Air Compressor Won't Turn On

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Old 09-03-17, 01:47 PM
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Air Compressor Won't Turn On

I bought a new air compressor for the barn down at our farm. When I plugged it in, it tries to turn on, but won't, and then trips the reset switch on the compressor. I was able to turn off the well pump, water pump, and small "dorm-size" refrigerator. With all of those off, the compressor was able to kick on. The panel there still uses the old glass fuses. If I upgrade to a larger panel, will it solve this problem?
 
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Old 09-03-17, 03:00 PM
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If I upgrade to a larger panel, will it solve this problem?
Changing the panel alone won't. Both wires to the panel and breaker or fuse at the house will need to be increased.

What size breaker or fuse feeds the barn panel.?Distance house to barn?What is the full load amps of the compressor? Can the compressor be converted to 240 volts?
 
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Old 09-04-17, 03:30 PM
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Thanks Ray. It's about 450 feet from meter to barn. The panel at the meter has two small looking fuses. I'll get a pic of it. Electrical rating on compressor says "120VAC / 60 Hz / 14A"

does that help any?
 
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Old 09-04-17, 03:36 PM
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450 feet means significant voltage drop. Even if you had #2 to the barn 40 amps would be max but I doubt you have #2. We need to know the size of those fuses and what size wire to the barn.
 
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Old 09-06-17, 07:20 AM
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The problem is called "voltage drop"!

Too small of a wire size run to the barn... Voltage my start out at 120 volts, then be 80 volts at the air compressor. (I'm leaving out a LOT of details, but that is the general idea.)

An easy fix is to have the electric company install a separate electric service/meter at your barn.

Search google.com for "voltage drop calculator" and "voltage drop" to learn more.
 
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Old 09-06-17, 07:28 AM
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While a separate meter/service would solve the voltage drop issue it might not be a cheap fix. Locally we are charged full price for any non residential service install along with a minimum charge at the commercial rate. Supposedly the POCO subsidizes the install of residential service and the residential electricity rate is cheaper than commercial.
 
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Old 09-06-17, 11:16 AM
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Electrical rating on compressor says "120VAC / 60 Hz / 14A"
Then it should also say 240VAC / 60 Hz / 7A.

Converting the compressor over to 240v operation would help the starting problem.
 
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Old 09-07-17, 11:32 AM
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Ok, I got a little more info and a couple of pics. The fuses at the meter are 60Amp fuses. The wire run to the barn is triplex wire, but i'm not 100% of the size. It's about the size of a pencil or a little bigger, i couldn't find any writing on it. It took a pic with my thumb as a reference.

I also just realized something else... in the past, we have plugged in a camper for dove season down at the barn, and it handled the air conditioner and everything just fine. I'm wondering if maybe one of the fuses might be blown or something. I would think the air conditioner would require more amps than the air compressor?
 
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Old 09-07-17, 11:38 AM
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If Triplex it would probably be #4 aluminum. That's what the power company uses too.

The air compressor may require more starting current than the A/C.
 
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Old 09-07-17, 12:10 PM
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Is that red wire on the fuse going to the triplex? If so what is the distance before it connects to the triplex?

At the receptacle insert the probes of a multimeter into one of the plug-ins. and the compressor into the other plug-in. Observe the voltage before you try to start the compressor and observe the voltage as it tries to start.
 
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Old 09-07-17, 12:26 PM
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No, the red wire is going to a receptacle near that panel. The triplex is connected in that same spot as the red wire. You can kind of see it coming up behind that red and black wire.
 
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Old 09-07-17, 01:32 PM
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No, the red wire is going to a receptacle near that panel.
A receptacle can not be connected to a 60 amp fuse.
 
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Old 09-07-17, 08:06 PM
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I guess I should clarify that this was done back in the 60s or 70s by my grandad and a friend. Obviously not done the way it should be! Here's what I was thinking. Put a new 100Amp panel with breakers at the meter to replace the 60Amp fuses. Run the triplex down to the barn and have a second panel there with separate breakers/circuits for the well pump, water pump, and receptacles.
Whats the best way to connect the triplex at the main panel? Maybe a 50Amp breaker?

thanks for everyone's help!
 
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Old 09-07-17, 09:09 PM
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Under current code you can not use triplerx. You must use quadplex, two hot, one, neutral. one ground. 2-2-2-6 aluminum mobile home cable direct buried would be good. Because of distance your maximum amps would be 40 amps. For 100 amps you would need 2/0 (00) quadplex or mobile home cable. Most quadplex iis probably not rated to enter a structurer but mobile home cable is..

Note subpanel at the barn will need a bonded grounded bar and an isolated neutral bar. You will need a disconnect at the barn if you have more than six breakers. Easiest/cheapest way is to use a main breaker panel for your subpanel at the barn. The main breaker serves as a disconnect only so it can be larger than the supplying breaker A 100 amp main breaker panel kit which includes several breakers is a good choice. You will need to buy and add a ground bar. You will also need one or two ground rods at the barn.
 
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Old 09-07-17, 09:22 PM
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Thanks ray!!! I appreciate all the help!
 
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