• 1.Air Compressor Won’t Operate

    If a compressor fails to operate, it’s usually caused by a basic problem or simple oversight. Fortunately, operational issues are among the easiest problems to diagnose and remedy on air compressors. The most common problems can be remedied as follows:

    ● No power — If the compressor lacks electrical power, check the power button and activate the reset switch if needed. Breakers should also be checked.

    ● Lack of oil — Users sometimes forget to check or change the fluids, and the consequences are often grievous. If your compressor is failing to work properly, it could simply be from a nearly empty oil tank.

    ● Power switch failure — When the compressor fails to power on, it could be due to a lack of contact between the pressure switch and inner circuitry. This can possibly be remedied with adjustments to the pressure switch.

    ● Pressure disparity — If the tank pressure is too low in relation to the cut-in pressure, replace the pressure switch for one with reduced cut-in.

  • 2.Excessive Noise From the Compressor

    When a reciprocating type air compressor makes loud noises that seem obnoxious and out of character, it’s likely due to one of the following, easily corrected issues:

    ● Loose parts — Noise is often the result of loose internal parts. Check for looseness in the pulleys, cooler, flywheel, clamps, belt, accessories, etc. and perform tightening as needed.

    ● Troubled crankcase — Another common noise culprit is the defective or oil-deficient crankcase. Check to see whether the crankcase needs new oil or bearings, or if it needs to be replaced outright.

    ● Problem pistons — Noise also occurs when the piston hits the valve plate. Take out the cylinder head and check for dirt on the piston, then replace the gasket and reattach the head.

    ● Improper mounting — A further cause of noise is when the compressor is mounted loosely. Refasten the bolts on the compressor and check to see whether the vibration pads need to be installed or replaced.

  • 3.Oil Doesn’t Last Long Time Enough

    A compressor needs oil to run properly, pure and simple. That said, few aspects of compressor operation are more annoying than periods where the oil expires too quickly. If a compressor’s oil supply is in constant need of replacement, it’s likely down to one of the following four factors:

    ● Intake obstructions — A sign is when blockage forms at the air intake. If this happens, the filter needs urgent cleaning, and in some cases a replacement.

    ● Oil leaks — Leaks of oil can usually be stopped by tightening the bolts of relevant machine parts or by replacing the oil gasket.

    ● Worn piston rings — When piston rings appear visibly worn, the time to replace them is now, not later.

    ● Improper oil viscosity — If the oil viscosity is off, it’s time to drain and refill with a different oil and with the right viscosity.

  • 4. Excessive Oil in Compressor Discharge Air

    When excess amounts of oil become aerosolized by the compressor’s discharge, it can be damaging to pneumatic tools and accessories. Even worse, oily discharge pose ill effects on applications, sometimes to the point where projects must be scrapped and reworked entirely. Luckily, the problem is usually easy to identify and remedy, since oily discharge is typically down to one of the following issues:

    ● Restricted intake — Oily discharge is often caused by restrictions on the compressor’s air intake. In cases such as these, the air filters either need to be cleaned or replaced altogether.

    ● Expired piston rings — Just as with oil leaks, oily discharge can stem from worn piston rings, which need to be replaced on a periodic basis.

    ● Overfilled oil tank — If the compressor has too much oil, some of that excess can seep into the discharge. The oil level needs to be lowered to the “full” mark displayed on the gauge.

    ● Wrong oil viscosity — If the viscosity doesn’t match the requirements of your compressor, empty the oil tank and refill with a different oil of the proper viscosity.

    ● Inverted piston rings — A further possible cause of oily discharge is upside-down piston rings, which could mean that it’s time to replace the crankshaft.

  • 5. Water in compressed air

    Water is a normal by-product of air compression. Your air receiver should have a drain valve.

    Drain the drain valve until all the water is out. If you have an automatic drain valve, check if it is working correctly.

  • 6. Thermal relay / overload relay trips

    Could be either an electrical problem or a mechanical problem.

    ● Check with a current clamp meter how much amps the motor draws. Compare to nameplate data. 

    ● Check by hand if you can turn the compressor (switch compressor completely off).

    ● Check the voltage. If the voltage is too low, it can result in overload/overheating. Also check the voltage when the compressor is running. If the voltage drops significantly, you used a too long extension cord, or to thin electrical wiring.

  • 7. Sluggish Buildup of Receiver Pressure

    When the receiver pressure takes too long Time to build, the issue is most likely due to dirt accumulation or wear in any given one of the following compressor parts:

    ● Filthy air filter — One of the most common culprits when it comes to lagging receiver pressure is dirt buildup on the air filter, which could either need to be cleaned or replaced.

    ● Loose joints — Low pressure caused by air leaks can stem from joints that aren’t tight enough. Check to see if the joints need tightening.

    ● Worn head gasket — The cylinder head gasket could possibly be expired, in which case replacement is crucial.

    ● Expired valves — If the intake or discharge valve plates are torn or worn, replace them with new ones.

  • 8. Extreme Air Heat at Discharge

    If the compressed air comes out too hot, it can damage the items and surfaces being treated, as well as the tools and various internal mechanisms of the compressor. Excessive air heat often stems from the following problems:

    ● Dirty internal surfaces — Check to see whether dirt has built up on the cylinder, discharge tube or intercooler and clean as needed.

    ● Meager ventilation — If the compressor is set up in a hot or poorly ventilated area, move it someplace else where ambient air is cooler and flows more freely.

    ● Expired head gasket — When the head gasket blows, heat is inevitable. Therefore, it could be time to replace the head gasket.

    ● Run down valves — Hot compressed air is also an indicator that it’s time to replace the valve plate.

    ● Limited air intake — Compressed air can overheat when dust and lint accumulate on the filter. If overheating reoccurs despite the above replacements, the filter probably needs to be cleaned at more frequent intervals.

  • 9. Inadequate Pressure at the Tool Tip

    If there’s not enough pressure at the point of use, the problem is likely due to air restrictions, leaks or problems with the hose or compressor belts. The following issues are common and easy to remedy:

    ● Pressure blocks/leaks — Air can either get cut off or leak out at certain points along the way between the compressor and the tool. Inspect the hose or pipes for crimps or holes, then repair these problem areas by straightening the kinks or plugging the holes as needed.

    ● Air intake restrictions — If air is getting blocked from the intake valve, the filter is likely due for a cleaning, if not an outright replacement.

    ● Undersized hose — You might discover that the hose is too narrow to supply the right air pressure, which would mean it’s time to upsize.

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