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calendar   Tuesday - June 23, 2015

You Tube Is So Off

Finally got around to doing a proper repair on the air conditioner yesterday. Sure, I’d fixed it with a bit of rope, but that was still really just a keep it alive situation. I still had to run out there and check to see if the fan actually started up every time the A/C kicked on, and if it started up in the proper direction. And that’s rather amazing, because the motor wiring has a specific plug connector that can be set for either clockwise or counter clockwise operation. But not both. But the rules go out the window when the parts are worn out and half fried.

So I searched through the catalog pages at Grainger and matched up a quality replacement motor. Then I found a run capacitor that matched the oval form of the old one in the unit and met the specs the new motor required. Grainger has everything, so it was just a bit of patience looking things up. And to me it’s kind of humorous, because my Sunday work is in the next lot over from their massive warehouse down in South Plainfield NJ, which I go past every week.

So the box arrives, the tools are gathered, the weather cooperates, and the fun begins. And the differences between reality and a YouTube HowTo video become apparent. On YT, it takes a quarter turn of the set screw to loosen the propeller, and off it comes. In reality, that bronze flywheel base attached to the raw aluminum blades has been held in place with that coarse threaded mild steel set screw up against the soft iron motor shaft for a couple decades, out in the weather and bonked around every time anyone does a service call on the system. So we’re talking about corrosion, or at least some oxidation, a bit of galling, some peening on the end of the motor shaft ... what took 4 seconds on video took nearly 4 hours in real life.

Copious use of my favorite liquid chemical, TSI-301 penetrating oil, got the prop loose on the shaft, but the hub wouldn’t come off past the end. It was flared. Peened? Burred? Whatever, it were stuck. That required filing down the whole end of the shaft and polishing it, so I was glad I remembered that my dad’s old Leatherman tool has a file, and that the propane torch kit has some crocus cloth. And it only took a moderate rummage about in the garage to find them. After a bit of filing and polishing, the prop came right off.

My other favorite liquid chemical is Caig Lab’s DeOxit. A 2oz bottle will last you forever, and you’ll use the stuff all the time with a mascara style brush and a Q-tip. It’s the greatest electrical cleaner out there. Right, so of course I cleaned up the contacts on teh old spade terminals when I moved them onto the new capacitor. And a quick dab of silicon to protect them from the weather. Done. Clean up the copper wire ends the steel motor wires (!!) have to connect to, use a couple waterproof goo filled outdoor wire nuts. Bundle up the wires in the bottom of the A/C with a couple of those little Velcro ties, and screw the lid on.

It only took 4 tries to get the motor mount hole spacing correct, from the 3 different settings on the motor and 2 sets of holes on the motor plate. Funny how when the 4.42 spacing is too small, the smaller 4.32 spacing is just right. Whatever, and now I’m grand master at removing studs and reversing assembly through bolts on motor housings.  And we have proper mountage. I hung a short length of PVC to protect the wires from the end of the fan blade, then positioned it out of reach. I didn’t need my bit of rope this time.  Top on, all assembly screws in nice and tight. And we’re ready. Fingers crossed.

Put in the safety breaker and it’s time to test it. Click pshhvoooooooo, and it starts instantly. Instantly. Not even any drag time while the motor ramps up to speed. Just off or on, and on it went. And it was spinning in the proper direction, thank you. And it makes far less noise now, thank you. And the A/C can safely cycle off and on without me having to be out there with a great big screwdriver to play Dawn Patrol Propeller Flipper for those times the old motor just wasn’t really feeling the need to spin.

Right. So I got a couple of extra weeks out of the old bits, and now that Summer is here for real I’ve got the new bits in. I can’t say if the A/C is running on a full load of coolant, or whether the compressor pump or the evaporator end of things is fully up to snuff. But I can say it’s cool and dry in here this morning, and the A/C has cycled on and off safely any number of times. So It’s back patting time; we did it ourselves and saved at least $500. And it wasn’t even that difficult. OTOH, it did take about 4 hours, instead of the 4 minutes on the video. But to be fair, we took breaks for lunch, for a nap, to get some beer. And we weren’t working for a living. We were just farting around, learning as we went.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/23/2015 at 09:05 AM   
Filed Under: • Daily Life •  
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