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

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

Table of Contents

Reasons Your DeVilbiss Air Compressor Trips Breaker

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

  • The air filter – if it is dirty, you will need to replace it
  • Broken extension cord – 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 valve – When an unloader valve fails, compressed air will become trapped over the cylinder piston and 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

DeVilbiss Air Compressor Pops Breaker – Devilbiss Air Compressor Troubleshooting

Question

I picked up a used Devilbiss PRFBC5525vp that likes to pop breakers. It starts up and runs for 2 seconds then crashes.

I replaced the capacitor in the motor hub (150 MF rather than 135) and had the other capacitor checked at a shop. It was ok.

The motor turns by hand quite freely and even took the main outlet off to make sure there was air being pushed. What am I missing or is it that second capacitor?

Response

Hi there Cary…

I tried to find the specs and a photo of your Devilbiss PRFBC5525vp air compressor online with no luck, so I’m kind of shooting in the dark here.

Often, but not always, the compressor symptoms you describe are related to the power supply.

Good that you checked the caps and replaced one. See the page under troubleshooting for how to check the other one if you wish.

As a comment here, tell me about how you are getting power to your air compressor, and the amperage of the breaker your air compressor is plugged into.

Question

Thanks, Bill. Yes. I couldn’t find a picture either. Everything else on the unit works with no leaks. Pressure on/off trips normally. (connected to another working air pump). The power is straight off the panel. I tried 15 amps first then 20. Same result. It doesn’t look like it could be wired for 220 either but that shouldn’t matter I think.

Response

A 20 amp is good for a few HP. What’s the HP of your compressor?

Pull the line from the pump to the tank. Start the compressor. Still the same problem?

And you can always upload a photo now if you wish. It will help you all!

Question

The motor is 5 HP. My other 5 HP compressor needed 20 amps but had run well at 15. This one blows the 20 amp breaker.

I tried removing the tube and it didn’t change the situation. There was airflow from the cylinder outlet so the head itself should be good.

Response

I am not an electrician, but when I search for the recommended breaker for a 5 HP motor, I keep coming up with 40 amps.

Question

Uh.. yeah. Sorry. I took the motor off and checked the plate. AO Smith model K56A75B23, 120 V, 15.0 A, 60 Hz, Single phase, 3450 rpm, CW.

It may be possible to just replace the motor but it would be a shame if I couldn’t just fix it.

Response

There is a check valve to hold the compressed air in the tank while the unloader valve drains the compressed air off the head of the pump. This happens each time the compressor shuts off. If the compressor is not draining off the compressed air from the pump it will try to start against a load and blow your breaker. Also if the check valve is leaking, you would be starting against the tank pressure and blowing the breaker. Both are cheap parts to replace.

Question #2

Hi Bill, I have the same problem as Cary. In your last post, you said to remove the line from the motor to the tank. I did that and it ran like a scared cat. Can you diagnose this for me, please?

Response

Did you check the capacitors?

By removing the line you removed the load from the pump, and it can run easily, and even with weak caps.

Or, check the tank check valve to see if it’s blocked, first.


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