Outside central AC unit fan won't spin until I give it a push

Old 07-18-11, 06:43 PM
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Outside central AC unit fan won't spin until I give it a push

Bryant model 561CJ036-F central A/C unit. New in 2002. Was never the best A/C unit, but it did work good enough. Recently, I found that when the thermostat called for cool air, the compressor at the outside unit would run (sounded like a buzzing sound), but the blower fan would not spin. If I took a screwdriver and push started the fan, it would spin up to operating speed and run fine. A/C would then blow cool inside as usual. With the unit powered down, the fan itself would spin freely if hand spun. There was no grinding, resistance or wobble to the fan spinning without power (i.e. fan bearings seem fine). Read a bunch of posts on the forum and it seems like it could be the capacitor. Opened the control panel. Externally, the capacitor looks fine, no bulging, leaking, etc. I know that doesn't mean too much though. Its what I think is a 'dual run' capacitor. Looks like a small can of Red Bull with three terminals on the top. I have great pics, but I can't yet post pics to my thread (I have an email in to the moderator to figure out how to do this).
So my questions are:
Would this be the only capacitor? (I don't see anything else that resembles a capacitor). Should I change this part out and see if it fixes it? Would taking meter readings of the capacitor help to determine if it's bad?

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,

Old 07-18-11, 06:59 PM
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yes, it is the capacitor and is a dual-run capacitor for both the fan and compressor. Often only one side fails, not both. Remove and replace it. Capacitors are much much cheaper than buying a meter that will check capacitance.

Old 08-16-14, 10:10 AM
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I had the exact same thing happen to me. The fan would only spin if I gave it a little push. Based on this forum, I figured it was the capacitor, but I didn't know where it was. Since this was my first time working on an A/C unit, I made the mistake of thinking it was in the motor unit itself. After I disassembled the motor I learned it wasn't there! Whoops. On my unit there is a side panel for the electronics. I removed two screws, pulled off the metal panel, and the capacitor was easily identifiable. I would recommend taking note (or a picture) of the wiring before you unplug everything. I went to Amazon and found a brand new replacement for $25. Worked like a charm.
Old 08-16-14, 11:36 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Glad you were able to make your repair with our help.

As this is an old thread.... we'll put it back to rest.

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