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Hello, thats good work on the load test, the fact that the voltage didn't drop points to a good panel, but I have not seen it, so it may be overloaded with other appliances that were not on at the time so you got a good test result.
Tell me the size of the main breaker at the top of the panel, and any brand names you can see, especially 'zinsco' or 'Federal' (those have gone out of business are deemed hazardous).
You could try replacing the hard start kit, they are not expensive, and if that fixes it you will be good for another few years hopefully, however at age 17 or 18 your heating and AC system is statistically at the end of its normal life span... worth fixing but only if its not major or costs over a few hundred dollars.
Let me know, we can go from there
Thanks, ***** ***** will not start, while drawing 88 amps (thats locked rotor amps no doubt) and with 237 volts across line one and line 2. **while its drawing the 88 amps and reading 237 volts** then something is wrong with the unit or the compressor.
Possibly a bad compressor run capacitor, you can check the micro farad rating on the capacitor as compared to the rating stamped on it... these generally go bad and and fail entirely or they are good. however a few just loose some of their micro farad capacity. So check that.
If the run capacitor is good and the compressor still does not start and run then the compressor is mechanically seized... in this case however, after 55 years in the business I suspect that the voltage is actually dropping below 200 volts when attempting to start. That would be expected with such a small panel, and with the zinsco breakers.
Triple check all that and get back to me, we can go from there,
Regarding the fact that the previous unit had run for years on that panel, the compressor that is interesting but unfortunately does not prove anything since this new unit also ran for some time on that panel... there are power factor issues that could be happening, the phases should be 120 degrees apart as you know, you can measure that phase displacement, it is possible that one of the two lines serving the new AC unit is is overloaded and has phase shifted enough to cause a problem, especially given the smaller wire size used on those older panels from the pole to the meter.
I would try replacing the hard start kit as a next step.