Outside unit does not run or make any noise

Reply

  #1  
Old 09-09-14, 07:35 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
Outside unit does not run or make any noise

Hi, thank you for having this website and helping people. I have learned a lot about my AC, but do not know where to go from here.

The unit outside does not run or make any noise. The inside fan unit runs. It is an old unit. The inside says HEIL, but the outside unit has been painted and I do not see any maker marks. I bought the house two years ago and the outside unit did not run then. AC guy came out and said something about corrosion on wires and did something to them and the unit started working. I do not remember if it made a buzzing or humming noise then. I have tried flipping the breakers in the main electrical box, the one next to the inside unit and the one outside with no results. I even replaced the batteries in the tstat. So I gathered up the courage to open up the outside unit (I've been electrocuted in the past by a freezer door handle, almost killed me). I was hoping it was the capacitor, I was all ready to change it, but I did not see any bulging. Please take a look at the pictures and give me some steps of what to do next. Thank you.
 
Attached Images    
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 09-09-14, 07:48 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 50,554
Likes Received: 107
Welcome to the forums.

It sounds more like a problem with the contactor not the capacitor.
You'll need to turn power off to the unit and check the contacts on the contactor for burning/corrosion.
 
  #3  
Old 09-09-14, 08:16 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
Thanks for the reply. OK which one is the contactor? Do I just pull off each wire connected to it and replace? After I trip the breaker in the box and the one outside do I need to touch the contactor with anything first so I do not get shocked?
 
  #4  
Old 09-09-14, 08:48 AM
Bob14525's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 1,444
Likes Received: 4
It's hard to say exactly from your pictures, however it appears that the contactor is the black object to the right of the large black capacitor. A contactor is really just a relay. When the thermostat calls for cooling, it sends 24VAC to the contactor coil (electromagnet) which then pulls the contacts closed, sending 240VAC to the compressor and condenser fan. Many contactors have a small "button" in the middle that allows you to manually press the contacts closed. If your contactor has the "button", using an insulated object (piece of plastic or wood), try pushing in on the button (power turned ON) and see if the outside unit starts up. If it does, then either the contactor is bad, or you're not getting the 24VAC control voltage at the contactor. You would need a voltmeter to determine which it is (bad contactor or no 24VAC control voltage). Unlike a capacitor, a contactor does not store a charge, so there's no need to discharge it. However, you may want to discharge the capacitors before touching any wires, just to be sure there is no voltage present. You should have an outside disconnect box near the outside unit. You should turn that off as well as turning off the circuit breaker when working on the unit. There's no such thing as being too cautious.
 
  #5  
Old 09-09-14, 09:13 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
OK. Thank you. I will try that in a few hours and let you know how it goes.
 
  #6  
Old 09-09-14, 02:59 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
So I looked and could not see a button to press, there was a lot of rust though. I did hear a click when I put the tstat to cool. Tomorrow maybe I'll have the courage to take the contactor out and look at/ replace it. Do you think the click is indicative of a bad contactor? Thank you again for the help.
 
  #7  
Old 09-09-14, 03:05 PM
Bob14525's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 1,444
Likes Received: 4
Did you hear the click indoors (near the thermostat) or outdoors (near the compressor/condenser)? It's normal to hear a click from the thermostat when it calls for heating or cooling (it's the relays in the thermostat engaging). Do you have a voltmeter (multimeter)? If not, and you have a Harbor Freight near you, you can pick up a basic one for under $10 (free if you have the right coupon).
 
  #8  
Old 09-09-14, 03:27 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
The click came from the outside unit. I ran to it after I put the tstat to cool. I do have a multimeter, have no clue how to use it though. I guess I will do some light reading tonight (instruction book)! I saw a couple youtube videos about how to check the voltage on the contactor. I have a couple fans on and the windows open, so it's only 89 degrees now, I can take it another day, I think! Now, my long hair cat is not happy. It should cool down to 80 later tonight.
 
  #9  
Old 09-09-14, 03:45 PM
Bob14525's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 1,444
Likes Received: 4
If you haven't already seen this, take a look at the thread linked below. There is a picture of a contactor and some information on how it's wired. L1 & L2 are the line voltage (240VAC) coming into the unit. T1 & T2 are the output of the contactor (what is connected to the compressor and condenser fan motors). The side terminals are connected to the 24VAC coming from the thermostat. Note, not all contactors have the terminals on the sides, yours may be different.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ai...contactor.html
 
  #10  
Old 09-09-14, 04:04 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
I had not seen that one, but that will help a lot. I will update when I make some progress. Thank you.
 
  #11  
Old 09-09-14, 05:05 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 50,554
Likes Received: 107
One very important thing..... identify the wiring before disconnecting any wires from the contactor. I left a white circle where you would push in with an insulated item.

Name:  cont.jpg
Views: 794
Size:  29.1 KB
 
  #12  
Old 09-09-14, 06:09 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
Thank you. Is the button an outie or innie? I saw a tiny hole, like a reset hole on a hard drive. How thick of a stick would I need? Pencil, toothpick? I'll have to look closer tomorrow. I am going to take some close ups before I do anything and write down color and position of each wire.
 
  #13  
Old 09-09-14, 06:14 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 50,554
Likes Received: 107
A pencil would be good.

