A) Ruud UPNJ-031JAZ (outside unit) trips circuit breaker (immediately) when put into heat mode.
B) Tstat set to OFF, Fan to auto; circuit breaker reset to on; outside fan & compressor seem to pulse on for one second, then off for thirty seconds, this cycle will repeat indefinitely or until circuit breaker is turned off.
C) Contactor seems to be fine (contacts move freely, holding coil pulls contacts closed when put into heat mode). This contactor has one side constant on (designed to only break circuit on one leg), other side normal spring movement.
D) Start and Run capacitors test OK (my multi-meter has capacitor test mode)
E) Heat strips come on when outside unit trips breaker
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Re: Ruud heat pump outside unit trips circuit breaker
Check your wiring between the contactor and compressor for a short to ground, or check the compressor windings for short to ground.
With the Tstat off, the contactor should be open so the only way for the compressor to be trying to do anything is if the 110 volts from the unbroken side are traveling through the compressor to ground. Since 110v is not enough to run it, the overload is kicking it out, cooling off, and repeating the cycle. When you kick on the Tstat, the contactor is supplying voltage directly to ground without going through the resistence of the compressor windings and kicking the breaker.
Post back and let me know what you find.
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Without looking up the specifications for this heat pump, I cannot be certain, but I expect the operation to provide cooling may require more power than when heating. You probably can find the specifications online for this unit. As you probably know, power is measured in watts and is calculated by voltage times current. This also is likely to be 240 volts operation. If you take the specified power on cooling and divide by voltage (240), that will indicate the current in amperage that will be required to start it. Your circuit breaker is set for current and needs to be a higher current than is required. If that is the problem, you can buy circuit breakers at Home Depot or Lowes. You have to remove the front panel of your breaker box and snap out the circuit breaker. To be safe it would be good to turn off the main breaker switch before you open the front panel and remove the circuit breaker for the heat pump. Should your calculation of current required be less than the rating of the circuit breaker, that implies a malfunction of the heat pump in the cooling mode and would require a service call to the local representative of the heat pump manufacturer.
Let me see if I have this right. Your heat pump keeps triping the breaker that is going to your airhandler. The Heatpump is on its on breaker and can not trip the breaker on your air-handler. However, the 40 amp breaker is to you heat pump its self (the outside unit). The thermstat is not the porblem as all it does is call for heat or cool. The problem can be one or a cobination of three things the contactor, the run capcitor or the breaker is weak.
The first thing I would do is replace the breaker as if it has tripped more than twice it needs to be replaced. Then I would look at the contactor, it is located underneath the service panel it will have some low voltage wires on the sides and a black and white wire running to it from the disconect box. If you notice the contacts are chared (little copper points in the middle of the contactor) I would replace it. If the contactor looks good I would remove the capcitor (carefully not to touch to contacts at once as they hold a charge) and take if to the local parts house and have it tested.
I hope that I have asnwered you question and you are able to take care of the problem. Thank you for using FIxya and do not hesitate to ask more questions.
Pull disconnect or turn off outside, then reset breaker. If it holds, problem likely inside machine. If it still trips check wiring inside the disconnect or at main panel. Sounds like a direct short, either compressor, fan motor or crankcase heater. You can isolate each component right at the contactor by removing wires to each piece and resetting breaker. Obviously when breaker trips you know what part is bad. 220 hurts, if you are not familiar with electricity call a professional.
Most heat pump systems utilize electric strip heaters as back-up and emergency heat. This will allow the system to continue to produce heat in the event of heat pump failure. If you are having problems getting your heat pump to turn on, you might have a blown line voltage fuse, a tripped circuit breaker, or a high pressure switch tripped. The high pressure switch on a Rheem or Ruud unit is a red button located near the service valves at the outdoor unit. Try pushing the button to reset. Check your indoor air filter and replace as necessary.
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Start with the simplest first it,s not fun but it's necessary EVERY TIME. Clean your evaporator and condenser coil, change your air filter. Getting to the evap. coil is often a real headache and a result doesn't get done often. When its clogged as you probably know the refrigerant can't absorb heat at the coil so it tries to absorb heat on the way to the compressor freezing the hot gas line the safety circuits that protect the heat pump compressor from getting liquid refrigerant back to the compressor almost immediately will take the compressor of line (looking somewhat like a defrost cycle). I hope this helps it's a tough repair GL!