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Old 09-03-2013, 05:50 PM   #1
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Where does an ac capacitor wire go?


I am trying a couple of things before I call my HVAC guy. Inside ac unit is working fine but not blowing cool air. I checked the inside air filter and it needed cleaning. Was hoping that was all the problem was. Air flow seemed to increase but still not cold air.

Outside fan of old Chrysler Airtemp was working - but not blowing hot air - and now is not working at all. I opened the unit and noticed oil underneath the small 161-193 MFD capacitor. I took a photo of the wiring before I removed two wires from the old capacitor. In removing the brown wire from the old capacitor the end that is connected to the unit also came loose.

Unfortunately, the photo doesn't show where it was connected. Yellow wire is hooked up properly on new capacitor. There are several choices for the brown wire.

Click here for a web page that shows photos of capacitor and available terminal sections.

I vaguely recall replacing the capacitor a couple of years ago for the issue of an inconsistently running fan so I am hoping it is the same issue.

Thanks for any help you can give. I am hoping the solution is an obvious one.
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:51 PM   #2
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Where does an ac capacitor wire go?


that capacitor (161-193) and attached relay is known as a hard start kit. it's only purpose in life is to start up the compressor, has not a single thing to do with the fan.

you'll need an entire new hard start kit and best bet is to get a dual run cap, replacing those two single run caps. the smaller one runs the fan, the bigger one runs the compressor. difference between the bigger single (silver as well) compressor capacitor is that it remains in circuit while the compressor is running. the other black capacitor, part of the hard start kit which again entails the relay you have pictured, is only in circuit for a fraction of a second as it starts the compressor. the relay attached to it removes the black "super" capacitor immediately upon compressor start up.

get the two individual numbers from each silver cap and get one dual run capacitor to replace those two. this literally means that the fan capacitor and the compressor capacitor (both silver) will be integrated into one cap sharing a common wire.

all very easy to wire in.

best hard start kit to get is the 5-2-1 compressor saver.

black wire from the relay (it comes pre-wired relay to black capacitor) to black side of contactor. red wire to the other side which may mate with a white wire. the yellow striped wire to the herm terminal of the compressor capacitor. done deal, just strap everything in place and make sure no terminals can touch metal before turning power back on.

go get that dual run cap (again, taking both silver individual numbers from each cap and mating them so for instance if the small fan cap is a 5mfd and the larger silver compressor cap is a 45 than you'll get a 45/5mfd dual run cap) and a new hard start kit.

post the model number of the condenser (Chrysler outside unit) so we know what size hard start kit you need or better yet have that model number with you when you go buy these items.

Come back and someone will walk you through how to wire it all back together.

word to the wise, do not remove any wiring until you have new components in hand.

also, turn breaker off to condenser before sticking your hands in there and verify power off with an electrical meter.
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Doc Holliday is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2013, 01:38 AM   #3
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Where does an ac capacitor wire go?


Doc Holliday,

Thank you for a detailed and thoughtful reply. Your mentioning the capacitor filling the "hard start" role triggered my memory that that was the issue before - not specifically the fan.

I have someone coming over in the morning to help. The capacitor in the second picture you saw is a new one so we will try working with that - especially as it worked a year or two ago. If that doesn't work, I like your suggestion, and will mention it to my helper.

My guess is the unit is from 1975 or so. If I can get through this summer without having to buy a new one, great. It looks exactly like the middle unit in this image I found on Google.

Will report back on our results. Again, Doc, thanks for your kindness.
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