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Burnt wires going into FHP geothermal compressor

ryryfly18ryryfly18 Posts: 5Member
I have a FHP GEOTHERMAL unit that has stopped maintaining the heat in a couple zones. I turned off breakers, Popped off the cover and found fried wires (pictured) and a large puddle of a clear lubricant. A new compressor was installed a few years ago, which cost me an arm and leg. Please tell me the compressor is not dead?! I am not familiar with this line of work so laymen terms please. Lol. Anything I can do to get the heat back on? Or at least get the auxiliary heat electric furnace to work. But I'm not sure if I should turn breakers back on. Thank you.


  • unclejohnunclejohn Posts: 1,452Member
    edited April 2018
    Can you tell where the oil is coming from. If it is coming from where the wires connect to the compressor terminals it is done. Also those terminals can fly out with great force so don't wiggle them. It may need a recharge and a leak repair [ the oil came from some where ] then the wires replace and your back in service. Maybe. Was there a plastic cover over the wires when you took the cover off? If yes with the breaker still off but it back. Then you can switch the tstat to emergency heat and reset the breakers.
  • ryryfly18ryryfly18 Posts: 5Member
    I can not tell where oil came from. Definitely not from terminals. No drips down the side of compressor. There was no cover over the terminals. However, looks like there should have been a cover. Thanks for the tip on removing wires. I did attempt before this post but only blue one came off. Others are extremely tight or fried on. I did turn breakers back on. Obviously compressor not working and blinking led flash code slow green. Emergency heat final did come on.
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 2,855Member
    A compressor wiring replacement kit is available. Its 1 piece that plugs onto the terminals.
    But this is for a pro. He needs to find why. Bad connection? High amps? Poor capacitance?
    Don't run the compressor.
    At the thermostat, you can shut the breaker, disconnect the wire connected to the Y terminal, put electrical tape on the wire and switch to emergency or auxiliary heat.
  • ryryfly18ryryfly18 Posts: 5Member
    Any idea why so much oil? I thought it was water a couple weeks ago so thought nothing of it. Nothing ever popped a circuit breaker. The geo unit did seem warm.
  • ratioratio Posts: 2,213Member
    It's gotta be leaking out from somewhere. If the compressor was changed, those joints are the first place I'd look, followed by the access teats. Is that copper pipe touching the bottom pan? It will eventually wear a hole in the copper, that's another place I'd look.
  • pecmsgpecmsg Posts: 1,135Member
    Those are the wrong connectors for that compressor.
    The large line to the right of the wires is there oil on that?
    How old is this system?

  • SuperJSuperJ Posts: 575Member
    edited April 2018
    I used to work for a HP distributor, and saw a lot of shoddy compressor and TXV replacements come back. The dealer would botch a the replacement and then insist the equipment be bought back since it would inevitably fail again in short order.

    If proper care isn't taken with a compressor replacement you'll be doing another (and another) in short order. Since a burnt compressor can wreak havoc on the refrigeration circuit and contaminate everything.
  • ryryfly18ryryfly18 Posts: 5Member
    System was put in in 2006. We moved into this house November 2013 and compressor was replaced January 2014.
    I ran my hand on that copper tube you referenced and no sign of wet oil. Could it have dried off? This compressor is pretty hard to get at.
  • unclejohnunclejohn Posts: 1,452Member
    Just look over the piping above where the oil is with that much you should be able to see where it came from. At one of the gauge port schrader fittings you can quickly depress and see if any pressure is left in the system. We call that a deminnis release. So the government should not swoop down and arrest you for it.
  • ryryfly18ryryfly18 Posts: 5Member
    It is coming from the connection of this copper pipe into compressor (picture)
  • unclejohnunclejohn Posts: 1,452Member
    No picture yet
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 6,553Member
    They may have used the wrong connectors on the compressor wires and the wrong crimp tool. Looks like they used pliers. One wire looks burnt probably from a loose connection
  • pecmsgpecmsg Posts: 1,135Member
    Special connectors and tool are used.
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 2,855Member
    It looks like they just wedged female spade connectors onto the round compressor terminals and that's why the cover is off. The correct harness plug is 90° so the cover can snap on.

