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Old 07-20-2010, 09:33 PM   #1
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A/C problem misdiagnosed?


Hello.
About 10 days ago I switched our A/C system (Infiniti) on first time this year. It did not work. The unitís fan turned slowly and compressor was quiet. I called service technician. He did some tests (starting capacitor). The fan still run slowly and the compressor tried to ďkick inĒ and then went quiet. The serviceman called a service center. And after a while I was told that the compressor is faulty and an appointment was set for the replacement. The compressor was replaced by a different technician today .After all work was done and the system switched back on there was no response. Upon closer examination the technician found 1 phase (115V) missing from the unitís power terminal (switch box). He traced the problem to the power distribution panel where 1 wire from the cable was connected to the neutral terminal block and not to the second terminal of the circuit breaker for the A/C unit. After connecting it there the unit started to work properly.
My question: Would the system behaved the way described above with only one phase(115 V) present? It seems that the actual problem was with the second 115 voltage and nothing wrong was with the compressor. Apparently the problem was "introduced" last September when the ne power panel was installed.

Thank you for response.

Milan

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Old 07-20-2010, 09:46 PM   #2
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A/C problem misdiagnosed?


Yes. If they hooked the second leg to a neutral, it could operate like you said.

You had a bad tech diagnose it.

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Old 07-20-2010, 09:46 PM   #3
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A/C problem misdiagnosed?


I'm guessing this is the first time the unit was run since replacing the panel you spoke of.

yes, low voltage could cause what you had and trying to run it on low voltage for too long could damage the compressor or the fan motor. I would have to guess that the everything was actually fine before you turned it on but the low voltage eventually cause damage to the compressor.

was this under warranty? did the same people that changed your panel also install the AC unit?
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:46 PM   #4
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A/C problem misdiagnosed?


Yes it would act exactly that way. Tech probably checked each leg to ground and got 120 on each and figured it was good.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:33 PM   #5
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A/C problem misdiagnosed?


Quote:
Originally Posted by nap View Post
I'm guessing this is the first time the unit was run since replacing the panel you spoke of.

yes, low voltage could cause what you had and trying to run it on low voltage for too long could damage the compressor or the fan motor. I would have to guess that the everything was actually fine before you turned it on but the low voltage eventually cause damage to the compressor.

was this under warranty? did the same people that changed your panel also install the AC unit?
Hello,
I am surprised how fast some people responded. I appreciate that.

-Yes,the unit has been used first time. In September and later there was no use of the A/C and this year only recent heat wave "forced" me to switch it on.
- Electrician who wired the panel apparently made a mistake (white wire connected as neutral). The A/C circuit breaker is 2-pole and only one leg
was connected.
- The compressor was under waranty. System is 4 years old
- I believe (as I wrote) that the compressor was actually ok. Under the test the system was still "kicking" (1st technician)
I whish I checked it (voltages) myself.
The second technician did not test the system, just started replacement job. He found the problem (after replacing the compressor) in no time. I could not believe but he was right.
Regarding the first technician - from what I observed I have some questions-I guess he was more of a sale representative trying to help out. But an invoice ( for labour) is on my desk and I shake my head .

I elaborated a little more to cover responses from other gentlemen.

Thanks to all of you.

Milan
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:49 PM   #6
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A/C problem misdiagnosed?


Contact the owner of the company that did the panel swap out. And let them know what they did.

Also contact the owner of the HVAC company. And let them know that the first tech did a bad diagnostic. And that the compressor wasn't bad, and didn't need swapped out.

You might be able to get them to drop all charges. or atleast reduce it. And the company that swapped out the panel box, might pick up the rest of the tab. Thats what they have insurance for.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:56 PM   #7
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A/C problem misdiagnosed?


Quote:
Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
Contact the owner of the company that did the panel swap out. And let them know what they did.

Also contact the owner of the HVAC company. And let them know that the first tech did a bad diagnostic. And that the compressor wasn't bad, and didn't need swapped out.

You might be able to get them to drop all charges. or atleast reduce it. And the company that swapped out the panel box, might pick up the rest of the tab. Thats what they have insurance for.
I agree


In addition, I would let the electrical company how much money they might have be liable for if the compressor was not paid for via warranty. While they shouldn't be liable for incompetent tech's, they should be liable for at least a service call.

the AC company has a right to charge a service call but the rest is on them, in my opinion. Their incompetent tech should have caught the voltage problem and whether the compressor was damaged or not due to the low voltage, it was apparently fine when they started troubleshooting so if it was damaged, it was their fault and if it wasn't, it didn't need to be replaced.

If life is fair at all, you should end up not have any out of pocket expenses once this is all settled.
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:36 PM   #8
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A/C problem misdiagnosed?


Re: A/C problem misdiagnosed ?

- Regarding the eletrician- I do not have any recourse. He moved out of country. I know he had the licence.As it is - he made a mistake which did not presented itself as a problem right away due to a fact that the A/C was not switched from that time (September- you may need to switch on heating not A/C :-)))) .

- I do not have a problem for the service charge and also for the electrical fix.

Note1: I used to work in maintenance/engineering (tv studios) whole my professional carrier and I've done my share of mistakes so I have have an understanding for the situation. One of the "rules" I adhered to was to go through all troubleshooting/verification again when I took over somebody's work due to time ,etc. Sometimes I even got jabs like :" you do not trust him? He is in the bussiness so long". And it did not have anything to do with that. One has to familiarize himself with the situation and a different angle is quite often good. All of us can learn from the situation.

Note 2: As I am a totally new to communication on any forum I may have made a few "no,no"
regarding established ettiquete ( expanding too much or not responding in proper window). Please accept my appology.

My Thanks go to all who responded.

Milan

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