Outside AC unit will not cut on anymore.


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Old 07-25-12, 05:30 AM
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Outside AC unit will not cut on, therm works.

Hi, I'm new to the site. I've always used these forums to help but never had registered myself.

However after another problem with my AC I can't find te answers as I normally can.

Im not knowledgable about the unit but I learn fast.

My outside unit has apparently stopped working sometime yesterday. It has been running fine. The only other issue it has ever had was about 3 months ago I had to replace a light switch in the attic because that switch went bed.


I didn't notice it wasn't on until last night when I noticed it was really warm. The thermostat was on and the fan was running. But the outside unit isn't turning on.


I checked the breakers outside and inside. I tried tripping and resetting the breakers. I had someone try to turn it on while I was outside. And I hear no noise or click of it trying to cut on.

It has been record breaking tenpetures recently. Although it had cooled down over the last week.

This happened so suddenly I'm hoping it's a cheap fix.


Any help is appreciated a lot. Thanks in advance!
 

Last edited by stephgray84; 07-25-12 at 05:50 AM.
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Old 07-25-12, 05:49 AM
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Also I just checked to see if the fans would spin on their own when not on. And they rotate fine.

I cut the thermostat off for about 45 mins and tried turning it back on as well... still nothing.


And incase it matters. I have a 2 unite system with a downstairs and upstairs unit. The downstairs unit does the exact same things. But the downstairs unit has been messed up for over a year. As odd as it sounds the downstairs isnt used as much so it hasnt been an issue.

I have no idea what is going on or how to fix it.
 
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Old 07-25-12, 05:59 AM
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Before attempting anything make sure that power to the unit is disconnected. You will be playing around in areas with high voltage and fans that can turn on automatically. The power must be disconnected.

A common failure is for the capacitor to go bad. Luckily it's relatively inexpensive. In the outside unit there is a compressor and fan motor and both need a capacitor. It's usually combined into one big capacitor that looks like a can. Do you have a way of testing a capacitor? You will need a volt meter or better yet a tester that has a capacitor test function, or you can try taking it to a HVAC company and see if they will test it for you. Important: Before disconnecting any wires make sure you write down what wires connect to what terminal on the capacitor. Hooking it up wrong can severely damage the unit turning a $20 repair into thousands.

Also, if you have an electronic thermostat check to see if it takes batteries. If so try installing new batteries. That's probably not it since you said the inside fan was running but it's so cheap and simple it's worth a try.
 
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Old 07-25-12, 06:32 AM
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Thanks.

The thermostats dont take batteries and im pretty sure both function properly.

When I had to replace the light switch in the attic for the power to the units... before I figured that out I switched my downstairs and upstairs thermostats. And they both worked.

I'm not familiar with the capacitor. I have been reading that while googling this problem though. I think I may have someone who can test those for me free of charge. Hopefully this is the issue.

I cant find a fuse box anywhere on the outside of the unit.... Is there possibly a fusebox inside the unit?
 
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Old 07-25-12, 07:09 AM
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You may have a fused disconnect. It would be an electrical box next to the condenser unit. Opening the lid on the disconnect often won't show the fuses. They are hidden in a pull out cartridge that serves to disconnect the power to the condenser when the cartridge is removed.

I've never seen a standard fuse inside a condenser that would be user serviceable. If a fusible link inside the unit opened, you need a repairman to come out and fix it (and whatever caused the link to blow).
 
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Old 07-25-12, 07:36 AM
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OK UPDATE!


So I opened up the upstairs outside unit and the capacitor looked bloated. I could hear a hum so I attempted to give the fans a manual start by pushing them... the AC unit instantly started up. So now I know its the capacitor.

However I opened up the downstairs outside unit and the capacitor looks in mint condition compared to the other one. Although I believe I see some wires that look like they may have been cut on accident.


THANKS AGAIN... I only had to suffer one day with the issue. And apparently I can get around the capacitor until I replace it so I can have my AC now. Thanks again!
 
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Old 07-25-12, 07:41 AM
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The capacitor can be bad and still look good. The only way to tell for sure is to test it.
 
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Old 07-25-12, 09:02 AM
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I have someone who is going to test both for me this evening.

However now that I have the unit on and fan spinning again. The tempeture will not seem to get cold. The unit is running now but its not giving cold air.

It was 83 in here when I got the unit running again and its been on for about an hour... and now its 84... even though the thermostat is set at 75.



Is that still capacitor related or that freon? It was cold just yesterday afternoon before it stopped working.
 

Last edited by stephgray84; 07-25-12 at 09:04 AM. Reason: more information
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Old 07-25-12, 11:30 AM
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If you mean you got the fan on the outside unit turning it could be the compressor. Both the fan and compressor need the capacitor. The capacitor is basically two capacitors built into one can and one or both can be bad. It sounds like you got lucky and hand propped the fan to get it going but the compressor is a sealed unit so it must have the capacitor.
 
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Old 07-25-12, 11:38 AM
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thats probably exactly what it is... so theres a good chance I can replace the capacitor and then it will allow power to the compressor again which will allow it to get cold again, correct?


assuming my capacitor is bad... I have yet to be able to actually test it. But it looks very bloated.
 
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Old 07-25-12, 11:48 AM
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If it's swollen...it's bad...no doubt. Smaller ones (and ones not so small) in the electronics I worked on in the Navy normally let you know they were bad by the blown out chunks or oil they left behind....but those were in high voltage use.

I doubt anyone would even go to the trouble to test it...one look and they'd say replace.
 
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Old 07-25-12, 11:49 AM
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Oh.....and I hope you've cut the power to the system?
 
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Old 07-25-12, 12:04 PM
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OP said:

"Although I believe I see some wires that look like they may have been cut on accident."


That statement bothers me. Usually when the thermostat calls for cold, The contactor in the outside unit closes to provide power to the motors. OP said that no noise was heard when at unit and someone else lowered the thermostat.

One or more broken low voltage wires could be the problem.
 
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Old 07-25-12, 12:09 PM
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That was the second unit Goldstar. It was a bit confusing...but since the fan started after a spin on the main unit....I think the contactor is getting control voltage.

As I always try to say...one problem/one project at at a time.
 
 

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