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Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor Trips Circuit Breaker – Solutions & Causes

Published Categorized as Air Compressor Tripping Circuit Breaker, Campbell Hausfeld 2 Comments on Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor Trips Circuit Breaker – Solutions & Causes

When a circuit breaker trips, the air compressor system shuts down, and work comes to a halt. When a Campbell Hausfeld air compressor trips a breaker, it’s a worrying issue, as you’ll no longer be able to use your air tools.

Therefore, it is important to understand why your Campbell Hausfeld air compressor is tripping the breaker. This article will provide you with all the relevant information, along with existing reader questions and responses.

Table of Contents

Most Common Reasons Your Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor Trips Breaker

Here is a list of the most common reasons your Campbell Hausfeld air compressor is tripping breaker:

Air filters – if they are dirty, you will likely need to replace them

Broken extension cords – are notorious for throttling power, and therefore you may be underpowering your compressor motor by using one.

Clogged cylinders – can hinder performance and trip breaker. You should inspect the cylinders (if your compressor has any).

Faulty circuit breaker – of course, it could be the circuit breaker that is faulty. Replace if necessary.

Faulty motor – the motor windings or any other electrical connections inside the motor may be shorting and this sudden flow of electricity pulls too many amps, tripping the breaker.

Failed capacitor – a failing capacitor can cause the breaker to trip, you should seek professional help to test this.

Failed unloader valveWhen an unloader valve fails, compressed air becomes trapped over the cylinder piston. This adds to the load the compressor motor experiences on startup, tripping the breaker.

For more detailed information on why an air compressor circuit breaker trips, visit our guide!

Reader Questions & Responses

5HP 120v Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor Keeps Tripping Breaker


I have a 10-year-old Campbell Hausfeld 5HP 120v on a dedicated ckt. Has run flawlessly since new. I occasionally leave it turned on when I’m using it a lot, so I don’t have to wait for it to pump up. Now this Campbell Hausfeld compressor trips breaker.

Went out yesterday to pump up a tire and had no air pressure and the breaker was tripped.

Reset breaker, it ran for about 4 sec slowly, then tripped breaker again…repeatedly.

Removed drive belt and started again…motor ran normal speed, but then tripped breaker after 4 sec with no load. What do you think?


Dave, that’s a good one.

Good that you pulled the belt to check, as for me, that pretty much identifies the motor circuit as the source of the problem.

See this page on this site about checking your capacitors, as that would be the first thing I would check if my compressor was exhibiting your symptoms.


It turns out that I had a bad run capacitor in the motor. It was visibly swollen and shorted.

$27.50 for a new cap from my local motor shop and I’m back in business.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

Campbell Hausfeld Compressor Trips Breaker


But after using it for a while, the pressure goes down and it won’t turn back on, and trips the main fuse after it makes a starting sound, then a sound of air escaping coming from below the switch.

I have already replaced the broken fan and the rusted valve plate(kit) (pls. note..it’s not the check valve)


Edwin, the sound of air rushing from the pressure switch is, I suspect, that of the UNLOADER VALVE working.

The unloader valve opens when the pressure switch trips the power off, shutting off the compressor motor.

When the pressure switch trips on at low pressure cut in, that closes the pressure switch while the air compressor is running.

That your compressor dumps air again after trying to start suggests to me that it is your pressure switch that is failing, and when trying to start the air compressor, shorts the power, blowing the breaker, and tripping the pressure switch back off. I think!

If the pressure in the tank is below cut in, the compressor should start. When the tank pressure reaches cut out, the compressor should start. Both of these actions are initiated by the pressure switch reacting to the changing pressure in the tank.

If the pressure switch trips to off before the tank pressure reaches cut out, it is probably the pressure switch that’s at fault, and it’s shorting the circuit.


I have disconnected the motor from the compressor and direct-wired it to an outlet wired directly off the outside power supply.

What I am saying is this, the only wire between the motor and the power is the cord of about three feet long, a temporary outlet, and a breaker.

I plug it in and it blows the breaker! I took motor to an electric shop and the fellow there replaced the run capacitor it runs on his power supply?

I took it back home it blows the breaker immediately even with the new capacitor. Pretty frustrated now since the electric fellow can run without a problem. OK, so I am really scratching my head now?


If it runs at the repair shop, suggesting that the capacitor and the motor are fine, then the only variable is your power supply. You may have only a short cord to the motor, but what else is on the same circuit that is pulling power as your compressor motor is trying to run?


A slow motor 1/2 speed indicates the wrong motor voltage. Dual Voltage Motor, may be wired for high voltage 220 volts or may be 3 phase motor not single phase. Check motor plate for correct voltage and wiring. It is common for factories to ship motors wired to a higher voltage.

You must set to the voltage being used. Motor plate or spec sheet will state min. fusing required and maximum fuse allowed


Thanks, Bill, however that didn’t work either. It will run slower than usual like a half power then trip circuit breaker after about 5 seconds. It appears as though it simply can’t pull enough power but I am certain it has plenty for its rating. Thank you. What can I look at next?

