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When a circuit breaker trips, it shuts down the air compressor system, and work comes to a halt. When an Ingersoll Rand 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 Ingersoll Rand 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 Ingersoll Rand Air Compressor Trips Breaker

Here are some of the most common reasons your Ingersoll Rand air compressor is tripping breaker:

The Air Filter

Air compressor circuit breakers are liable to trip due to a dirty air filter. Air filters prevent dirt from entering the air pump, as dirt inside here can result in expensive repairs. It is therefore important that you change your air compressor filter often to avoid this.

For more information visit our Compressed Air Filtration Guide!

Broken Extension Cord

A broken extension cord can cause some serious risks, potentially even fire. A fault in an extension cord will trigger the circuit breaker to trip and cut off the electric supply to the compressor and shut down its system.

This will contribute to the motor overheating and the breaker tripping when the compressor starts.

Clogged Cylinders

It’s possible that the cylinders inside your air compressor (if it has any), can become clogged and hinder the performance of the compressor. A faulty or clogged cylinder or multiple can certainly cause the circuit breaker to trip to prevent the air pump from undergoing damage.

Faulty Circuit Breaker

Although they tend to be of very high quality when installed in air compressors, it is possible that after years of use they become faulty.

Faulty Motor

Air compressors feature high-capacity induction motors that have a low amperage draw. If you have a faulty motor it can trip the circuit breaker in your air compressor system. The motor windings or any other electrical connections inside the motor may be shorting and this sudden flow of electricity pulls too many amps.

Faulty Pressure Switch

When the air pressure in the tank drops, a small diaphragm inside the pressure switch moves and forces points inside the switch to touch making a circuit. This then signals a flow of power to the compressor motor to enable it to start and pump more air into the tank.

Failed Capacitor

If your compressor is large enough and has a start capacitor, it’s likely that your circuit breaker trips due to the failing of the capacitor.

Failed Unloader Valve

When the unloader valve fails, compressed air will become trapped over the cylinder piston and this adds to the load the compressor motor experiences on startup. The additional load may force the motor into pulling too many amps and therefore tripping the circuit breaker.

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

Reader Questions & Responses

Ingersoll Rand Air Compressor Keeps Tripping Breaker – Ingersoll Rand Air Compressor Troubleshooting

Question

I have an Ingersoll Rand 80gal 230V, 5hp two-stage reciprocating compressor. The Model # is 2340N5-V. When it turns on, it appears to be struggling to come up to speed, then it blows the breaker.

2340N5-V Two Stage Cast Iron Air Compressor
2340N5-V Two-Stage Cast Iron Air Compressor

I also see some sparks coming from the vents in the front of the motor. The compressor is less than 3 yrs old, but out of warranty. It also gets light-duty, home use.

I checked the pump to see if it was load-related, but the pump can be turned by hand with normal resistance. I hadn’t disconnected the belt, so the motor turns easily as well.

I thought it might be the starting caps. On visual inspection, they have no bulging and appear in good shape.

I suspect this is motor-related, maybe brushes. But with so few hours on it, this is an unusual failure. Potentially the compressor tripping thermal overload.

Thoughts or suggestions???

Response

Sparks coming out the front… hmm? It sure sounds like a motor problem to me. Flat spots on the brushes from sitting idle, maybe?

Question

Thanks, I am thinking the same thing. The next step will be to remove the belt and see if the compressor still stalls. It is possible the pump is binding when it tries to get to speed. However, I would suspect it would show in the oil. I didn’t see any metal in the oil.

As for idle time, the pump runs at least once/twice a day (small leak in the plumbing, plus air removed to drain the tank). But, it certainly is not being used to the frequency it was designed for.

Response

I have an Ingersoll Rand compressor model SS5L5. It was purchased on 9/06 for light home use.

About 2 months ago I tripped the 30 amp breaker a couple of times and upon resetting it and turning on the compressor, sparks shot from the shaft end.

I took the motor to a motor shop and they told me that there is a hole in the winding which was probably due to a weak spot. I am now looking for a new motor. About $426 from the IR repair shop. Good luck.

Questioner

I got mine fixed. I bought a new motor for $295 and installed it. It worked well. The compressor is now back up!


Ingersoll Rand IR T30 Compressor Cannot Get Underway?

Question

I have an Ingersoll Rand T 30 compressor that I bought new in 2001 and it has been in pretty much continuous service since then without a single hiccup until now. The breaker is tripping and the motor cannot get the compressor underway.

I removed the pulley safety guard and the drive belt and started it up. The motor runs fine with no load and does not trip the breaker.

I can turn the compressor pulley by hand so it is not seized up and when I turn it I hear a very satisfying “blurp” sound on one stroke, but not on the second. And it feels like there is some resistance to the silent stroke.

Ingersoll Rand T-30 model 10T air compressor
Ingersoll Rand T-30 model 10T air compressor

Since I never did this test prior to the failure I don’t know what “normal” is, but when I reinstall the belt and turn the motor on it will try to spin up for a few seconds and then trip the breaker again. So, it seems to me that the problem is not with the motor, but with the compressor itself.

