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Old 07-08-2018, 01:45 AM   #1
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A/C Unit Two Separate Run Capacitors?


My neighbor's A/C unit stopped working today. I have had issues with capacitors in my A/C unit in the past, so that was one of the first things I checked. Turns out the large 80uF run capacitor is bad (and it's impossible to find one on a weekend!).

Although her unit is only about 3 years old, it looks like the OEM dual-capacitor unit has been previously changed out for two separate capacitors (80uF and 10uF). These capacitors were electrical-tapped, zap-strapped together and loosely hung on the original mounting strap. See attached photo.

I was just curious if this kind of discrete capacitor arrangement is common when replacing bad capacitors, or if it is even recommended. Do any of you HVAC pros have any input on this?

Should I replace the bad capacitor with the original dual-capacitor-in-one-enclosure model, or should I keep these capacitors separate? If I keep them searate, I'll still replace both of them.

This is a Lennox 13ACD-060-230-15
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Old 07-08-2018, 08:22 AM   #2
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Re: A/C Unit Two Separate Run Capacitors?


It's common practice to see this, especially on some of the more uncommon sizes like 80/10. I would have done the same, I carry an '80' & plenty of '10's but not a 80/10. In fact, to get that Dual Capacitor, it's probably going to have to be an OEM part(Original Equipment Mfg) because I can't say I've seen that one on the shelves at most of the supply houses(Maybe at Parts Plus, Lennox) If you can find the Dual Cap locally Monday, do that because with your theory of replacing 'Both' of them(Which is a good idea)you might as well just pay for one Capacitor. If the 10 mfd cap is still reading at or near full value, hold on to it as a back-up(I've never seen the info on a Compressor but you can check on the side of the fan motor to confirm 10 is correct for that motor)
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Old 07-08-2018, 09:06 AM   #3
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Re: A/C Unit Two Separate Run Capacitors?


Those units apparently came with either a 70/10 or 80/10 and if it's had issues in the past I'd install one of these https://amzn.to/2J4yEn4 with a FIVE year warranty and leave the ten in there.

I would remount them with some perforated strapping like this https://amzn.to/2MZw1oW NOT electrical tape and cable ties that fail over time.

CC
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Old 07-08-2018, 10:09 AM   #4
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Re: A/C Unit Two Separate Run Capacitors?


I would stick with the OEM Dual Capacitor. More supply houses are starting to offer/carry Caps 'Made in the USA'! that come with a '5' year warranty(just not sure they will have your 80/10) in Red,White & Blue! You will be needing a new piece of plumbers strap, looks like they snipped that one in half!
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Old 07-08-2018, 10:17 AM   #5
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Re: A/C Unit Two Separate Run Capacitors?


Thank you slwtypmark and ClimateCreator for your replies!

You helped confirm what I was thinking and provided some good ideas. The 10uF Capacitor tests at 8.5uF. The fan on the unit was running fine, so that seems to be sufficient capacity. But I'll be replacing it one way or another, just probably not today.

I was able to find a GE Genteq 80uF on Amazon for $25 with next-day delivery (Sunday) here: http://a.co/hojej99

I'm hoping that will be delivered early enough to make a difference for today's expected 100+ degree temps.

I'll look further into the 'Turbo 200' capacitor with the warranty and strapping the capacitors more securely with the pipe strap. I'll look into doing that after we are past this event.

My neighbor just had her AC system inspected just over a week ago, and the technician gave it a clean bill of health. I was curious if these types of Capacitor failures are sudden and unforeseeable, or if this is something that would have likely been discovered by an inspection. The capacitor is slightly bulged at the bottom, but that is the only outward appearance of a problem. Capacitance test shows only 122pF - but I have no idea what it might have tested a week ago.

Thanks again for the help!
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Old 07-08-2018, 10:29 AM   #6
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Re: A/C Unit Two Separate Run Capacitors?


Thanks again slwtypmark. I'm looking into a more permanent solution and will consider the Turbo 200 ClimateCreator suggested as well as OEM. I'd be very happy if I could find a USA-made capacitor with a good warranty. The failed capacitor is probably only a year old - it's made by 'Supco' with Chinesium polymer.

The plumbers strap wasn't actually cut, but it does look that way in the photo. The two capacitors were taped together and they are straddling the strap with a capacitor on either side of it. Not very secure at all.
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Old 07-08-2018, 10:51 AM   #7
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Re: A/C Unit Two Separate Run Capacitors?


Anything to help you fend off that 100+ SoCal Heat! Say Hi to Lebron for me and "GO LAKERS"!
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Old 07-08-2018, 11:08 AM   #8
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Re: A/C Unit Two Separate Run Capacitors?


