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Old 04-08-2008, 08:36 PM   #1
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Brand new craftsman air compressor trips breaker instantly

I just got a new craftsman air compressor and im having problems with it. When I first plugged it in, it did nothing, and I mean nothing. After switching it on and off a few times I got a quick click and im intantly standing in complete darkness. After feeling my way to the breaker box (in garage) i reset the breaker, try it and it trips again. I reset and turn the compressor by hand to be sure it feels ok. All is good and spun freely. I try it again and it starts. I let if fill up and kick off. I hook up an air sander to drain some air and make it kick back on. It gets down to about 90 psi and still nothing, no clicks, just silence. Its supposed to cut in at 120 and out at 150. so Im standing there scratching my head on why it didnt kick on and then I hear a click and then darkness again.

long story short , sometimes it starts... sometimes it doesnt. Once its running it works great. but it only starts about 20% of the time.

Also, its not like it jammed up or binding or anything like that. Like I said, just a quick click and then trips the breaker. I have a 20amp breaker in my garage. The only other thing on in the garage were two 75w light bulbs in the ceiling and a 45w bulb in the garage door opener. I tried with all these lights off and got the same results. I also took it in the laundry room (30 amp) and got the same results.

Anybody know what to look for first or should I just take it back? Im not sure if they have more. I hope they do because I was planning some body work on the 4Runner this weekend
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:46 PM   #2
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take it back and try a different one
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Old 04-08-2008, 09:09 PM   #3
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its not the compressor. Its your wiring.

We had the EXACT same "issue" with a craftsman compressor (the black tank one) at work. Problem was the voltage drop between the breaker box and the outlets. The wiring was not large enough, and the current strong enough to handle the current draw used by the compressor.

You need to get an electrician out there to remedy that problem, or you will continue to have the same issue.

trust me when i say there is NOTHING wrong with the compressor.
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Old 04-08-2008, 09:14 PM   #4
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Ours does this every now and than. Plug it in closer to the box and try and only have the things that need to be plugged in, in.
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Old 04-08-2008, 09:23 PM   #5
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hmm. thats not what I want to hear considering I rent this place. Its a duplex and I doubt they would do it for me.

Im not telling you your wrong, but what about the compressor not even doing anything in the beginning. It didnt even click or trip the breaker. It was like it wasnt even plugged in. The first 15-20 times I turned it on it did nothing.

Also, is it common to have this wiring problem in homes? These places are only about 4 years old. The outlet I was using is only about 7 inches from the main box.
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:05 PM   #6
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How many watts or amps does the compressor use? It should have a small tag on it somewhere that says.
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:57 PM   #7
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well it says 15 amp on the website. Here are the specs

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...+%26+Inflators
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:22 PM   #8
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How many amps is the breaker rated for that is on the circuit that you are using for the air compressor? Try plugging it in to a circuit with a breaker that is rated at more than 20 amps. The air compressor should be the only thing on the circuit.

I kind of remember hearing somewhere that a breaker blows at 70% or 80% of its rated amperage or something like that. 15 amps would be right at the limit if that is true.
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:54 AM   #9
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I have the same compressor but a different brand. The only time I haven't been able to get it to fire up is when I am using an extension cord that is too small of a guge & there is too much of an amperage drop. The fix was to upgrade the cord. If you are plugging into a 20amp circut 7 feet away from the box, you should have no problem at all. You should take it back to the store.
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:38 AM   #10
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I have had 2 of the Craftsman compressors very similar to that, and never had any issues (other than losing my hearing) wherever I use them.

I, too, think the compressor is at fault.
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:38 PM   #11
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Today after work a buddy and I took the compressor over to his house and tried it. It worked perfectly fine. He has a 15 amp circuit on the outlet we used. I cycled it about ten times and didnt have a single problem, not even a hint of trouble.

I brought it back to my house and tried it again and it still tripped the 20amp breaker instantly. The only other oulet in the garage is the one in ceiling for the garage door opener. We put the compressor up on the gate of my runner so the cord would reach up there and it worked fine. I started it up about 5 or 6 times. The confusing part is that the cieling outlet is on the same breaker as the one I was having problems with. When plugged into the cieling outlet It even started with my lights on and refridgerator plugged. I did see a slight dim of the lights upon initial start but that is normal.

I dont think an extention cord would be good to run all the way from the ceiling and down the wall. Would probly have to be about 25' of cord.

So I have narrowed it down to that single outlet that has the problem. Im not comfortable with messing with electricity so I guess im going to try to find somebody I know or a friend who knows what to do next.
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Old 04-16-2008, 04:00 PM   #12
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Maybe its the outlet. Or maybe that specific breaker is bad or says 15 but isnt.

And although the compressor pulls 15amps running, it pulls more than that at first, the surge amp draw.
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Old 04-16-2008, 04:30 PM   #13
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A few probable causes. #1 Out go the lights, Typically rental units are wired as cheaply as possible (this doesn't make it a bad wiring job, just cheap). What this means is no dedicated circuits other than what's required. Also I would be willing to bet there are other things on that circuit, possibly bathroom GFCI's. #2 The receptacle may be installed the quick and easy ( it may be back stabbed rather than on the termination screws) not the most solid connection for items with a large in rush current. The label may say 15 amp circuit ( usually running current) but the start up ( in rush) may be 20). Circuit breakers are normally designed to run at 80 percent load ( a 15 amp is really good for 12 amps and a 20 is good for 16 amps) a good breaker will only work at the full rating for short term. #3 possible bad terminations at the panel (grounded and grounding connections the green or bare copper and the white or gray also the breaker connection) Since the lights go out any splice or connection along the way could be loose (lights, receptacles, switches) #4 Is the receptacle a GFCI (has the reset/test buttons) or the breaker a GFCI ( has the yellow test button) both not ideal for motor loads. Good luck, I'd come over and check it out but your a bit of a drive away.
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