COMMUNITY FORUM

dlee525

08:46PM | 05/16/05
Member Since: 05/16/05
1 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
Hi,

I have a Harbor Freight air compressor which is stated to run at 16 amps. In my garage, there is a 20 amp GFI outlet, and the circuit breaker to my garage is also 20 amps. Nothing else is running on this circuit, or even plugged in.

When I initially ran the air compressor, it would trip my circuit breaker. It runs for a minute or two, and then it'll trip the breaker. I would have to reset both the breaker and the GFI.

I replaced the GFI one with another 20 amp GFI from **********. This time, after a minute or two, it would trip just the circuit breaker.

Is there anything I can do to fix this? Can I easily replace a circuit breaker myself? Is this even the problem? could the circuit breaker be bad?

I've run 15 amp toosl on it, and it never trips the breaker. This 16 amp air compressor trips it though...

I started it up and

Billhart

06:48AM | 05/17/05
Member Since: 04/25/05
1916 lifetime posts
Motors can draw 6-8 times there normal full load current when starting. Specially for compressors.

However, breakers work don't tripp the instant the current is more than 20.1 amps. They work on an inverse time delay that allow them to the supply an large amount of current for a short period of time.

First check if the Unloader is working on the compressor. If you have not been able to run it long enough to get it up to pressure then this won't be a factor. If it runs sometimes to full pressure, when it stop you should hear a short hiss. This releives the pressure from the tank to the compressor head so that the motor does not have to fight that pressure until it is upto speed.

If that is not applicable then you can try replacing the breaker. They will often get old and trip at lower currents.

In most cases that is simple to do. Post the brand and model of the panel.

Your other option would be a dedicated circuit for the compressor. That allows you to use special rules for sizing the breaker.

However, HF products, will functional, or often fairly low quality and they stretch the specs and might be bad out of the box.


tshea1

02:31PM | 05/17/05
Member Since: 05/03/05
79 lifetime posts
Here's something to try.

Plug the compressor into your laundry outlet. Usually the laundry outlet is a 20Amp circuit. IF the compressor trips that breaker I would return the compressor.

If it doesn't trip the breaker, your garage breaker may be bad/weak.

What yo udidn't mention was lighting in the garage. Are the lights on the same circuit? What kind and how many lights? Attached or detached garage?

Just a few thoughts.

tshea1

02:38PM | 05/17/05
Member Since: 05/03/05
79 lifetime posts
Forgot to ask--What is horsepower of compressor?

Billhart

03:29PM | 05/17/05
Member Since: 04/25/05
1916 lifetime posts
FTW, consumer grade air compressors follow the "rating" of shop vacs, even thougth they are induction motors.

It might have HP tag on the compressor for something like 5 or 6 hp.

On the motor label it will have the current and voltage specs, but the HP column will be marked "SPL" (special).

So HP numbers are meaningless for sizng the breaker.


Billhart

03:29PM | 05/17/05
Member Since: 04/25/05
1916 lifetime posts
FTW, consumer grade air compressors follow the "rating" of shop vacs, even thougth they are induction motors.

It might have HP tag on the compressor for something like 5 or 6 hp.

On the motor label it will have the current and voltage specs, but the HP column will be marked "SPL" (special).

So HP numbers are meaningless for sizng the breaker.


piewicket

08:41AM | 05/26/05
Member Since: 05/24/05
6 lifetime posts
How far away is the compressor from the circuit breaker. In the field we have had some trouble tripping bkrs with chop saws. We did everything checked all cnnections even placed a clamp on on the circuit. We found that if we locate the unit closer the the source the problem is eliminated. So my question again is how far away from your bkr is the unit?

BV000920

10:38AM | 04/30/13
Make sure to check the shop vacs for the various types. The induction motors will have to be checked as well. If the compressor rating is at 5 or 6 hp then you might need to do a replacement. I suggest cutler hammer. If you need to change it with a new circuit breaker then do so, better now than later. Also try checking the amps against some tech data sheets to make sure they're correct. The distance also matters between the compressor and breaker itself.
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