Craftsman 5hp 20 gallon (model#919.165200) trips breaker

This compressor keeps tripping my garage breaker at start-up! It will start up a second or two then trip the breaker. It ran fine the other day! but I don't think it ever cut back On when it hit the Cut-in pressure (110)Cut-Out pressure is set at 130?

I remember I was getting low air pressure but I was finished anyways. Now it won't run without tripping the breaker in a second or two! Regulator seems fine, Pressure switch seems OK, Unloader valve works In/Out before it trips out, Check Valve OK, Safety Valve OK, the motor isn't binding any the fan turns fine, what do I check next? and where can I get parts? I Need some Help Please!

Bill says...

Good on you for checking all the things you have. This is the kind of post that helps me help you.

Two more things to check. What's changed in the circuit? Do you have any other electric equipment pulling current from the same line as the one that feeds the compressor? Make sure not.

From what you are saying, and if there is no additional draw on the power supply, you may have a capacitor problem. It holds a boost of power that used when the motor starts up, as starting electric motors draws much more power than they need when they are running.

If the capacitor is weak or failing, the boost isn't there for the motor, it tries to start, pulls too many amps for the circuit, and your breaker trips out after a couple of seconds.

It were me, I'd take my motor and capacitor (usually on the side of the motor) to a motor rebuild shop and have both checked out.



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Mar 23, 2011
Similar problem to:- trips breaker
by: fixitcr63

Hi Bill,
My problem is similar, except that my motor starts and runs fine, as long as it's not trying to turn the compressor. As soon as I tighten the belt and then try to start the unit while there's pressure in the tank, the motor tries to start, runs a couple of slow revolutions and then pops a breaker if I don't shut it down. I haven't taken the check valve out to clean it, or replace it, but if I disconnect the line going into it the motor will then start right up and run normally. Is that a give-away that the check valve is the culprit? Thanks in advance. I'll appreciate any help you might give. Corky

Is it unloading? Try running it with the tank empty and see if that allows it to start properly.


Nov 24, 2010
Craftsman Air Compressor capacitor issue?
by: jeff

Man, you are GOLD Bill! I hope it is my capacitor (is there only one of them on the motor?) If it's the motor, I might as well buy a new compressor! This compressor is practically brand new, just been sitting in my dad's garage is all. The capacitor sounds like a cheap fix? Do you know where I might get one for this Craftsman? If I can get this compressor working with a new capacitor, I would gladly like to make a donation for your information!!! I don't have a problem paying for GOOD HELP! Great Site Man! I'll let you know what happens, once I find this part!


I think just one capacitor. And no, since they hold a quick-discharge boost that can whack you a good one if you don't know what you are doing, visit an electric motor rebuild shop and ask them to test it for you.

Good luck, and thank you very much for your kind comments.


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Craftsman Air compressor immediately trips fuse

by Matt Ruffer
(North New Jersey)

3HP GE Motor trips fuse as soon as I flip the switch. I have removed the motor from the tank and all switches. I disconnected both capacitors and connected a cord directly to hot and ground on the block. (saw video's on youtube to bypass the start and run capacitors). Fuse still blows instantly. Bad windings??

Bill says...

In my vast (-:) experience with motors, I would say that you have a fault to ground. Could be windings, could be a wire loose, pretty hard to tell from here.

Maybe you could post again the youtube link for the bypass of the start run capacitors? Folks (me too) would be interested.



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craftsman 33 gal 6 hp blowing fuse

by keni thomas
(nashville, tn)

hi Bill I have read all the posts and based on what you've said there, I think the problem is the unloader valve. before I go and buy new parts i wanted to check with you and be certain thats the next step.

when the tank is empty the motor fills it up and it shuts off as it should
as I use the air and the pressure in the tank goes down, the motor tries to come back on as it should. Thats when it blows the breaker.

I have to bleed all the air out of the tank and only then will it start up again.

seems from what you have been saying in the threads that this points to the unloader valve.

if this is correct, is that the part I go to sears and order? "Hi I need an unloader valve for my craftsman compressor"

thanks for you help Bill..

God Bless


Bill says....

Hi Keni. Good on you for reading and figuring out what is likely your air compressor problem.

Double check and make sure it's the UNLOADER VALVE. You will know from reading that page that the unloader is likely operated by your pressure switch.

Dump the air again, close the drain, fire up the compressor, and watch the unloader as the air in the tank gets close to the normal cut out level.

As the compressor stops, you should see the unloader valve operate, and if you are close enough over the very loud compressor, hear the air dump out of the unloader.

