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Old 08-08-2011, 10:30 PM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Ants in Air Conditioner switch

Getting ready to hit the road in 36 hours. Day before yesterday turned the AC on low and it did just fine. Did not check other speeds. Today I turned it on to cool things off as wife and I were loading it and only hot air.
I started looking it over this evening and found fire ants in breaker box going to outbuilding. Checked power and had 126v. Fire ants were coming up inside conduit and into breaker box. I removed breakers and blew them out after poisoning the whole crowd in the conduit.

Went inside and pulled cover on breaker box in AS. No fire ants but had 125 volts.

AC would not even turn on this evening. I pulled inside cover and found a ton of fire ants up inside switch box housing. Got it running after a fashion but not realiably. Pulled switch out after marking wires well and fire ants are all through inside of switch ! ! ! ! ! ! Also checked and had 124 Volts at switch so according to book I am good to go voltage wise assuming I can find a switch and make contacts for all three speeds.

Hopefully this will be a easy switch to find. It is marked GE and has numbers on it AMR4280-03 and 28840A.

Anybody know if this switch is still in production?

There is no way to get inside the swtich. I was hoping I could blow it out and clean it up and seal it but looks like a no go.
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Old 08-08-2011, 10:43 PM   #2
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That did it, now I won't sleep tonight, dreaming of your fire ants.
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:02 PM   #3
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Ants!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hummer View Post
Getting ready to hit the road in 36 hours. Day before yesterday turned the AC on low and it did just fine. Did not check other speeds. Today I turned it on to cool things off as wife and I were loading it and only hot air.
I started looking it over this evening and found fire ants in breaker box going to outbuilding. Checked power and had 126v. Fire ants were coming up inside conduit and into breaker box. I removed breakers and blew them out after poisoning the whole crowd in the conduit.

Went inside and pulled cover on breaker box in AS. No fire ants but had 125 volts.

AC would not even turn on this evening. I pulled inside cover and found a ton of fire ants up inside switch box housing. Got it running after a fashion but not realiably. Pulled switch out after marking wires well and fire ants are all through inside of switch ! ! ! ! ! ! Also checked and had 124 Volts at switch so according to book I am good to go voltage wise assuming I can find a switch and make contacts for all three speeds.

Hopefully this will be a easy switch to find. It is marked GE and has numbers on it AMR4280-03 and 28840A.

Anybody know if this switch is still in production?

There is no way to get inside the swtich. I was hoping I could blow it out and clean it up and seal it but looks like a no go.
You know its funny that ants are in the electirc componets of your A/C, after we returned home in our AS after nearly 2 weeks at the lake, we unpacked everything and put the AS away till our next adventure and Mrs. S was using the kitchen sink and when I walked in the house she told me that the water had stopped.......( We of course have our own well) So I walked out to the pump shed to see if the breaker had thrown but it hadn't so I was then nervous thinking maybe we had lost our pump. I noticed thousands of ants around the water tank in a uniform line to the pressure contact switch. I removed the cover and WOW AT THE ANTS.....They had completely covered the contact switches not allowing them to make contact therefore the water pump would come on. I posoined them and cleaned the contacts and it would run but wasnt reliable. Off ...On.....Off....On..... So I run to Lowes got a new one, installed it and we were up and running again.

Anyway wasn't trying to bore you to death with that stroy but just struck me odd that your having fire ants in your electric componets too. Wonder why in the world there going to electric.......Guess they trying to put alittle more FIRE in there Ants......

Good luck, hope you get your A/C going again.
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:56 AM   #4
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Oh yeah been there, done that and got the T shirt twice with well. First time they ate through insulation to underground wiring ! ! ! ! ! Second time they got in contacts on the switch.

I have a cure for them. It is called Ed's Red and it kills them quick ! ! ! ! It was formulated by a gun writer/friend named C.E. (Ed) Harris as a replacement for Frankford Arsenal weapons lubricant from many years ago but changed for modern ingredients.

The good news is you make it yourself. The better news is it does not evaporate readily nor gum up. Third it kills hell out of fire ants in a hurry.

The full forumula is available on google and contains acetone but I passed on that and only use first three main ingredients and I make it up 1 1/2 gallons at a whack.

I take a 2 gal Blitz fuel can and add 2 quarts of K1 Kerosene or off road diesel. Next I add 2 quarts of Mercon Dexron Transmission Fluid and finally 2 quarts of Mineral Spirits (paint thinner) so I end up with 6 quarts. So 1 1/2 gals runs about 8.00 now.

It is excellent on locks left outside in weather. Excellent on all mechanisms, hinges, cable controls (lawn mower). I wipe down light bulbs threads before putting them in outside recepticles so they won't corrode in place. I use it as a cleaner, lubricant, preservative on my guns.

I left it in a 30 cal rifle barrel stored muzzle down for 14 months. Looked in with borescope and it appeared to be just as I had left it 14 months earlier. It is my favorite all around lubricant next to Mobil 1 synthetic motor oil.

