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How to Discharge a Motor Capacitor

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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Question of the Day

Wiring a Switch for an Air Compressor

Wayne asks:
I am wiring my 240volt air compressor using 10/3 to a lighted 30 amp switch to place by exit door to turn off when im away.
My question is: when I wire the switch I will have essentially two hots, do I place both the black and red on one screw and the black and red on the other?
Also its the lighted Leviton 3032-plr, a lot of the comments say I need to use the neutral to operate the light.
I dont know what to do with that.
Thanks for your help.

Dave's Reply:


Wayne, The Leviton 3032-plr switch that you have described is for 120volt applications and will not work on a 240volt circuit.
A typical 240 volt air compressor requires two hots and a ground wire.
A neutral wire is not required.
A 120volt lighted control switch could be wired as an add on control circuit, however this would require a separate 120volt control circuit, a 120volt lighted switch, and a 120volt control relay with 240volt contacts rated for 30amps.


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