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Posted: 6/21/2011 4:38:26 AM EDT
Here's what happened.

It was storming, power went out for a second, then back on, then dimmed to about half power, then back on, then a few seconds later completely went out for 5 seconds... then back on for like 5 minutes before going out again for another few seconds. During the middle of this I turned off my A/C for a couple hours, once it looked like the storms had passed I turned my A/C back on. This morning I wake up and it's 80 degrees inside and the A/C has been running all night. Outside the fan is on in the condenser... What can I check/reset if anything before paying someone to come out? Is there a way for me to check total charge with manifold gauges without a reclaimer? I've rebuilt a few car A/C systems so I'm familiar with the principal, not paying someone to do something I might be able to do would be great.
Link Posted: 6/21/2011 4:45:41 AM EDT
how do you know the condenser is working?  we had that happen here last summer, fan outside kicked on, upstairs 'unit" kicked on, but it wouldn't cool.  There was a wire that had burned out on the outside fan unit and as soon as he reconnected it it worked.
Link Posted: 6/21/2011 4:51:24 AM EDT
My Dad used to work on AC units. He always told us to shut down the AC if the power is going on and off in a storm. The starting and stopping plus low current will damage the compressor.



I would bet your compressor is shot...
Link Posted: 6/21/2011 4:58:48 AM EDT
If you have a volt meter, open the electrical panel and see if the compressor is getting correct voltage.  You should be able to hear the compressor running aside from the fan.  See if the compressor is hot to the touch.  It could be a compressor capacitor problem.  You can check the capacitor with an electrical meter too.  Don't worry about refrigerant charge yet.  See if the compressor will run.
Link Posted: 6/21/2011 4:58:59 AM EDT
Originally Posted By substandard:
My Dad used to work on AC units. He always told us to shut down the AC if the power is going on and off in a storm. The starting and stopping plus low current will damage the compressor.

I would bet your compressor is shot...


Yeah, I shut it off once I realized what was happening and got over to it. And I'm afraid that's what might be the case.
Link Posted: 6/21/2011 5:00:46 AM EDT
Originally Posted By JohnMatrix:
If you have a volt meter, open the electrical panel and see if the compressor is getting correct voltage.  You should be able to hear the compressor running aside from the fan.  See if the compressor is hot to the touch.  It could be a compressor capacitor problem.  You can check the capacitor with an electrical meter too.  Don't worry about refrigerant charge yet.  See if the compressor will run.


So the fan is running, and I can hear a humming sound like the compressor might be on. Do you know where I can get a wiring diagram or a spec sheet with what the voltages should be and how to check the cap?
Link Posted: 6/21/2011 5:14:09 AM EDT
Originally Posted By JohnMatrix:
If you have a volt meter, open the electrical panel and see if the compressor is getting correct voltage.  You should be able to hear the compressor running aside from the fan.  See if the compressor is hot to the touch.  It could be a compressor capacitor problem.  You can check the capacitor with an electrical meter too.  Don't worry about refrigerant charge yet.  See if the compressor will run.


V going into the unit 245. Cap has 390/425/45 between the 3 legs.
Link Posted: 6/21/2011 5:23:14 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Desp:
Do you know where I can get a wiring diagram or a spec sheet with what the voltages should be and how to check the cap?


Typically, there's a wiring diagram pasted to the inside of the electrical access panel on the condenser unit. Obviously, you want to disconnect AC power from the condenser before removing the panel.

A bad capacitor is usually associated with either the condenser fan or compressor not starting.  If the compressor and fan are already running, there's probably not much point in checking it.
Link Posted: 6/21/2011 5:26:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/21/2011 5:27:06 AM EDT by pcsutton]
Check the coil inside the house. Make sure it's not frozen up.
Link Posted: 6/21/2011 5:57:32 AM EDT
Originally Posted By pcsutton:
Check the coil inside the house. Make sure it's not frozen up.


Coil is room tempature
Link Posted: 6/21/2011 6:40:43 AM EDT
Check the compressor to see if it's hot it might be out on thermal overload from the voltage drop.Also the compressor might be locked up from the start cap going bad ,if the compressor is hot turn power off and run a water hose on it slowly until it cools down.If the compressor seems locked up try kicking it to free it up ,my partner on my job does this all the time and it works.Just be careful when you kick the compressor you don't kick any of the copper lines.If the compressor is sitting there humming you might need a hard start kit to put with the start cap.

Something else to try if none of the above works.
Link Posted: 6/21/2011 7:00:09 AM EDT
Mine did that at our FL house. I tried let it rest , turning the power on and then off , blah blah blah. Finally I noticed with the power on the ourside compressor unit was slightly humming. I grabbed a stick and flung the fan blade and the sucker kicked off. Problem was every time the compressor kicked off it no longer had the umph to fire off again so id have to manually start it.  

Neighbor is an HVAC guy came over and found this to be tru. So we took the fan blade off and lubed the shit out of the shaft and it would fire off with out the fan. He ordered me a new compressor and I put a box can on top on it to cool the compressor as best as could be done untill the new compressor came.

It got me through the next day but was one noisy ugly sounding monster by that later afternoon when he got home from work to fix it lol.
Link Posted: 6/21/2011 9:25:36 AM EDT
Capacitor that starts the fan. Got mine fixed two weeks ago. Parts and labor $105.
Link Posted: 6/21/2011 10:20:10 AM EDT
turn off the breakers to the ac both and let it set for 10 min then turn them back on and wait 5 min

then turn in ac system it should come back on
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