Q:

What are some tips for troubleshooting electric motor problems?

A:

Quick Answer

Some tips for troubleshooting electric motor problems include using a digital multimeter, checking the compressor first, and then checking the refrigeration system. The best multimeters measure both AC voltage and current.

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Full Answer

Check the compressor for electrical issues by removing the terminal cover, and then check all of the external connections. Check the line voltage when the compressor is off, and then check the line voltage with the compressor running at the motor terminals. Check the running current, and ensure that the readings do not exceed what the manufacturer states is a full load.

If all of the electrical connections in the compressor are in check, the issue may actually come from the refrigeration system. For example, poor practices with piping may result in oil not returning to the compressor during a cycle, or acids in the oil may appear due to high discharge temperatures. The airflow may also flow insufficiently across the condenser coils and the evaporator. Low suction pressure and the flooding of liquid refrigerant in the compressor may also cause issues.

One way to diagnose an issue with the refrigeration system is to measure the amps of the compressor with a multimeter. If the amp readings are high, the bearings may have too much wear. The oil level may also be off, and in this case, an IR thermometer is necessary to check it.

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