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Air compressor flips breaker before it will start?

I have a craftsman semi lage roll around air compressor . It started to flip the breaker so I had a 20 amp installed just for it now it flips the breaker before it will even start. It will run a second sometimes then shut off or flip breaker.

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Air compressors tend to draw more power as they age, however, will not trip breaker unless some malfunction. Here are some simple tests. Unplug compressor and turn the pump by hand, you may have to remove a cover to do this. It should turn freely; any resistance could be failing bearing (would make noise) unloader/check valve leaking allowing back pressure to pump, or failed start capacitor/start winding. Easy test for checkvalve. With pressure in tank loosen discharge hose at tank and check for air leak. Check valve should hold pressure in tank. Replace as needed. Failed capacitor/s will cause high amp draw. Remove from circuit and test. UF reading should be within 95% of printed rating. Finally, most air compressor motors have two windings, start and run. Power to windings is controlled by flyball switch inside rear of motor. This switch has contacts that can stick in start position and cause high amp draw. Examine windings for signs of overheating. Copper windings generally have color of new penny. Very dark brown windings bad news. Gook luck

Posted on Jan 06, 2009

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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The pilot valve controls the pressure, idles the engine when set pressure is obtained and releases compressed air thru small vent while the engine is idling. If the idle is set too low, the engine may stall. Try increasing idle speed and make sure that when set pressure is reached that air is venting from pilot muffler vent. The pilot valve can be easily tested. With engine off and pressure in tank, flip the pilot valve start lever up then down. When flipped up, the throttle control shuld activate idle and the pull rope should be easy to pull. With lever down, throttle is pulled on engine and compressor is loaded making the rope very difficult to pull. If the engine stalls with air in the tank flip lever up to easily start engine then down to pump. Good holidays

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I have an 80 gal Craftsman air compressor who just shut down, the pressure is dropping, it made a smoke smell and it blew my circuit breaker. I tried starting my circuit breaker but it kept flipping off....


Usually related to the in-tank check valve. Follow the discharge hose from the pump to the tank. At the tank the hose attaches to a brass valve (or metal valve). This brass fitting is the check valve. It's purpose is to hold air in the tank and not allow the air to load the compressor when motor is trying to start. Easy to test. Use another compressor to pump air into your tank thru the quick disconnect or remove the safety valve and install hose there. Pump in about 75 psi and looks for leaks with soapy water. Remove air inlet hose from check valve and check for air leaks. If leaking, replace with generic valve available at www.grainger.com or order from sears parts. If no leaks then suspect unloader is not working at the pressure switch. If both the unloader and check valve is ok then test capacitor for reading within 95% of rated valve. Good holidays

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Hard starting does this model have an unloader


There are two types of unloaders used on IR compressors. One is oil pressure controlled, and second is manually activated for starting. According to the photo and model number provided, yours is manually operated. Follow air line from compressor to tank. The pilot valve (brass valve) between airline and tank is a multi-function component. There is a flip leaver or pull ring w/ hold that unloads the compressor by venting air thru small muffler. The valve also contains the check-valve holding pressure in the tank, a means of adjusting pressure and controlls throttle for engine. For easy start, flip leaver upright and start; to run, flip leaver to right angle of stem.

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Why is it my air compressor won't start after power fail until i shut the pressure switch off and turn back on


Hi my name is John. Welcome to FixYa. It will happen when you have a power surge, just flip the breaker in the breaker panel and it should be OK. Thanks for choosing FixYa....John

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Portable air compressor won't start


To be honest with you your compressor is what is commonly referred to as a throw away. You can't even imagine how many times I have posted that in the past month for your compressor and similar ones, such as the 3 gallon 1.5 hp craftsman.

The Porter Cable Is more reliable or rather it used to be. I believe that there are so many manufactures around the world pumping these things out that in order to get a reliable compressor you have to do it through the warranty. I know Senco makes a pretty good portable compressor. I believe Home Depot carries it and the cost is around $125.00.

That said your compressor may be salvageable so don't write to Santa just yet.
Almost all compressor,(even the throw a ways), come with a reset switch. The problem is finding it.
If you don't have your manual then start looking. You may need to remove the plastic shroud to locate it. All it is is a small black or red plastic button about a 1/4" in diameter.
Since you stated that there was a power outage that kind of rules out loose wiring or incorrect extension cord size. You may want to check the breaker though. You may have already but check it again. You want to turn it off and on a couple times to see or rather feel if the breaker itself has became compromised.
I hope something here helps.

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6hp, 25 gallon compressor, never cycled back on, blew the breaker. reset the breaker and soon as i flip the compressor it trys to start then blows the breaker right away.


sounds like its the motor drawing too much current,has it got plenty or oil cause they run low and seize up,not the most reliable can be fine but equally can be dramas especially if its from China

Oct 26, 2009 | Craftsman 3 gal. Air Compressor, 1.5 hp,...

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My compressor tries to start when i turn it on but the breaker flips. I just cant get going.


The start capacitor is gone bad. (under the cover on motor) Change it. Take it out and go to a motor repair shop for a new one . OR order it from grainger.com

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