Porter Cable Air Compressor Common Problems

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Air compressors are not the most common of features in a woodworking shop, although they do come in handy on job sites to power nailers and in painting around the house.

But air compressors did not make our list of “Must-Have” tools for the woodworking beginner.

Key Points:

  • We know that water is the enemy of wood.  Now we know that humidity is the cause of many air compressor system problems.  Start there when troubleshooting.
  • Check for leaky air compressor tanks on your Porter Cable model.  Check the hose, too.  These can be common air compressor problems and will result in diminished PSI.  Use the soapy water test – if bubbles develop, you have a leak to fix.
  • If it won’t start, check the obvious first – electrical power or a disconnected power cord.  Do not always immediately assume it is something major.

Still, they are handy to have around, and there are a ton of options both in brand name and features, as well as overall power.  There are plenty of brand names and air compressor types to choose from. 

Today we’re taking a look at Porter Cable models and examining some common problems associated with them.

However, we want to be quick to say there is nothing inherently wrong with Porter Cable air compressors or Porter Cable in general.  All air compressors eventually develop problems, and the Porter Cable Air Compressor is no different.

Who is Porter Cable?

Porter-Cable is an American company that manufactures power tools. It was founded in 1906 by partners R.E. Porter, G.G. Porter, and F.E. Cable. Porter-Cable specializes in corded and cordless power tools, including band saws, belt sanders, helical-drive, and circular saws.

It’s known for pioneering the portable belt sander, helical-drive circular saw, and portable band saw.

Porter-Cable is a subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker, which also owns other top power tool brands like DeWalt, Black & Decker, and Craftsman.

Porter Cable Brand Air Compressors

Porter Cable Air Compressor

A Porter-Cable air compressor is a portable, oil-free compressor that is used for a variety of tasks, including inflating tires, powering pneumatic tools, and cleaning. It is a popular choice for DIYers and professionals alike because of its compact size, lightweight design, and easy operation.

Porter-Cable air compressors are available in a variety of sizes, from small, portable units to larger, stationary units. The most popular size is the 6-gallon pancake compressor, which is ideal for home use. These compressors typically have a maximum pressure of 150 PSI and can deliver up to 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI.

Porter-Cable air compressors are powered by electric motors and run off of standard household current. They are relatively quiet in operation, making them a good choice for use in residential areas.

Here are some of the features of a Porter-Cable air compressor:

  • Portable and lightweight design
  • Oil-free pump for maintenance-free operation
  • High-pressure design for optimal air tool performance
  • Quick recovery time
  • Integrated cord wrap for easy transport

If you are looking for a portable, oil-free air compressor that is easy to use and reliable, a Porter-Cable air compressor is a good option.

Here are some of the benefits of using a Porter-Cable air compressor:

  • They are portable and easy to transport.
  • They are oil-free, which means that they are maintenance-free.
  • They have a high-pressure design, which means that they can power a variety of air tools.
  • They have a quick recovery time, which means that they can be used back-to-back without having to wait for them to recharge.

If you are looking for a reliable and versatile air compressor, a Porter-Cable air compressor is a good option.

What Is A Pancake Air Compressor System?

Porter Cable’s air compressors are what is referred to as a pancake air compressor system.  What? Pancakes? 

A pancake air compressor is a type of air compressor that is named for its flat, pancake-like shape. It is a small, portable compressor that is ideal for home use. Pancake air compressors typically have a tank capacity of 1-5 gallons and can deliver up to 2.5 SCFM (standard cubic feet per minute) of air at 90 PSI.

Pancake air compressors are oil-free, which means that they do not require any maintenance. They are also relatively quiet, making them a good choice for use in residential areas.

Porter Cable Pancake Air Compressor

Pancake air compressors are not as powerful as larger air compressors, but they are still capable of handling a variety of tasks, such as inflating tires, blowing leaves, and powering pneumatic tools. They are also a good choice for people who need a portable air compressor that they can easily transport.

Here are some of the advantages of using a pancake air compressor:

  • Portability: Pancake air compressors are small and lightweight, making them easy to transport.
  • Quiet operation: Pancake air compressors are relatively quiet, making them a good choice for use in residential areas.
  • Oil-free: Pancake air compressors are oil-free, which means that they do not require any maintenance.
  • Affordability: Pancake air compressors are relatively affordable, making them a good option for budget-minded users.

