Question about Panasonic CW-1006FU Air Conditioner

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Outdoor unit fan is running when turned of inside? is this normal?

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No. The thermostat (located in the house) controls both the inside and outside units.

A common problem for the situation you're describing (and the one I will explain here) is that the contactor (located in the outside unit) which is controlled by 24 Volts coming from the 'inside' thermostat - has 'stuck' in the 'made' position (causing line voltage to remain to the condenser 'and' possibly to the compressor).

To 'determine' this - 'turn off the line voltage to the outside unit.'

You do that by locating the 'breaker/fuse box' which is located near the outside unit. It will be a gray box about the size of large cigar box - and will be attached to the side of the house usually - although it can be on the AC unit itself.

The lid can be lifted which will expose a 'breaker switch' which resembles a light switch (sometimes a little larger) which can be flipped in the OFF position.

If it's a 'fuse block' - then you will have to grip it and pull it out. Usually there will be a metal ring that you can grip and pull. Once the 'block' is out - you will notice that it contains two fuses.

Either way - once you flip the switch down or pull the fuse block - the line voltage is disconnected to the AC.

NOTE: some 'older' breaker boxes contain 'knife connectors,' which are designed to 'disconnect line voltage' by the action of 'pulling a handle (on the side of the box) ... down. When this handle is pulled down the 'knife connectors' will 'disengage - thus disconnecting the line voltage to the AC unit. "It is not uncommon" - for 'one' of these 'knife connections' to remain in the "connected" position - which will still leave partial line voltage to the outside unit - a potentially dangerous situation.

Point being - it is always wise to check the voltage coming in (with a voltmeter) before sticking your hands into a electrical device like a AC.

That being said - sometimes after turning off the breaker switch (or pulling the fuse box) you can hear a 'buzzing noise' coming from the outside unit. If you hear this noise - it means you are still getting 24 Volts from the inside thermostat. However, in this case, assuming the thermostat is indeed OFF - then you shouldn't hear any buzzing noise.

Either way - when you turn the breaker off the unit will shut off. NOTE: be sure the inside thermostat is in the OFF position.

Then you can open the electrical panal of the AC unit and take a look at the electrical components. NOTE: as stated above it's always 'wise' to use a voltmeter and "make sure" there is no voltage to the unit. You are looking for 24, 110 or 220 volts.

The component (contactor) you are looking for is usually easily identified because the unit's main electrical wires (typically 3) are coming into the contactor from the breaker box.

This component usually has a small plastic front plate that can be removed by taking out a couple of screws. (Note: it wouldn't be unsual for this cover to be missing already)

Once the cover is removed you can see that this device is designed to 'connect' the wires coming in from the breaker box to another set of matching wires that sends line voltage to the fan and compressor among other things.

It is a 'spring loaded' device that is usually 'pulled together by 24 Volts coming from the inside thermostat - but by depressing it (manually with a screwdriver) will cause the copper contacts to "make" - thus - connecting the wires from the breaker to the wires sending voltage to the fan and compressor.

This is accomplished with 'spring loaded action.' Normally - you should be able to take a screwdriver (as stated above) and manually depress the contacts - but in this case - it - may already be - "made" - and you will not be able to this.

Usually if this is the case the copper contacts have 'burnt' together - and the connection is permantely engaged - which is what causing the AC to run (outside) even though OFF on the thermostat inside the house.

If the contacts have burnt and are permantely engaged - then the 'fix' is to replace the contactor - which can be accomplished by removing all the wires (from the contactor) - clearly labeling them so you can replace them on the new one.

Once you've removed all the wires - you need to remove the contactor from the unit. It will usually be 'screwed' into the unit with screws.

Once you have the contactor out you can take it to a Air Conditioning Supply house and buy a replacement part. I would try to get an identical contactor - to make it as easy as possible re-installing it and putting the wires back on it.

NOTE: I would not attempt this unless you are -very - "mechanically inclined." Changing out a contactor can be very complicated/difficult.

Also - 'paying a Service Tech to do this for you - shouldn't cost much - probably less than $100 (if you already have the replacement part).

Good luck!

Posted on May 13, 2010

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