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How do i test the large capacitor on my A/C compressor

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You need a multi meter with a capacitor test mode on it to check it accurately. The large silver capacitors usually have a swollen end when they are shorted but not always.

Posted on May 10, 2014

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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The freezer is working fine, the compressor is working, but it sounds like it's trying to kick on several times while the compressor is running. Could it be the capacitor (it's called a grinder capacitor...


AT TIMES YOU MAY HEAR THE COMPRESSOR CLICK OFF AND ON OVER AND OVER. Signs of a bad start relay or capacitor. Check with an OHMS meter for continuity (ohms) and voltage, capacitor can be checked for Microfares.
To check ur compressor with multi meter:
Disconnect and remove the relay and capacitor from compressor, somes located next to compressor in a casing.

You wills see 3 prongs coming out of compressor. 1 goes to ur srtart winding, 1 goes to ur run winding and the center goes to ur ground.

Place ur meter connector or prong on the start prong and the other on the ground (center prong) take note of the reading in OHMS for example 5 ohms.
Next place meter prong on run prong and the center ground prong agin. Take note of the reading in OHMS. Example 4 ohms

Next place meter prong on the start prong and the other on the run prong, now take note of the reading example 9 ohms. Now match the total of this ohms test with the total of ur two separate test. 9 ohms, if they match ur ok give or take 5 percent plus or minus. One more test to make to test of there is a short in compressor attach meter prong to ground prong and rub the other end of meter prong to metal ( scrape the metal clean of paint and test on metal surface not painted surface. If it shows continuity or ohms , u have a short in ur compressor. It should show infinity

Feb 21, 2015 | Refrigerators

1 Answer

Uaka 024JAZ condensing unit comes on, fan and compressor start up, fan remains on, compressor shuts off in appx 1 min , pressures appear to be headed to normal op range. I did not see a run cap for this...


This unit uses a dual run capacitor. There is no start capacitor involved.

The dual run capacitor is possible weak, also check all the electrical connections for tight fitting connections with can cause motor/compressor overheating.
To test a capacitor properly you need the proper test meter capable of reading uf readings(within 6% of the stated rating on the capacitor) "C" common to "F" fan and "C" to "Herm" terminal, the higher rating for compressor and the lower for the outdoor fan. [(example= 25/3uf 370v) 25uf=compressor, 3uf=fan motor.]

Oct 01, 2011 | Ruud UBHC Air Conditioner

1 Answer

Hi, I have a Central Pneumatic air compressor model 94667. The start capacitor burned, so i replaced with a similar size cap. It went fine for 3 minutes and the new capacitor got smoked and started to pop....


We get many chinese compressors with burned capacitors. Most seem to use a 140 uf 250v ac metal run cap.(fairly large metal ). The cap will test bad but not look burned. The motors look pretty crude in the way that they are wound (no start winding) and varnish used on the wiring will not take the heat like other motors. Most likely faulty windings. If you try another cap (or two caps to make value)make sure that the voltage is 250 or higher and run type (metal or light color plastic, not the black start caps) (the higher the voltage the better the quality of materials used ). If the checkvalve is faulty at the tank, the motor will have a higher load at start and run (with out start winding motor works harder to start, if all components are not working correctly, motor /cap will overheat ). Check before next test. Good luck

Sep 26, 2011 | Dewalt Heavy Duty 2 Brad Nailer Compressor...

1 Answer

Will not cool, making a clicking sound, is this worth a service call? Whirlpool ed5fhexmq


Good day,
The clicking sound your hearing is the compressor trying to start and cannot, thus no cooling.
If you remove the back cover on the rear of the machine, you will uncover the compressor. It's the large round item with refrigerant lines welded to it.
On the side of the compressor is a cover plate that covers up the starting components of the compressor. The consist of the thermal overload protector, the start relay, either solid state and on some models a start/run capacitor. They are pressed onto 3 pins sticking out of the compressor.
You will need a VOM meter to continue testing.
With the components removed.by prying them off, set the VOM meter to Ohms. Test for continuity to all 3 terminal. If O.K. check each terminal to a clean bare area of one of tubes brazed into the compressor. The resistance reading should show zero ohms. Any reading means one or more of the windings is grounded, and the compressor is bad.
If everything test good to this point, you can take the start components to any decent sized appliance parts house. They will be glad to test them for you. Replace any testing bad.
If they all test O.K., then the problem still lies within the compressor and you will need the service of a qualified tech.

Jun 13, 2010 | Refrigerators

1 Answer

Fan works compressor doesn't overload protector keeps clicking 3 pins on compressor all tested short on rx1 tested no grd


Test or replace the run capacitor first. Then add a hard-start capacitor based on the motor size/hp. When checking pins on compressor remove all wires and test to chassis ground since this should be open circuit. Resistance between pins should be in the range of normal start and run windings, not less than 20 ohms on the start windings.

Nov 07, 2009 | Grilling

1 Answer

The motor compressor of air-condition cant start what will i do? do i have to add a starting capacitor? to help to start the motor compressor of air-condition? how do i tap the starting capacitor to motor...