Here are some of the disadvantages of using a pancake air compressor:

  • Power: Pancake air compressors are not as powerful as larger air compressors, so they may not be able to handle some tasks.
  • Air delivery: Pancake air compressors have a lower air delivery rate than larger air compressors, so they may not be able to keep up with the demands of some tasks.
  • Tank capacity: Pancake air compressors have a smaller tank capacity than larger air compressors, so they may need to be refilled more often.

Overall, pancake air compressors are a good choice for people who need a portable, quiet, and affordable air compressor for basic tasks. However, if you need a more powerful air compressor for more demanding tasks, you may want to consider a larger air compressor.

What Kinds of Common Issues Can Develop With Air Compressors?

Air compressors are machines that use mechanical energy to compress air, and like any machine, they can develop problems over time. Some of the most common problems that can develop with air compressors include:

  • Air leaks: Air leaks can occur at a number of different points in an air compressor, including the valves, seals, and hoses. Air leaks can cause the compressor to lose pressure, which can lead to decreased performance and premature wear.
  • Oil leaks: Oil leaks can occur from the compressor’s crankcase or from the seals around the piston. Oil leaks can cause the compressor to overheat and can also contaminate the air that is being compressed.
  • Motor problems: The motor in an air compressor can develop problems such as bearing failure, overheating, or electrical problems. Motor problems can prevent the compressor from running or can cause it to run inefficiently.
  • Valve problems: The valves in an air compressor can become worn or damaged, which can prevent the compressor from compressing air properly. Valve problems can also cause the compressor to overheat.
  • Piston problems: The piston in an air compressor can become worn or damaged, which can prevent the compressor from compressing air properly. Piston problems can also cause the compressor to overheat.

If you notice any of these problems with your air compressor, it is important to have it serviced by a qualified technician as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and repair can help to prevent more serious problems and extend the life of your air compressor.

Here are some tips to help prevent air compressor problems:

  • Regularly inspect your air compressor for leaks.
  • Change the oil in your air compressor according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Keep your air compressor clean and free of debris.
  • Do not overload your air compressor.
  • Turn off your air compressor when it is not in use.

By following these tips, you can help to keep your air compressor running smoothly and prevent problems from developing.

Porter Cable Air Compressor Issues To Solve

If you don’t work regularly with air compressors, you’re not likely to be able to diagnose their problems well.  This means resolving them becomes a puzzle.  Here are a few of the more common ones.

What To Do About Water in Compressed Air

Water in compressed air is a common problem, and it can cause a number of issues, including:

  • Corrosion: Water can corrode metal parts in air compressors and tools, leading to premature wear and tear.
  • Microbial growth: Water can provide a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, which can contaminate the air and cause health problems.
  • Freezing: Water can freeze in cold weather, blocking air lines and causing damage to tools.
  • Product contamination: Water can contaminate products that are being sprayed or atomized with compressed air, leading to quality problems.

There are a number of things that can be done to reduce or eliminate water in compressed air, including:

  • Install a water separator: A water separator is a device that removes water from compressed air by condensing it out.
  • Use a desiccant dryer: A desiccant dryer uses a hygroscopic material to absorb water from compressed air.
  • Locate the compressor in a dry area: The lower the humidity of the air, the less water will be present in the compressed air.
  • Keep the compressor clean: A dirty compressor can trap moisture, so it is important to keep it clean and free of debris.
  • Change the oil in the compressor regularly: Old oil can contain water, so it is important to change it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

By following these tips, you can help to reduce or eliminate water in compressed air and prevent the problems that it can cause.

Here are some additional tips for preventing water in compressed air:

  • Use a compressor with a built-in water separator.
  • Install a drain valve on the compressor’s receiver tank.
  • Inspect the water separator regularly and empty it as needed.
  • Check the compressor’s oil level regularly and add oil as needed.
  • Keep the compressor in a clean and dry environment.

By following these tips, you can help to keep your compressed air dry and free of moisture, which will help to extend the life of your compressor and prevent problems.

