Two Speed (220v) Electric Motor Problem

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Old 05-23-08, 06:49 AM
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Two Speed (220v) Electric Motor Problem

Hi all, I have a 1998 Vita Spa (Hot Tub) with a 2 HP two speed motor (220v). Last fall I had to replace the start capacitor as the motor was having trouble starting. Now I have the same problem but the capacitor looks ok. Now of course the spa repair place is telling me its a bad motor, but I would like to dig a little deeper but am requesting a little assitance.

So the condition is: To get it going I must wait until I hear the motor try to start then manually assist it to get it going. Once it starts to move I hear a click and it starts going full out like nothings wrong. Now this gets it to the low speed, from there I can use the jet switch to increase it to high with no problems and run it as long as I desire. The problem comes in as the next selection of the switch is the off position. As soon as it turns off it stays off. To start it again I must manually assist the motor again.

So, from the good ole internet I discovered something that I beleive to be internal in the motor called a centrifugal switch thats somehow intergrates into the start capacitor circuit and can become dirty or fail causing a similar condition. First of all does this sound like a feasible diagnosis to investigate further? Question 2 if so could someone walk me through where it may be located and how to inspect it? (I am somewhat mechanically inclined). Question 3 How can I check the start capacitor without getting fried? Last time it was bad it was physically destroyed this time it appears ok.

PLEASE Help as the price of a new motor almost isnt worth fixing this tub.

Cheers,

Brian
 
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Old 05-23-08, 10:19 AM
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You have a start winding and a run winding. The click you here is a working centrifugal switch. It disconnects the start circuit once the motor is up to speed. Most likely the problem is either the capacitor or start winding. Try a new cap just to be sure but probably a bad start winding.
 
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Old 05-23-08, 11:19 AM
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The click is the centrifugal switch moving; it's possible that the contacts could be bad or some similar problem, but I think the switch is okay. Next options are the start capacitor or start winding. The easy one to check is to replace the start cap and see if that corrects the problem. It can be a little tricky to test the start cap with a standard meter, but it is possible. To test with a multimeter, set your scale to ohms. Remove the cap and discharge it with a piece of metal like a screwdriver. Touch the leads of the meter to the leads on the cap and the reading should rise from zero to infinity; if you don't see this, discharge the cap and try again with the test leads reversed on the cap. Also try on the higher ohms settings on the meter. If you can't see the rising ohms from 0 to infinity, the cap is probably bad. If you get a reading of 0 with the leads in both directions, the cap is bad. If the reading goes up and plateaus, the cap may be bad. Discharge the cap between each test.

You can always take the motor to an electric motor rebuild shop and have them evaluate it and give you a quote. They may be able to rebuild or recondition the motor for quite a bit less than the replacement cost.
 
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Old 05-23-08, 11:28 AM
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Good advise on taking it to a motor shop. Had the same issue with a spa I had. The motor shop I talked to, said they would test the motor and cap for free if I brought them in. Wound up not doing it, as I found a blown controller board, and then wound up selling it with the house, "as-is".

Call around to a few industrial motor supply/repair shops.
 
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Old 05-23-08, 12:26 PM
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Capacitor

So considering I just replaced the start capacitor last fall and it never fixed the problem you still dont think it could be the centrifical switch? Do I have to tear down the entire motor to locate and test this switch?
 
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Old 05-23-08, 12:32 PM
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Oh I see, the new cap didn't fix the original problem. I thought it fixed it, but then this is a new problem.

In that case, I would lean toward a fried start winding. It's really hard to describe how to diagnose a motor without seeing the actual machine as there are thousands of different motor designs. Do you have access to any of the winding leads or is the motor self-contained? Usually with a small motor, you can't really access any good test points on the windings without tearing the thing apart. The big advantage of a motor shop is that they have the proper meters to very quickly identify the problem.
 
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Old 05-23-08, 12:48 PM
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Tear Down

Well it doesnt appear that I can access any windings from the outside but it surely looks like I can completely tear the assembly down. Also I notice that your in the Lansing area, I live in Swartz Creek near Flint, could you recommend a shop in these parts that could take a look?
 
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Old 05-23-08, 01:25 PM
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What does the mortor smell like when you try to start it? Do you have or can you borrow a clamp on ammeter (amprobe)?
 
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Old 05-23-08, 01:31 PM
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Amprobe

Well I have a multi-meter but thats it unfortunitely. But cant I do a resistance check to the capacitor after dischargring it with say a screwdriver?
 
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Old 05-23-08, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bculli05 View Post
could you recommend a shop in these parts that could take a look?
Sure, Lansing Electric Motors -- they're on Washington Ave. right near the Mt. Hope intersection.

But cant I do a resistance check to the capacitor after dischargring it with say a screwdriver?
Yes, you can. It's not a guaranteed check though because many multimeters don't register the change fast enough. See my procedure posted a few posts above.
 
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