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Old 07-24-2022, 06:20 PM   #1
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Help trouble shooting basement A/C unit

All of a sudden I'm having issues with my 2002 Winnebago Adventurer with the Coleman Mach basement ac unit. It is a 30amp electrical system and on our most recent trip the AC was not working as it usually did, driving to our destination it was 90 out and 85+ in the unit. We never had problems with this before. Once we reached my parent's lake house we parked in our normal spot, hooked up to the 20amp outlet that we've used the last few years, set our energy management system to use 20amp max and every time the AC would come on it would trip the breaker in the house. Never had this happen before. I'd reset the breakers on the RV, reset the house breaker, turn on the AC and it would run for 60-90 seconds but as soon as it called for second compressor then it would trip again. Only after left the breaker off that is labeled "A/C Circuit 2" would it work. Here is the breaker in the RV I had to leave off.



Since we were parked in the shade all weekend it was adequate and kept the RV comfortable (barely) during the day and did fine at night.

Packing up today we unplugged, started up the generator, AC started ok and then again 60-90 seconds later the AC would call for second compressor and trip either the breaker pictured above or the 20amp circuit on the generator or both.


If I left the 20amp circuit breaker off in the RV and restarted the generator the 20amp circuit never trips and remains on. We drove 3+ hours home in 91 degree weather and the AC running the entire time could only keep the motorhome in the mid to upper 80s. We feel cold air coming out all the ducts but it is not blasting out like we are used to. Made for a cranky family and a long ride home.

Once I got home I lifted the panel to get access to the control board to see if anything jumped out.


Easy to get to, opened it up and only had time to take a quick look at the connections to the second circuit and nothing looked loose/jumped out.


I didn't have time to do much more investigating before having to park the RV at storage. Doing some research it seems the main culprits are the circuit board or possibly seized compressor. I've seen the videos on how to replace the circuit boards and or shopped around already, and I'd be more than comfortable doing that myself, but before I go spend several hundred I want to be sure I'm eliminating other areas of trouble first.

I did see on my "Live" picture of the circuit board that the green light was flashing. The generator was off and I didn't count the flashes but does that tell me an error code if I go back and check it? How do you go about checking the compressor is not seized? I saw another post on here mention replacing compressor bearings fixing the problem but could not find any information.

This was the third trip we took this summer. The first two were on much cooler weekends, but we did have temps in the low 80s while driving and didn't notice it being hot in the rig at all. The only thing I have noticed this year is when I have gone to get the unit out of storage and start the generator it seemed like the AC took longer than usual to kick on. It may not be the case, it just seemed like in the past I'd open it up, start the generator and turn AC on at the thermostat, take the wheel covers off and while doing that the AC would have kicked on. This year it seems like it is longer before it kicks on. Also, when working on trouble shooting I watched my power management panel. I'd see the amps shoot up right about to 20 when AC would first kick on. I'd never see another high jump indicating compressor was trying to draw power and spiking amps I would just hear the breaker trip. When running (on just the one circuit) the unit is running right at about 17-18 amps whether on the generator or when it was plugged in.

For anyone that has successfully fixed or dealt with one of these systems that can provide the best steps to trouble shoot would be helping me out tremendously.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-24-2022, 06:42 PM   #2
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You can’t replace bearings in a hermetic compressor.

It sounds like unit 2 could be having trouble getting started. It could be locked up, or it may be a bad run and/or start cap and PTC (on top of the 2 black electrolytic caps).

But I’m also surprised it’s working on a 30 amp circuit, much less a 20 amp.

I would swap the start (PTC and capacitor) and run cap between the two units. If A/C unit runs and A/C starts being problematic - then replace all the above components for both units. Fairly cheap (maybe $75 for both units), and at 20 years old, it’s time.

If the compressor still doesn’t start then it may have locked up. Nothing to do but replace.

But I’m really surprised if both units are allowed to run when on a 30 amp service. At least not knowing what the units LRA and running amps are supposed to be.
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Old 07-24-2022, 07:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMark52 View Post
You can’t replace bearings in a hermetic compressor.

It sounds like unit 2 could be having trouble getting started. It could be locked up, or it may be a bad run and/or start cap and PTC (on top of the 2 black electrolytic caps).

But I’m also surprised it’s working on a 30 amp circuit, much less a 20 amp.

I would swap the start (PTC and capacitor) and run cap between the two units. If A/C unit runs and A/C starts being problematic - then replace all the above components for both units. Fairly cheap (maybe $75 for both units), and at 20 years old, it’s time.

If the compressor still doesn’t start then it may have locked up. Nothing to do but replace.

But I’m really surprised if both units are allowed to run when on a 30 amp service. At least not knowing what the units LRA and running amps are supposed to be.
Thanks. I have not been connected to an actual 30 amp service but once this summer, and it was pretty cool that weekend. So if it was acting up we didn't notice as I barely recall running the AC during the day and the nights was in the low 50s.

