Coils Frozen and Fan will not turn on


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Old 06-12-14, 10:29 PM
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Coils Frozen and Fan will not turn on

We have an American Standard Heritage 13 heat pump / AC

Putting the kids to bed around 8:30 I noticed that the air was running. However, around 11:30 it seemed a bit warm. I checked the thermostat and it was set at 72 but the temperature was reading 75*. I tried turning the temperature down but it did not kick in. I went in to the basement and found ice at the gaps between the insulation for the copper pipe. I opened up the main unit and it was iced over. This happened a few times years back (7 or more years ago) but never since.

I managed to get some of the ice off and more started falling off rapidly. Within 30 minutes one side is 90%+ clear and the other is about 75% clear.

I went online to check for recommendations and one repeated often was to turn on the house fan to keep air circulating to help melt the ice. I tried turning it on but with no luck.

I looked inside the unit and the the wires and contacts were all well above the ice and I did not see that any water dripped on them.

There are 2 breakers in the unit. One 60A and a 30A. Neither was tripped but I did switch them off then back on after about 30 seconds. I also tried that on the main breaker.

I also attempted to turn the heat on but that did nto start the fan. The fan at the outside unit is not turning on either.

Just now I tried the AC and the fan again. I went to check and heard a noise and could see that the motor near the top of the unit was trying to turn over. It would try spinning a few times and then start. I can actually see it rotating about a 1/2".

Is it just not defrosted enough. From what I saw in other posts it seems like the fan would still run even if the coils are frozen.

Anyone have any thoughts on this.

Thanks,

Jim
 
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Old 06-12-14, 10:51 PM
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This is a quick update to what I wrote above. I looked at the fan in the unit inside the house. While I could see it try and spin it did not. I really couldn't tell which direction it was trying to spin.

When it was shut down and breaker off I tried manually spinning the motor and it moved freely and without any noise.

I turned the power back. Now when I turn the AC on and the thermostat is below the room temperature the outside unit does turn on including the fan. However, the inside an just keeps making the noise of trying to spin.

Jim
 
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Old 06-12-14, 11:09 PM
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Jim..... you wrote us a short story. If the air is not moving across the coil in the furnace..... the coil will ice up. You may just need to replace the fan motor capacitor which will be located in the blower compartment. If it isn't that then the blower motor is shot.
 
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Old 06-12-14, 11:27 PM
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Sorry, I tend to get long-winded when I'm overly tired.

Is there an easy way to check to see if the capacitor is shot? Any idea where in the blower compartment I would find the capacitor? I do not see an owner's manual with the unit and I am still checking their website.
 
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Old 06-12-14, 11:42 PM
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A motor could be $100-$200. A capacitor is around $20. You don't know if it's bad until you change it. Remove the blower door and look in there.
 
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Old 06-13-14, 03:30 AM
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A capacitor can be checked with a volt - ohm meter . Do you have one ? Do you know how to use it ?

Turn the power off . When you find the capacitor , take photos of the way it is wired , before you remove it .

Be careful and not touch the terminals , some can hold a charge for a while ( if it does not have a bleed down resister connected between the terminals ) .

If you decide to replace it , take the old one with you so the counter person can match it .

Wire the new one back , the way the old one was .

If that doesn't fix it , likely time for a motor .

As has been said , it iced up because the fan quit & lack of air flow .

God bless
Wyr
 
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Old 06-13-14, 04:35 AM
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That sounds like a Variable speed motor problem not a psc.
 
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Old 06-13-14, 07:52 AM
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Jim.... can you post the model number on the air handler. If it's a variable speed motor in there like Kevin said.... it's going to be a more involved and expensive repair. You wouldn't find a capacitor to check either.
 
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Old 06-13-14, 04:46 PM
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I do see a small capacitor but is attached to a small circuit board.

The model number is TWE037E13FB2. It's an American Standard Heritage 13 SEER

I don't think it is a variable speed based on the sound. The only time I hear a difference in sound or feel a difference in the air flow is when it is starting up or shutting down. We've never noticed any variation in air flow.

What physical size am I looking for in a capacitor? I took a pic of the board and wiring if that helps.

Thank you everyone!

Jim
 
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Old 06-13-14, 04:53 PM
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Capacitors are usually round or elliptical and are usually 1-2 inches in diameter. They are almost always mounted in a "stand-alone" configuration (not mounted to a circuit board). What you described is not the capacitor in question.
 
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Old 06-13-14, 05:06 PM
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https://plus.google.com/photos/11481...51440981729673

Here's a link to the picture I took.

There are some wires back behind the breakers. I'll look back there for a larger capcitor Bob. thanks.

Jim
 
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Old 06-13-14, 05:30 PM
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Here is a link to a picture of the spec label on the motor.

https://plus.google.com/photos/11481...51440981729673
 
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Old 06-13-14, 05:51 PM
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Old 06-13-14, 05:56 PM
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So it is a variable speed?

Does Trane own American Standard, or the other way around?

Thank you for the links PJ.

So how do I know if it the motor, the control panel or something else?
 
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Old 06-13-14, 06:02 PM
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When I look online for that motor I find that some also have that the people that bought that motor also bought a particular GE Capacitor. is the capacitor possibly under the cover of the motor?
 
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Old 06-13-14, 06:30 PM
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Are these the capacitors that I need to possibly replace? https://plus.google.com/photos/11481...51440981729673
 
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Old 06-13-14, 07:13 PM
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I don't know that motor well enough to make a recommendation. The forum pro, Houston, should stop thru.
 
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Old 06-13-14, 10:25 PM
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To do it yourself, you need to verify the motor spins freely and to wiggle the shaft to prove there is no play whatsoever. What you "may" have is a bad control module which is a lot cheaper than a new motor. A lot of techs that I have met, just replace the entire thing so they can move on to the next job.
 
