ECN Electrical Forum - Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals
ECN Shout Chat
ShoutChat Box
Recent Posts
Any Woodworkers here?
by Bill Addiss - 05/10/21 11:26 PM
Do You Travel?
by Bill Addiss - 05/10/21 11:13 PM
Just be aware of this...
by gfretwell - 05/10/21 07:30 PM
Your favourite food?
by gfretwell - 05/10/21 06:13 PM
Lock-down Thread
by gfretwell - 05/10/21 06:12 PM
New in the Gallery:
2020 - 2021 Winter Project
Garden 2021
Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 15 guests, and 13 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
Question about motor capacitor #184230 02/04/09 11:00 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 54
leespark Offline OP
I had a service call to a building with a pneumatic thermostat system for the heat. The call came in because the fuse protecting the compressor motor had blown on several occasions over the last week. When I arrived the fused disconnect was in the off position and when I turned it on the motor would not turn and sounded as if it were seized. I immediately shut it off before the fuse blew. When I then turned it back on the motor started and everything worked fine. I repeated this several more times and again it worked just fine.

I am no expert on motors but my theory was that perhaps the motor had a bad start capacitor. Since the capacitor was only 10 bucks I decided to change it. So far it is working fine, but I'm wondering if anyone with more experience working with motors has any different opinions as to what might be the problem.

Thanks in advance

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Question about motor capacitor [Re: leespark] #184231 02/04/09 11:10 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 14
Narrowbackpride Offline
Use cap test on multimeter. It should have mf range printed on outside of cap. If connections are tight and right and ampacity and voltage readings are good, and cap. reading is bad, it is a bad cap. The motor may also read very amps beyond just inrush current at startup. Hope that helps.

How many maintenance guys do you know that "used to be" electricians?
Re: Question about motor capacitor [Re: Narrowbackpride] #184235 02/04/09 11:53 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 939
frenchelectrican Offline
IIRC there are few ways to test the capaitor before you do that make sure you " short " it out first before you touch the leads otherwise they will really kick whopper to ya.

once you discharged the capaitor and unhooked then take the ohmmeter it should start at infently then it will go down near zero the excat number wil varies a bit depending on the size of capaitor.


Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)

Re: Question about motor capacitor [Re: frenchelectrican] #184236 02/05/09 01:07 AM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 826
JoeTestingEngr Offline
I think Marc meant to say that the needle or display will deflect or display towards zero and then go back towards infinity, settling on a value that would represent leakage resistance.
Congrats Marcerator!

Re: Question about motor capacitor [Re: JoeTestingEngr] #184239 02/05/09 01:54 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 939
frenchelectrican Offline
Thanks Joe for get the correct word and yes that is correct.

Again keep in your mind each capaitor will have diffrent readings so expect little diffrent values even thru both look the same size and same rating.


Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)

Re: Question about motor capacitor [Re: frenchelectrican] #184242 02/05/09 03:59 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,612
gfretwell Offline
If this is an intermittent problem I would think "start relay" before I jumped on the capacitor. If it was capacitor related I would be looking for a bad spade connector. That is the kind of thing that gets better if you poke at it or unplug and replug it.

Greg Fretwell
Re: Question about motor capacitor [Re: gfretwell] #184246 02/05/09 10:03 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
SteveFehr Offline
Electrolytic capacitors have a fairly short lifespan, though, as little as 5 years in many applications. They gererally work or they don't, though, and aren't intermittant. So, preventative replacement of the cap isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the cause of the intermittant start is likely elsewhere.

One easy way to tell if a cap is going bad is if it's bulging or leaking electrolyte.

Re: Question about motor capacitor [Re: SteveFehr] #184251 02/05/09 11:26 AM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 153
Wolfgang Offline
Electrolytic equals DC device.

Typical motor capacitors are MetalPaper or alike and lose permanently a little bit of their capacitance. But usually isolation remains constant because of a "self-healing"(direct German English translation) mechanism until end of life.

Re: Question about motor capacitor [Re: Wolfgang] #184253 02/05/09 12:55 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 317
sabrown Offline
I have found that intermittant problems with capacitors have two causes, the first is most likely and both have been mentioned.


Re: Question about motor capacitor [Re: sabrown] #184254 02/05/09 01:02 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 317
sabrown Offline
Sorry, I have no idea what just happened while I was typing, but suddenly my screen was jumping around with my unfinished reply being sent. Oh wait, tab after the 1- will do it. Here is what I was looking at...

1- A bad or higher resistant connection which is usually an oxidized spade conector.

2- A failing, as in the capacitance is dropping below the needed starting level or begining to short within, capacitor.

Page 1 of 2 1 2


2020 National Electrical Code
2020 National Electrical
Code (NEC)

* * * * * * *

2020 Master Electrician Exam Preparation Combos
2020 NEC Electrician
Exam Prep Combos:
Master / Journeyman


Member Spotlight
Posts: 47
Joined: March 2008
Show All Member Profiles 
Top Posters(30 Days)
Trumpy 19
Admin 8
Popular Topics(Views)
278,828 Are you busy
211,984 Re: Forum
199,029 Need opinion
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.3