For fire ant mounds I have three 1 qt spray bottles around different places in shop etc. When I find a mound I go out and kick it just to get them all irritated and I just spray the thousands that come out. I don't soak the mound, just spray the ones I see. Come back 45 minutes later and mound is dead as they take it back to queen and give her a highball that keeps on giving.

It is also good for starting camp fires. Spray it on wood and it helps it get going and doesn't flash up. I get my spray bottles at Home Depot.

I also coat lug nut/bolt threads with it. I have sprayed the entire underside of AS with it. It is also a good penetrant for rusted bolts. Does not have an offensive smell either.

Assuming I can find a switch I am going to coat the switch openings with dielectric grease before I put switch back in. I would soak whole switch but being plastic of unknown composition I am agraid the ER might interact with it. I will blow old switch out and submerge switch in it and "watch it" for a long time. I put ER on breakers in outside box and when I saw they were coming up plastic conduit from ground I shot about half a ounce down that and they went away in minutes.

Just a benefit of living in the south haha.
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:56 AM   #5
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:57 PM   #6
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Praise the Lord, been a long day but a successful one. Nephew, the AC guy, found a switch in Augusta, Ga. so there was 50 miles each way to get it and it was not an exact match but was workable. Stopped at several appliance parts stores and no luck on original switch. Wife called her cousin who is manager of a GE center and they no longer listed that part number.

Well after five hours I got back home and decided what the heck, I am gonna blow the switch out with compressed air and soak it in Ed's Red. I also got a multi meter out and checked it for continuity and I had one leg making contact after the blow out. I filled a jar and soaked it four hours in Ed's Red. Nephew showed up and looked over schematics so after supper we went out to AS.

He wanted to see the switch I pulled out and I showed him I had one good circuit and I started running the switch round and round and back and forth and next thing I knew I had two poles making contact so I soaked it and slung excess out again and I had three making contact thusly I worked it some more and the clicks were getting more distinct.

First thing we knew I was getting contact on all four so we decided what the heck, lets put it back in and we did and it worked like a champ ! ! ! ! !

There was small residue in the jar of ant parts and it turned cloudy so now it is sitting out in yard all hooked up and ready to roll tomorrow morning to Ohio and is working very nicely.

I just packed up the other switch and will store it away. The guy at AC parts supply said fire ants just love AC switchs and he sees it all the time. He said the theory is they are attracted to the 60 cycle AC hum. He asked if it was plugged in all the time and I said yes and he advised not doing so. He said to kill the breaker going to AC or leave whole rig unplugged and put on a trickle charger for the on board battery and leave it outside.

I was surprised it came back but the compressed air followed by Ed's Red seemed to do the trick nicely.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:34 PM   #7
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Congrats on solving your problem!

Wonder if it would be worthwhile shooting that new Raid foam down the conduit, assuming it isn't just unshielder wires...?
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:37 PM   #8
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Glad you got your A/C fixed! Now go have some fun.
I've got to try your Eds Red recipe!!
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:33 PM   #9
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I have given large amount of it away a 6 oz jar at a time and I am not aware of anyone that did not continue to use it. I have a qt spray bottle in back of truck now and a couple more tilt cap bottles. Gotta crash now. 0500 will come soon enough. I want to hit Charlotte, NC at end of morning rush hour going up I77.

To Ohio, Pennsylvania and Vermont before we return.
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:42 AM   #10
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Hmm. I am having a HUGE problem with the steel portions of our two Land Rover Defenders rusting down here in the salt. from reading the ingredients, I wonder if this stuff would be good to spray the chassis etc with. I have tried a lot of stuff already. I've tried Corrosion-X but it's really expensive to start with, and I have to import it and that adds shipping AND a 40% duty to it, and it stinks. I mean, yeah, the cost stinks but the stuff smells bad, too.

Something that worked that I could mix up from locally available components would be fantastic. Would Ed's Red be thin enough to spray through a paint spray gun?
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:57 AM   #11
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I've had some success keeping bugs out of electrical boxes by keeping moth balls in them. They appear to work on more than just moths.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:36 PM   #12
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there is readily available product that is the most effective i have ever used. we live in tn where fire ant mounds can get as large 22.5 tires. its called avion. dupont makes it. your pest control co. will have it. granulated. works overnight. and unlike other treatments the ants do no move...they die. by the next morning after you apply it even the mound will be gone. there will be no more than a dust spot where they were.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:32 PM   #13
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yes it is very thin. I have it in trigger actuated spray bottles. I am now up here in Ohio and it was as rough trip. THe West Virginia Turnpike was so rough a upper storage unit in AS was ripped from wall.

Also I lost a right turn signal on AS. Had to go to town to get a circuit checker so I can run it down.

As indicated I spray it out all the ones running over mount after I kick it and just wet them down. Come back a hour later and they are history.
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