Air compressor blows fuses

I have a 15 amp air compressor that does a terrific job keeping my air pressures to recommended levels however it frequently blows fuses in both my 2010 Highlander and my 2006 LS 430 Lexus. It appears that a direct connection to the battery is the only recourse. Are the adapters that permit direct connection of the compressor mail cigarette connector to the battery via a female cigarette lighter connector safe and a reasonable alternative to stocking up on 15 amp fuses every time I want to top off my tire pressures?

You most likely have at least one “accessory outlet” in those cars, in addition to the so-called cigarette lighter outlet. (The accessory outlets could be located in the center console or in the cargo area, or both.) I mention this because the accessory outlets frequently will accommodate higher amperage tools than the cigarette lighter outlet.

On my car (2011 Outback), if I plug my air compressor into the cig lighter outlet, it will blow the fuse, but if I plug it into either of the accessory outlets, there is no problem. Give my suggestion a try before you resort to a direct battery connection.

VDCdriver is spot-on.

It’s not uncommon to need to get an adapter to go directly to the battery.
See this link for an example:

As long as the adapter is fused, no problem. For that matter, you could probably safely bump the fuse that’s blowing up to a 20A, but don’t quote me on that, as I don’t know if the wiring to the socket is rated for that much current.

Is the fuse blowing as soon as you start the compressor, or after it’s run for a while? Does the plug on the compressor get hot at all? And finally, many of these plugs have an integral fuse as well–if your compressor has a fuse, do you know what amperage it is?

Continuous current draw at the fused limit might cause damage to an expensive harness. I would suggest using alligator clips connected directly to the battery.

I wouldn’t mess around blowing fuses, tempting fate with bigger ones or using the car battery at all. I use my auxillary jumper battery for dc air compressors or my AC compressor from an extension or a compressed air tank. Don’t mess with your car fuses. All jump start batteries that I have seen have an accessory outlet. This is a good use for a back up battery as you are more inclined to keep it charged. Jump batteries as an accessory are best thing since sliced bread.

I have not had good luck with batteries with built in compressor. You got a good dc compressor ? Keep it and put your money into a good auxiliary battery with a built in light.

oblivion wrote:
For that matter, you could probably safely bump the fuse that’s blowing up to a 20A, but don’t quote me on that, as I don’t know if the wiring to the socket is rated for that much current.

I strongly recommend against trying this.

Other than the suggestion to increase the fuse size, I appreciate all the input. The compressor appears to blow a fuse after the first tire. Usually I run it about 30 seconds to one minute and then at the second tire the compressor is dead as a result of a dead outlet. Yes, I have been using the cigarette outlet and not the accessory outlet which is down in the console box and a 2nd in the lower section of the center console box of the rear seat in the Lexus… In the Highlander, I believe he accessory socket is the one in the cargo area. That definitely blew after I tried pumping the tires of the Highlander. I did also use the ashtray socket for the front tires but I don’t recall the sequence. Now that I have a supply of 15 amp fuses I’ll go ahead and experiment with each vehicle. I ordered some battery clamp type sockets for the battery but I’ll hold off in using them. The one reader suggested a Schumacher brand but it was out of stock. I ordered mine from Amazon. My older air compressor takes forever and a day to pump the tires and that’s why I went to the higher capacity 15 amp variety. I don’t believe it has its own fuse. The compressor does work after I replace the vehicle fuses. Excuse any typos as I am using voice recognition on my iTouch five

My vote is for connecting directly to the battery.
Even a steady 12 amp draw on a 15 amp circuit is going to be a problem due to heat; not even factoring in surge current. You do not want a wire in the harness to melt its way through into another in the loom and cause all kinds of expensive electrical grief.

This might be the best solution, although it will cost you a little more money:

I bought one locally that’s branded “Peak” for about $40 and it works great. It will easily top off all 4 tires on my car and have plenty in reserve for starting a car. Bear in mind you’re not going to start a huge truck with a totally dead battery with one like mine.

I had a real cheap one that clipped to the battery directly and I plugged my vacuum cleaner into it. It had a nice coil of wire on it too.

Anyone have any comments about that Clore JNC 300 XL ultraportable battery backup? Handles 900amps. That price point looks very good and it looks pretty sturdy. That might just be what I need. I’m inclined to separate the functions of the battery and the air compressor. Some reviewers have stated they have had poor luck with the combination units. It probably keeps it much lighter to separate them as well.

@GatorRay: I’m not familiar with that unit. I bought mine at a brick n’ mortar store when they were on sale without knowing any reviews. For yours I’d look at an online retailer and see how other people that bought it and reviewed it rated it and why.

That your car does not provide auxiliary out let’s that allow the use of your higher demand compressor, tells you something. They don’t feel the draw off your car for that purpose is appropriate. Compressors of higher output, though convienient, should run off their own source ( battery) or be AC. Boats deal with this all of the time. They have auxiliary batteries as a solution., for trolling motors and pumps etc… Keep using it that way will create problems later. The fuses are not magic illicsers and using a circuit to it’s limits that blows fuses can result in long term problems. Attaching everything directly to a battery is worth while if auto provided the appropriate means. They don’t…get another battery or get an AC power station.

Amazon reviewers 499 rate it 4+/5. I’m gonna order one.

How about about an “air station” mini aircompressor(works off 110V)or a 6gallon pancake compressor,can more then airup all my cartires on one tank and it will nailguns and the like also-Kevin

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I still think 15A is a pretty wimpy circuit for accessory use. 20A is not that much of a current draw for a modern car. A rear defroster, heated seats, etc. all use more current than that. The ABS pump and radiator fans on my car both are fused 50A circuits. Each HID headlamp has a separate 50A fuse. Each of the 2 power outlets have a 20A fuse. You get the idea…

My thoughts are that the current to the power outlets is probably more limited due to the obsolete lighter socket and adapter plug designs that we’re apparently stuck with. These often have a very poor connection when operating and I’ve observed some high draw equipment making the plugs fairly hot. We’ve been stuck with this design for over 70 years I think. Maybe it’s time to modernize this connector.

@GatoRRay " I’m gonna order one"
Backup batteries can last for many years if you keep them charge, which just requires checking them once a month or two, store them inside in the winter. It’s just real nice security for your own cars and toys and if some one else asks for a jump start, you just hand him the back battery without any worry. I like this instead of hooking your “new” car up to his jalopy. Or the other way around. Good choice. The simpler the better.

According to SAE J2077, an automotive fuse will open after about 100 hours at 110% rated amps which would be 16.5 amps for your 15 amp fuse. It is possible that your air compressor’s current rating is in error or else there is a problem with it.