One thread on here was talking about bearings that is why I mentioned it but hadn't been able to find anything, but it may have been referring to the blower motor. But for not that much if you think it is worth changing out the start PTC and Start capacitor and the run capacitor for both the 1st and 2nd units that sounds like a good place to start.

Edit to add: So two of these and two run capacitors would be a good place to start, in your opinion? https://parts.unitedrv.com/products/...AaAkZvEALw_wcB
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Old 07-24-2022, 07:27 PM   #4
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I agree with MrMark52, in part - in your 2nd photo, I think I counted about 5 items that looked like capacitors, and one that read "motor starter"...everything appeared to be say vintage. 2002, about 20 years old....

Swapping capacitors - be very careful - jerking wires without labeling everything will leave you dead in the water. But if you start swapping capacitors blindly, you could wind up electrocuted, or at least with the shock of your life....you didn't strike me as knowing a lot about electricity....just sayin.

If you intend to swap capacitors, understand these devices can store enough of a charge to kill you. If you decide to swap capacitors, they need to be identical - same Farad ratings... Same voltage ratings, and some have a secondary capacitor built in that generally cannot be wired incorrectly without BAD consequences.

O.k. on the other hand if you know enough...more than I might give you credit for, get a multi-meter and measure the capacitors taking into account the printed variance , replace if out of range with exact Farad values and equal or better voltage ratings.

20 years is a stretch for a start capacitor- BE SAFE.
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Old 07-24-2022, 07:38 PM   #5
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Number 2 compressor will not run unless #1 is already running. The fan pulls approx 4A, when #1 compressor comes on ampere draw is approx. 14A, when #2 compressor comes on the total amp draw will jump to approx 24A.
Trying to run the unit from a 15A breaker will slowly and permanently damage the compressor motors.
Without knowing your model#, here is the Coleman-Mach 6535 service manual.
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Old 07-24-2022, 07:46 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by DaddyRV779 View Post
I agree with MrMark52, in part - in your 2nd photo, I think I counted about 5 items that looked like capacitors, and one that read "motor starter"...everything appeared to be say vintage. 2002, about 20 years old....

Swapping capacitors - be very careful - jerking wires without labeling everything will leave you dead in the water. But if you start swapping capacitors blindly, you could wind up electrocuted, or at least with the shock of your life....you didn't strike me as knowing a lot about electricity....just sayin.

If you intend to swap capacitors, understand these devices can store enough of a charge to kill you. If you decide to swap capacitors, they need to be identical - same Farad ratings... Same voltage ratings, and some have a secondary capacitor built in that generally cannot be wired incorrectly without BAD consequences.

O.k. on the other hand if you know enough...more than I might give you credit for, get a multi-meter and measure the capacitors taking into account the printed variance , replace if out of range with exact Farad values and equal or better voltage ratings.

20 years is a stretch for a start capacitor- BE SAFE.
I think swapping out the capacitors with new ones, including the kit that I found and posted above for the hard start that includes the PTCR with it and two new run capacitors, sounds more and more like a good place to start. I do know my way around a multi meter, have done quite a bit of wiring in my own homes including working in panels and adding a sub panel and yeah, I know to discharge a capacitor before getting nailed but I do sincerely appreciate the warning. I would be comfortable wiring the control board too if it comes to that. I wanted to put my multi meter on the power into the 2nd circuit today and make sure it was getting 110 (before it tripped the breakers) as a starting point but just didn't have time. But yeah, there is a lot of "vintage" items in there and I think for around $150 and can replace them that is what I'm going to try.

Edit to add: While I'm at it would it be beneficial at all to replace the fan capacitor? (The third of the smaller ones on the left). Couldn't hurt, right??
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Old 07-24-2022, 07:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ray,IN View Post
Number 2 compressor will not run unless #1 is already running. The fan pulls approx 4A, when #1 compressor comes on ampere draw is approx. 14A, when #2 compressor comes on the total amp draw will jump to approx 24A.
Trying to run the unit from a 15A breaker will slowly and permanently damage the compressor motors.
Without knowing your model#, here is the Coleman-Mach 6535 service manual.
Yes, it is the 6535, I have confirmed that model #. Should have posted it in the first thread. To be clear, it appears from everything, that the #1 compressor is working fine. It comes on, amps shoot up to about 15-16 and then a few moments later when the #2 comes on it will either trip the 20amp breaker in the RV and/or trip the 20amp breaker in the house. On our drive home this morning it was blowing cold air out, but not with the force we were used to and definitely felt like it was running at 1/2 capacity and could not keep up with the sun heating up the unit (even though we tried closing all window shades).

If I left the 20amp breaker in the RV off it would be fine and just run on one compressor. This is at my paren't house and we go there 2-3 times a year, other than that we've always run off the generator or a 30amp circuit at a campground. I've never tried running it off a 15amp service but I was told I could run off 20amp as long as I switched my shore power setting on my energy management system in the RV to 20amp.
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Old 07-24-2022, 08:35 PM   #8
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It is important you check the voltage getting to #1 compressor when on that 20A circuit. The industry standard to avoid ruining an inductive motor (A/C compressor) is 120VAC plus or minus 10%.
Hopefully there is nothing else on that 20A circuit when running your A/C, not even inside your MH.


