Craftsman Compressor Woes

I have small compressor from sears (http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_UseBVCookie=Yes&vertical=TOOL&pid915310000&subcat=Air+Compressors+%26+Inflators). I got it for Christmas last year and it gets light use (childrens toys, tires, molding nail gun, etc). I went to use it this weekend and it plain sounded sick as if the engine was struggling to get up to speed. Than it poped the breaker. I changed outlets to a higher amp circuit (20amp instead of 15amp) - the unit is rated at 10amp I seem to recall. It exhibited the same symptoms as when it was plugged into the 20amp circuit including poping the breaker.
Does this problem sound like anything that can be fixed on my end (i.e. something plugged up, etc). I verified it does indeed have the proper amount of oil although I am not 100% sure if this is oil for the engine or for mixing with the air. What could cause a problem like this?
The unit costs around $99.00 - I would imagine a service call if parts are needed would come close to the $99.00 spent on this unit.
Any advise? Amy
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Is it cold outside? Could it be so cold that the oil thickened and is putting strain on the motor to start it? I had a cheap little compressor that would struggle below 35, not run under about 20 degrees.
Could be some other problems like sticking valves that would probably cost more to fix that the compressor costs new.
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Edwin,
Thanks - that's a very good thought it is about <30 farenheight outside. I will bring it inside and warm it up and see what happens.
Amy.
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Yeah, don't these use single weight oil? If so, as was pointed out, it won't be able to handle the cold temps. If it was busy inside and then taken outside it might be okay depending on how much it's running outside to keep the oil warmed up.
Check the manual if you can run multi-weight oil.
A nice ad-on would be one of those block heaters that fit into the freeze plugs of diesel engines. But that would require a battery.
Mike
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Amazingly I have the exact same compressor which was bought about the same time and suffers the exact same fate (tripping breakers and all). On cold days it either sounds horriable and goes ahead and does its job or if its really cold it will just buzz and maybe run a lick once in a while. Warm days the unit runs as expected. In my case I usually left mine unplugged in the outside building which made it a PITA when I needed it to pump 4 wheeler tires etc... on cold days. Now I have a nozzle on it (which leaks some on purpose) so the unit will run every so often hopefully keeping the engine oil somewhat warm and functioning properly. Sadly it will still trip the breaker once in a while on cold nights.
Bryan

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What could cause a problem like this?
The cold. I have a pretty decent compressor -- a DeVilbiss cast iron, belt driven -- which does not like temps below about 30. If I have to run it when it's cold, and it trips a breaker, I drain the tank. That way, the pump is halfway warmed up via its own friction before it has to work against pressure.
One weekend was so cold I wound up holding a hair dryer against the block for about 15 minutes before trying it. Worked fine afterward.

Relax. You'll probably get plenty of service out of it yet.

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I wanted to send a follow-up post on this and say Thank you. You were all absolutely right. The issue was that the compressor was too cold to operate when stored in the garage. I brought the unit inside for a couple of days and tested it out this morning and it worked like a champ.
Amy

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Thanks Amy for the close-out report.

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