Oh, did I forget to mention that Lebron is the neighbor I'm helping with the A/C? I'll give him your regards

I was curious if you had any input on whether this capacitor failure is something that could or should have been caught during the inspection. Lebron is furious that his A/C failed a week after the inspection. He's threatening to move back to Ohio.
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Old 07-08-2018, 11:39 AM   #9
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Re: A/C Unit Two Separate Run Capacitors?


IN your 'Heat Wave'!..It can be reading '80' one day & "POP" the next! Make sure the outside coil isn't too dirty(drives amps up) & can contribute to shorter life of Caps. The problem is, you can't tell by just a visual inspection. I've got fooled more than once thinking a Coil 'Looked' clean! 2 things you can check. The air off the top should be warm..maybe Very warm in your Heat Wave but if it's too hot, that's one indicator and the other is the temp of the small copper line(Liquid line)leaving the unit & heading back to Air Handler unit inside. My 'rule of thumb' is, if it's so hot that I can't grab a hold of it for at least '10' seconds, dirty coil. We are returning to much Heat back up that liquid line..heat that should have got transferred out with your Condenser Fan pulling air across a 'CLEAN' Outdoor coil. You can try and flush dirt out with a garden hose but every so many years it requires a chemical cleaner to foam out all the trapped dirt between the fins.
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Old 07-08-2018, 11:49 AM   #10
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Re: A/C Unit Two Separate Run Capacitors?


Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzycat1 View Post
Thank you slwtypmark and ClimateCreator for your replies!

You helped confirm what I was thinking and provided some good ideas. The 10uF Capacitor tests at 8.5uF. The fan on the unit was running fine, so that seems to be sufficient capacity. But I'll be replacing it one way or another, just probably not today.

I was able to find a GE Genteq 80uF on Amazon for $25 with next-day delivery (Sunday) here: http://a.co/hojej99

I'm hoping that will be delivered early enough to make a difference for today's expected 100+ degree temps.

I'll look further into the 'Turbo 200' capacitor with the warranty and strapping the capacitors more securely with the pipe strap. I'll look into doing that after we are past this event.

My neighbor just had her AC system inspected just over a week ago, and the technician gave it a clean bill of health. I was curious if these types of Capacitor failures are sudden and unforeseeable, or if this is something that would have likely been discovered by an inspection. The capacitor is slightly bulged at the bottom, but that is the only outward appearance of a problem. Capacitance test shows only 122pF - but I have no idea what it might have tested a week ago.

Thanks again for the help!
for a few extra bucks, why not just get a 80/10 dual run so you can mount it using the existing strap the way it was designed?
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Old 07-08-2018, 11:53 AM   #11
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Re: A/C Unit Two Separate Run Capacitors?


Thanks again. Good enough reason to keep spare capacitors around. I just ordered one for my home A/C unit! (I replaced that one about 3 years ago)

I'll check the heat at the fan and the return line as you described, and probably give it a good spray with the hose to clean off what I can. I can't thank you enough for the speedy replies to my questions on this. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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Old 07-08-2018, 11:58 AM   #12
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Re: A/C Unit Two Separate Run Capacitors?


Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroNate View Post
for a few extra bucks, why not just get a 80/10 dual run so you can mount it using the existing strap the way it was designed?
Thanks NitroNate - that's probably going to be my long-term plan, but I couldn't find a dual-run capacitor with next-day shipping on Amazon and all the potential suppliers in the area are closed for the weekend. When I get a dual run capacitor, I'll keep the discrete capacitors as spares.
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Old 07-08-2018, 06:45 PM   #13
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Re: A/C Unit Two Separate Run Capacitors?


Amazon delivered the new 80uF capacitor at about 3:30. It's installed, and my neighbor's AC is back on (it was 87 degrees in the house - they are thrilled to have it working again).

Thanks to everyone who took time to read and reply to my posts!

I've attached a photo of the new capacitor in place. I used cable ties for now, but both of those will come out and be spares after I order a dual-run capacitor and install that.

I did have another question - when I originally opened up the unit, the technical manual was stuffed in there as shown in my photo. Is that ok to leave in there? While it makes sense to have it there 'for the next guy', it also seems like a fire hazard. Any thoughts?
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Old 07-08-2018, 10:52 PM   #14
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Re: A/C Unit Two Separate Run Capacitors?


Not much risk of fire but better indoors than out, weather and bugs usually tear it up eventually(although better in the plastic!) Go Lakers!
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