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.
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?
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! Joe
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.
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.
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.
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.