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Forum topic by Moron posted 10-06-2009 01:59 PM 2234 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3918 days

10-06-2009 01:59 PM

I thought I would share this so that no one might have it happen to them.

I have a big 5 HP air compressor that drives almost everything in the shop including but not limited to my air sanders, drilling, driving, mechanical tools, and my spray booth finishing equipment. It cranks out 21 cfm and albeit the compressor itself is old, she’s quiet and dependable. When I run to the house for lunch or head out the door to purchase supplies I most often leave it on and for 7 years this has been the case.

On Saturday afternnon I was sanding down a table when I heard a short squeel that seemed like it came from the compressor…..then another…...then a big sqeel and POOF, the electric motor burst into flames. I was quick of the mark and grabbed a fire extinguisher and in seconds the fire was out but not before filling the shop with acrid smoke….deathlike in its toxic smell….........

Had I not been in the shop… probably would have burnt to the ground.

I am happy to say that after purchasing a new motor ($$$$CHING CHING$$$$$$$$$) that my 1962 Brunner compressor runs once again….quiet, powerful and am once again back in business.

Assuming that dust gets sucked into electric motors I bet its a good idea to take some comprssed air and blow the dust out on a regular basis… might not juts save your shop… might save your life!


-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

23 replies so far

View dustygirl's profile


862 posts in 3753 days

#1 posted 10-06-2009 02:28 PM

Very helpful info.Thanks Roman.

-- Dustygirl..Hastings,Ontario.. How much wood can 1 gal chuck if 1 gal can't cut wood?

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3551 days

#2 posted 10-06-2009 02:31 PM

Dust does get everywhere… Thank you

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View mski's profile


439 posts in 4005 days

#3 posted 10-06-2009 03:02 PM

Wow, scary, All WW tools should have a TEFC motor to address the sawdust issue


View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4046 days

#4 posted 10-06-2009 05:53 PM

Roman, it must be our week for compressors.
Last night I was draining my 6 hp gas driven hot dog compressor for the day and I opened one tank and partially opened the second one.
The butterfly valve was bent and now spinning instead of turning. I put a wrench on it but no luck
So, I just set it back down on the ground to drain and POW! out shoots the valve and digs a 4 inch hole in the ground.
I was just lucky I set in down seconds before or I would be talking like a girl right now.

Lesson here?

I knew it was bent and in need of replacement but I kept using it ” one more time”

Glad you too were able to doge the bullet with your motor.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View okwoodshop's profile


448 posts in 3200 days

#5 posted 10-06-2009 06:38 PM

my compressor is pretty noisy so i built a little shed outside away from the dust for it but I need to make a better switch to turn it off when i go in for the night. Glad you were there to stop the blaze.

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3602 days

#6 posted 10-06-2009 06:56 PM

Glad you were there Roman, scary for sure.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4046 days

#7 posted 10-06-2009 07:24 PM

You have me thinking of installing a shut off timer in my shop for this.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

617 posts in 4291 days

#8 posted 10-06-2009 07:41 PM

Similar occurrence with my 36 year-old band saw with the 50 year-old motor. I was happily sawing away at nothing too strenuous when I smelled something like an electrical short- then smoke seeping out from behind my homemade base. By the time I unplugged it and pulled it away from the wall the smoke was billowing and – as you stated- acrid as the depths of hell. I took the Fein vacuum that I use for most of my dust collection and sucked up the smoke. The motor was fried and I replaced it with another used motor that was conveniently in the way in the shop anyhow. The band saw works like a charm now. It could have been dust- but I suspect that in this case (my base is mostly enclosed plywood) it was just old age. What should we expect from a 50+ year-old lawnmower motor.

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!"

View herg1's profile


42 posts in 3737 days

#9 posted 10-06-2009 07:51 PM

I’ll bet that most of us have “things” that are left plugged in every night when we leave the shop. I know I have an oscillating fan that runs year round which reduces the rust problem in my shop. I will add that to my monthly list of cleaning as I really have not thought of doing that to this piece of equipment. Thanks for the head-up.

-- Roger1

View Fireguy's profile


132 posts in 3260 days

#10 posted 10-06-2009 08:02 PM

There is a ceiling mount extinguisher that has a fire sprinkler type head on it that is designed to go off automatically at high temp to suppress a car fire in a garage, might be something worth looking into. I saw it in the handyman magazine awhile back.


-- Alex

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3295 days

#11 posted 10-06-2009 08:06 PM

Wow…thanks for the post….I’ve left my shop compressor on sometimes for various reasons….I will now shut it off when out of the shop….I do blow off the motors and my tools after every use though – its just obsessive compulsiveness on my part…

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18288 posts in 3701 days

#12 posted 10-06-2009 09:20 PM

Most motor problems start with a worn bearing in my experience, but the insulation does break down over time. Any electrical device connected to power, even small batteries, is a potential fire. I had the flash on my 35 mm camera burn up several years ago. I was outdoors, fortunately. I smelled the unmistakable smell of electrical fire. I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. All of a sudden the flash on my camera started to smoke. I turn it off, it didn’t burst into flames but I suspect that was the next move for it ;-)) The batteries were stuck in the compartment. When I finally go them out, they were swollen and starting to rupture. If I had put it away in the closet and forgotten to turn it off, it might have burned the house down :-((

After our Aerostar spontaneously combusted, I did a little research. Fords starting fires is one of the best kept secrets in corporate America. I have almost exclusively owned Fords all my life, but I would never sleep in a house with a Ford parked in the garage again!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Fireguy's profile


132 posts in 3260 days

#13 posted 10-06-2009 09:53 PM

Check this out, not all the expensive.

Ceiling Mounted Unmanned Fire Extinguisher

-- Alex

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4046 days

#14 posted 10-06-2009 11:32 PM

Alex, that is a really good idea!
I ‘m going to get a couple here.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View sidestepmcgee's profile


158 posts in 3750 days

#15 posted 10-06-2009 11:59 PM

before my pancake oilless goes dead it seems I get a sqeel and followed by a boom if I let go so far ,normally unplug it in time but it always makes the hair on my neck go straight.scary stuff,glad everything is well.

-- eric post, tallahassee FL

showing 1 through 15 of 23 replies

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