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Joseph, HVAC Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 97
Experience:  38 years diversified HVAC/R experience,Presenty an HVAC/R Contractor
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My outside unit is not working. The fan is not spinning.

Customer Question

My outside unit is not working. The fan is not spinning. I replaced the start capacitor already and it bulged out again like the first one after a couple weeks. Any idea what is causing the capacitor to keep going out, since after replacing the capacitor the unit was working again?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Joseph replied 6 years ago.
If your talking about the condensor fan motor ,those are run capacitor, ( metal silver looking case ) If it's sized correctly MFD and Voltage . you would have to put an amp. probe on the motor and check the amprege draw and compare it to the nametag amp. rating of the motor. If your drawing more than what the motor is rated then the motor is going bad. try free spinning the motor , it should turn several revolutions before it stops. Any thing less your motor is binding up. Persoanlly you can buy a correct motor and motor at for under $125.00 for both parts.Buy a reversible rotation motor so there is no issue with wrong rotation.You also may have a shorted fan motor , not enough to trip a breaker but you may be using only partial motor winding , usually when that happens the motor turns at half speed.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
So what's causing the start capacitor to go out?? Since that was the capacitor that I replaced to make it work again until it went out again. I don't know what capacitor controls what, but the motor that you're telling me to check for amperage draw, I don't know where or what it is. I'm ignorant about this topic so you're going to have to give me more information and details. Like when your telling me to "try free spinning the motor," are you talking about the fan???
Expert:  Joseph replied 6 years ago.
Yes the fan blade ,free spin it by hand . it's a run capacitor not a start capacitor you may have a three prong capacitor that hooks up to the compressor also.If you have only two terminal hookups on the capacitor then it's a dedicated condenser fan motor. try turning the fan blade to see if it turns freely. use a pencil to reach it.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
It makes about four revolutions when I used a stick to turn, but when I turned it by hand it makes serveral revolution. I was able to turn it by hand because I haven't put everything back together from the last time I replaced the capacitor. So I'm guessing it's the fan blade that's causing the capacitor to go out since you haven't said anything about it yet???
Expert:  Joseph replied 6 years ago.

The fan blade itself has nothing to do with causing the capacitor to go bad ,unless the blade is hitting metal and it can not turn freely.( motor not turning )Without a amperage probe ( amp. probe ) to check the motor amp draw it would be difficult via internet to tell you exactly your problem , If you hooked up the capacitor correctly and after a week or two it bulges and needs to be replaced, to me it indicates a bad fan motor.The MFD rating and voltage of the capacitor has to be exact for the motor. And certainly the capacitor needs to be hooked up according to motor wiring diagram that comes with the unit electrical panel. A start capacitor is plastic casing color is black, a run capacitor is a silver colored metal case.With the info you give me leads me to say you need a new motor and new matching capacitor.

Edited by Joseph on 3/7/2010 at 11:29 PM EST
Joseph and 4 other HVAC Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I changed the fan motor and the run capacitor, but now the new motor won't spin at all, even when I give it a push start. I tried to check for the volt, but I wasn't sure which wires to check for so I checked the three wires that's from the fan motor. The number was jumping around whenever it was able to get a reading, but the reading was less than 100. Or maybe I didn't do it right, I don't know. I flipped through the different settings on the multimeter too.
Expert:  Joseph replied 6 years ago.

If you only have three wires on the motor ( and the motor is the correct voltage and size ) then you should have a brown/white wire, a all brown wire and the other wire could be any color. That wire hooks up to a 220 volt source such as the load side of the compressor . the other brown/white wire goes to one capacitor terminal then goes to the other 220 volt compressor load side. the last wire from the motor goes to the other capacitor terminal. Make sure none of the wires touch metal, and secure the capacitor.Hopefully the motor starts and turns the right rotation.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
There are three wires from the fan. One's black and it goes to the defrost electrical board, there's a purple that goes to the contactor, and the last one is brownish orange that goes to the run capacitor. But what wires am I suppose to test anyways?? How much do you think it would cost me if I got someone to come fix it?
Expert:  Joseph replied 6 years ago.

One hour of labor , that is all it should cost you. You have a new motor and the capacitor is matched to the motor.The only possible other thing I can think of is the wire going to the defrost board ,that is a normally closed contacts ,possible it is open for some reason.Anyway it should not cost more than one hour labor. Do not worry about hitting accept. Save your money for the tech.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I got a technician to come out today to check out the unit, and he said the compressor, I think, was bad. The thing sitting at the bottom. He said that it was going to cost $800, including labor, to fix it. Is that right?? It's seem pretty expensive. But I'll click on the Accept Answer. You've been helpful and helped me out. Thanks.
Expert:  Joseph replied 6 years ago.
That actually is not a bad price as compressors are expensive., If this is a warranty work and compressor is covered ,then to me that price would be excessive.It also depends on what part of the country you live in,I live in a very expensive state and that price would be low ( including compressor cost ) He should give you a one year warranty on the compressor and a 30 day labor warranty.Personally when I change a compressor I blow out the system with dry nitrogen, replace the compressor contactor , even the compressor run capacitor. Clean indoor and outdoor coil. oil outdoor fan motor ( if it has oil cups ) tighten all electrical connections ,replace any burnt wire tips. blow out condensate drain line.