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Old 06-14-14, 02:44 AM
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Sorry for the bad advice . :-(

The blower motors I have worked on were " old school : with the capacitor & not variable speed motors .

The variable frequency drives I have messed with were 3 phase , kind of a different animal .

God bless
Wyr
 
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Old 06-14-14, 05:00 AM
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The motor does spin freely. I checked that the other day. I did not hear any sounds of bad bearings either.

I just checked and there was no play in the motor shaft.

So it sounds like I'm going to have to have a repair guy out. ugh. I hope we have a cool weekend.
 
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Old 06-14-14, 06:08 AM
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Jim, the last picture you posted showing the circuit board with the large capacitors makes me think that you may have an ECM motor. Is the module in the last picture attached to the back of the motor?

I have a York high efficiency furnace that uses an ECM blower motor. My blower motor died in the middle of winter. Fortunately, the furnace was still under warranty, although I had to pay for the service call. The module on the back of the motor was bad, however the tech replaced the entire assembly (motor + control module) since it was under warranty. If you have an ECM motor, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the motor + module is over $1000. The module alone usually goes for $400-$500.

The good news is that there is a common failure mode on these modules. The part that often fails is the thermistor. It's the small, black, round part with 2 leads that's located between the coil (ferrite bead with wires) and the heatsink. Check to see if the thermistor is cracked or burned. If it is, that is likely your problem. You can buy a new thermistor for under $3. If you have a soldering iron, you can replace it relatively easily. If you determine that is your problem, I can give you info on what to order.
 
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Old 06-14-14, 07:02 AM
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Bob, that is attached to the end of the motor. I see the part that you mean I think. About the size of a nickel? Unfortunately that is not cracked and does not look burnt.

I just turned the unit on the side and saw a tag that says GE ECM motors. ECM 2.3 CN02. It also has Home - The Dealer Toolbox on the label but I cannot find the part on that site.

And of course I have no way of knowing if the module is bad.

Is it possible that the unit froze up from low freon (we had several very humid days) and that ice/water shorted out something else?
 
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Old 06-14-14, 07:13 AM
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Would a technician be able to determine if the module was bad?
 
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Old 06-14-14, 08:57 AM
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Jim, there is such a thing as an ECM module tester. The tech who worked on my furnace said that all of the other techs from his HVAC company had them except for him. However, in my case, the thermistor was clearly burned & cracked. whatever company you call, tell them you suspect the ECM control module is bad and ask if they have a tester. If they don't, then call another company. While anything is possible, from what I've read, it's rare for the motor itself to go bad (other than noisy bearings), so it's most likely the module. Others have reported burned up traces on the back of the control unit circuit board, so you might want to pull the board out of it's housing and take a look at the bottom. If there is a burned trace or bad solder joint, you can solder in a piece of wire to replace the blown trace. I'm a retired electrical engineer, so I have no qualms about doing this kind of thing. If you see something obvious and don't feel up to repairing it yourself (burned trace, loose solder joint, etc.), you could try taking it to a TV repair shop and tell them what you want done. They should know how to repair/solder a circuit board.

Good Luck!!!
 
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Old 06-16-14, 07:13 AM
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HI Bob,

No burned traces on the back. It looks clean.

ugh

Jim
 
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Old 06-16-14, 10:33 AM
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Jim,
That's too bad. It would have been nice if it was something obvious. Since you have the module and motor out, perhaps you could bring the module to a HVAC contractor site to have the module checked. That might save you the cost of a service call. Either way, it looks like you'll have to contact a repair technician to figure out what's wrong.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 09:21 AM
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Well it was cool weather for a bit but finally called in an HVAC place that had very good reviews. Plus no service charge. They came out and found that it was the motor that was bad and NOT the ecm controller. I opted to have the new ecm controller installed anyway and kept the original as a back up. The A/C ran great for a day. Then some point last night the fan stopped again and the coils from. This time, however, it is different.

I removed both front covers so I could see what was going on. Where before the motor sort of jerked an inch or so this time it runs at a low speed for a minute or 2 then kicks out. It did not get up to full speed.

At one point I started to replace the top cover and the fan started going faster. I thought it might be from the pressure of drawing in from an enclosed area and not an open one. Twice it built up to a much faster speed, but still not full speed, with the top cover in place. However, as soon as a started to put on the bottom cover to completely close it up it would suck in the cover to the opening, the fan would rev up to what sounded like full speed, and then cut out within 5 or so seconds. It tried this twice and it did it both times.

Whenever it would cut out it would not try and turn back on right away. It would wait a minute or more before it would try again.

I then took both covers off and then, after it had been running for a few minutes, I put the top cover back on and it did run faster but only for about 5 minutes before shutting off again.

I tried to take off the new ECM controller to put on the old one but I do not have the correct wrench size (6.5mm). I'm waiting for a neighbor to get back home and hope he has one. I can't get any adjustable wrench in there unless I pull off the whole side panel.

I find it too much of a coincidence that this happened twice so I am wondering if something else could have caused the old motor to go and doing it with the new one.

Anyone have any thoughts on this.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 11:19 AM
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Ok, with a bit of electrical tape I was able to make a 1/4" socket work. I took off the new ECM module and put the old one back on and everything is working again.

yeah!

Is this just a matter of the new module was faulty or could this be a sign that something else is not working properly which is what caused the old motor to die and the new module to die?

thanks!

Jim
 
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Old 06-29-14, 11:33 AM
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Jim, glad to hear you got it working again using your old ECM module. I suspect that the two failures aren't related and that it was just luck (bad luck) that the new ECM module died. If either two motors or two ECM modules died, then I'd be suspicious, but seeing as it was one of each, I'd chalk it up to bad luck.
 
 

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