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Old 06-28-2017, 08:20 PM   #1
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Replacing all 3 capacitors on A/C units

Final stages of going FT and since our A/C units and capacitors are 5 going on 6 years old, I bought all 3 new capacitors for each unit and plan on replacing them this weekend.

My question is:
To avoid any shock from the existing old capacitors while I'm installing the new ones that are installed now on the A/C units, should I just discharge the existing capacitors by touching the posts with a screwdriver BEFORE I remove the wires one at a time, OR remove the wires one at a time first, place wires on the new capacitors and then discharge the old ones and set them aside?
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:07 PM   #2
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"marjoa"......They could last another ten years. Why not keep them as spares until one of the units quit. If you decide to replace them, transfer the wires first and then discharge the old ones. Shorting them with wires attached could be problematic.
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by marjoa View Post
Final stages of going FT and since our A/C units and capacitors are 5 going on 6 years old, I bought all 3 new capacitors for each unit and plan on replacing them this weekend.

My question is:
To avoid any shock from the existing old capacitors while I'm installing the new ones that are installed now on the A/C units, should I just discharge the existing capacitors by touching the posts with a screwdriver BEFORE I remove the wires one at a time, OR remove the wires one at a time first, place wires on the new capacitors and then discharge the old ones and set them aside?
Mine are still going strong and they are the originals. Why not just keep spares for now?
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:26 PM   #4
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"marjoa"......They could last another ten years. Why not keep them as spares until one of the units quit. If you decide to replace them, transfer the wires first and then discharge the old ones. Shorting them with wires attached could be problematic.
I am no expert at electricity, but I was under the impression you should discharge the capacitors before touching/disconnecting the wires, that would prevent you from being shocked, I understand about the possible problem with discharging them when attached.


Agree with everyone else as leaving them in place, until you need one. Just my opinion, replacing capacitors are not preventive maintenance, but having them on hand is a smart thing.
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:24 AM   #5
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If you are worried about them failing, get a set to replace them as a backup and go by the theory, "If it's working, don't fart with it".

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Old 06-29-2017, 04:35 AM   #6
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Ok, ok I leave them as spares for now. But hey, I still need to know how to change them out when they do go bad.

So my original question still stands.
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Old 06-29-2017, 04:46 AM   #7
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I was told the same thing, if it's not broke... Good advice.
Here is a video that was shared on here a few months ago, long but gives a lot of information.


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Old 06-29-2017, 04:53 AM   #8
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Yes short them with a screwdriver before touching them, obviously disconnected from shore power and do not run the generator
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Old 06-29-2017, 05:33 AM   #9
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Great video to understand how the A/C works and draws power to different sources and how to run A/C with a under sized generator. Not helpful though in my situation. Thanks for the link.
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:28 AM   #10
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If you are worried about them failing, get a set to replace them as a backup and go by the theory, "If it's working, don't fart with it".

I love it! Wish I had that when I was in the working world!
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:33 AM   #11
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Make sure there is no AC power in the coach.

Use your screwdriver or a short jumper wire and short across the terminals and short to the can. You may or may not get a spark. This will discharge the capacitors and you should be able to handle them safely.

When I do a time change on any components, i.e. capacitors, starter, alternator, water pumps, hoses, plugs, etc. I always keep the old part in my spare parts box. This guarantees I will never need it.
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Old 06-29-2017, 07:16 AM   #12
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Ok, ok I leave them as spares for now. But hey, I still need to know how to change them out when they do go bad.

So my original question still stands.
I've always discharged capacitors before removing any wiring. Never had a problem doing it this way. One thing's for sure, doing it first certainly reduces the risk of me inadvertently getting the discharge.
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:10 AM   #13
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Flashback to autoshop class. Working car engines mounted on stands. Adjusting the timing by twisting the distributor cap while your partner pointed the timing gun at the flywheel. Twisting was fine until I put my other hand on the engine mount stand. I swear I can still taste the metal fillings in my teeth.
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:15 AM   #14
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For future reference, discharging a capacitor with a screwdriver is not the correct way to do it. Using a screwdriver can destroy the capacitor and/or cause personal injury. The correct today is with a bleeder resistor. I have a 10K ohm resistor with alligator clip leads for discharging capacitors.
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