First thing to do is to check the capacitor if you have a meter to check it would be great if the capacitor is good check the motor windings using a continuity test with your meter then you if you have to change your compressor or your capacitor

Nov 06, 2009 | Heating & Cooling

1 Answer

I have a 19yr old Ruud Achieva 9.I have no AC at all. I have checked large barrel fuses - they are ok. Contactor clicks and you can see a spark at the contacts. Fan works. I don't hear a spin up of...


You need a capacitor checker or with an anolog meter on ohms first turn off power remove capacitor short capacitor out with a screw driver test it a bad capacitor needle wont move good one needle will read resistance then go back down to 0 if the condenser fan is running some thing up with the start components becarfull good luck to make sure condenser and evaporator are clean Tom

Jul 02, 2009 | Heating & Cooling

1 Answer

Motor will not kick in . compressor is not locked up


Most compressor motors are brushless. I suspect your problem is due to a bad capacitor or capacitors. The capacitors on a motor are under the one or two humps on the motor casing. Large motors usually have a run/start capacitor or run and a start capacitor. If the motor tries to move or moans when you turn it on 90% of the time it the capacitor.

Remove the capacitors and bring them to your local electric motor repair shop. They usually will test them for free and usually have replacement capacitors on hand. When reinstalling if it has two terminals it does not matter which wire you connect to which side. Many time each terminal will have two connection points. Sometimes they have two wires on one side and one on the other. Just make sure you keep the same two on the same side. Also the start capacitor may have a diode/resistor on it. Have the motor shop check it and if good swap it to the new capacitor or install a new one.

Apr 03, 2009 | Air Tools & Compressors

3 Answers

Starting problems


IF YOUR PRETTY SURE DRAW A CAPACITOR WIRING DIAGRAM AND THEN TAKE YOUR CAPACITORS TO ANY MOTOR SHOP OR SUPPLY HOUSE LIKE WW GRAINGER. THEY CAN CHECK THE MICROFARRADS OR UNIFARRADS OF YOUR CAPACITORS. YOUR START CAPACITORS HAVE THE LARGER MF OR UF RATING AND ARE TYPICALLY LARGER IN SIZE. YOUR P.O.S. INGERSOL RAND MAY EVEN BE A 3500 RPM MOTOR AND COULD HAVE UP TO 5 CAPACITORS. 3 OF WHICH ARE START. IS YOUR WIRE LARGE ENOUGH? IS YOUR BREAKER LARGE ENOUGH? IS YOUR COMPRESSOR UNLOADING THE HEAD PRESSURE WHEN IT CUTS OFF? IS IT OUTSIDE AND TOO COLD IN THE MORNINGS? MAKE SURE YOUR WIRING IS LARGE ENOUGH BECAUSE THAT IS USUALLY THE PROBLEM. YOU HAVE SINGLE PHASE BUT IS YOUR VOLTAGE CORRECT 208V OR 230 V. ALL WIRING AND GAUGING CHARTS ARE BASED ON 100 FT OF WIRE . MOST COMPRESSORS PULL 3 TIMES THE AMP RATING ON INITIAL STARTUP THEN COM DOWN TO AMPS LISTED ON THE MOTOR.

Jan 16, 2009 | Ingersoll Rand - Rand Type - 30...

1 Answer

Won't heat or cool


as a general rule you sound like you have a compressor that is mechnically locked up. in other words it can't free itself from a stationary position and begin pumping and moving the piston. this is caused by one of several things. first kill power ,and carefully, and methodically examine all wires and terminal connections. be sure all are clean , snug and not burnt off etc. even the ones attached to the compressor itself. the compressor wire cover comes gently off and is usually held in place by a spring clamp be sure to replace when your done checking. if all wires check good then go to step two. that is a check of the capacitors. the silver metal large capacitor is the run capacitor. it keeps the compressor power in the windings out of phase so it runs same way everytime. it has a rated value stamped on its side. it should check with a volt meter that checks capacitors at not less than 90 percent of its rating . a 60 needs to check no less than 54 microfareds. etc. some capacitors have a common input side and a dual output side. they are labeled on top where the wires connect.one goes to the condensor fan and the other goes to the compressor. the larger circuit ,common in, to herm out is for the compressor. if in doubt label all wires , make a diagram and remove it and take to an electric motor shop and let them test it. in addition to the run capacitor that keeps the compressor going, you may also have a start cap that is usually black plastic. they have a" Yes by gosh you will" start function and store up voltage and deliver a powerful boost on start up to make the compressor get going. it can be tested the same way. be sure to ground the capacitors before testing after power is turned off by shorting across the terminals to bleed off any stored voltage. , with a screwdriver blade. by the way if you look at the silver run capacitor and its swollen up or bloated looking then its bad. you'll know what i mean if you ever see one. looks like it has the mumps. they really puff up. top and bottom should be normally close to flat. if all that checks good then you must apply and amp probe to the black wire going to the compressor. when it tries to start observe the amp draw. if it is like 48 to 65 amps then the compressor is mechically locked up and probably needs replacing. if you don't have a plastic hard start capacitor and relay you can add one and it can many times break the compressor loose and you can get a few more years out of a compressor thats getting weak. try a T05 hard start kit or a KS1 hard start kit. to5 for up to three ton and a ks1 for 4 and 5 ton. simple to install .be sure the start relay is positoned correctly, instructions are on the package. good luck let me know outcome.

Nov 04, 2008 | Amana Comfort Zone 12M32PBEH Air...

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