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Old 07-06-2009, 06:14 PM   #1
Blacknwhitepit
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Default Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

I am getting a bit frustrated now. I have a 33 Gal Craftsman compressor. It is rated for 15 amps. Now I originally had in on a 15 Amp service outlet. It would get to about 90 psi then trip the breaker.

I installed a dedicated 20 amp line (I used the correct wire as well) on a 20 amp circuit breaker with an outlet rated for 20 amps.

Here is the kicker now. It charges air up until it automatically shuts off (125 psi). After it has turned itself off, within about 5 minutes I hear the circuit breaker trip (It was not even trying to pull a load). Mind you this circuit breaker has only 1 electric line going to the outlet. Why does it do this?

Could it be a weak/bad circuit breaker? or could my compressor be trying for more than 20 amps?

I use it on my 20 amp service in my house with an extension cord and it does just fine.



-BWP
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:21 PM   #2
fatfillup
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

Can you amp test the compressor while its running to see what its pulling? Also, how far is the run from the breaker box to the oulet you are having the problem with? You may need to go to heavier wire due to distance. Could be a bad breaker. You could always switch the breaker that it runs on in the house ok to the breaker you are having problems with to test whether its a breaker problem or wire size?distance problem.

Seems odd to me that it trips with no load on. If its pulling the correct amount of amps while its running and your not getting a voltage drop while its running then breaker is suspect.
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:40 PM   #3
volvo420coupe
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

I've only had problems with my compressor tripping breakers in cold weather on startup. I am interested to hear what caused the problem when you find it.
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

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Originally Posted by Blacknwhitepit View Post
After it has turned itself off, within about 5 minutes I hear the circuit breaker trip (
Its the only thing on the circuit and it trips when the compressor is not running?
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:24 PM   #5
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Lightbulb Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

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Originally Posted by fatfillup View Post
Can you amp test the compressor while its running to see what its pulling? Also, how far is the run from the breaker box to the oulet you are having the problem with? You may need to go to heavier wire due to distance. Could be a bad breaker. You could always switch the breaker that it runs on in the house ok to the breaker you are having problems with to test whether its a breaker problem or wire size?distance problem.

Seems odd to me that it trips with no load on. If its pulling the correct amount of amps while its running and your not getting a voltage drop while its running then breaker is suspect.
Good questions.

The wire is less than 15 feet in length from the circuit breaker box.

I ran #10 wire just for overkill.

I am thinking it is the breaker (chinese made box store type).

I also think it is weird it is tripping with no load.

I have a clamp on tester. I will try that... But like you say, why would it work with load, and then fail without one?

-BWP
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

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Its the only thing on the circuit and it trips when the compressor is not running?
Yes, it is a line I just ran for the compressor. It only trips about 5 minutes after the compressor has automatically shutoff...

-BWP
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

you could have a bad plug or outlet
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

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you could have a bad plug or outlet
Bought the outlet from Lowe's a week ago... Tried a completely different (and new) one today. Both rated at 20 Amps. Both made in USA. BTW both are not GFCI.

The plug is barely used. In excellent condition. I bought this compressor new.

-BWP
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:54 PM   #9
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

Put an ammeter on it and see what's going on.

Is the breaker warm/hot after it trips?

Try swapping the breaker out for another one in the panel, just to see what happens. If the new braker does the same thing, the problem is soomewhere else.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

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Originally Posted by Bustawrench View Post
Put an ammeter on it and see what's going on.

Is the breaker warm/hot after it trips?

Try swapping the breaker out for another one in the panel, just to see what happens. If the new braker does the same thing, the problem is soomewhere else.
The breaker is not hot. (Nor the wires )

For less than $4.00 I will go to Lowes and try another breaker. I only have two other breakers that are 20 Amp service which are a completely different brand than the one I bought for this line/service.

Thanks

-BWP
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:10 PM   #11
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

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Originally Posted by Blacknwhitepit View Post
The breaker is not hot. (Nor the wires )

For less than $4.00 I will go to Lowes and try another breaker. I only have two other breakers that are 20 Amp service which are a completely different brand than the one I bought for this line/service.

Thanks

-BWP
Try to stay with the same brand of breaker as the panel itself.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:14 PM   #12
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

I unscrewed the outlet.





Here is a picture of the breaker box. The two breakers I have installed are the two bottom ones. Upon noticing this picture I saw that they were a different 'Type' from the others.

There are type QP and the ones I installed were HOM. Is there a difference?
Perhaps this is an issue?



-BWP
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:31 PM   #13
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

Looks like Square D breakers in a Seimens (?) box.........

doesn't look like they really fit to me.........

Only reason I can think of would be poor fit at the buss, causeing the breaker to heat up slowly and trip. Could be current leakage thru the compressor switch to ground, what happens if you unplug the compressor as soon as it shuts off? Does breaker still trip 5 minutes later?
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:33 PM   #14
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

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Originally Posted by Bustawrench View Post
Looks like Square D breakers in a Seimens (?) box.........

doesn't look like they really fit to me.........

Only reason I can think of would be poor fit at the buss, causeing the breaker to heat up slowly and trip. Could be current leakage thru the compressor switch to ground, what happens if you unplug the compressor as soon as it shuts off? Does breaker still trip 5 minutes later?
They clip in and snap on just fine...... Fit like normal.....


I will try unplugging the compressor and see what happens.

Thanks

-BWP
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:43 PM   #15
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

Interesting... It has cooled off here now (ambient air temperature), and I cannot get it to trip..... Hmmmmm....


-BWP
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:50 PM   #16
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

Square D Homeline crap. Funny part is how much noise Square D makes about breakers of one brand not being legal to use in a panel of a different brand, even if they fit, yet they came out with the Homeline crap and made it the same as Siemens, Bryant, Murray, GE, etc so it would interchange. They have their own propriety line of panels and breakers, why they felt they needed to introduce the Homeline is beyond me.

Go out and buy a Siemens breaker, at least that is what the rest of yours are (easily spotted by the beveled surface where the ON and OFF lettering is.

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Old 07-07-2009, 05:17 AM   #17
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

Make sure your line voltage isn't too high, had that problem years ago and had 135 to 140 VAC. the power company relaced the transformer no more problem.
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:29 AM   #18
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

Check the fit of the plug sometimes non commercial plugs aren't tight enough. Buy a 20 amp plug if it still trips I would try another breaker.
You stated it runs on an extension cord from another 20 amp breaker.
My craftsman compressor can run on 110v or 220v I would suggest hooking it up to 220v
they run better.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:17 AM   #19
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

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They have their own propriety line of panels and breakers, why they felt they needed to introduce the Homeline is beyond me.
They wanted a line to compete with Challenger, Siemens, etc. It was a brilliant move by the right people, they became the original equipment in a lot of mobile and modular homes now. If you ever need a company turn around hire the guys that come up with that, now a standard stock in most box stores. Excellent business and marketing strategy.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:28 AM   #20
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Default Re: Why does my compressor keep tripping the circuit breaker?

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Check the fit of the plug sometimes non commercial plugs aren't tight enough. Buy a 20 amp plug if it still trips I would try another breaker.
You stated it runs on an extension cord from another 20 amp breaker.
My craftsman compressor can run on 110v or 220v I would suggest hooking it up to 220v
they run better.

I would like to run a 220 line. But, I am out of spaces in my box. I could run an additional panel, but given that I can't make a relatively simple circuit work, I am going to hold off on that.

Anyone know what a Pro costs to run an service panel?

-BWP
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