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When using my nail gun my air compressor won’t shut-off.

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by Bo
(La Mesa, CA USA)

My air compressor shuts off when the pressure reaches 135psi but turns back on after just a few nails which drops the pressure to around 100-105 psi.

Framing nailer in action
Framing nailer in action Photo: www.datapowertools.co.uk

I have to slow down and wait for the pressure to build again or my nails won’t properly sink. What is my problem?

Bo a nail gun often does a good job at lower pressures that 135 PSI. Does yours need that high a pressure?

But, I cannot second guess your nail gun as I don’t have any details. When you got it, did you happen to keep the user guide? Does it give you a recommended pressure to run the gun at?

In any case, a nail gun is normally a good air tool to run with a small air compressor, as the nail gun shoots a nail, then does not consume any more air until you pull the trigger to fire another nail. Then it uses another short burst of air.

You indicated that you are using a Bostitch air compressor.

It is not unusual for them to have a cut out pressure of 125-135 PSI, and a cut in pressure in the 90-100 PSI range. You don’t indicate your Bostitch air compressor model yours is, so I’m going to assume yours has a cut in and cut out pressure in that range.

This means that the compressor shuts off at, in your case, 135 PSI. It doesn’t take too many shots of a nail gun (more for a framing nail gun versus a brad nailer) before the pressure in the tank starts to drop.

The tank pressure will drop until it reaches the cut in pressure setting of the compressor pressure switch, and in this case, I’m surmising that cut in is around 100 PSI.

So, your air compressor seems to be operating normally, based on the info you provided.

The issue is that your nail gun evidently needs 135 PSI to shoot a nail.

If the manual says that you need a minimum of 135 PSI to run your nail gun constantly and consistently, then I am afraid you have the wrong air compressor.

You need one with an upper PSI limit well over your 135 PSI, and with a cut in pressure at 135 PSI minimum, if that is what your nail gun really needs.


More info
by: Bo


The model No. for my Bostitch air compressor is CAP2000P-OF. The working pressure is 0 – 150 psi, the working pressure on my Senco coil nail gun is 70 – 120 psi.

For the best results should the regulated pressure be set at 120 psi?

Bo, I always say start using the air tool at the minimum operating pressure, and dial up the pressure only if the min op pressure is insufficient.

This saves money on energy use and your air compressor and air tool will last longer between maintenance.

I expect, too, that the pressure needed for a good nail shot is predicated on the length of nail being used, and the hardness of the wood the nail is piercing.

Other nail gun related pages you may be interested in reading:

By Bill Wade

About Air Compressors has been helping folks with their Air Compressor Problems since 2002 online. We're a community of DIY and Compressed Air professionals who are keen to support everyone across the globe with their air compressor issues and troubleshooting. Whether you're trying to identify an old air compressor, or troubleshoot an error code on a sophisticated new industrial air compressor - the community at About-Air-Compressors.com is here to help you

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