a/c capacitor


  #1  
Old 09-19-02, 07:55 AM
bkdkj
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a/c capacitor

I have been told that my capacitor on my compressor is probably bad. Will I be able to locate and remove and replace it? If so how and where?
 
  #2  
Old 09-19-02, 08:07 AM
Pegleg Smith
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Gee, I think I would like to actually know if the capacitor was defective before I replaced it. Then there the problem of where to buy one.
If you get the wrong one you will do damage to your compressor. Why not have a qualified service person do the work?
 
  #3  
Old 09-19-02, 10:17 AM
Jacque Schidt
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The capacitor is a bright, shiny aluminum thing. It will have three or four wires (maybe only two, possibly more than 4) coming from it.

However, depending on where you live, you may not be able to buy one, and if the capacitor is not bad, you will have wasted your money. You can buy a capacitor testor for about $40, and check it yourself.

Why don't you tell us what the symptoms are and let us help you decide if the investment in a capacitor tester might be worthwhile?
 
  #4  
Old 09-19-02, 01:40 PM
bkdkj
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My a/c just stopped working. It has been doing it periodically the last month, but flipping the breaker would fix it. Then that method stopped working and I replaced the breaker and it has run for three weeks with no problem. Then it stopped again and flipping the breaker has no effect. There is power to the unit.
 
  #5  
Old 09-19-02, 02:19 PM
955DF
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Hope this link works!

http://www.toad.net/~jsmeenen/capacitor

good luck!
 
  #6  
Old 09-19-02, 04:20 PM
bkdkj
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Replaced capacitor, was only $18. It did not solve my problem though. I have power into and out of the capitor now but the fan and the compressor still do not come on.
 
  #7  
Old 09-19-02, 04:59 PM
Pegleg Smith
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You have what we in the business term "a problem". You need to consult a local A/C company and get your unit repaired correctly.
 
  #8  
Old 09-19-02, 05:17 PM
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if you have a volt meter

see if voltage is passing through the contactor. how old and what brand is the unit? as j. s. says, give us more details
 
  #9  
Old 09-19-02, 06:58 PM
bkdkj
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It is 12 yr old goodman or amana. Not quite sure the label has fallen off and I have only been here a year. Has kept temp very well until problem. Would not think the fan and compressor would quit at exactly the same time. The thermostat is only 6 months old, so it should still be good. I can change thermostat to heat and it turns furnace on fine.
 
  #10  
Old 09-19-02, 07:20 PM
Pegleg Smith
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Do you have a dog?
Check the thermostat wire that leads to the outdoor unit from the air handler. See if you can find any chewed areas.
 
  #11  
Old 09-19-02, 07:31 PM
Pegleg Smith
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The moderater has asked that I post a serious reply to your problem. I will try.
It is a problem that you might be better off consulting a trained service person over. No one here can see your unit and any suggestions are pure guesswork. A trained service person will be able to troubleshoot your unit and repair it in a reasonable amount of time. It will save you considerable headaches and time from not having to do every little thing these people can think up. These forums are helpful to those qualified to do the work but are a danger to those who shouldn't be trying to do it. If you have never worked with higher voltages or gas then you are playing Russian Roulette with your life and that of your family.
This is as serious an answer as I can provide.
 
  #12  
Old 09-19-02, 07:58 PM
diyhowner
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well mr peglegger

you were not nice to me with my question but then no one was.
 
  #13  
Old 09-19-02, 08:05 PM
bkdkj
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Thank you for your concern. I believe in using professionals when it goes beyond my abilities, but to replace my capacitor involved cutting the power and unclipping four wires and reclipping four wires and buying a capacitator that was the same as the one I took out. This cost me $18 dollars instead of $150. This was a smart decision and within my abilities. Now relacing a compressor or messing with coils is not and I realize that, but again Thank you for your concern.
 
  #14  
Old 09-19-02, 08:05 PM
Jacque Schidt
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Re: well mr peglegger

Originally posted by diyhowner
you were not nice to me with my question but then no one was.
I thought I was very nice.

Based on your symptoms, I doubt seriously if it is your capacitor. The best place to start testing would be the contactor. If the unit runs sometimes and sometimes it doesn't, the capacitor is seldom the problem. But, a contactor can easily cause an intermitten failure. So can a bad thermostat.
 
  #15  
Old 09-19-02, 08:23 PM
bkdkj
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Thank you, I will check it out tomorrow. I thought you were fair to diyhowner, but he has trouble expressing himself in tech speak, so he sounds like he has no business working on an a/c.
 
