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  1. #1

    replaced cap and contactor... is it my compressor?

    Here's my story... (FYI I live in Houston, Texas) back in May I had an AC guy come out because my main AC unit compressor was not coming on. He tested the factory hard start cap and it tested ok even though it has some leakage. He added some freon and said the compressor was probably on it's way out, but it may be fine for a while. When it didn't come on it was a 75-80 degree day just after raining (so very humid). He said that was the worst condition for the compressor to start and I probably wouldn't have issues over the hot summer.

    He was right. It was fine until a few days ago when the compressor wouldn't come on. It turns out the breaker was blowing. I tested the hard start cap and it didn't have enough capacitance. I bought a new one and put it in. The breaker still flipped when I would turn on the breaker (not even start the AC). So then I repalced the breaker. It still flipped. When I disconnected the main wires going into the contactor the breaker didn't flip. So, I replaced the contactor. When I turn on the breaker it now doesn't flip. But when I start the AC it does. So obviously now I would assume my compressor is drawing too much current and is bad.

    Do you agree?

    Next step, what needs to be replaced and what's a ballpark cost I should expect?

    I have a Rheem RAMB-060JBZ. I think it's a 5 ton but google searches don't give me much info.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Houston Tx
    Posts
    344
    When I turn on the breaker it now doesn't flip. But when I start the AC it does.



    Does this not tell you the Compessor is grounded and there is a problem somewhere.?????????


    Call your boy back out to check and replace.

  3. #3
    Sorry Slice, I'm not an expert on this. My thought was that if the compressor was going out it would draw too much current and trip the breaker. That's some of what I read online and I thought that was also the reason for adding a hard start cap if you're compressor is going out (my hard start cap was already there I think from the factory but maybe not??).

    Can you give me some more info on what to look for to see if it's grounded?? There's not that many wires and I don't see any that are shorted to the casing.





    [QUOTE=slice;1674231]When I turn on the breaker it now doesn't flip. But when I start the AC it does.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Olathe Kansas
    Posts
    246
    Please read site rules. You've done all you can and probably too much. Be careful, if your tripping the breaker there's a real problem and can be dangerous. Be safe and call a pro.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ckr74 View Post
    Please read site rules. You've done all you can and probably too much. Be careful, if your tripping the breaker there's a real problem and can be dangerous. Be safe and call a pro.


    Ok, I thought this site was to help people out. I'm not sure why have the site if the answer is always call a professional. I am an engineer and like to learn. I frequent automotive message boards and rebuilt an automatic transmission on a suburban without knowing anything about it beforehand. I LIKE TO LEARN and I like a challenge. Tell me what I have done that I should not have done?

    So that's it? Just call a professional? No advice? I guess you guys don't want to give people any info to do it yourself.

    FYI, I also have a boat and post on a boating message board (iboats.com) a lot. There is a guy there that's been a boat mechanic for 35 years and is very helpful about sharing his knowledge.

    Why do we have message boards?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    67
    I had the same problem with the unit at my house. Mt compressor ahs internal breakage though. It would start for about 2-4 seconds then trip the panel breaker. Sounds like your compressor has a winding issue, maybe grounded or burnt. That would cause the unit to draw high amps(Locked rotor amps or LRA) and trip. Do a ohm or megometer test on the compressor, but becareful because you can get false reading with the compressor under vacuum or pressure.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    491
    Quote Originally Posted by aggiedave98 View Post
    Ok, I thought this site was to help people out. I'm not sure why have the site if the answer is always call a professional. I am an engineer and like to learn. I frequent automotive message boards and rebuilt an automatic transmission on a suburban without knowing anything about it beforehand. I LIKE TO LEARN and I like a challenge. Tell me what I have done that I should not have done?

    So that's it? Just call a professional? No advice? I guess you guys don't want to give people any info to do it yourself.

    FYI, I also have a boat and post on a boating message board (iboats.com) a lot. There is a guy there that's been a boat mechanic for 35 years and is very helpful about sharing his knowledge.

