I'm wondering if anyone can help me identify the issue here:

My AC went out. I'm positive there's a capacitor problem since I can actually kickstart the fan motor but it doesn't have any effect on cooling, which made me think that the capacitor (or another one) may also be required to start the compressor. That brings two questions:

  • Is there anyway I can identify the capacitor (or capacitors) from the label without having to open up the casing? (it's raining, not due pure laziness)

  • Anyway that I can diagnose a bad compressor, or leak knowing that the capacitor is bad, without changing the capacitor? (I don't hear the compressor humming after I kickstart the fan or before.)

Here's the only label I could find:

enter image description here

  • 1
    What makes you so certain that it is (specifically) a capacitor causing the problem? Also, what do you mean by kickstart? Also, that label provides no information about the internal circuitry. – Hari Ganti Jun 1 '18 at 21:09
  • Can you post a wiring diagram for the outdoor unit? – ThreePhaseEel Jun 1 '18 at 22:31
  • I'll try to open the panel up and will update the original post with a picture of the circuit if I can't find a diagram. @HariGanti I actually poked the fan with a stick to start it and it did take off. – ReturnTable Jun 2 '18 at 1:16
  • The only label that would tell you which capacitor is on the motor and compressor themselves since they are matched. The only way to tell if it is bad is to use a multi meter with a capacitor tester on it or change the capacitor with the correct one and see if it helps. – user76730 Jun 2 '18 at 3:54
  • Air Conditioning, Not 120V 60Hz. There's often a thermal fuse located on top of the compressor. Sometimes those reset themselves, but many AC's come with a one shot fuse. Pull the spade connectors on it, and see if the fuse conducts. If not, you'll need a new one. It's been hot lately, and that warms up compressors. – Wayfaring Stranger Jun 2 '18 at 19:00

You are probably correct on it being the capacitor. Most time the compressor and ODM (outdoor fan motor) capacitor are combined into one. If you can get that capacitor out (looks like a small tin can with 3 prongs coming out the top) and it looks puffy, most likely bad. You can easily check this if you have a decent multi meter like a Fluke. Otherwise just take this one with you to your closest AC supply house and get a new one. If nothing else, you will have eliminated this very common issue. I've replaced mine even though they haven't failed but were showing some signs of puffiness.

| improve this answer | |
  • It was the capacitor by the way. Forgot to update. – ReturnTable Aug 28 '18 at 17:34

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