Model WL611201aj Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor Trips Circuit Breaker


I have a Campbell Hausfeld (6 hp 30 gallons) air compressor model WL611201aj that is about 14 years old.

When I turn it on the motor runs slowly and then trips the breaker.

Wl373001sj Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor Pump / Motor Kit Wl373001
Wl373001sj Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor Pump / Motor Kit Wl373001

It doesn’t matter if there is pressure or not in the tank. I have it plugged directly into a 120v 15 amp outlet. It has worked fine at the current location for some time. I recently switched outlets and the same result. If I use WL373001SJ Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor Pump / Motor Kit replacement.

Will this fix the issue?

Thank you.


Vincent, if this was my Campbell Hausfeld air compressor, from the symptoms you describe, I would be checking out the start capacitor.

That would be quite a bit lower cost fix than the kit you refer to.

If you prefer, however, I do believe that the kit would resolve your compressor problem.


I agree with Bill, start capacitor would be where to start on this one.


Can someone help me identify where the start capacitor is located on this model?


Vincent, the two “humps” sitting on the motor are the capacitors. One is the start cap, the other is the run cap.


I believe I have identified the start capacitor in this compressor. I have checked it according to the checking capacitors page listed here and it is bad. as well as split and leaking. The numbers listed are Aerovox c103237300423. 233-280mfd. 220vac. 60hz. The 220vac is confusing me. The compressor has run from a 110v 20 amp circuit for years. Anyhow, can someone tell me the best place to locate the correct capacitor?


I suspect the rating indicates that it’s good up to 220 VAC.

As to getting one, why not start with Aerovox themselves?


But when I removed the belt, the motor runs without tripping the circuit breaker. would this still be a starter capacitor problem? if so, please explain. thanks.


Your motor may have two capacitors or one that does both jobs – start and run.

If either is failing the motor will run hot if it starts.

The motor itself may be suspect.

One check to try and determine what has failed is to check the capacitors to take them out of the equation. See that page on this site for help in so doing.

By disconnecting the motor from any load, you reduce the inrush necessary to start the motor, and it runs. Add the belt, you increase the load, and the motor cannot start against it as, I suspect, the start capacitor cannot deliver the added power to get the motor going.


Thanks, bill! I replaced the starter capacitor and all is well again.

My Campbell Hausfeld wl506208aj trips breaker and quit working. Why?

Michael’s Question:

The motor starts then after about 5-seconds trips the circuit breaker.

The pressure gauge will be about 50psi.

Campbell Hausfeld WL506208AJ air compressor
Campbell Hausfeld WL506208AJ air compressor

This is a 120vac 14amp motor. I have moved it to other breakers including my new addition on the house which is a 20-amp circuit and nothing else on it. Any suggestions? Thank You.

Bill’s Response:

Michael, thanks for the info you provided. Knowing that you have checked the power supply helps.

Try this please. Unplug the compressor, open the tank drain, and allow all the air to escape. Close the drain and plug in / turn on, the compressor.

Does it start and run?

Response by Michael

Results from your suggestion

by: Michael

Hello, It is a dual tank model so each tank has a drain. I opened both drains. Nothing came out so I blew into the top tank drain and felt air coming out of the bottom tank drain.

After closing both drains I turned it on. The motor started and filled the tanks. The psi gauge filled to 145psi then stopped. The breaker did not trip. All seemed fine.

Then I attached my air ratchet and started using it. I noticed the psi gauge dropping then the motor started to hum but the compressor was not working. All I hear was the hum of the motor. After about 5-secs the breaker tripped. Thank you.

Bill’s Response:

I think, based on what you have written, is that your unloader valve may not be functioning. Read the UNLOADER VALVE page for details.

Response by Michael:

About Unloader Valve

The unloader valve pages seem to describe the function of the valve. Should I be looking for pages to trouble shoot the valve? Not sure if I should be servicing the valve or replacing it. Thanks Again

Bill’s Response:

Yes, but is the compressor unloader valve working? In other words, when the compressor stops, does the unloader valve dump the air over the piston, or not. If it does not, that is likely your problem. Then you can either try to fix the unloader, or more easily, replace it, though the latter will be more expensive as other components may have to be purchased along with the new unloader.

If you have any questions regarding your Campbell Hausfeld air compressor tripping breaker, please leave a comment below, with a photo if applicable, so that someone can help you!

By Aidan Weeks

A passionate Mechanical Engineer with endless enthusiasm for fluid power - building off the back of over 18 years of high quality contribution and discussion stimulated by Bill Wade here at About Air Compressors. With both practical and theoretical experience in pneumatics and hydraulics, I'm putting my knowledge to work - and working my grey-matter through my research, assistance and publishing work here at About Air Compressors. Feel free to reach out any time! P.S. A HUGE shout out to Doug who really offers such great value to all visitors to About Air Compressors - once again, feeling like I'm standing on the shoulders of GIANTS by getting to work alongside such a great community

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