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audiophile troubleshoots air conditioner - don't try this at home

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  • audiophile troubleshoots air conditioner - don't try this at home

    My air conditioner compressor stopped turning on a couple weeks ago. I didn't want to call the HVAC guy for a service call and didn't have time to deal with it and have just been running fans, however, tonight when I got home it was 90 degrees in the house. Okay, put away those tortillas and sour cream that you picked up for use with the fresh avocados that someone brought in to work. :sigh: But keep out the beer that will definitely come in handy. :eyebrows:

    So, how the heck does this thing work anyway? :no clue:
    Well, we got AC and some kind of a trigger. I can see wires under the fan, lets take the top off and see what is what. :D
    Okay, wires running into the compressor wonder if maybe one of those are loose? They are running under a hood so I reach down for a little feel. Oh, we have power! :peekaboo:
    Yeah, see all those high voltage warnings how about actually paying attention and going and turning off the circuit breaker? :brainiac:

    Hey look there is a side panel were the wires from the motor are running to!


    A capacitor, now we are talking. What is that thing rated for, I wonder if it would be good for an amp? :scratchchin:
    Alright, lets take a closer look.

    Hey look the low voltage wires for the trigger. So, lets get out the multimeter and see if we get any voltage there when the rest of the system turns on.
    No dice, now we need to backtrack. Time to look at the furnace.

    Look ma a PCB board, but what the heck is going on here with this yellow wire and the condensation pump? Oh crap, now nothing turns on what did I do? :saywhat:
    I wonder if there is some kind of cover trip like with a computer case. :begging:
    Anyone see it? :whistle:
    Back to business.
    The red and white pair coming out of the brown bundle are the trigger for the compressor.

    But the white wire (common) is routed through the pump. :crazy:

    I test the voltage of red wire at the terminal block with the white wire at the twist on cap and get nothing. :shiftyeyes:
    So I test the voltage of the red wire of the terminal block and the common terminal that runs to the compressor.

    Voltage. :dizzy:
    What if I just hook the white trigger wire to the common terminal? :sly:
    Voltage at the compressor. Turn the thermostat off and then go flip the breaker back on for the compressor and fire everything back up. Bingo, compressor is back on. "thumbsup:

    So what is the deal with this wiring to the condensation pump? A little googling for the manual and it turns out that it is supposed to turn off the AC when it overflows. It has an alarm led that is supposed to go off in that condition, but it isn't on. More testing on that unit to follow (Diversitech CP-22), but worse case it is a $50 pump and now I no something about AC. :D

  • #2
    Now I know enough to be dangerous. :D

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dvenardos
      .........So what is the deal with this wiring to the condensation pump? A little googling for the manual and it turns out that it is supposed to turn off the AC when it overflows. It has an alarm led that is supposed to go off in that condition, but it isn't on. More testing on that unit to follow (Diversitech CP-22), but worse case it is a $50 pump and now I no something about AC. :D
      And maybe a little about how to use a mop this morning if your condensate pump is not working. :whistle:


      Whomever did the condensate pump wiring should be spanked. The wiring should have been done better then that.

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      • #4
        I have a bucket in its place. :D
        It is a small AC unit, house is 1000 sq ft.
        Originally posted by TooManyToys
        And maybe a little about how to use a mop this morning if your condensate pump is not working. :whistle:
        Got any picks of a properly wired system for me so I can do it right?
        Originally posted by TooManyToys
        Whomever did the condensate pump wiring should be spanked. The wiring should have been done better then that.

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        • #5
          You and me both. :plusone:
          Originally posted by tesseract
          Now I know enough to be dangerous. :D

          [ATTACH]1758[/ATTACH]

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          • #6
            Originally posted by TooManyToys
            Whomever did the condensate pump wiring should be spanked. The wiring should have been done better then that.
            And mounted to the cover???? I would shoot someone!
            Kevin
            Motor City Custom Audio
            Your Onix and MELODY Dealer for MI,IN,IL,MO,IA,MN,WI and Canada
            Bringing you Chopped/Cut/Modified Subwoofer Kits and even Flames if you want

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            • #7
              What pump would you guys recommend as a replacement?

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              • #8
                The installers of my furnace and AC didn't even wire up the condensate pump to the trigger, although it's not really the AC that puts out a ton of water. I have a high efficiency furnace with a humidifier, and that fills up the pump reservoir every 20 minutes or so. Consequently, when my pump quit working last winter, a fairly large puddle formed in the middle of my basement floor. At least the pump swap was a 10 minute affair.
                Angel City Audio
                East Street Audio

                ACA, Melody, Onix, NuForce, KR Audio

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                • #9
                  I can't really complain. When I bought the house the furnace was original (1965) and there was no AC. I went with the low bid which was significantly lower and it was a choice between furnace only or low bid and AC, so if I have to fix stuff it is okay with me.

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                  • #10
                    Congrats on the fix! You saved yourself a couple hundred dollars.

                    In the past couple years, I've replaed my furnace/air conditioner control board, pressure switch, combustion induction motor, and the A/C capacitor twice. I haven't had to mess with the condenser pump yet, thankfully!

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                    • #11
                      Well, the pump is working so it just seems to be the relay that has a problem. Just hooked the pump back up without the relay and put it on the to do list...
                      Thanks for listening. :)

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