What To Do If Your Porter Cable Air Compressor Will Not Build Air Pressure Beyond 40PSI

There are a few things you can do if your air compressor will not build pressure past 40 psi:

  1. Check for leaks. The most common reason why an air compressor will not build pressure is because of a leak. Check all of the connections in the air compressor, including the hoses, valves, and fittings. If you find a leak, tighten the connections or replace the parts as needed.
  2. Check the oil level. If the oil level in the air compressor is low, it can cause the compressor to overheat and not build pressure. Check the oil level and add oil as needed.
  3. Check the air filter. If the air filter is dirty, it can restrict the flow of air into the compressor and prevent it from building pressure. Clean or replace the air filter as needed.
  4. Check the pressure switch. The pressure switch is a safety device that shuts off the compressor when the pressure reaches a certain level. If the pressure switch is defective, it can prevent the compressor from building pressure. Check the pressure switch and replace it as needed.
  5. Check the valves. The valves in the air compressor control the flow of air into and out of the compressor. If the valves are defective, they can prevent the compressor from building pressure. Check the valves and replace them as needed.

If you have checked all of these things and your air compressor still will not build pressure past 40 psi, you may need to take it to a qualified technician for further diagnosis and repair.

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free (C2002-ECOM)
  • Made in the USA with Global Materials
  • Shipped in sturdy ecommerce-friendly packaging designed to protect the unit for secure travel
  • 150 psi max tank pressure of the portable air compressor allows more air in the tank for longer tool…

Here are some additional tips for troubleshooting an air compressor that will not build pressure:

  • Start by turning off the compressor and disconnecting the power. This will help to prevent you from getting injured if there is a problem with the compressor.
  • Once the compressor is disconnected, check for leaks. You can do this by spraying soapy water on the connections and looking for bubbles.
  • If you find a leak, tighten the connections or replace the parts as needed.  This includes the air hose, the compressor head, and the base of the compressor tank, all common areas for leaks to develop.
  • Once you have checked for leaks, turn on the compressor and see if it builds pressure. If it does not, check the oil level and add oil as needed.
  • If the oil level is correct, check the air filter and clean or replace it as needed.
  • If the air filter is clean, check the pressure switch and replace it as needed.
  • If the pressure switch is correct, check the valves and replace them as needed.
  • If you have checked all of these things and the compressor still will not build pressure, you may need to take it to a qualified technician for further diagnosis and repair.

What To Do If Your Porter Cable Air Compressor Won’t Start

There are a few things you can do if your Porter Cable air compressor won’t start:

  1. Check the power source. Make sure that the compressor is plugged in and that the power switch is turned on.  Make sure, also, the power cord is not frayed.  Check also to see if there is a loose wire.
  2. Check the circuit breaker. The circuit breaker may have tripped, which will prevent the compressor from starting. Reset the circuit breaker and try again.
  3. Check the fuse. The fuse may have blown, which will also prevent the compressor from starting. Replace the fuse and try again.
  4. Check the thermal overload protector. The thermal overload protector is a safety device that shuts off the compressor if it overheats. If the thermal overload protector is tripped, it will prevent the compressor from starting. Allow the compressor to cool down, and then try again.
  5. Check the intake filter. If the air intake filter is dirty, it can restrict the flow of air into the compressor and prevent it from starting. Clean or replace the air filter as needed.
  6. Check the oil level. If the oil level in the compressor is low, it can cause the compressor to overheat and not start. Check the oil level and add oil as needed.

If you have checked all of these things and your Porter Cable air compressor still won’t start, you may need to take it to a qualified technician for further diagnosis and repair.

Here are some additional tips for troubleshooting a Porter Cable air compressor that won’t start:

  • Start by turning off the compressor and disconnecting the power. This will help to prevent you from getting injured if there is a problem with the compressor.
  • Once the compressor is disconnected, check the power supply. Make sure that the compressor is plugged in and that the power is turned on.
  • If the power supply is correct, check the circuit breaker. The circuit breaker may have tripped, which will prevent the compressor from starting. Reset the circuit breaker and try again.
  • If the circuit breaker is correct, check the fuse. The fuse may have blown, which will also prevent the compressor from starting. Replace the fuse and try again.
  • If the fuse is correct, check the thermal overload protector. The thermal overload protector is a safety device that shuts off the compressor if it overheats. If the thermal overload protector is tripped, it will prevent the compressor from starting. Allow the compressor to cool down and then try again.
  • If the thermal overload protector is correct, check the air filter. If the air filter is dirty, it can restrict the flow of air into the compressor and prevent it from starting. Clean or replace the air filter as needed.
  • If the air filter is clean, check the oil level. If the oil level in the compressor is low, it can cause the compressor to overheat and not start. Check the oil level and add oil as needed.
  • If the oil level is correct, you may need to take the compressor to a qualified technician for further diagnosis and repair.