If the unloader valve isn't operated by the lever from the pressure switch (unless you have an internal unloader, in which case it means a new switch) then maybe it's the switch and not the unloader.

So check, before you buy.

And yes, if it is the unloader valve itself that is the problem... it may only be crud inside bunging it up, and if you disassemble it, you may bet it working again.



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Model 919.167621 tripping 20 amp breaker

by Ron
(Ripley, Oh )

I have model 919.167621 tripping 20 amp breaker

the compressor at times runs fine, starts and stops just fine other times you turn switch on and it trips breaker. Other times it starts running and then trips breaker. I have unit on separate line with 20 am breaker with nothing else on it. Breaker is brand new
Any suggestions or someone have a fix for this problem.
A lot of tips for what causes air compressors to pop the breaker can be found on that page in the troubleshooting part of the sitemap page.

My first thought on reading your post is that you may have a failing start capacitor. You can read about checking them on this site too.


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Nov 07, 2017
Cracked motor capacitor cover
by: Anonymous

My motor cover that holds the capcacitors and switch was broken at both screw holes. I used my butane soldering iron to melt the plastic back together.Make a trough in the crack then push the sides in and melt it back togother. Melt it, dont burn it. You can move the iron side to side and make it smooth. I was missing a piece so i had a broken 02 mustang bumper and cut a strip of black plastic and it blended right in with the cover plastic. Let it cool and it worked like a charm! I think my capacitors are bad on mine i found a pair on amazon for 28 bucks. I just plugged the part number in google seach and followed the Amazon link that came up, and it even tells you that customers that bought that capacitor also bought the matching start capacitor. The ratings are the same as the ratings on the capacitors on the compressor.

Aug 15, 2016
Tripping breaker
by: Tony

I found the same problem as Bill, only my top screw mount was broken. Repaired that which keeps the capacitor and switch in contact with motor. No more tripping breakers!

Aug 23, 2015
Tripping breaker when tank has air in it
by: Chuck

I had the same symptoms as LR and already replaced the check valve, pressure switch and also reconnected the broken plastic carrier that holds the capacitors. After reading LR's post, I took another look at the plastic carrier and found there was a broken screw on the bottom as well. Replaced that screw too and now my compressor works again! Thanks to all for sharing your experiments and results.

Nov 10, 2014
LR - thank you!
by: Bill

Great post about your troubleshooting experience, LR. Thanks a bunch.


Nov 10, 2014
919.165110 Tripping breaker
by: LR

After reading, reviewing and evaluating all troubleshooting options mentioned by Bill and y'all, I began to troubleshoot my Sears Craftsman Model# 919.165110 and why it was tripping my 15 amp breaker.

I started out with Bill's 3 suggestions of electric extension chord and additional appliances on the same circuit load, the unloader valve and capacitor checks. I connected compressor directly to outlet and eliminated the extension chord. I also, run in my garage, my outside freezer of the same breaker circuit; so I unconnected the freezer. Removed the Unloader valve and checked inside for crud, dirt, etc. It was clean.

I then released all tank air and the motor/compressor would start. At cutoff max air pressure level the motor/compressor turned off and the Unloader valve hissed, indicating that unloader valve was ok. As the tank air reached the restart lower pressure levels, the motor/compressor would again trip the breaker.

I proceeded in checking the capacitor. The capacitor is mounted on a plastic frame held in place to the motor by 2 screws on top and bottom of the plastic frame. The bottom part of that plastic frame on the screw mount was broken. Inside the frame there is a switch which rest on a small wheel which is mounted on the motor rotor shaft. It appears that this switch was not making a full contact since the screw mount on that plastic frame was broken and separated from the motor.

Sears direct does not sell that part (capacitor mount frame) unless you buy the whole motor. I managed to Crazy-glue the plastic frame were the screw is located and added a U shape clamp (for additional support) for the screw to hold the broken frame piece and mounted the frame back to the motor.

Ran all test on cutoff air pressure and the motor/compressor turned on/off, as it should without tripping the breaker. I added the extension chord, and the freezer to the same circuit and then tested the motor/compressor (10) times and it turned on/off without tripping the breaker.

I had to share my troubleshooting of my unit with y'all since my problem was not the actual three
common suggested options but a broken plastic frame and separating the capacitor switch from the actual motor.

I thank y'all for sharing your troubleshooting steps which led me to evaluate my compressor problem and getting it back to work. It's amazing how important these compressor are in your garage.

Bill, thank you for such a great forum and for sharing your expertise.


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