  #16  
Old 09-19-02, 08:24 PM
diyhowner
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dont foget to pull the freeon out and call epa that is what mr js told me to do when i have a few burned wires
 
  #17  
Old 09-19-02, 08:32 PM
Pegleg Smith
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You have said that you paid $18.00 for a part but that didn'y fix the problem. I would caution you that you are becoming "penny wise, pound foolish". You could spend a ton of money trying to track down exactly which part it is, and maybe not find it. Dogs chew thermostat wires same as they pee on the condenser coils. Both cause problems.
If sometimes the compressor runs and sometimes it doesn't, it could be the internal compressor protector shutting it down. That is not a user servicable part, no user including trained service people can repair that defect.
Standing here at my computer, I cannot see your unit. There is much I can eliminate with a visual glance at the equipment. Then my tools come out! I get paid for my knowledge and the special tools I possess.
 
  #18  
Old 09-19-02, 08:47 PM
bkdkj
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Mr Smith,
The capacitor was bad when tested, so it was not a waste of money, and you and your fancy tools would have charged me $150 to replace it and then would have found out that there is also another problem. So I am in the same situation as I would have been, except that I still have $130 of my hard earned money. If you feel that you can not help anyone from your computer, then why are you trying. I work for an airline and also do websites, but I am smart enough to know that I can not work on anyone's airplane from my computer, so being a reasonable person, I don't try. Now if you have a problem with your website, I might give a whirl at remote help. Instead of just telling everyone to get professional help, either put forth an effort or go back to your little cave, as obviously those great tools are not earning you much cash while you are wasting your time on the computer
 
  #19  
Old 09-19-02, 08:48 PM
U owe me
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Under the freedom on information act U.S code 1357b-12

Pegleg Smith and the moderator should not be forming a staged answer between themselves. This disembowels the function of the forum to the extent that the tread originator may as well obtained his answers in the same manner ,which means other knowledgeable technicians have wasted their time with a reply.

Besides, everyone enjoys seeing Mr. Smith get his balls busted.
 
  #20  
Old 09-19-02, 08:48 PM
diyhowner
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where to get parts. i was thinking to check this junk yard for old parts but is there other places to get them. i could handle 20 or so
 
  #21  
Old 09-19-02, 08:55 PM
bkdkj
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I got my parts from Grainger, but you need a business account. Otherwise you have to pay a middleman that will jack up the price. My $18 part was $35 at regular HVAC supply store.
 
  #22  
Old 09-19-02, 09:07 PM
Pegleg Smith
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quoted
Mr Smith,
The capacitor was bad when tested, so it was not a waste of money, and you and your fancy tools would have charged me $150 to replace it and then would have found out that there is also another problem. So I am in the same situation as I would have been, except that I still have $130 of my hard earned money. If you feel that you can not help anyone from your computer, then why are you trying. I work for an airline and also do websites, but I am smart enough to know that I can not work on anyone's airplane from my computer, so being a reasonable person, I don't try. Now if you have a problem with your website, I might give a whirl at remote help. Instead of just telling everyone to get professional help, either put forth an effort or go back to your little cave, as obviously those great tools are not earning you much cash while you are wasting your time on the computer [end quote]

You know, bkdkj, you posted a good answer to your question. How much help could you be to someone on the other side of the world asking about a problem with their plane? Little to none. Why does this forum exist when we, as professionals, can't really do much for you?
Safety being such an important issue, I can try to prevent you from being hurt trying to something you are probably not qualified to do. Does it take a 2X4 smacking you between the running lights to get your attention? I don't know you and I have no idea of your talents, but I do know my trade and the hazards inherent to it. If I gave you specific instructions, and you got electrocuted by failing to follow my instructions, who would your widow blame? You for being inept, or me for suppling the inept person with detailed information?
You have a problem spending money having a professional repair your unit. I hate to spend money having my car and trucks repaired but I would rather do that and have a dependable vehicle, than try and do it myself and be stranded way out in the middle of the desert. I don't want to do alignments, brakes, tune-ups and the like. That is not my trade. I pay because I trust those people to do a good and proper repair.

Yeah, I spent too much time here today. However, I did a couple hours of work and will put the million I earned today in the bank. Being the boss has its advantages.
 
  #23  
Old 09-19-02, 09:26 PM
diyhowner
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wow peg

that is great. million $$$ for 2 hours. sure wish i could get in that line of work.
well my ac is working now so i no something after all. friend called his friend and they said the part that burned sounds like a thermstor. that the ac would not work with out the runing capasitor hooked up. he is going to get us a thing to put on in place which is going to make the compresor come on better.
 
  #24  
Old 09-19-02, 09:34 PM
bkdkj
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Thank you for your time. I enjoy a little banter every once in a while, and I do appreciate your concern, but just because we are not HVAC techs, does not mean we have no electrical experience. flipping a breaker and pulling the kill switch does not take a whole lot of talent, nor does sticking two probes onto the contacts to see if they get power. As I see it the hardest part of replacing a capacitor is to make sure you have the right part. If you can not figure out if you have the right part don't try. This is still easier than hanging wallpaper, not safer, but easier. If I need a new unit I will call a professional, but if I don't why not try and save some cash? By the way brakes are easy to change, I will come to your house for a large service fee and replace them for you.
 
  #25  
Old 09-23-02, 07:36 PM
telco tech
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This is called Do IT Yourself.com. As the name implies, do it yourself, but, not everything is for everybody. Wallpaper, drywall, carpet, small engines, hobbies, home electronics, etc,all are reasonably safe. If you mess up in one of these, no big problem.
But, in HVAC, there are things that can kill you, namely electricity, and will almost always do it when it is least expected. I, like some others have given advise on the forum, but I would prefer to err on the side of caution when I am not sure of the experience level of the person to whom I am giving advise to. I work with 480 volt 15000 amp power systems, and changing a breaker is simple enough, but I would never try to talk someone though it without knowing for certain they were qualified to work with such systems. I know the word qualified may have a different meaning to some, but reguardless, no one here wants to give just enough information to get someone hurt or killed. 480 volts or 110 volts, if it kills you you are just as dead. (although the 480 volt death is normally more gruesome)...
When people ask a question about HVAC and use words such as "thingy" and using a "christmas light tester" to check for voltage, where there may be 220 volts. I have think think for a minute how to give the best advise and still keep them safe. I don't think that these folks are stupid, they probably have many other talents and skills, and are wanting to learn more about their home AC.
Folks that post questions here have put forth the effort to use resourses availiable to them and many of the regulars here will try to help, but please understand that if you cannot describe the problem in very good detail, your experience level is judged by this, thus the responces that you get will reflect this.
Working with electricity is by no means rocket science, simple rules, it is just that the cost for a mistake can be terribly expsensive. Many electricians who make this their living , get killed, many times it's not their doing, but the guy who wired it before them, or the guy who saw the breaker switched to off and decided to remedy that, even plumbers get electrocuted! With the disconnect pulled, you are placing full faith into the hands of someone youv'e never met, did they wire it right? Does the low voltage transformer have a ground fault? Be careful, don't gamble your life. Near electrocution sucks, I've got the burn marks to remind me of when I got lazy.
 

Last edited by telco tech; 09-23-02 at 08:41 PM.
  #26  
Old 09-24-02, 05:11 AM
Jacque Schidt
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Well and succinctly said. Thank you. I tried to make the same point but was not quite so pleasant about it.

I had a good friend killed because someone (HomeOwner blamed electrician, but couldn't remember which one ) wired around a bad blade in a disconnect. They found him in tha attic a couple of hours after he arrived to do the PM. His wife and three kids are living in poverty now.

He was a pro. How much easier is it for an amateur to make a mistake? Especially with a christmas light tester.
 
  #27  
Old 09-24-02, 03:51 PM
TheZman
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Jacques,

You are 100%, you should never let your guard down when working with electricity no matter how experienced you might be.

I remember once, when I was installing a new outlet for my dryer.
I turned off the breaker and measured 0 volts across the two power leads. A minute later when I was attaching the wires to the socket, I got a nasty shock. To my surprise the breaker I switched, only cut power to one of the two leads. There was another breaker (still "ON") for the lead that shocked me.

After that experience, I not only measure power across the two leads but I measure each lead with respect to ground as well.

A friend of mine was installing ceiling fan and switched the power OFF but not the breaker. Right while he was connecting the wires, his wife came in and out of habit switched on the power (he says it was an accident, I say his wife was trying to collect on his insurance ha ha ha) and he needless to say got a nasty shock.

After hearing this story, I always treating all wires I am working as if they are live (even though I think power is OFF).

Regards TheZman
 
  #28  
Old 09-24-02, 08:21 PM
bkdkj
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I thank you all for the concern, and I as all of you do respect the danger of electricity. This said, I have said nothing about christmas light testers. I am working with my father, a retired electrician. We did not have a schematic for the a/c and were courious about what exactly the a/c capacitor would look like and if it would be easily accessable. I recieved some good help and advice, except from Mr. Smith who after reading his other posts was only refering problem to professionals. This I thought was not terribly helpful to my situation or many others. If nobody but professionals has the ability to work with electricity or hvac there is no use for this forum. I was simply trying to say, give some advice other than call a tech or he is doing a disservice to what I believe this forum was set up for. For Jacque, yes I have a volt meter.
 
  #29  
Old 09-25-02, 05:21 AM
Jacque Schidt
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Sorry BK, we were combining stories that are going on now. One of the posters to your thread was the "christmas light tester" dude. He turned off a breaker (or removed a fuse), but his christmas light tester indicated power was still present. Come to find out, he had to turn off two breakers (or remove two fuses) to kill power to his unit. That is where the reference to the tester came from.

Sometimes, after you get the answer to your question, we tend to talk amoung ourselves for a while. . . .sort of an afterglow if you will.
 
  #30  
Old 09-25-02, 11:44 AM
diyhowner
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I think my name is Diyhowner not "christmas light tester" dude. I will also have you know that the tester I was using is not one of those cheapy 4.95 specials.
It saved my life many times when thinking power was off to a circuit but turned out there was another line going to elec. box.

Moral of story: if the volt meter wire is loose or damaged you might be next.

edited by: GF
 
  #31  
Old 09-25-02, 07:24 PM
telco tech
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.
 

Last edited by telco tech; 09-25-02 at 08:30 PM.
  #32  
Old 09-26-02, 05:18 AM
Jacque Schidt
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Originally posted by diyhowner
I think my name is Diyhowner not "christmas light tester" dude
I was not going to tell anyone it was you. Maybe I'm a little senile in my old age, but I thought you would be modest and appreciate me not telling the world you were the guy who owes his life to a christmas light tester. Silly me! Little did I realize you would be PROUD of it.
 
  #33  
Old 09-26-02, 07:54 AM
diyhowner
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Well Jack

You could learn a thang or 2 from ole xmas light dude or maybe not if you are really that old.

My girlfriend says, "Go pick on someone else Jack"
 
  #34  
Old 09-26-02, 10:06 AM
Jacque Schidt
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It's my back yard.

You don't know ME!

Last year, there was a guy who unplugged his condensate pump thinking it was his gas furnace. While changing the blower, he was electrocuted.

People on this site have shown care not to suggest things that might be dangerous, and to warn of instances when high voltage might be a problem. But you have a problem with that?

I'm glad you got your unit going, and I'm glad your christmas light tester prevented you from getting a bad shock. It's funny to me you are still hanging around, and able to convey your thoughts so much more coheriently in this thread than you did in the one you started. > hmmmmm?
 
  #35  
Old 09-26-02, 01:31 PM
diyhowner
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My girlfriend has been helping me with my typing skills and a few other chores I can't do myself.

Hanging around here to see if I can be of any help since I am so smart ...
 
  #36  
Old 09-26-02, 04:17 PM
TheZman
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Diyhowner,

I have to agree with Jacque, a Christmas bulb tester might work 95% of the time when you are testing electricity on direct paths from your fusebox. I would bet this device lacks the sensitivity of a proper test meter (even a cheap $10 VOM from Radio Shack or Sears) to measure leakage currents from fault scenarios.

Defective transformers, motors, relays, capacitors can still leak electricity through failed insulation or arced over carbon paths that a device like a Xmas bulb tester would not catch.

It only takes less 0.1 amps at 50 volts to stop your heart and kill you. A typical HVAC system uses 220 volts at 20 to 30 amps.

My recommendation is if you are going to DIY, do it right with proper equipment. As mentioned previously a proper meter can be bought cheaply.

Regards TheZman

>>>>EDITED
 

Last edited by TheZman; 09-27-02 at 11:18 AM.
  #37  
Old 09-28-02, 02:18 PM
diyhowner
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The tester I am using

Is made by Greenlee. Put it in your pocket and it may save your life one day. My first experience with something like this was a TIF tick tracer, it would pick up the potential for power down to 24 volts but it was too big to carry in your pocket.
The nice thing about these things is for that quick check just to be sure power is off or on which ever you want. Lets say you are going to drill in a wall, this device can find hot wires before you do (the hard way).

A regular meter is still a must have and NO this tester doesn't replace one but its still very handy for some checks.
 
 

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