Question about Craftsman 3 gal. Air Compressor, 1.5 hp, Horizontal k

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Cycling compressor I have a small "pancake" compressor...it has recently started to cycle on and off. In other words...the compressor builds pressure, stops and starts for about one second intervals? My assumption is the pressure switch is defective? Any Ideas

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  • kdmaske Dec 12, 2008

    Thanks for your very quick response! I checked all fittings and even took off the tub from the tank to the pressure switch and checked to see if a piece of rust may have partially occluded the pressure switch. Ok here is the kicker...the compressor had been sitting all day and was obviously cold...when plugged in the compressor filled to 150 lbs and shut off. I pulled the quick release valve and partially released the pressure until the compressor kicked in to refill the tank. I got away with this twice and on the third attempt the compressor shut off at approx 80 lbs and started to cycle on and off for about a second or two. I detected a slight "hot" odor? This has been a very reliable machine for many years. Again...thanks for your prompt response



    kdm

  • opie3535 Jan 01, 2009

    On my unit, there is a box where all of the wiring is configured (for 115 or 220v whichever you choose) and there is a spring with a slotted screw in the center, Is this my adjustment for the shutoff ?

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The pressure switch will shut off when the set pressure is obtained. Usually about 100 to 120 lbs. If the compressor stops at lower pressure than mentioned you may try to adjust the pressure by looking under the switch cover for adjustment screw/nut.(no more than a few turns) Increase pressure by increasing spring tension. Quick cycling is usually caused by air leaking from tubing, drain valve or check valve. After compressor shuts off unplug it from the outlet and spray soapy water on all fittings and drain valve. Repair leaks and test for quick cycling, however the compressor should reach 100-120 before shutting off. Some small compressors have a thermal reset but that usually takes a few minutes to reset. Pressure switch is defective if it shuts off before setting mentioned. Enjoy

Posted on Dec 11, 2008

  • John Trevino Dec 12, 2008

    The compressor should not exceed the pressure stated on machine. Example most compressors list 125# others list 150#, however for longevity you should adjust to 110 -120#. The motor will work less thus last longer run cooler. Other caused of heat are leaking head gasket, leaking intank check valve and long extension cord. A leaking head gasket causes the air to heat up and takes longer to fill. Leaking checkvalve will cause back pressure on the compressor loading the motor. Test checkvalve by removing tubing from checkvalve with air in tank and spray soapy water there should be no leak, even a small leak will make the motor work harder. Finally when the compressor reaches set pressure, the pressure switch will release the air in the tube with a very small valve (looks like tube stem). Every time that the compressor starts there should be no air in the tube because this causes extra load on motor. Enjoy

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Porter Cable pancake rated at 150 PSI stops at 135 PSI. It has done this since it was new.


If it's pumping up to 135 psi, shutting off and then restarts at the same pressure point since it was new, the pressure switch may have been set low at the factory. I don't know which model you have but most pressure switches have directions inside their cover as to how to adjust the cut-out and cut-in pressures. Be careful doing this, overpressuring the tank is dangerous. There is an adjustment screw or bolt that changes the pressure on the switch spring. Some pressure switches have two screws, one for cut-in and one for cut-out pressure. A few have one that adjust both pressures. If you do adjust the cut-in/cut-out levels, do it slowly and cycle the motor a couple times between each adjustment to see where it turns off and on. If the compressor is doing what you want it to, only pumping to 135 psi, it will live longer than if you adjust it up to 150 psi. Those last 15 psi of air are hard to get and will mean the motor will be running longer and more heat will be building up in the head.

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1 Answer

My four-year old PC pancake compressor starts fine but only builds up 60 psi no matter how I adjust the pressure regulator. The compressor motor runs continuously. I checked for air leaks and can't find...


First take off the head on the air pump and check the reed valves on the valve plate. If they got hot and warped or cracked they'll work to a point then no more pressure can be built up. Next check the pistion ring and cylinder wall. If either is damaged you'll only get so much pressure build-up then it will leak past the piston.

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PANCAKE COMPRESSOR WON'T SHUT OFF AND WON'T BUILD PRESSURE.


most likely the regulator is shoot. But also try checking for leaks with dish soap and water in a spray bottle.

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1 Answer

My compressor won't build pressure over 90lbs


Small leak will prevent the unit from building proper pressure. Check all connections with soapy water and repair as needed (including under cover). If no leaks are found check cylinder for scratches. Push piston to top of stroke and check walls for fine scratches. If scratched, pressure is leaking past vinyl piston ring. If no scratches or leaks, most likely reed valves, head gasket or combination of both. Easy test, with compressor running and attained 90 lbs, place finger over air intake and check for good suction (carefull could be hot) . If good suction, then air is leaking somewhere, of no suction suspect reed valves/worn cylinder, if air seems to be blowing out of intake, suspect reeds /gaskets. Good holidays

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remove the intake filter and check to see if the compressor is sucking or blowing if it is blowing out air from the intake you have a bad valve

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1 Answer

Craftsman 1 HP 8 gal vertical compressor.919


Sounds like the unloader valve is not working properly. The unloader typically is at the end of a tube going to the pressure switch. The unloader is tripped when the pressure switch cuts off. The purpose of the unloader is to bleed the pressure from the cylinder when the compressor cuts off so the next time the compressor cuts on it will be starting in an unloaded condition.
when the compressor cuts off you should hear a discharge of air for about 3 to 5 seconds if the switch is working properly. The unloader can be adjusted if necessary by loosening the jam nuts and adjusting the unloader towards the lever on the pressure switch.

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1 Answer

Motor startup trouble while pressure in tank


My first thought was that the check valve is allowing pressure back into the compressor and preventing the motor from turning. That's still my best guess right now.

I think the cold weather start symptom is what you would see with any engine/motor -- it requires more torque to get it going. In this scenario, if the check valve weren't leaking, it would start okay when cold.

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1 Answer

My air compressor (pancake task force) cycles on and off at around 100 psi. Is this an adjustment or could the pressure switch be bad? Could not find my particular compressor in the product listing.


EITHER YOUR PRESSURE SWITCH IS BAD OR YOUR TANK IS COMPLETELY FULL OF WATER AND THERE IS LITTLE ROOM FOR AIR. ALWAYS TAKE YOUR SWITCH WITH YOU WHEN PURCHASING A REPLACEMENT.

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