I would appreciate any help or suggestions before I haul it off to a service center as I’ve looked all over, but haven’t found the answer to my problem. Bill, thank you in advance.  and thanks for your wonderful and informative site. This comes in from Peter R.

Response

First, you are welcome. Glad you found this site informative, Peter.

I do believe that the Ingersoll Rand T-30 is a 2-stage so I believe yours is. It makes sense then that on the second stroke there will be greater resistance as the pump is compressing already partially compressed air, even if it is being manually operated by you turning the sheave.

Second, if the T30 starts empty, which essentially is the same thing as removing the belt which eliminates any back pressure on the pistons/motor on startup,  then, please let it run up to cut out, and monitor the unloader valve to be sure that it’s working.

Third, if the unloader checks out, then I’m not sure that what your compressor is experiencing is not a motor issue.

Please visit this page: https://www.about-air-compressors.com/troubleshooting-your-compressor/ and look in the Capacitor section and Starting Problems section for some information about what the capacitors are and how they affect the starting of the compressor.

If the caps check out, then it’s time to pull the head off the pump and check out the valves, gaskets, and pistons/seals.


Ingersoll Rand Air Compressor Popping Breaker

Question

It’s an Ingersoll rand air compressor with a 7.5 hp electric motor and a 2475 pump.

Ingersoll Rand 7.5 Hp 80 Gal 230 V 1 Ph Vertical Air Compressor
Ingersoll Rand 7.5 Hp 80 Gal 230 V 1 Ph Vertical Air Compressor

We have put a brand new electric motor on it and it still pumps up normally at first then but when it cuts back on it will run for about 10 seconds and pop the breaker.

Does it seem that the pump is seizing?

Response

Have you checked the check valve at the tank?

I think you’ll find you can start from an empty tank to whatever the cut-out is all day long, but if you let it come on at cut-in pressure, it’ll pop the breaker.

Classic.

Question

When I wrote my last comment, I forgot that’s a two-stage, so it could also be a check between the heads.

I replaced the check valve but it is still popping the breaker when it comes back on at cut-in pressure. The check valve was bad though.

Response

OK, that’s progress, anyway.

Is there another check valve? I dunno which one you found bad, but if one was bad and there’s another, it’s probably bad too. Either between heads or at the tank.

If no other check valve, then look at the unloader.

Question

I replaced the check valve on the tank… I can’t find any other check valves.. and the unloader was not working properly, but I did relieve the pressure through the unloader valve and then when it cut back on it did the same thing and popped the breaker.

Response

David, how did you relieve the pressure through the unloader valve? Is it possible that you relieved the tank pressure using the pressure relief valve instead of the unloader? Are you certain that the unloader valve is working properly?

Are you saying then, that even if there is no pressure in the tank at all, the compressor stalls after a few seconds?

That being the case, did you check the capacitors?

Response

OK, right, there is no other check valve.

Looking at the pump diagram, it has two sets of finger valves in each piston head – a set for intake and another to act as a check valve.

So, if all else fails you may need to tear it down to check them, but you can probably tell by just removing the connector tube. the big side should push, but not create a vacuum (suck). The little one should suck, but not push air.

Question

I relieved the pressure by pushing up on the needle of the unloader. It was not working properly, I had to move the screw down to get it to function normally.

It runs fine if I take the pop-off valve at the tank out and let the compressor run free. It then will not drag or pop the breaker….also this is the second electric motor we have installed. The first one was rebuilt and the one on it now is brand new and they both are doing the exact same thing.

Response

David, please see the unloader valve page if you have any questions about what they do and how they work.

If your unloader valve is not working properly, the symptoms your compressor is undergoing can be caused by a faulty unloader valve.

That your air compressor starts normally from zero tank pressure (meaning that all air over the pistons is gone too and does not start properly with air in the tank, points to an unloader problem as being all or part of the culprit.

Once you resolve that the unloader valve is working properly – by replacing your failed one I expect – then Doug’s advice about tear down and valve function is the advice you follow next.

I relieved the pressure by pushing up on the needle of the unloader. It was not working properly, I had to move the screw down to get it to function normally.

It runs fine if I take the pop-off valve at the tank out and let the compressor run free. It then will not drag or pop the breaker….also this is the second electric motor we have installed. The first one was rebuilt and the one on it now is brand new and they both are doing the exact same thing.

Response

David, please see the unloader valve page if you have any questions about what they do and how they work.

If your unloader valve is not working properly, the symptoms your compressor is undergoing can be caused by a faulty unloader valve.

That your air compressor starts normally from zero tank pressure (meaning that all air over the pistons is gone too ) and does not start properly with air in the tank, points to an unloader problem as being all or part of the culprit.

Once you resolve that the unloader valve is working properly – by replacing your failed one I expect – then Doug’s advice about tear down and valve function is the advice you follow next.


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