Harbor Freight Air Compressor Trips Circuit Breaker – Solutions & Causes

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Harbor Freight 65903-2VGA Air Compressor runs for 20 seconds and then trips the breaker

I have read all relevant posts and I kind of have the idea that it is my motor…

I have a secure connection to the wall with no extension cords and I hired an electrician to install the proper source.

Out of the box the compressor built pressure for 20 seconds and then tripped its breaker. I press the reset button and it works for 20 more seconds or so. Technically, if I wanted I could do that over and over until I acquired proper pressure, but something tells me that that is a bad idea.

If I install a new motor on it (which I am capable of doing, I think) which one should I get? And how am I certain that the pressure switch and breaker are connected properly?

Before I buy a new motor though, could it be the check valve or pressure switch malfunctioning? After all, those are quite a bit cheaper… and for a cheap compressor in the first place, what a pain…

Thanks, Johnny


Hello Johnny, and thanks for writing in.

I wish you had uploaded a photo of your compressor, as I cannot find an image of it online to have a look.

Anyway, if you have to push the air compressor reset button, and that reset is connected or on your electric motor, then it sounds as though the motor is going off on thermal overload. Does the motor get really hot?

You are right, a pressure switch is cheaper than changing the motor. You might want to replace that just in case. Worst case scenario is, if that doesn’t solve the problem, you’ll have a spare pressure switch for some time else.

Under the lid of your pressure switch, you should see a wiring diagram. Use that, and, do what I do… take a digital photo of the pressure switch before your remove a wire so you know which goes where when you replace it.

Make sure you disconnect the power and dump the air first, of course!

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