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Old 02-22-2014, 07:15 AM   #1
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A/C fan runs slowly

The hottest day of last summer I was running my air conditioner all day full blast when suddenly it started to run real slow and just drizzle cool air. Not wanting to call some repairman to tromp around on my Tradewind's roof, I bought a used window unit for $70 and decided to fix it myself when the weather cooled off.
Fast forward to cool weather (2/21/2014) and I climb gently up top to see what I can do. Removing the cover to expose the condenser, fan, and wiring took a screwdriver on the four screws. To test the unit I turned it on and noticed the fan was turning, just very slowly.
That's where I am now. Does anyone remember having a similar problem? Before I go further I thought I'd check Airforums to see if I can get an opinion or two.
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Old 02-22-2014, 11:29 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by terrencecolp View Post
The hottest day of last summer I was running my air conditioner all day full blast when suddenly it started to run real slow and just drizzle cool air. Not wanting to call some repairman to tromp around on my Tradewind's roof, I bought a used window unit for $70 and decided to fix it myself when the weather cooled off.
Fast forward to cool weather (2/21/2014) and I climb gently up top to see what I can do. Removing the cover to expose the condenser, fan, and wiring took a screwdriver on the four screws. To test the unit I turned it on and noticed the fan was turning, just very slowly.
That's where I am now. Does anyone remember having a similar problem? Before I go further I thought I'd check Airforums to see if I can get an opinion or two.
If I had to guess, I'd say the brushes on the fan motor are worn down to a nub, so you're not getting good contact for electrical power to the motor's rotor. Either that or the motor might need to be rewound. Or both.

That's assuming that the air conditioner is as old as the trailer, and not a late-model replacement.
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:33 PM   #3
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no go

It is original to the trailer. It was just so strange the way it went out. One minute it's working perfectly, the next it starts running slowly. I know it spins freely because I tried that thinking bad bearing. It never gave me a hint at going bad. It was such a great unit and blew ice cold.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:29 PM   #4
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If I had to guess, I'd say the brushes on the fan motor are worn down to a nub, so you're not getting good contact for electrical power to the motor's rotor. Either that or the motor might need to be rewound. Or both.
I have never seen an A/C blower or fan motor with brushes. They are invariably either shaded pole, or on somewhat larger units, permanent split capacitor.

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It is original to the trailer. It was just so strange the way it went out. One minute it's working perfectly, the next it starts running slowly. I know it spins freely because I tried that thinking bad bearing. It never gave me a hint at going bad. It was such a great unit and blew ice cold.
Typically it's bearing failure but it doesn't really matter much because the motors aren't worth servicing. Just find a replacement motor. If you search threads you'll find sources and some part numbers.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:48 PM   #5
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I had an AC lock up from a mud daubers nest but that doesn't sound like your problem. If it's an Armstrong unit I hear it's worth fixing. Good luck Mike
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:55 PM   #6
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A/C fan runs slowly

The fan shaft might just be tight in the bushings, may just need a good cleaning and lubrication.

Does the squirrel cage turn freely?
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:55 PM   #7
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Plus 1 on the Armstrong unit..
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Old 02-22-2014, 10:32 PM   #8
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It may be running on the start winding. And not kicking into the run mode.
It's been a while since I looked at the schematic. Perhaps the fan does not have a start and run winding like the compressor motor. But I would check the drawing.
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Old 02-22-2014, 11:26 PM   #9
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Don't those Armstrong AC units have both start and run caps? Cheap to replace, not hard to do either.

Couldn't hurt...
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:01 AM   #10
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rookie a/c man

Being no electrician, is there a way to straight wire just the mother to 110 (bypassing all starters, etc.)? The motor has no signs of burning, doesn't smell cooked. The fan free wheels.
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:32 AM   #11
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Being no electrician, is there a way to straight wire just the mother to 110 (bypassing all starters, etc.)? The motor has no signs of burning, doesn't smell cooked. The fan free wheels.
Absolutely not.

Andy
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:25 PM   #12
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Does your unit have multiple fan speeds? Either by a selector switch or push buttons. Try changing speeds and see what happens.
Does it run slow in all speeds?
If so, I would replace the capacitor.
Unlike the compressor there is no "start" and "run" relay(s) on the fan.
Just a single capacitor, which causes enough of a phase shift to get the motor to start rotating. Once it starts to rotate, it should come up to the selected speed.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:03 PM   #13
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The fan runs the same on all three speeds. Is the capacitor that cylindrical black thing about 3" long? With two wires on top?
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:16 PM   #14
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Yes. There should be 3 total. 2 for the compressor and 1 for the fan.
Make sure the power is disconnected and the capacitor is discharged.
Otherwise, you may get shocked.
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