You were told correctly about using your EMS.
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Old 07-24-2022, 09:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray,IN View Post
It is important you check the voltage getting to #1 compressor when on that 20A circuit. The industry standard to avoid ruining an inductive motor (A/C compressor) is 120VAC plus or minus 10%.
Hopefully there is nothing else on that 20A circuit when running your A/C, not even inside your MH.


You were told correctly about using your EMS.

Good question. The circuit feeds a single outlet that is on the back of the garage and a light (led) on the wall that was never turned on while we were parked. Doing a lot of googling tonight (I posted the question immediately after parking the rv) after a couple replies here and it seems like bad start capacitor on #2 compressor. I think what is happening is fan comes on, compressor 1 comes on a few seconds later which is why the air would partially work for a while, then since it was so hot compressor 2 gets called for and spikes the amps because the capacitor is bad and trips the breakers. When I keep the 20 amp breaker off then #2 never gets the chance to come online.

I have found a couple of kits that are for my unit and include the fan, start and run capacitors. Even if my fan and #1 capacitors are ok I may just replace them all at this time. Part of me wants to wait until this weekend and go over and test the #2 start capacitor but it seems highly likely that is the problem so Iím thinking I donít want to lose another week and it would not hurt to replace them all anyway since they are 20 years old. If that doesnít work then onto step 2!

I love how much info I can get from other members here. So incredibly helpful.
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Old 07-24-2022, 11:26 PM   #10
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Sounds like you know more than I have given you credit for....sorry and just understand shorting a capacitor then measuring it is often beyond the experience levels of some owners....just remember to set your meter to capacitance. Any capacitor registering outside of the printed parameters might need to be replaced. Sorry but I could not read the individual labels for each unit.
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Old 07-25-2022, 12:10 AM   #11
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The back of the black panel you took off has a schematic of the blower motors and the two compressors and the connections to the control board. I believe the board is clearly marked on the spade connection #1 compressor and #2 compressor. You could swap the #1 and #2 control wires to the relays for each of the compressors. If #2 starts up first and cools down, then at least you know the compressor and associated components are working. If it blow the fuse right away, then it points to the compressor or starting components.

Good luck,
Bill
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Old 07-25-2022, 04:39 AM   #12
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Sounds like you know more than I have given you credit for....sorry and just understand shorting a capacitor then measuring it is often beyond the experience levels of some owners....just remember to set your meter to capacitance. Any capacitor registering outside of the printed parameters might need to be replaced. Sorry but I could not read the individual labels for each unit.
No worries. Yes I may go try to test the capacitors for #2 this weekend and see what the readings are before ordering new. I wish I had more time yesterday to do some research and testing before I had to park it but for all the more it may cost I might just order new ones today.
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Old 07-25-2022, 04:42 AM   #13
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Yes, there was a full wiring diagram on the back of the panel. That’s a good idea, if I swap it out so when the panel calls for #1 compressor it is now hooked to what is currently #2 then I should know if the compressor is working or not. If it shorts the breaker right away then I’m probably looking at a bad compressor.
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Old 07-25-2022, 06:06 AM   #14
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While you can measure capacitors for shorts and relative capacitance, a meter doesn’t “loadL a capacitor like a motor does. It could measure good, but still be bad in use.

Any time an inductive device is powered, such as a motor - the current will spike much, much higher, usually 3-1/2 to 4 times, it’s normal running current - until the motor gets running. Usually a breaker will allow this high current.
But if there is already a partial load on the breaker that is near 1/2 it’s rating, and another identical inductive load is applied, chances are likely the breaker will trip.

I see 2 electrolytic start caps for 2 compressors, 2 PTC start devices for 2 compressors, 2 motor run caps for 2 compressors, and a single motor run cap which I suspect is for a fan motor due to the brown wires - but then if there are 2 compressors, I would think there would be 2 fan motors hence 2 fan motor run caps.

Edit: (all below is edit):

I just read thru the manual for the unit - there is a 2nd cap located somewhere else for one of the 2 fan motors.

Yes - I would replace all the caps in the unit.

LRA for each compressor is 54 amps. Running amps is 8.8. With unit 1 running, my opinion is it would be marginal for the 2nd unit to start or run on a 20 amp breaker. Especially with the use of anything less than a 10 ga extension cord, and a short cord at that.
The manual indicates operable on 115vac. The +/- 10% still applies, but I suggest with aging components that 10% is eaten up pretty quick - and added to that is some what dependent on the house wiring between the breaker panel and the plug.

In the end, you may just need to replace only the start caps and PTC’s, but run caps are cheap. Doing the cap swap as suggested will confirm you don’t have a locked up compressor and can move forward.

And yes, lubrication of fan motor bearings is probably what you saw, and is advised to do on 20 year old motors. A lot of work to do as usually these motors don’t have oil ports.
Some disassembly may be required (I can walk you through that as well).
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