Compressor bogging down and blowing the circuit breaker

by Donald Marinelli
(Clarence, New York)

Compressor starts up and runs good on an empty tank.

When I go to use air it replenishes itself and when the motor starts up it bogs down and break the breaker.

Bill answers...

Hi Donald:

What pops the breaker? Something electric. What's electric on your compressor? The motor and the pressure switch.

As your compressor crunches air into the tank, the job gets harder and harder for the compressor to do. At first, pulling in free air and compressing it into the tank is almost effortless. As the pressure in the tank increases, the motor and compressor have to work harder to get air into the reservoir.

You compressor tank pressure doesn't reach high set point before the breaker pops, right?

It sounds like something is affecting the motor's operation, causing either a short of some kind or a thermal overload situation, and this pops the breaker.

Your problem might be mechanical, and the reciprocating or cycling of the piston may be lugging, putting pressure on the motor shaft and causing motor meltdown.

Or, it could be just that the motor itself is wearing out.

One of the problems with the lower cost DIY type compressors is that they are just that...lower cost. Therefore, if you take your compressor to a repair shop, the labor rates and parts costs today might easily add up to more than the compressor was worth in the first place.

Consider this when you decide to fix a major component on a low cost compressor.

Good luck with it.

And... I just reviewed this question and response, and I would now certainly refer you to the unloader valve page (linked from sitemap) for more information on what may be the cause of this issue.


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