A message from the twister archive

Archive of balloon entertainer discussions

Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 13:38:21 -0500 (EST)
From: Larry Moss <moss@balloonhq.com>
To: Balloon Twister List <balloon@balloonhq.com>
Subject: Review: Majiloon Balloon Pump

Review of the Majiloon Balloon Pump
(more info from the manufacturer can be found at http://www.majiloon.com)

I recently heard about a new electric pump on the market, the Majiloon
pump.  For several years I've been happy with the Balloon Buoy, as anyone
that reads my reviews or has seen me lecture knows.  The Majiloon pump
sounded interesting enough that I really wanted to give it a try and see
how it compared to the pump I've come to rely on.

For starters, the price sounded good.  With an introductory price of $169,
including one battery and a charger, this sounded too good to be true.  If
it really does what it's advertised to do, it will at least make a great
backup pump.  Not that I really need *another* backup.  Cheezo's Hip
hugger, T Myers' Pogo, Justin Hamilton's Balloon Master Pump, and several
others are all within reach of me as I write this.  But, well, I'm still
looking for the perfect pump.

Prices actually vary somewhat depending on the configuration you get.  You
can get the regular or heavy duty pump and you can get the regular or heavy
duty battery charger.  If this pump interests you, figure on spending
between $150 and $225.  That will cover everything you need for whichever
configuration you want - pump, battery, charger, and even a video tape on
proper care and feeding.  If price were the only thing to consider, there
wouldn't be much point in discussing much else.  Even maxed out with heavy
duty everything, it's a better price than most of the electric pumps I'd
consider using.  (Yeah, I've seen the $60 hand held compressor, but I can't
imagine using it for anything practical.)

There are two basic styles of battery powered pumps for entertainers that
I've seen.  They are either designed to be worn around the waist or with a
shoulder strap.  My preference has always been toward pumps that have a
shoulder strap.  My experience with waist style pumps is that they have to
stay fairly staionary on my hip, and over time they start to hurt both my
hip and my back.  On the other hand, with a shoulder strap, it's easy for
me to move it around with one hand as I work.  I always have the pump right
where I want it.

The Majiloon pump actually rests on the back, rather than the side.  After
a few hours of wearing it, I didn't get the same pains I normally feel with
a pump on my side.  The evaluation pump I got for this review is the heavy
duty one.  It weighs about a pound more than the Buoy.  Until I wore it for
a while, I was very doubtful that I'd be comfortable with it on.  The
padding that this thing has on it did make it quite comfortable.

Since the pump is worn on the back, it doesn't have the usual stationary
nozzle attached to the main part of the pump.  Instead it has a hose that
extends around your body.  The switch to operate it is on the hose itself.
The instructions state that some versions of the pump have a 2 position
switch for different speeds.  Mine doesn't seem to have that.  The switch
that is there is certainly easy enough to use.  I can slip a 260 or 350
onto the nozzle and inflate, all with only one hand.  (It takes a bit of
practice to get a 160 on quickly and I found that to be a two-handed
operation.)  The retractable thread reel that attaches the hose to the
strap around the waist even keeps it easily within reach no matter what
you're doing.

Overall, I like the pump.  It looks good and works well.  There are a
couple of negatives that I encountered.  I still haven't decided if I like
the pump on my back.  I perform in a variety of different costumes.  I
still think the shoulder bag style of pump looks better much of the time.
For example, if I'm wearing a jacket, I either have to wear the pump over
the jacket or have a huge hump on my back.  I haven't decided if I like the
battery it comes with.  For a number of reasons, sealed lead acid
batteries, which this pump uses, are better for this kind of device.  (I
won't go into a big thing on SLA batteries here as I'm no expert on the
subject.  I've just done some reading elsewhere on the 'net and consulted
with a couple people that do know more about batteries than me.)  What I
like about the Buoy's batteries is that they're standard drill batteries
that I can find in any hardware store.  I can recharge them in less time
than it takes to fully exhaust another one.  That means that when I work a
lot of hours, I only need two batteries to work continuously.  Of course,
that comes at the cost of having to buy new batteries from time to time.  A
properly used SLA battery will have a longer life.

Other things to consider with an electric pump are the noise and the speed
of inflation.  The Majiloon pump is certainly quieter than any other pump
of it's kind that I've seen.  But that's not to suggest it's quiet.
Personally, I've always used the noise of the pump to my advantage when
performing anyway.  I was hoping that this pump would be faster than the
others I've used.  Unfortunately, it isn't.  So, when working extended
periods of time on multi thousand balloon sculptures, I'll probably find
myself just falling back to the old standby of nitrogen tanks.

I think I'm going to buy one of these for myself since the one I received
for review is just that.  I don't own it.  I like it enough that I don't
want to send it back.  Only time will tell if I'll switch to it as my main
pump.  The Buoy has just been so good to me for so long that even with my
initial positive reaction to this new pump, I'm hesitant to make a complete
switch just yet.  If you're in the market for a pump, the Majiloon pump is
definitely worth considering.

Larry Moss
Balloon HQ