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Old 06-20-2010, 07:09 PM   #1
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Question any home AC technicians in the house?

Bare with me on the long story; the question is at the end if you want to skip through it, lol



Yesterday our AC stopped working. So we called up a friend of ours that does AC work, he looked at the unit ouside, and found a fried wire attached to one of the leads on the capacitor. It was a super thin wire to begin with, so once he saw it he wasn't all surprised.

So he replace the one wire with a new thicker wire, and viola, AC works again!

for about 2 hours...


then it stopped completely again



Well, lucky for us, our buddy that helped us had plans to go out of town for father's day, and within that two hours, he was on the road and headed to south Florida... so he couldn't make it back out, and isn't returning until Monday afternoon...

So we dealt with the heat Saturday night, and most of Sunday morning, then I got adventurous (and sick of the heat) and decided to peek inside the unit that's outside, and see if maybe another wire fried... I mean comon, I can replace a stupid wire if that's all that it is...

So I killed the power to it, pulled the panel off, and low and behold, one of the terminals on the capcitor is pretty much melted off, lol. The plastic around it was barely hanging on. The wires looked fine, but the cap definately looked shot.

So we searched around locally (there's not a hole lot of stores that sales these open on Father's Day... go figure), and no body carried them... Lowe's, Home Depot, Ace hardware, etc...

So, I'm going to pick one up tomorrow, probably from Grainger, and I'm having a hard time locating a round dual capacitor with the exact same specs as this one

50/3/370

I know the 370 is the volt rating, and it's perfectly acceptable to replace it with one of a higher rated voltage.

But it's the MFD ratings that I'm having a hard time matching. Although I am finding them with the first number of 50, it's the second number of 3 that I cannot find ANY of...



I guess in the end, my question really is:

Can I replace a 50/3/370 dual cap with say, a 50/7.5/370(or 440) dual cap? Or maybe even with both numbers being higher, like a 55/5 or 60/5? Would that cause harm to the system? Would it actually make it more "robust" so to speak (would it more or less be an upgrade).


I know when it comes to electrical, it's NEVER a good idea to replace something with a LOWER rated number that what's already there, so I know I can't stick in a 25/5 or something, lol.




Thanks guys!

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Old 06-21-2010, 08:07 AM   #2
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The first two numbers are the capacitance of the two parts of the capacitor, right?

You could always try to get 55uF and 3uF caps rated for 370 volts and go with that, there is no need to replace a dual cap with a dual cap, on both caps (and you will have to determine this based upon what goes where on your A/C unit) one terminal will need to be common (same terminal on both).

Also, without having the circuit in front of me I can't really tell you what an increase in capacitance would do, in many cases it might not mean anything (like if the capacitor is just doing some decoupling), in some it could mean a whole lot (such as in a resistor-capacitor setup). Bigger is usually better but sometimes it definitely isn't. I can't recommend you use the 50/7.5/370, nor tell you that using it won't hurt anything, but I don't think it'll hurt anything though it might take a moment or two longer for your A/C compressor to kick on or something.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:02 AM   #3
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well today some stores will be open, so I'm making some phone calls

what's wierd is that I put the old cap back in for now, melted plug and all, and it AC works again

BUT, I'm not going to leave it like that; no way... I'm replacing is as soon as I find one
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Old 06-21-2010, 11:15 AM   #4
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I think I've had my A/C on twice so far this year...
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Old 06-21-2010, 12:47 PM   #5
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found a local shop, and talked to them about it

apparently, this AC unit manufacturer (Rheem) used this odd-ball capacitor on many of their units, and they're getting harder and harder to find

the guy said that there shouldn't be any issue installing a 50/5/370 or 440, so, $40, I have a new 50/5/440 installed, and everything's working as it should

when I pulled that old cap out, that thing was toasty he said the first issue, the wire melting down, was probably because the cap was going out, and started making a lot of resistance in the flow, thus causing the wire to heat up and fail, which makes perfect since

so we'll see how long this last; we should be good to go now



horay for DIY repairs that save you a $75 technician home visit!
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:00 PM   #6
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oh yeah, I almost forgot

capacitor melt-down pics; not as dramatic as the pics of the ones that expand and blow up look at the common terminal (the one with the melted black plastic around it this is after I wiped off most of the oil that spit out of it


Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:00 PM
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