Compressor shuts down on high-temperature

If your compressor trips on high temperature, it could be any of the following:

• Ambient temperature too high or not enough ventilation.
• Too low oil level
• Wrong type of oil
• Dirty oil cooler
• Thermostatic valve not working
• Dirt / obstruction in oil lines

Compressor runs but will not load

A screw compressor can run loaded (‘pumping air’) or unloaded (‘idle’). The inlet/loading valve opens and closes according to air demand. The inlet valve is controlled by a solenoid valve that supplies control air to the inlet/loading valve.
• Check electrical power to solenoid valve
• Check solenoid valve coil and solenoid valve operation.
• Check working of inlet/loading valve

Low capacity / not enough pressure

First, check that there isn’t a very high air demand, or air leak somewhere.
If the capacity of the air compressor is really too low, check the following:
• Does the inlet valve fully open
• Check differential pressure over oil separator. Replace separator when necessary.
• Check if inlet filter is clean
• Check and replace compressed air filters (if installed).
Oil in compressed air

Oil in compressed air can have various causes:
• Oil separator old / saturated
• Scavenge line plugged
• Too high running temperature
• Too high oil level
• Wrong type of oil used
• Minimum pressure valve not working
Water in compressed air

Water is a natural byproduct of air compression. There will always be water in compressed air, unless we remove it.
Check the condensate trap for good operation. There should be water coming out every few minutes. If you open up the manual drain, there should only be a little water coming out. If you have a compressed air dryer, check the dewpoint.

Compressor overload relay trips

Check the current draw with a current clamp meter.
If the motor draws excessive current:
• Try to turn the compressor by hand. It should be possible to turn it around. It should turn around smoothly, without any ‘hiccups’ (be sure to completely shut down the air compressor before attempting this!).
• Check the isolation of the motor windings. Should be in the mega-ohms (you need an isolation tester / high voltage ohm meter for this).
• Check the voltage when the compressor is running. If the voltage drops significantly when the compressor starts/runs, you have a bad connection somewhere. Check all relays, fuses and electrical connections.
• Check if all phases are present
If the motor draws it’s normal current, but still trips on overload, replace the overload relay with a new one (they are known to sometimes become too sensitive when they get old).


Why is compressed air used so extensively……

Compressed air is a major source of industrial power possessing many advantages.  It is safe, economical, easily transmitted, and adaptable.  Its adaptability is evidenced by the many applications you see around you every day.  Some applications would be almost impossible with any other power medium.


Where do I…

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How can I create an efficient compressed air distribution network?

Compressed Air Distribution Network

Your compressed air distribution piping
is your means for transporting
compressed air and represents your link
between supply, storage, and demand.
The ideal distribution system provides a sufficient supply of compressed air at
the required pressure to all locations where compressed air is needed. A network of pipelines is used to supply different locations with compressed air.

The flow of compressed air in pipelines, however, creates friction and results in
pressure drop. Pressure drop in the pipelines should, ideally, be no more
than 1 to 2 psi. The following steps can be taken to
reduce pressure drop:

  • reduce the distance the air must be transported
  • reduce the friction through the pipes by increasing pipe size and eliminating unnecessary elbows, valves, and other flow restrictions
  • reduce the flow rate of air through the system
  • select smooth bore piping
  • minimize the drop in pressure across the system components
  • eliminate leaks.

Friction loss is higher in longer pipes and in pipes with a smaller diameter. An
effective way to reduce pressure drop is to use a loop system that provides two-way flow at any point in the system, cutting the flow in each pipe path in half
and reducing compressed air velocity.  Even more important than pressure
drop caused by friction, however, is that resulting from the system components
themselves. This drop typically ranges from 5 to 25 psid and can be controlled,
through careful equipment selection and proper maintenance.