window air conditioner woes By Dan Webster

                                                     Window ac throws breaker
The first thing I look for is a broken compressor wire. A lot of times the wire will come off one of the clips and touch the compressor. That is a pretty easy fix. If the connections on the compressor all are ok then the next thing you look for is a swolen or shorted capacitor. If a capacitor will hold a charge then it most likely is ok but if it is shorted internally it could explode when being tested, so I first make sure it is not shorted. I use an analog meter. The needle should jump slightly if the capacitor is good but if it shows continuity (the needle goes straight across and stays) Then that bad boy is what the problem is. If a capacitor is open it is bad (But it won't throw the breaker) if it has continuity continuosly it is also bad. Confused yet? If the capacitor is ok I Am thinking the switch is bad(shorted contacts internally)
If the switch is ok then I check eack component for short to copper on the unit. Anything that is shrted to the copper is the problem. I check all 3 pins on the compressor one at a time and none of them should be shorted to copper. If any of them pins on the compressor are shorted to copper(ground) then the compressor is bad. The fan could throw the breaker if one of its wires were shorted but that is highly unlikely.
                                              Compressor won't run but the breaker is ok

The first thing I check is for a broken wire or an open capacitor. I check the cold control for continuity. If any of these are open then the compressor won't run but the fan will.
                                               Compressor runs but fan don't
Most of the time it is a bad fan motor but it could be anything from an obstruction holding the blade to a bad switch. The cold control would not stop the fan even if it was bad. The energy saver switch could though.
                                               Window unit runs fan and compressor but does not cool
This might be a low freon issue but how to tell if the freon is low? Here is a simple way to tell if you have enough freon. Cover the intake evaporator with a piece of cardboard and if after 10 minutes or more you have frost all the way back to the compressor then you do not need any freon. Most of the time you need to clean the coils. Acid is best but any soap will do. Just remember to cover up the fan motor good and do not get water on the controls. In fact let the unit sit all night to dry if possible or all day anyway. Use a bruch to remove the gunk first and then spray on some foaming cooling coil cleaner (acid base) Rinse it well. and LET IT DRY. If the motor has any moisture in it it will DIE!. Oil the motor using zoomspout oil from ace hardware $2.
                                              Hole in window unit freon gone bye bye
Well you need to locate the hole and clean around the area real well with sand cloth. To solder the hole their needs to be no pressure on it at all. You must use 15% silver solder and you need at least a mapp gas torch. Propane gas torch won't cut it. Oxygen Acetelyene torch is even better, heat up the area till it turns red and let the solder flow over the hole. Shoot some dry nitrogen into the air conditioner to check for leaks. Bubble test. NOTE: do not use shop air to test for leaks. Air is bad! Pull a vacuum on the system. I hook my red hose to the vacuum pump, yellow to the freon tank, and blue to the window unit. Shutdown the vacuum after a few minutes and watch the guages. If the negative pressure does not drop then you have repaired the hole. Continue vacuuming out the unit for an hour. Close all valves and open the freon jug open the blue hose and allow the unit to equalize. Check for leaks. Then charge the system slowly to around 70 PSI. Qualified individuals only should attempt this but it is interesting as to how the process works and the equipment involved.

For how to hotwire a window unit or convert it to manual or mechanical temp controls see my DIY channel CRAPPYTRONIC GONE WILD