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you have a 'direct short' - most likely the compressor or fan motor.
you could isolate it to one or the other by (be sure all power is off) disconnecting one of them and turning the unit back on.
For example if the fan motor is shorted and you disconnect it - the breaker will hold and not trip and the compressor will come on - which will tell you that you need to replace the fan motor.
If you do this and it still trips the breaker then reconnect the fan motor and disconnect the compressor and try that.
If the breaker holds and the fan motor runs then you know the compressor is shorted.
Note: the fan motor can be replaced with not a lot of trouble depending on how mechanically inclined you are - but the compressor will take a qualified serviceperson.
The breaker tripping when you turn the unit on indicates a 'direct short' and 99 out of a 100 times the short will be either the outside fan motor or the compressor itself. Either way - you will need a qualified serviceperson to diagnose this problem correctly and make the needed repairs.
Best solution is to call AC person.
However, here's a good way you can get it down to either the fan motor or the compressor.
(1) With all power OFF - disconnect the wires to the fan motor
(2) turn on AC unit
(a) if breaker trips it means the compressor is probably the shorted component.
(b) if breaker DOES NOT trip and the compressor runs - it means the fan motor is shorted.
(3) If breaker tripped with the fan motor disconnected meaning the compressor is probably shorted you can then (with ALL POWER OFF) 'disconnect the wires going to the compressor' and re-connect the fan motor wires. Turn on power - and if fan motor runs (with compressor wires off) you know it's the compressor that is shorted.
After all this you will now know which of the two (compressor or fan motor) is shorted.
If it's the fan motor you can with 'limited mechanical experience' change the motor yourself, but if it's the compressor you will need to call a serviceperson because of the expertise needed to replace the compressor.
What you need to do is disconnect the compressor at the electrical access on the side of the unit. Check each wire to the grounding screw using ohm meter if you get continuity your compressor is shorted do the same thing for you condenser fan. I bet your compressor is shorted. Make sure power is off and remember where the wires go. Trace the wires that go to compressor back to the contactor and capacitor and disconnect them there. If this help please rate me and do a testimonial.
At the contactor take your electrical meter and on the incoming power to the contactor check all three legs.
Left leg to middle leg should be 220, middle leg to right leg should be 220. Right leg to left leg should be
Disconnect compressor wires take meter and go from
compreesor terminal, put one lead on terminal and the other lead to ground ,do this for each leg, if
continuity is present on any of the three legs, the compressor is grounded.
If it checks out ok,check the fuses, if they are ok
replace the capacitor
Is the indoor unit operating? If no turn the fan from auto to on at thermostat. If the fan comes on, that is a sign that you have 24volts
present on thermostat side.
Turn AC unit off outside,turn the thermostat as low as it will go. Open the electrical panel to the outdoor unit. There is a contactor located in the unit, push the plastic bar in the middle of contactor. If it pushes
in, you have low voltage wiring problem from the outdoor unit to the
If you are skilled or know somebody that is with electrical, turn the power back on to the outdoor unit take a non conductive object and
push the contactor in, the unit may start. If it doesnt start,check the
breaker for the ac unit to make sure it is not tripped.
If the breaker is not tripped and the condensor fan comes on and the
compressor does not come on and the breaker does not trip, then it
is very possible that you will need a new capacitor and while you are
at it put in a hard start kit.
This unit according to you, still should have 2 years left on the compressor warranty.
Sounds like you have a bad capacitor for your squirrel cage fan , now as for the a/c unit sounds like you have a direct short in compressor to ground or leg to leg , check all wiring to make sure that it is not grounding out or melted together.
You need to start with a basic inspection in the outside unit. For the breaker to trip immediately like that indicates a dead short. With the breaker OFF look at the internal wiring between the contactor relay and the compressor. You are looking for signs that the insulation may have been chewed by a rodent, or a wire is off of a terminal and in contact where it shouldn't be. If the wiring looks good, terminals pass tug test etc. you may have a shorted capacitor. Make sure to check the wiring for the fan too. You can disconnect the com lead for the compressor and fan one at a time to isolate the defective component if needed. Work safe! turn the breaker on for the test, and off again before you put your hand or tools back in.
Your compressor could be going bad. You would need to check to amp draw on the the leads coming out of the compressor. There is a maximum rating listed on data plate. Something simple could be that your condenser the out side part of the unit is dirty. All you have to do is turn off the shut off switch out side, get a hose and some dish soap and wash the coils. Be careful with the water presssure not to bend the fins. Or some thing even a lot of techs look over is the breaker is bad.
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.