A/C unit keeps tripping circuit breaker on start up


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Old 09-25-22, 01:31 PM
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A/C unit keeps tripping circuit breaker on start up

My central A/C unit keeps tripping the circuit breaker on start up. It does not do this when I run the fan and then switch over to cooling. I found the problem is most likely that I need a hard start kit, especially since this is an older unit. The guys on YouTube make it look so easy. I was wondering if I should attempt to do this myself or should I call someone. I've attached a picture of what the compressor looks like. So, I would connect 1 wire from the hard start kit to where the black wire goes into the compressor and another wire from the hard start kit to where the yellow wire goes into the compressor. Is this right?

Will this hard start kit work with my A/C unit?
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...MUNFPZGW&psc=1






 
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Old 09-25-22, 02:14 PM
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If that is the original dual run capacitor in the picture.... it should be changed too.

That condenser is no spring chicken.... manufactured around October 1992.
They don't last forever.
 
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Old 09-25-22, 02:38 PM
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Would you do both change the capacitor and add a hard start kit?

I just need it to last 5-10 more years! Until we save up to tear down and rebuild this house from 1972!
 
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Old 09-25-22, 02:46 PM
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I babied my Rheem and got 33 years out of it before the compressor froze.
I wouldn't count on 5-10 more years although it is possible.

Definitely change the cap.... and you could add the hardstart to it.
 
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Old 09-25-22, 02:58 PM
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Would changing the capacitor be a do it yourself project or should I call someone? I'm afraid to touch anything electrical.
 
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Old 09-25-22, 05:05 PM
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Does the breaker trip immediately? If so it could be a grounded compressor. Iíd check it with your meter before buying any parts.
 
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Old 09-26-22, 05:35 AM
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Changing the capacitor is very easy and you should be able to do it yourself. Here are the steps to do:
1) Turn off the power to the condenser/compressor (outside unit). You can either do it at your breaker panel, or there should be a quick disconnect located near the unit.
2) Before removing any wires, take pictures of the old capacitor. Assuming it's a dual capacitor, you should have 3 terminals, labeled C (common), F (fan), and H (compressor). Make a diagram showing what color wires go to each labeled terminal.
3) While it's unlikely that the capacitor has any stored charge, take a screwdriver that has a plastic or wooden handle, and use it to temporarily "short" across the C-F and C-H terminals. This will bleed off any residual charge.
4) Remove the wires from the old capacitor and reinstall them on the new capacitor. Make sure that all wires are nice and tight on the capacitor terminals. A loose wire will overheat and eventually burn up. If you find a loose wire, remove it and using a pair of pliers, squeeze the connector a little to make it fit tighter.
5) Remount the capacitor using the original bracket.

when you purchase the new capacitor, make sure that the new one has the same values in microfarads (mfd) and that the voltage rating is the same or higher than the original capacitor.
 
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Old 09-26-22, 10:03 AM
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What do I look for in a hard start kit? Are they all pretty much the same?
 
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Old 09-26-22, 10:46 AM
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Are you sure you donít have a short? Compressors donít all of a sudden need a hard start and start blowing the breaker.
Check before you buy any parts. Easy test with your meter.
 
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Old 09-26-22, 11:27 AM
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I checked with a voltage pen and am definitely getting power. I unhooked the capacitor to check the label and found the top all rusty. So, I think that's the most likely culprit but I was thinking at add a hard start kit to extend the life of the compressor as much as possible.


 
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Old 09-26-22, 01:12 PM
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When does the breaker trip? As soon as the unit calls for cooling?
 
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Old 09-26-22, 01:50 PM
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Does your multimeter support capacitance testing? If so, you should check that cap first. You'll need to find a model # and look up the expected values.
 
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Old 09-26-22, 02:03 PM
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That capacitor looks domed where the terminals are also indicating it's bad.

If it's just a capacitor problem the compressor should growl/hum loudly for a few seconds.
If it trips the breaker the second the contactor engages..... the compressor is shorted.
 
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Old 09-27-22, 10:36 AM
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It's both of these.

If it's just a capacitor problem the compressor should growl/hum loudly for a few seconds.
If it trips the breaker the second the contactor engages..... the compressor is shorted.

The first was happening for awhile, now the second. I'll change the capacitor to see if it solves both.
 
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Old 09-27-22, 01:06 PM
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Check for shorts with your meter first. If the compressor is shorted to ground there isnít a reason to buy unnecessary parts.
 
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Old 10-29-22, 05:08 PM
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I finally got around to doing this. A hard start kit alone resolved this after all. I tried to replace the capacitor as well, just for good measure but the capacitor I ordered wasn't the right dimensions. It didn't fit in the bracket that I had. Just barely made it in the return window! aha!
 
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Old 10-29-22, 06:32 PM
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Is your current capacitor testing ok with your meter?
They can get weak.
 
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Old 10-29-22, 07:12 PM
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It probably needs to be replaced.
 
 

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