you have.
Most of our customers have enough experience that they can look at the application and just know what power level they will use. Most settle in on 2 different power levels for their trade. If you are new to using a PAT, invest in a couple boxes of every power level available for your tool.
To sum it all up, start with the lowest power level for your tool and work your way up until your pin is setting to your desired depth. Choosing the correct power level for your Ramset or Hilti tool will ensure a safe working environment along with trouble free operation.