Troubleshooting an air compressor that won’s start

Last Updated on by Brian A Cummings

When you start your air compressor, you expect it to work. However, in some circumstances, it won’t start. You start to wonder and check what’s wrong. And this situation causes dismay and stress. Why? Because, it is not just the air compressor that will not work, it also affects the air tool.

With the variety of air compressors available for consumers, all differ in sizes and other aspects; you will still notice the similarity on its function (of course). But if you opt to take it immediately to an authorized repair shop, be ready with the cost and the time spent.

Check out: What Size Air Compressor Do I Need

So, before deciding for a repair, try to diagnose it with these simple steps:

Check the power

One thing that most forget is that they start to switch on the machine and nothing happens. Well, for starters, the machine needs to be plugged in. And it should be plugged in directly into a wall socket – do not use any power bar or power strip. There are instances that the power strip fails. It is also not recommended to use an extension cord, unless guaranteed by your air compressor shop. Your best air compressor needs to be plugged in.

Make sure the switch is turned on

Try to check your air compressor for a switch or an OFF and On button. There are some models that the power switch is different or a part of the pressure switch, so try to check the switch if it’s turned ON. However, if the case is that the air compressor is already running (means it’s switched ON), and suddenly it stopped, well, that’s another story.

Examine the air pressure in the compressor tank

Try checking the reading on the pressure gauge, perhaps that is where the problem lies. If the pressure is below the cut out pressure setting level, then it won’t start. The reason is that there is not enough compressed air inside the tank to supply your air tool. The air pressure should be able to reach the cut out pressure setting level for the power to trip ON. This also allows the flow of the current to the motor to start.

There will be also some instances that the reason is not because of less air pressure in the compressor tank. It can be because it needs to empty the air out first.

Empty the compressor tank

To empty the portable air compressor tank, shut off or unplug your machine first. Next, attach the air tool or the blow gun to the air hose to remove the air by blowing. You can also open the tank valve to allow the air to disperse. Another way is to pull the PRV ring making sure that you are protected by donning on some gloves. This will remove all the air in the tank and makes sure that the PRV internal is functioning well. Once all the air is out, give your PRV valve a thrust back and press the PR valve to reset.

Emptying the compressor tank is important because it allows imitation of how the uploader valve works, most especially if one of the valves is failing to function. By emptying the tank, it is not only the air in it that will escape, but also the air that might be circulating in other parts, such as in the pistons in the cylinders. A trapped air can cause the compressor to not start, as it becomes an additional load to the motor.

Still won’t start?

If in the end, your air compressor won’t still start, and everything that you have done is not working, then the diagnosis indicates that it is not the power switch, nor the air pressure, and the compressor tank that has the problem. You must check the air compressor review for some common solutions. But, you must also take note that the electric current or power that goes to the compressor does not guarantee that it reaches the motor. Then in this case you need to have a poke probe or a multi-meter to diagnose the problem. However, if you don’t have this gadget, then it’s either you buy it or bring your machine to a repair shop.

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