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Sounds high if only replacing outdoor unit and you should by no means have to help
A legitimate price for just the outdoor unit including labor, mark up, solder welding and charging should be in price range of 3000 to 3500 and you should not have to touch anything.The online units often come without warranty as manufacturers often include a notice that purchasing online voids warranty.
It is normal for a contractor to sale the unit for double what he pays to cover overhead, refrigerant, labor and any materials required.
Below is an example excerpt from Goodman about purchasing online.Many manufacturers have same clause in warranty.
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If breaker trips it is most likely what is called a short to ground in compressor windings. Now you can replace just the compressor but from a financial standpoint not a real wise decision.here is why. The compressor will run as you said about 600 bucks. If replacing just compressor you will need to install both a suction and liquid line filter drier which is about another 50 bucks. Then you will have to completely charge system which is about 400 dollars worth of refrigerant if R22 or 200 if R410A. Add about 4 hrs labor for removing, installing, vacuuming and charging system so another 400 bucks. Now we have spent about 1250 to 1500 bucks to replace compressor.Since it is going into what is considered a contaminated system you will only get a one year warranty vs a 5 or 10 year warranty if replacing unit.
A compressor can internally short at any time.If there was no lightning storm it is likely due to age the oil viscosity in compressor broke down causing lack of proper internal lubrication and allowing windings to burn.