Name:  Old Ruud Contactor.jpg
Views: 2755
Size:  41.0 KB
 
  #14  
Old 09-10-14, 11:05 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
Ok, I put the multimeter on the incoming two screws, L1 and L2 and got 234, and 37 when I tested T1 and T2. So what to do next? I could not see anything to depress though.
 
  #15  
Old 09-10-14, 11:15 AM
firedawgsatx's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 1,727
You probably have a cover over the "plunger" as shown in second photo. This is installed on some contactors to keep ants and other stuff from that area.
 
Attached Images    

Last edited by firedawgsatx; 09-10-14 at 11:40 AM.
  #16  
Old 09-10-14, 11:18 AM
firedawgsatx's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 1,727
You should get a reading of around 240V at T1 and T2 if the thermostat is calling for cool and the two small wires on the side of the contactor (test #1 in diagram below) are getting 24V across them.

After looking at the photos in your first post it appears you do have a cover over the "plunger". I circled it in white on your photo. Just remove the screw shown in the circle and the cover will come off to reveal the plunger.
 
Attached Images  

Last edited by firedawgsatx; 09-10-14 at 01:03 PM.
  #17  
Old 09-10-14, 02:55 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
Thanks so much for the picture showing the screw! OK, I was able to access the plunger. I turned the tstat to cool to call the outside unit. It clicked, the plunger went down. I got 234 from L1, L2 and 0.04 from T1, T2. So now what to do? Do I need to check something else or can I assume that the contactor is bad. I made a drawing of the wires and colors, thickness of each and took some close ups. This site has helped me so much, thanks to everyone that has walked me through this.
And if I do need to get a contactor what do these numbers tell me about what to get as a replacement.

Name:  Contactor Specs2.jpg
Views: 811
Size:  38.2 KB
 

Last edited by Debragal; 09-10-14 at 03:24 PM. Reason: Photo Addes
  #18  
Old 09-10-14, 03:15 PM
firedawgsatx's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 1,727
Yes, it appears to be a bad contactor since you aren't getting 240V with the contactor plunger pulled in.
 
  #19  
Old 09-10-14, 04:27 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 50,554
Likes Received: 107
The following link is the exact part for your Rheem unit. You don't necessarily need to use the original one. There are many companies selling similar parts. Yours is 1/24/40 (one pole/240v/40amps).

1/24/40 - HVAC Tools, Components, Resources, Closeouts - FieryChill
 
  #20  
Old 09-10-14, 04:43 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
Thank you. I found this one that I can get off of ebay for cheaper and a lot sooner. The only difference I can see is the difference in LRA numbers. Would this be ok to use?

Name:  Possible replacement.jpg
Views: 838
Size:  32.3 KB
 
  #21  
Old 09-10-14, 04:57 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 50,554
Likes Received: 107
Cheaper than $11.... That's pretty cheap. Made in China. Should last a few seasons.
 
  #22  
Old 09-10-14, 05:08 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
Great! Yea, I just ordered it. It was $7.95. And priority shipping was $6.95. When it gets here I'm sure I will have a few more questions about installing it. Thank you all!!
 
  #23  
Old 09-13-14, 11:53 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
Update! Received the contactor today and installed and my ac is working again!!! I was shaking the whole time I put it in and must have checked for current with my multi and pen meter about 8 times before I could even touch it. I compared the wires on the new install multiple times to my drawing and pictures, and then I was still hesitate to turn the power back on. Whew! So thanks everyone for the help, I would not have attempted this if I had not found this site. You never realize how much you appreciate cold AC until it's gone.
 
  #24  
Old 09-13-14, 06:09 PM
Bob14525's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 1,444
Likes Received: 4
Great news!! Thanks for letting us know that you got the new contactor installed and that you're up and running again.
 
  #25  
Old 09-13-14, 07:07 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 50,554
Likes Received: 107
Nice job and ditto on the update.
 
  #26  
Old 06-22-15, 11:12 AM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 13
Thanks to all participants

Thanks to everyone who posted. My a/c stopped some time last night. Don't know when, but found out around 9pm when I noticed how warm it was. An hour of trouble shooting later, this post, in addition to a few other posts helped me determine my thermostat and fan were operational. Upon taking the inspection outside, the fan and compressor were not powering on.

Shutting off all power and testing the contactor with my multimeter showed it had the adequate voltages. (sorry if that's the wrong term)

Next most logical step was capacitor. My multimeter was $9 off ebay, so it didn't have a capacitance testing capability. Also I didn't have an insulated screwdriver to discharge the capacitor. However, I was able to use the 'stick' test to start the fan manually and cement in my mind the decision to replace the capacitor.

I live in northern Florida, and getting a new capacitor shipped would delay repair until Friday, which isn't an option. I was able to contact a local appliance repairman I have used before and he was just heading into a supply house 1.5 hours away when I called for another job (this was around 8:30am today). He picked a new capacitor up for me and $70 was his going rate. Purchasing online would have been $25, but again, delayed til Friday. $45 to fix it TODAY was worth it! I picked up the part at 11 and installed it by 11:45. It took a while (20-30 min) for the fan/condensor to come on, and another 20 minutes or so to start getting cooler. The sense of pride of doing it myself was priceless as well, and my wife was pretty happy too. (service call alone for the appliance repairman is $75).

Anyway, all is well and the house is cooling again. If you've made it this far, thanks for reading, and thanks if you posted on this original thread. I love this site and am glad to have been able to use the knowledge people take so much time to provide.

TLDR: thanks for posting, I was able to fix my a/c from this thread.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes