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Old 08-23-2016, 09:58 AM   #1
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Roof AC Flipping Breaker

I've run into a problem with one of my roof AC units. One is working like a champ, but the other makes the breaker flip after ~5 seconds of running. I've checked the read out on my surge guard and I'm getting a solid 123V on it, and I've tried flipping all other breakers (so it is guaranteed to be the only thing running) but still the same problem. I've also tried on generator and shore power, and the same thing happens, so I'm pretty sure it isn't power feed related.

I just got on the roof, took the cover off, and tried to run it again. This time it went for a good 30 seconds, but I heard a few 'clicks' and it seemed like everything was slowing down and speeding up. The fan does spin, and I don't see any obvious damage. Some of the fins are definitely bent, and there is some dirt, so my next course of action is to clean the coils. However, beyond that, anything I should look at before calling in the professionals and invariably getting told I need a whole new unit?
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:56 AM   #2
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Sounds like your compressor is locking up, but I've also had a bad start capacitor blow the circuit breaker.
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:53 AM   #3
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Thank you for that. So the way I'm reading it, the start capacitor is something I can replace myself fairly cheaply, but if it is the compressor locking up I'm pretty much going to have to get a new unit. Does that sound right?
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Old 08-23-2016, 01:12 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ropetin View Post
Thank you for that. So the way I'm reading it, the start capacitor is something I can replace myself fairly cheaply, but if it is the compressor locking up I'm pretty much going to have to get a new unit. Does that sound right?
Yes, you can test the start capacitor with a multimeter.
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Old 08-23-2016, 01:17 PM   #5
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Turn the multimeter to ohms and briefly touch the two leads to the terminals on the capacitor. Then turn the meter to DC volts and measure the voltage across the two capacitor terminals. You should see a small voltage and it will bleed off as you are measuring it. Make sure you observe the polarity of the capacitor when your doing this test.
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Old 08-23-2016, 02:27 PM   #6
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This is what you need.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/121279015632
They have them for all makes you add this with the old one if that one is still good. They will get weak and blow there guts out. It's a cheap try.
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Old 08-23-2016, 02:59 PM   #7
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This is what you need.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/121279015632
They have them for all makes you add this with the old one if that one is still good. They will get weak and blow there guts out. It's a cheap try.

I will give it a go, thank you!
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Old 08-25-2016, 06:29 PM   #8
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Had this same issue on the 4th of July.....

was fortunate enough to find a competent technician who replaced both of the capacitors in the a/c unit... while it may have only been one of them bad, it never hurts to be proactive. and the cost was minimal.

Best wishes and safe travels
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Old 08-27-2016, 08:56 AM   #9
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I had a similar problem and installed a hard start capacitor which helped but over time the AC started to kick the breaker while trying to start. Normally the fan will start and run for a while before the compressor tries to kick in. In my case the fan was what was causing the problems.

I took the shroud off and physically tried to turn the fan, I could hardly move it. I went ahead and took the fan out, meaning I basically had to take the whole top end apart. Once I got the fan to my work bench and the blades off I could not turn it with much effort. The bearings were basically seized up, the bearings were sealed and no way to lubricate.

Found a good deal on a new fan, ~$105 delivered. Installed new motor and the AC ran much quieter and pulled a lot less amps especially on startup.

Make sure your fan is freely spinning before giving up on your AC and buying a new one.
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Old 08-27-2016, 09:26 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by barmcd View Post
Turn the multimeter to ohms and briefly touch the two leads to the terminals on the capacitor. Then turn the meter to DC volts and measure the voltage across the two capacitor terminals. You should see a small voltage and it will bleed off as you are measuring it. Make sure you observe the polarity of the capacitor when your doing this test.

I may be wrong....but don't you have to discharge the capacitor before trying anything like this ? It will hold voltage for a good while after powered off ? Right ?
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