Husky air compressor stopped working. Is this fixable?

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Forum topic by noone posted 07-29-2016 01:38 AM 2389 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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583 posts in 2416 days

07-29-2016 01:38 AM

My Husky air compressor which is around 3 years old stopped working in the middle of a painting session. I believe it froze up because it threw the breaker. I reset the breaker and plugged it back in, and it hummed, and it now no longer makes any sounds at all when I switch it on. I pressed the red reset button on the side too. I am able to spin the pulleys free hand attached to the motor and pump. The capacitors, a black one and a silver one (i’m assuming both are caps) appear to be intact and are not bulging.

What are my next steps to troubleshoot this?

Thanks for any advice or experience with something like this.

14 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5622 posts in 3856 days

#1 posted 07-29-2016 03:09 AM

When was the last time you drained the water condensate from the tank?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View MrUnix's profile


6928 posts in 2343 days

#2 posted 07-29-2016 03:22 AM

Water in the tank would have no effect. Humming instead of spinning up at startup point to a start circuit problem… either centrifugal switch or capacitor. Capacitors are easy enough to test with a cheap multimeter.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View noone's profile


583 posts in 2416 days

#3 posted 07-29-2016 03:25 AM

I drain the tank after every use.

I went back out an hour after I posted this and now it cranks on. I guess it was thermally overloaded somehow? I guess I will have to see if this continues to happen then test the capacitors and the centrifugal switch if it does.

Thanks Brad. And YouTube.

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2151 days

#4 posted 07-29-2016 12:52 PM

Glad it’s working again, but when’s the last time you blew the dust out of that thing? I realize you said you were in the middle of a paint job, but dang, that’s a LOT of white dust INSIDE that motor and all over it. A buildup of dust can also cause overheating.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View WhyMe's profile


1053 posts in 1705 days

#5 posted 07-29-2016 01:52 PM

You need to keep the windings of the motor free of dust build up to help the cooling. Also keep that air intake filter clean. Dirty filter puts more load on the pump and motor. Caps can get weak and not do their job without showing any bulging.

View dannyfixit's profile


17 posts in 2779 days

#6 posted 07-29-2016 02:59 PM

I’d also remove the belt and see how the motor does without the compressor part loading it down. If motor spins up good, might be piston issue. Obviously, oil levels need to be checked. Once belt is off too, try turning the pulley on the pump to feel the level of resistance to figure again if its the piston part.

-- - Follow your passion...

View splintergroup's profile


2304 posts in 1366 days

#7 posted 07-29-2016 04:23 PM

I’m thinking with MrUnix.

Most compressors do have an ‘unloader’ that allows the motor/pump to get up to speed before starting to compress air. If the unloader is stuck, the motor may not have a chance to get things spinning before tripping the breaker. Of course you would observe the motor starting to turn if this was the case, so I’m thinking start cap/cent. switch

View SignWave's profile


450 posts in 3179 days

#8 posted 07-29-2016 04:40 PM

Once you diagnose the issue, everything about that compressor can be repaired or replaced, and as long as the tank is in good condition, it’s almost certainly worth fixing.

In addition to the good suggestions so far, you might want to unplug the unit and inspect the contacts in the pressure switch. My experience is that those contacts are optimistically rated, and if they’re not conducting enough current, it could affect startup. I am not impressed with the pressure switches in most compressors, but that doesn’t mean it’s your problem, just something that is easy to check.

-- Barry,

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5069 posts in 4104 days

#9 posted 07-29-2016 05:22 PM

Check it well, and clean all the “shmutz” from the surface. No tellin’ how much crap is in the motor.


View bigblockyeti's profile


5224 posts in 1864 days

#10 posted 07-29-2016 05:23 PM

^ +1, half the compressors I’ve repaired have burned contacts and conduct poorly if at all.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View OSU55's profile


1860 posts in 2133 days

#11 posted 07-29-2016 05:26 PM

What was the temp in your shop? How long had you been spraying before the compressor stopped? It’s very possible nothing is wrong except the dirty motor. These light duty compressors can overheat in a warm/hot shop with a spray finishing duty cycle. Clean out the motor windings. It’s also possible the pressure unload stuck, which dumps pressure at the discharge line so the motor doesn’t have to start against head pressure. It’s possible but not likely the cap is bad – not old enough. Report back what you find.

View Lazyman's profile


2517 posts in 1531 days

#12 posted 07-29-2016 05:32 PM

Did you say that it tripped the breaker for the receptacle or just the breaker on the compressor? If both, you might want to get a meter and see how many amps it is pulling to see if it is exceeding the specs on the motor. If it were just the breaker on the the compressor, it could have just overheated because of continuous use but the one for the receptacle should not trip unless perhaps you had several tools running at once plugged into the same circuit and exceeded the total amperage for that circuit, which can happen easily when the motor starts up.

...And if you have a compressor, use it to blow the dust out of it every now and then. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. ;-)

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View noone's profile


583 posts in 2416 days

#13 posted 07-30-2016 02:04 PM

Thanks guys. The compressor actually is not dirty at all inside the motor. I paint 30 feet from the compressor and that is paint dust landing on the surface. Didn’t see anything inside the motor, just on the outside frame. It was extremely hot that day and I had been painting for a half hour and it was running a lot. I had a 3/4 horse exhaust fan and this compressor running on a 20 amp circuit. I was just surprised because it never did this previously. I will check the filter and clean it and see how that plays out. Hopefully it was just a fluke!

View rwe2156's profile


3090 posts in 1624 days

#14 posted 07-30-2016 02:19 PM

Breakers get weak, too.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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