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Duinan 06-27-2013 12:44 PM

Carrier AC - outside compressor not working
I have a Carrier AC / Model 38CKC018340. We replaced the capacitor a couple of years ago, and last year had an issue with ants getting into the contactor (think that's what the relay switch is called?). I got in there with an emery board on the contacts and got it working again.

This year, it's been running fine up until this weekend. Same symptoms as before - a single click when the thermostat is engaged. The capacitor doesn't appear to be swollen. I (gently) banged on the contactor and cleaned the contacts again. Started working. Now, a day later, it's doing the same thing. There appeared to be a couple of ant bodies that came out when I banged on it this weekend, but didn't see anything today. And after banging and cleaning it still wouldn't work.

Is this just a bad contactor now? Are they easy enough to replace? Should I take it off of the unit and try and do a thorough cleaning on the contacts? Might there be something else causing this? Like I said, just the single click. Not the buzzing/clicking of a stuck motor. Any help would be appreciated.

WindowsonWashington 06-27-2013 05:21 PM

Capacitors are cheap and while it may not be swollen, I have seen them still fail (usually on hot days) without outwardly showing it.

It is still the next most likely conclusion.

kok328 06-28-2013 01:44 PM

In this particular case I would replace the contactor. Also, test the capacitor. If you don't have the equipment to test the capacitor, then just replace it. You can expect to pay around $20 per part.
However, if you have a volt/ohm meter and want to check a few other things first, post back and let us know.

Duinan 06-28-2013 07:07 PM

I have a meter and can test basic things. Does anyone have a recommendation for either an online parts supply house, or even better something that might have a location near Atlanta, GA?

Also, is it worth trying to replace the fan motor as well? It seems to start fine whenever the contactor is working. Not sure how old the actual unit is.

Housedoctor57 07-01-2013 08:30 AM

Check out Johnstone Supply.
They will sell parts to "Non Certified" A/C service personnel. Some of the other supply houses will not sell to you if you are not licensed. Kind of BS but whatever.
Replace the contactor, when you filed the contacts you most likely removed some of the coating on the contactor. If the fan turns freely I would leave it alone for now. While you are in there, clean the coils with 409 or buy some coil cleaner at the supply house. Spray them good and rinse well after about 15 minutes. Cut the power to the unit before cleaning. Also turn off power to the furnace and outside A/C unit before replacing contactor. the "pick" for the contactor comes from the furnace. You don't want to blow a fuse that feeds the 24V.

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