Stuck window A/C compressor


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Old 05-15-24, 09:46 AM
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Stuck window A/C compressor

Small GE window air conditioner, about 5 years old, digital controls, like new because it never works properly. The compressor is obviously sticking; it strains and the house lights go dim. I turn it off before it trips a breaker I was able to free it by wiring it backwards for a moment. It can then work fine, with the wires back where they belong, but it will lock up again after sitting off for a while. I guess there is no fixing it. It didn't cost much.
 
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Old 05-15-24, 09:56 AM
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Compressors are sealed on most units so there nothing you can fix.

Have you checked the compressor's capacitor?
 
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Old 05-15-24, 12:20 PM
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Those compressors don't run in reverse.
Reversing the wiring doesn't reverse rotation on a single phase compressor.

Have you checked the run capacitor ?
That would be a likely culprit.

You said... then works fine. Did it actually blow cold air ?

 
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Old 05-15-24, 12:51 PM
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Not DC

You're right, it's not DC, reversing the wires shouldn't make it run backwards with AC. I was thinking of stuck fuel pumps on boats, when I used to be a mechanic. We would, sometimes, get a stuck fuel pump to work by momentarily connecting it backwards to get it un stuck. Not knowing anything about air conditioners, I could see that the compressor has it's motor built into it, much like fuel pumps. Clearly, it was binding, causing an overload. Thinking of fuel pumps, I was able to stretch the compressor wires just far enough to reach to connect backwards. I could tell that the compressor was then free and working. I put it all back together right, in the window, and it ran all summer, perfectly. But, that was last year and I might not remember exactly. Anyway, it's going to get hot again (even in New Hampshire) and the compressor is stuck again. The unit was only about $120. Not worth anything now. Too late for warranty. Shame. It looks like new. I think that the compressor just isn't getting enough amps, or something, to break it's inertia. I don't know what to test. It worked fine once it starts. It must be drawing big amps because the house lights go dim while it is straining. I guess the compressor is just no good. No fixing it.
 
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Old 05-15-24, 01:08 PM
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If the house lights are dimming it sounds like it's on the same circuit.
The further an A/C is from the panel... the higher the starting amperage due to lower voltage.
It could possibly perform better on a 20A circuit.

An A/C compressor has two internal windings.... a start winding and a run winding.
The start winding is what causes the lights to dim.
It can only be active for several seconds or excessive heat is generated and the thermal overload trips.
 
 

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