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How to Discharge a Motor Capacitor


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

I have to remove the capacitor from my condensing unit for my central air. What is the best (easiest) way to discharge the capacitor before I remove it?

A Safe Method for Discharging a Motor Capacitor

Question: I have to remove the capacitor from my condensing unit for my central air. What is the best (easiest) way to discharge the capacitor before I remove it?

This electrical question came from: Kevin, a Homeowner from Cumberland,MD

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Kevin.
Kevin, The best way to drain a capacitor is by using a wire-wound resistor. Purchase up a 20,000-ohm, 2-watt wire resistor at the local electronics store. Make sure it’s a wire-wound resistor.
Make sure to turn off the circuit for the unit. Attach a jumper on each end of the resistor, using alligator clips.
Clip one free end of a jumper to the flat edge of a standard screwdriver with an insulated handle. Attach the last jumper to one terminals of the capacitor. That should drain the capacitor.  Stay insulated and be careful, those capacitors can pack quite a jolt.

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