Just like all power tools in your shop, a regular maintenance program should be developed and adhered to so your Porter Cable Air Compressor will last a long time and serve you well.

How To Tell If You Need To Drain the Air Compressor Tank

There are a few signs that you may need to drain the air compressor tank:

  • The air compressor is making a loud noise. This could be a sign that the compressor is trying to compress water, which can damage the compressor.
  • The air compressor is not producing as much air pressure. This could be a sign that the water is interfering with the compressor’s ability to compress air.
  • There is water in the air line. The presence of water is a clear sign that you need to drain the air compressor tank and line.
  • The air compressor is leaking water. This is another clear sign that you need to drain the air compressor tank.

If you see any of these signs, you should drain the air compressor tank as soon as possible. Here are the steps on how to drain an air compressor tank:

  1. Turn off the air compressor and disconnect the power.
  2. Locate the drain valve on the tank. This is usually a small valve located on the bottom of the tank.
  3. Open the drain valve. You may need to use a wrench to open the valve.
  4. Allow the water to drain out of the tank. You can direct the water into a bucket or another container.
  5. Once the water has drained, close the drain valve.
  6. Reconnect the power and turn on the air compressor.

You should drain the air compressor tank every few months, or more often if you use the compressor in humid conditions. By draining the tank regularly, you can help to prevent damage to the compressor and keep it running smoothly.

Here are some additional tips for draining an air compressor tank:

  • Wear safety glasses when draining the tank. This will help to protect your eyes from the water and any debris that may be in the tank.
  • Be careful not to overtighten the drain valve. This could damage the valve or the tank.
  • If the water is dirty, you may want to clean the tank before refilling it. This will help to prevent the compressor from becoming contaminated.

By following these tips, you can safely and effectively drain the air compressor tank and keep your compressor running smoothly.

What To Look For On A Porter Cable Air Compressor Gauge

Porter Cable air compressors typically have two pressure gauges: a tank pressure gauge and a regulator pressure gauge.

The tank pressure gauge measures the pressure of the air in the compressor tank, while the regulator pressure gauge measures the pressure of the air that is being delivered to the air tools.

The tank pressure gauge is usually located on the front of the compressor tank, while the regulator pressure gauge is usually located on the regulator. The tank pressure gauge is typically marked in PSI (pounds per square inch), while the regulator pressure gauge is typically marked in PSI or BAR (bars).

It is important to regularly check the pressure gauges on your Porter Cable air compressor to make sure that the air pressure is within safe limits. The safe pressure limits will vary depending on the type of air compressor and the air tools that you are using.

However, most Porter Cable air compressors should not be operated at pressures above 150 PSI.

If the air pressure is too high, it could damage the air compressor or cause an explosion, and your attention should turn to the pressure release valve. If the air pressure is too low, the air compressor may not be able to provide enough power to operate air tools or other equipment.

If you notice that the air pressure is not within safe limits, you should turn off the air compressor and consult the owner’s manual for instructions on how to adjust the pressure. Start with the pressure release valve to de-pressurize quickly.

Humidity is the most common culprit when it comes to trouble-shooting air compressors, and Porter Cable models are no different.  Be aware, and when an issue develops, start there.  The above information will tell you what to look for.  

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free (C2002-ECOM)
  • Made in the USA with Global Materials
  • Shipped in sturdy ecommerce-friendly packaging designed to protect the unit for secure travel
  • 150 psi max tank pressure of the portable air compressor allows more air in the tank for longer tool…

Keeping your compressor in a low humidity environment, perhaps even with a de-humidifier nearby, can keep a lot of problems from developing.

Last update on 2024-04-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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