Outside fan not spinning on its own


  #1  
Old 08-02-15, 09:13 PM
J
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Outside fan not spinning on its own

Hello, New to these forums so forgive me if I don't give adequate information the first time around...

I have a Carrier system and I noticed that it wasn't cooling when I got home. So I checked the outside unit and the fan wasn't spinning and the outside of the motor housing was scalding hot. So I turned the system off and back on again and the motor started to VERY slowly spin the fan blades. I gave the motor housing a few swift thumps on the outside and the fan blade started spinning at full speed. Tested it by turning the unit off and on again and I had to thump it again for it to start spinning full speed again.

So my question is... There is obviously something wrong with the fan motor, but is there something else going on as well that I can check first? I assume that if the motor housing is burning up then it's the motor itself but wanted to ask here. Also... Is this something I can fix on my own? I'm pretty adept with fixing things, cars, stuff around the house, etc.. So I'm not too worried but also wanted to see if there were special tools or skills to do this or whatever. The unit is about four years old and I can provide any other info that wpums be beneficial.

Thanks so much in advance, look forward to some good help based on what I've read here in the past!
 
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Old 08-02-15, 09:30 PM
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Normally a hard starting motor would point to a bad capacitor. The capacitor stores an extra jolt of energy to get the motor started that can't be provided by the standard current alone. I'm more concerned about an overheating fan motor that didn't trip a circuit breaker. I'd try switching off all breakers then turn the fan through by hand. Any resistance or rough spots means a bad motor. Replacement is pretty basic, depends on how comfortable you are with your ability. If the motor is bad I'd really want to know why the breaker didn't pop. I'm not an actual HVAC tech so maybe someone more in the know can chime in on that. If your unit got that hot you'll likely need to get the wiring checked out for any burning or bad connections. Good luck!
 
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Old 08-02-15, 09:30 PM
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A typical capacitor problem. First thing to do is to replace the capacitor.
 
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Old 08-02-15, 09:47 PM
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A capacitor problem will also cause the motor housing to get really hot like that? And to speak to the other post(sorry, I'm on my phone and can't properly quote), the fan blades move very freely.. Or seem to. I haven't actually turned the breakers off and tried to spin in yet though... I've been more concerned with getting it running so I can sleep in semi-comfortable conditions.

Are capacitors generic(other than power rating), or do I need one specific to my unit? Here is my unit info from the side...
 
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Old 08-02-15, 10:16 PM
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Your best bet would be to remove the old capacitor and take it to a supply store that sells to the public; they'll be able to find a suitable replacement. Even if that fixes your problem I'd still have a problem with the overheating issue. There might be a tech at the supply store who could offer more thorough advice.
Being from S. Texas I can relate to your discomfort. I invested in a small 110V window unit that stays in the closet until there's an A/C emergency. At least I can keep one room comfortable until the central unit gets fixed!
 
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Old 08-02-15, 11:43 PM
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The motor will overheat if it doesn't start properly. It requires air over the motor to cool it. The motor is internally thermally protected from overheating. It won't trip the breaker unless it's bad and shorts internally.

You may replace the cap and find the motor is still sluggish. Then you'd know you need a new motor.
 
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Old 08-06-15, 06:59 AM
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Just to leave this here for anyone who has the same issue - it was the capacitor. I switched it out $19 later and the fan spun to life and had no issues at all after that.
 
 

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