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Old 08-22-2014, 02:16 PM   #1
dorkpunch OP
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Air compressor help please...

My air compressor crapped out on me and I cant seem to figure it out. It will start and run for 4 or 5 seconds, but slower than it should, then the breaker trips.

I have tested both the start capacitor and the run capacitor and they are good. The centrifugal switch seems to work fine. Does the same with the air hose unhooked ( no load). It has an overheat cutoff switch, but no idea if its working or if it would even cause it to act this way?

Its a 115v 5.5 hp 20 gallon compressor. Any other things I can try? Really need it and realllllyy dont want to go buy a new one but maybe this is my excuse to the a big sucker.
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:37 PM   #2
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Tired old breaker???

5.5 HP on 115V????? Even my 2HP Chinese (1.5 US max) compressor motor trips the 20A breaker at the cut-in pressure when cold,I have to start it with no air in the tank to warm things up.

That reminds me to get a new(ish) breaker, I have tripped that one a few too many times, it is getting touchier.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:49 PM   #3
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Tried it on a different circuit, same result.

Yes, 5.5 hp, 115v. I've been using it on the same circuit for the last 5 years and never had an issue with tripping the breaker unless I had all of the garage lights on and the space heaters going.
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Old 08-22-2014, 04:33 PM   #4
James Adams
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dorkpunch View Post
Yes, 5.5 hp, 115v. I've been using it on the same circuit for the last 5 years and never had an issue with tripping the breaker unless I had all of the garage lights on and the space heaters going.
That's more than a 30A current draw at 120V if 5.5hp is really accurate.

Can you bypass the overheat switch? That would help rule it out.
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Old 08-22-2014, 04:43 PM   #5
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These guys seem to understand the HP ratings on some compressors. Pretty well the same as some shopvacs....

http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...-be-120V/page3

Just so that if you need a new motor you don't go hunting for a 5.5HP in 115V I don't think you'll ever find a "true" one.

I wasn't joking about the 2HP Chinese up there, I may change the motor on mine for the much better US made one rated at 1.5HP that I have on the shelves.
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Old 08-22-2014, 04:56 PM   #6
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Unfortunately, I don't think I can just get a replacement motor for this one, its a direct drive and the pump is basically part of the motor casting. No idea how I would go about bypassing the temp cutoff switch, its got three wires going to it. I bypassed the pressure switch just to see, but I still get the same result. I'm pretty sure its something internally in the motor- you know how you can smell 'em when they get hot? That ozoney smell? Yeah. I get that. Nothing gets hot to the touch though. May tear the back off of it to check the innards but I'm thinking its pretty low priority for now. OTOH, I *really* need an air compressor. Sigh...
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:35 PM   #7
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Did you let the special smoke out of the motor? You know that is really hard to put it back in.
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:36 PM   #8
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Ozoney smell... Yeah stunk up the house last winter when I cooked the little direct drive. Wasted a couple hours and got it going only to stink up the house again shortly thereafter.

How much air do you need? That one isn't too bad as long as you don't believe the HP rating. Easy to see that the motor casing is only half full....

http://www.harborfreight.com/air-too...sor-61489.html

I can't recommend it yet for long term use but I did get a recommendation on here that they were good. We shall see....

How is the weather down there??? My bike is packed and ready to go, I have been dawdling on here everytime I poked my nose out today it started raining. A few more roads to check in Idaho and then I'll go find some hills in Colorado.
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:41 PM   #9
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We've been having nothing but rain. Broke a couple of records. Arco / desert area got a heck of a hail storm the other day- looked like an inch of snow.

As for the compressor- thats the one I've been eyeballing, but I'm tempted to go big. I used the heck out of this air compressor and it would be nice to have something that could keep up to my grinder and paint gun.
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Old 08-22-2014, 06:43 PM   #10
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You probably already keep an eye out on CL for them but that's where the deals are for sure. I see the 60-80+ gallon guys on a regular basis for $100ish with bad motors. Mine's an 80 gallon Porter Cable with a 'bad' motor that turned out to be loose wiring in the 220 plug.

It was the 2nd motor that went out & the guy was tired of it. He'd switched from 7hp compressor duty motor to 3 1/2 horse continuous duty. It'll run 24/7 and not miss a beat. $100 delivered
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:10 PM   #11
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Can you see the contacts on the pressure switch? Could be the contacts are dirty not allowing proper voltage, that would drive up amps and trip breaker. Did you check the caps with a capacitor checker/meter?
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:25 PM   #12
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Tank empty when it starts?
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:37 PM   #13
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When mine did that it was because the compressor was shot.
It was so hard to turn over that it was tripping the overheat switch on the electric motor.
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:40 PM   #14
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Tank empty when it starts?

This would be my first question too. It sounds like it's not bleeding off the head pressure, and so it's trying to pump against full pressure when it starts up. If the tank is at 0 pressure and it still won't start up, I'd suspect part of the pump assembly, not the motor (with sounds like it's acting normally, but with a load higher than it can handle). Seized piston or something maybe. See how parts prices are on ereplacement parts, some things are ridiculous, some aren't so bad.
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Old 08-22-2014, 08:54 PM   #15
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Tank totally empty. Motor spins free, pulled the top off the compressor apart and no sign of a stuck "valve", plunger/piston looked fine, didn't bind or catch at all.

I've been scouring CL and several swap and buy facebook pages for the last 3 days, with no luck. Bit the bullet and bought that Harbor Freight compressor H9 posted because it was cheaper than any of the comparable used compressors available. I don't have a 220 outlet (yet, new house we are buying next summer comes with a 220 outlet surrounded by a 30'x60' shop ) so this one will have to do for now.

On the bright side, the old air compressor tank will make a sweet portable air tank, plus I can hook 'em in tandem for a whopping 46 gallons of air.
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