Replacing a Digital Compressor Regulator

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Just by the fact that there are so many makes and models of air compressors this guide about replacing a digital compressor regulator has to be a bit general. Regardless, the guidance and tips provided will assist you should your digital air compressor regulator stop functioning.

Your digital air compressor may have an integral ON/OFF switch with the digital controls. If that integral ON/OFF switch has failed, then you may be required to replace the ON/OFF switch as well as the digital regulator. If your air compressor is one of these, this page about replacing a compressor switch will help.

Also, we are taking about replacing a digital compressor regulator, not removing and re-installing the same type that is on your air compressor already. The cost of these replacements is prohibitive in our opinion. We want to reduce cost and simplify.

Replacing a Digital Compressor Regulator

Let’s understand a bit more about the flow of air from the compressor tank to the point where you use it, and what’s in between, to help replacing the digital compressor regulator.

There will have to be an air line, or more likely a metal nipple, which typically is welded into the tank. The compressed air will flow from the tank out this nipple.

Next in line of air flow from tank to use will be the electronic or digital compressor regulator. Typically there will be a screen showing the pressure setting of the regulator, and a + or button or indicator that allows the user to either increase the pressure setting for the downstream air by pushing on the + button, or reduce the downstream pressure by pushing on the button.

Here is an example of one digital compressor regulator.

Replacing a digital compressor regulator -

Some compressors may have different style pressure adjustment buttons or pads. Essentially, they all work the same way though the appearance of yours may vary.

The plumbing from the tank to the regulator and to the discharge coupler – the device into which you plug your air line – is typically behind a plastic cover or shroud on the compressor – so you cannot easilty see that the air line / pipe from the the tank connects to one side or one port on the digital regulator, and on through it to the discharge coupler.

There will also be a power supply to the digital regulator.

Beginning Steps to Replacing a Digital Compressor Regulator

  1. Unplug the power cord to the compressor
  2. Open the tank drain and bleed off all air in the compressor
  3. Remove the cover which unfortunately, is sometimes quite difficult
  4. Identify the pipe or air line that exits the tank and which allows air to flow to the digital regulator.

This done, determine how the digital regulator is threaded onto this pipe, and how the air is connected to the discharge coupler feed. You will need to completely disassemble this so that you can remove the digital regulator in its entirety.

Determine where the power to the digital regulator originates on the compressor, and completely remove the power supply lines so that when the compressor is plugged back in, no bare or dangerous power situations are present.

Next Steps to Replacing a Digital Compressor Regulator

  1. Determine the thread size on the nipple from the tank – typically this will be 1/8″ or 1/4″ NPT, but then, it may not be. If in doubt, take the digital regulator with you to the store and use brass fittings from the plumbing section there to help identify the thread size in the regulator, and that will be the same size as the nipple from the tank
  2. Acquire brass adapters, bushings, nipples, elbows (a bunch of fittings) to allow you to plumb the tank air line through or around it so that when the pump cover is reattached you will have access to the air line from the tank. I always buy way too many and then take the extras back rather than having to make repeated trips to the store as I run out of the one I needed!
  3. The end result will probably be ugly. Get over it! The idea is to get your compressor working again, not win an engineering beauty contest! 🙂
  4. While you are at the store, acquire a mini-air regulator, or better yet, a combination regulator / filter like the one shown below
Mini air filter and regulator -

You can just get a manual air regulator, but it always helps to have a filter to remove air borne particulates and free water from the air line.

The regulator will typically be a 1/8″ port size, and come equipped with an air gauge.

Air is supplied to one side of the regulator from the tank, and the other side of the regulator is then plumbed to the discharge coupling.

  1. Attach the regulator to the air line / nipple / fittings from the air tank making sure that the arrow on the regulator points away from the tank and towards the line to the discharge coupler
  2. Thread the supplied air gauge in the regulator port that allows you to see it once you have added the regulator to the .
  3. Plumb the air line / nipple / fittings from the regulator to the discharge coupler(s). You might as well position them using the various fittings so that it is most conveniently located for you
  4. If you have a filter, make sure that the bowl is pointed towards the ground as water and debris will collect in the bottom and you don’t want it blown back into the air stream through the filter

Now, once you have attached the discharge coupler, and made sure you do not have any bare or dangerous wires that had been powering the digital regulator, and you have closed the tank drain, power on the compressor.

Again, if the ON/OFF switch was part of the digital regulator control, then by removing the digital regulator you have likely removed the ON/OFF switch and replacing it is covered on this page about replacing a compressor switch.

Good luck, and do leave comments about how successful you were so that others with the same problem can be motivated to fix it.

By Ashley Pearce

As a passionate manufacturing and mechanical engineer, I've had my fair share of run ins with air compressors and compressed air systems. With over a decade of experience in the industry, I have both a fresh perspective and time-served hands and mind to help you with your compressor problems (along with our able community!)

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February 26, 2017 8:32 pm

Hello. I have 10 gallon oil less compressor and the digital component has stopped working. It fills but does not release air. I want to install a regular pressure switch and a regulator. The issue is my tank only has an input from the motor and an out put for air. Do I need to use small air release on the pressure switch ?
Thank you!

Fix My Compressor Moderator
Fix My Compressor Moderator
Reply to  John
February 27, 2017 9:41 am

I am understanding that you are referring to the digital regulator? I have moved your question to that page and there is info there for you. If, by the “small air release” question you refer to the unloading of the air over the piston, yes, unless there is another unloader on your model of compressor, there will need to be one.

April 5, 2016 8:03 pm

I have a compressor with a digital regulator, pressure switch and power switch all in one. It is a horrible setup that doesn’t work well for multiple reasons, in particular it is all made of plastic and leaks. I want to replace this with dial gauges and a normal knob type regulator and do away with all the electronics/plastic.
Has anyone done something like this? I can’t find any info on it with google but I may be searching for the wrong terms. It seems simple enough: remove the old parts, get the right size pressure switch and connect the motor wires, install a regulator and filter and the coupling.
Is it as simple as I make it sound or should I not even try this repair?

Fix My Compressor Moderator
Fix My Compressor Moderator
Reply to  Andrew
April 6, 2016 1:30 pm

Hey Andrew, good question, and it’s prompted us to add a page about replacing a digital compressor regulator. We have moved your post to that page. Enjoy and let us know if it helps.