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Monday, September 24, 2012

Strike Out Or A Home Run?

Already having diagnosed what caused my basement air conditioning unit to stop working, I set out on my quest to find the elusive blower motor start capacitor.

What is a start capacitor, you ask?  Well, is like a spring, which you can wind up and up, which stores energy until you release it.  The capacitor is like a storage battery, it takes in a large electrical charge and stores it until released. 

Electric motors, air conditioner compressors and such require lots of voltage to initially start turning.  Once they get turning, very little power is required to keep turning.  Sort of like the last time you ran out of gas with your car and had to push it.  It takes a lot of grunting and groaning to get it rolling but once it gets rolling, you don’t have to use as much muscle power to keep it moving, (unless you come to a hill!).

The a/c fan motor needs a little boost to get running and that’s what the capacitor does, it gives a high voltage “push” to the motor when it is switched on.

Okay, sorry, got a little carried away with the lesson.  Here in Branson, I researched where to buy the capacitor.  I found many places that carry the part, but only sell wholesale, not to the general public.  If I was an RV repair place or an electrician business, no problem, but not being either, it was going to be interesting.

I always like to have a plan “B”, so after researching the Winnebago Parts catalog on line, I got the part number.  First thing this morning, I called Lichtsinn Motors, a Winnebago dealer one mile from the factory.  Being so close to the factory, they can get parts very quickly.  I ordered the capacitor which was in stock and the little rubber cover boot that goes over the top of the capacitor to protect the wires, which was not in stock and will take five weeks to get.

I figured I could have them overnight the capacitor if I couldn’t get it locally and I’d jury rig something to cover the top in place of the boot.  I’ve ordered parts from them for years and they are terrific to work with.  I told the parts guy to hold the capacitor, I’d try and get one locally and I would call him back to tell him where to send it if I couldn't.

So, how did I make out?  One of my blog readers told me that even though Grainger Supply is an electrical parts wholesaler, sometimes they will sell retail.  He gave me the phone number, which I did Google lookup and got the address.

Just to be sure, I got the addresses for several other local electrical supply wholesalers too, hoping that if I had no luck with one, maybe another would be moved enough by my teary-eyed sob story to sell me one.

I also wrote down the names of the two local RV dealers, just as a backup to my backup plans. (Plan “B.1).

My dad and I hopped in the car this morning and set off for the Grainger address.  The GPS took us out and about and out of town into an unpopulated area and then by an old house.  “You have arrived at your destination” it said.   That run down old house didn’t look like a large supply warehouse.  Hmm, thinking I might have gotten the address wrong, I dialed the number and got a phone line has been disconnected message.  Now it made sense, it was the former home of somebody named Grainger.

Looking over my notes, I saw that we were close to one of the local RV dealers, so I decided to head over that way to see if they might, by some miracle, have a capacitor in stock.  I doubted it but what the heck?

We pulled up to a run down looking yard with a bunch of older RVs all around a big garage.  We went inside to find a mess, boxes of junk, shelves with all kinds of things hanging off them, old parts piled up, (the heap of old RV toilets was a nice touch) and went into the smoke filled office, where two men were sitting, smoking away.

After I stopped coughing, I asked if they, by any chance might have a capacitor.  I gave one of the guys the old one (in a plastic baggy so my fingers would stay clean) and he took a look at it.

Now comes the part where I’m supposed to tell you if I struck out or made a home run.  That will have to wait for the next post.  But, being I’m such a nice guy, I’ll give you a hint on how I made out:

DSC04270

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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13 comments:

  1. I hate waiting for 'the end'. Does that pic mean you got it?

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  2. If that's a residential AC guy, we're guessing you hit a home run.

    But, just in case you struck out, call RVP/Coleman in Wichita. Their message says they only take support calls from qualified techs. But, if they'll talk to us (and believe us they have) they'll talk with you. They're very, very helpful!!!!!

    We're eager to hear how this story turns out. We're learning on ya! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sound like you and dad were on a mission, I'm betting on success.

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  4. Home run for sure any place that sounds like that is sure to have the part,if they can find it.
    Rick

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  5. Hmmm, hopefully the flux capacitor got you back into the future :)

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  6. I am not that good on guessing so I will pass, but did I count that you were actually up to plan E:)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am thinking that maybe you 'walked to home plate?'

    ReplyDelete
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    Replies
    1. Hmm, India is a wee bit far to drive to to get me a new capacitor.

      Guess the spam filter missed this one. At least it wasn't telling me I've won the Irish lottery, inheireted an African politions millions or a proposal for a dating service!

      Delete
  9. butterbean carpenterSeptember 25, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Howdy Marti & Chief,
    Well, at least y'all aren't stuck in the crowded Turkey Trot Park... I bet if you'd just opened up the bay doors and stood there someone would have come over with the capacitor to fix the AC!!! You can do it, I have faith in you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well, I hope the capacitor wasn't in that box on top the van. That would really be excessive packaging.

    ReplyDelete
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