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simple test and simple fix. most likely the foot ball has a leak around the nipple. easy to test with soap suds. if it leaks air, then the hose won't supply enough air pressure to depress the piston on the electrical air switch. if that's the case, you could easily test by disconnecting the hose from the ball and blow slightly to see if it turns on or engages the piston and switch. 9 times out of 10 the ball is the issue.
in a real pinch, a turkey baster can work. but a blow ball used for blowing the dust out of drilled holes is better. home depot carries the hilti one and it comes in handy for drilling holes, sucking out water from a pipe and even a foot pedal air bulb.