    It's an easy fix with the correct harness. You stated there was insufficient heat, so that's why you checked the compressor? The breaker did not trip so it seems to be improper connecections, not grounded, but that needs to be checked as well as the windings, full load amps on start, running amps, capacitor, etc.

    If its an R22 system, you might want to think about replacement.
    There is obviously a leak so the refrigerant must be recovered, leak repaired nitro and evacuation tests, charge with new refrigerant, check/adjust the flow rate on the water side, and labor. It won't be cheap and your $ may be better spent on a new R410A system.

    The company that replaced the compressor should be responsible, however, it's been 4 years and you'll have a hard time proving no other contractor has been there.

    Below is the correct harness.
  • ratioratio Posts: 2,213Member
    Those aren't the round terminals, you can make out the spades in one of the pics. That said, the yaller Sta-Kons aren't the right connector anyway—the rod is welded on to the spades & the connector needs to be gapped a little larger than standard to fit around it. Like @pecmsg said, these are the right repair terminal. I'm also wondering about the conductors used. Sta-Kons aren't made for solid wire, which it kinda looks like from the pics. That'll certainly cause an early failure of the joint, which is exactly what it appears we have.

    On a side note, does anyone know of a source for the correct (listed) tool for those repair terminals? There's no way to make a crimp that looks like a factory crimp with any combination of pliers, chisels or hammers.

  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 6,532Member
    One of the first AC calls I had was a possible lighting strike as the outside unit was sitting next to a 40' TV tower.
    I knew the fan motor was toast but thought I could run the compressor for a quick test.
    The plastic terminal cover was off exposing the connections.
    There was no disconnect for the AC other than the breaker inside the garage on the other side of the house, (turned out to be a good thing actually). I turned the breaker on and went back out to listen to the compressor. The terminal block had blown out and all gas and oil was shooting out for about 8'. By the time I had run back to the breaker it was empty.
    I could have been kneeling next to it if the disconnect was outside, probably with ear close to hear the compressor.

    But, yup he needed a new AC system.

    Another exciting time was a start capacitor wired wrong and they explode real good if left in the circuit too long.

    Always stand off a little to the side of anything I start now. ;)
  • ratioratio Posts: 2,213Member
    I've heard of the compressor terminals ...venting... before too. Hope to never experience it first-hand, but I stand to the side when I bump a new/doubtful compressor Just In Case!
  • unclejohnunclejohn Posts: 1,452Member
    Easy way to get rid of a nosy talkative home owner is to ask him too tell you where the sparks shoot from while you go turn the power back on.
  • pecmsgpecmsg Posts: 1,135Member
    ratio said:

    On a side note, does anyone know of a source for the correct (listed) tool for those repair terminals? There's no way to make a crimp that looks like a factory crimp with any combination of pliers, chisels or hammers.

    I got mine years ago at ABCO Supply in NY.
    Lately i use these
    Most times when the terminals are that burnt its dying a slow death and we advice replacement.
  • clammyclammy Posts: 2,422Member
    It’s kinda of funny that’s years ago I was always intructed when replacing a compressor to replace the caps and compressor contractor and wiring haraness to said compressor make sure if there a crank case heater that it is wired correctly and operating . Now most just slam the compressor in and hook back up vacuum and go and wonder why they blow up later . Also to install new dryers andif a suction line dryer where installed to mark pressure drop across your suction line dryer and actually remove both dryers after 48 hrs and replace your liquid dryer all that makes for a large bill .of course this is for a burn out but who does acid test beside dr Leary anymore .even though steam heating is thought to be a lost art it’s more like giving a crap or doing it right and caring now that’s the lost art .In closing maybe more tech should be megaohming there compressors on there routine maintaince aside from writing down temp / pressure and amp draws a thing no one has the time for till there’s issues then to late I think 2 nd compressor on a geo it’s time for new equipment and maybe a new contractor If it a water based system maybe it’s time to get a boiler instead of a new geo I personally feel the roi is low if you have to replace your unit every 10 to 15 years it’s a waste peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 1,161Member
    I bet the first time the compressor burnt out the system became contaminated and wasn't cleaned out properly. That combined with the refrigerant leak probably lead to the demise of the second. New filter driers are in order as well as a system flush and triple evacuation.
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