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at the condensing unit outside, the main breaker keeps tripping

Customer Question
and I see a spark...
at the condensing unit outside, the main breaker keeps tripping and I see a spark at the compressor when i reset breaker......fan moves about a 16th of an inch and then breaker trips again.....can you help?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: HVAC
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Answered in 1 minute by:
4/24/2011
HVAC Technician: Phil, Mechanical Engineer replied 6 years ago
Phil
Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 9,168
Experience: Retired HVAC/ Electrical & Boiler contractor. Industrial
Verified

Phil :

Hi,This is risky business, not responsible for damages on your end. We *keep going until *you are happy. I come and go. be patient

Customer:

any Idea what this could be?

Phil :

Odds are near 100% that the compressor is internally shorted...DO NOT TRY TO RESET THE BREAKER AGAIN.. in this case.. the wire penetrations to the compressor could give way and blow out, thats dangerous and messy.

Customer:

so what would be the solution?

Phil :

If you want a 100% sure check... buy a $30 multi meter at the hardware store, set it on ohms...

Phil :

then kill all power to the unit, check to make sure its all off.

Phil :

make a sketch of the wires that attach to the compressor.. a big sketch, showing wire colors etc.

Phil :

then use a screw driver to short across the terminals on the large capacitor in one of the wires that attaches to the compressor

Phil :

then use the ohm meter to check between each wire and the copper tubing. if you get a read, the compressor is burnt.

Phil :

***

Customer:

If it is an internal short in the compressor, is it repairable, and if not, how much should I expect to pay to have it replaced?

Phil :

If the compressor is burnt replace the entire unit, tubing and inside cooling coil

Customer:

I have to replace the entire lineset?

Customer:

and a coil?

Phil :

If its burnt, there are nasty acids and sludge all through the system... if you dont get every peck of it out, it will ruin any new outside unit you put in.

Phil :

Replace it all, ONLY if the compressor 'burned' badly.. that is hard for a layman to determine but we can discuss that.

Phil :

If its an older unit you will have to replace the entire system regardless. due to a change from R-22 to R-410a refrigerant... look on the unit name tag for the refrigerant used.. it may be inside the service panel.

Phil :

tell me how old the system is.

Phil :

****

Phil :

to see how badly a system is burnt... an acid test has to be performed.. thats a kit available from Grainger Industrial Supply, Applicance Parts Distributor inc. or Johnston Supply.

Phil :

or online from www.HVACparts.com

Phil :

to get the full story takes a service cutting into the system...

Phil :

tell me how old the system is... there are many other factors in a decision.

Phil :

Including your geographical location... relative to SEER rating best for that area when you buy a new system.

Customer:

I think the unit was man. in 93 it is a goodman model cpkt36-1b

Phil :

thanks... its not cost effective to do anything but replace: the inside coil, the tubing and the outside condensing unit. its not a close call at all.

Phil :

Tell me what part of the country you are in and I will make some recommendations.

Customer:

now I'm a heating contractor, but we dont do a lot of refrigiration due to our climate....mostly evap cooling...so I can get another unit for wholesale at our goodman distributor.....I'm working on my moms unit she lives in west texas

Phil :

I will be off line for a few hours, in the meantime here is some background data

Phil :

Goodman as you know is the cheapest on the market.. they tend to have leaky evaporator coils and cracked plastic evaporator coil pans... but yours lasted almost 18 years.. thats a long time even for the best brands. You may or may not be so lucky with another Goodman. considering the price and situation though I might put another Goodman in myself.

Phil :

SEER 15 or higher in west texas.

Phil :

More expensive brands preferred, Ruud, Trane, Carrier, American Standard is a fairly good semi cheap unit.

Phil :

Make sure its R-410 refrigerant.

Customer:

not sure about goodman cooling parts but heating equip is awsome......lifetime warranty on heat exchanger and never had any problems on the hundreds of systems we've installed

Phil :

Post back if you need more elaboration, or press the big green 'accept' button. Thanks! Phil

Customer:

thanks for the help

Phil
Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 9,168
Experience: Retired HVAC/ Electrical & Boiler contractor. Industrial
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