    Why do we have message boards?
    if you like to learn and feel you can follow directions if they are provided to you, then what did you NOT learn about the forum rules which you HAD to read when you applied to this site in order to even post a question. if your not sure which of the couple of rules i'm referring to, its the one about 'no D.I.Y info provided here, so don't even ask'. youv'e demonstrated your ability to NOT follow instructions and, as a result, futher make the case as to why no DIY info is provided. also, why would we want to take food out of our mouth. we don't show up here, on our own personal time, dead set on making less money for our selves by having people (attempt) to do our jobs for us. we show up here to learn and to educate people in the many ways that you'd realize if you spent a day or so here. go ask your boat mechanic what to do to your condensing unit, he sounds like a nice guy.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    6,321
    GIG Em!

    Aggie site rules prohibit us from providing step by step instructions period. There are many valid reasons for doing this mostly a liability concern. There are many situations with in this field that can cause people to be injured or killed. Not just to the person performing the repairs but to people living in the home.

    A grounded compressor (which is most likely what you have) can easily cause a house fire or electrocute a person. I have found fan motors and compressors that were grounded to the unit body and if you become the earth ground good bye.

    You personally may very well be capable to diagnose further most that visit here looking for DIY info are not. It is not a personal affront but not DIY help has been a constant here through three different site owner/operators.

    My contact phone number is in my profile if you contact me I will help you delve deeper into your trouble shooting. I strongly suspect that you are going to need a new unit at minimum a new compressor.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Califormia
    Posts
    318
    Not only what the others have said, but further: The multiple times you've reset the breaker after each failed attempt @ repair has probably made the situation much worse. By not calling a Pro, you have very likely caused substantial acid in the system.. which is what occurs when the compressor is grounded and causes decomposition of the refrigerant. Every time you reset the breaker "trying to learn" you've probably added to the acid content in the system. This will ultimately increase the cost and difficulty of the repair.. sometimes even negating the "repair" option.
    "Surprised ?! If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised."
    Clark Griswold

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    N. E. Missouri
    Posts
    9,750
    Not to mention the fact that the more you "do to it" the more the technician has to unravel as to what the original problem was in the first place.
    Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    274
    Quote Originally Posted by aggiedave98 View Post
    Here's my story... (FYI I live in Houston, Texas) back in May I had an AC guy come out because my main AC unit compressor was not coming on. He tested the factory hard start cap and it tested ok even though it has some leakage. He added some freon and said the compressor was probably on it's way out, but it may be fine for a while. When it didn't come on it was a 75-80 degree day just after raining (so very humid). He said that was the worst condition for the compressor to start and I probably wouldn't have issues over the hot summer.

    He was right. It was fine until a few days ago when the compressor wouldn't come on. It turns out the breaker was blowing. I tested the hard start cap and it didn't have enough capacitance. I bought a new one and put it in. The breaker still flipped when I would turn on the breaker (not even start the AC). So then I repalced the breaker. It still flipped. When I disconnected the main wires going into the contactor the breaker didn't flip. So, I replaced the contactor. When I turn on the breaker it now doesn't flip. But when I start the AC it does. So obviously now I would assume my compressor is drawing too much current and is bad.

    Do you agree?

    Next step, what needs to be replaced and what's a ballpark cost I should expect?

    I have a Rheem RAMB-060JBZ. I think it's a 5 ton but google searches don't give me much info.

    Thanks!
    Yes, it is a 5 ton. You seem to be a great parts replacer. Now that you have replaced all the parts you know how, call a licensed a/c company and get a professional opinion. My opinion without looking at your unit is that at a minimum you need a new compressor. I am still baffled at why you replaced the contactor. I've never seen a contactor go to ground.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,913
    Quote Originally Posted by cep a/c View Post
    . I've never seen a contactor go to ground.
    I've seen a couple of them go to ground.

    Dang things jump out of my hands once in a while.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Durham,N.C.
    Posts
    117
    aggie trace all three wires coming off your compressor make sure none are burnt or broken and touching somewhere.

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