After a few bad moments replacing the furnace transformer, which turned out to be a complete bust, I did establish that the transformer was fine. I should have reached that conclusion a lot sooner than I did, but I blame it on the hot, dark conditions I was forced to work in. At a certain point after I put the old transformer back on the circuit board, while in a deeply sulky state, it occurred to me that I could see the little red indicator light blazing steadily red if I held the reset button in. It only went off if I let go of that button. Well, EUREKA! My learning-to-fix-the-heat-and-air mind finally caught on. The reset switch was clearly bad, right? Right? RIGHT? Sheesh. I should’ve googled how to test a reset switch sooner. It led me to about a million videos on how to test…a transformer. I kid you not. So I tested it. I knew buying that multimeter was a good idea. 120 volts in, 24 volts out. The transformer was just fine and dandy. And cleaner. In fact the whole circuit board was cleaner. Old paintbrushes come in handy to combat dust and crud on a furnace circuit board.
So I had myself a celebratory shot of vodka and thought about that reset switch some more. I just couldn’t face turning all the breakers in the house off again. It had gotten so hot in there I couldn’t breathe for one thing, and it was now dark outside for another. That meant my only light source was my tiny little flashlight. I had another shot and mulled over the advisability of just using the switch by the furnace and not killing power to every fan in the house. Comfort won out over common sense. I blame the vodka.
I flipped the little light switch off, used my handy little multimeter to poke at wires and terminals to make sure I wasn’t going to shock the living snot out of myself, and got back to work. Don’t forget I am a very hot (and not in a sexy way) woman on a mission. After studying things for a few minutes I figured the best way to test my theory was to just bypass the reset entirely. So I took it out, and just straight wired the connections. in order to do that with the existing wires in there, I had to pull the circuit board off because it was too short to reach otherwise. So it’s all wired up and ready to go. I did mention I’d had a few drinks by now, right? My dumb ass flipped that light switch back on while I was holding the circuit board. JIMINY CRICKET! For those of you reading this, yeah, don’t do that. I established 2 things in that nanosecond it took me to flip the switch back off. The first thing was my theory was right so far. The indicator light came on the minute I flipped the switch. The second thing was that I needed longer wires so I could actually remount the circuit board because, well, yeah. See above.
All I had was a length of romex cable. For those of you that don’t know, that stuff is pretty stiff, as it isn’t the bundle of fine copper threads, but a solid copper wire. But it was what I had, so that’s what I went with. After more pokes with the multimeter to make sure I wasn’t going to relive my shocking experience, I replaced the shorter wires with longer ones out of the romex, and remounted the circuit board. Making sure hands and feet were well away from anything that might remotely carry a charge, I flipped the switch back on. Holy Mother of the Furnace Gods, IT WORKED. Sort of.
The indicator light blazed forth, a glorious tiny red beacon, taunting me to turn on the AC and revel in cool victory. So I did. And blew the damn buss fuse. Again. Just bang head here -X-. The only other thing I remotely know anything about when it comes to air conditioning was the capacitor. Well it was full dark outside so I sure as hell wasn’t going to monkey around in a box that had double the voltage coming in. So I did what all women in my position do. I posted a whiny rant on facebook, unfriended an idiot (which is a whole other blog post) and sulked some more. While I was pouting, discussion broke out on my post, introducing me to a part called the contactor. So now, when I build up the courage to go play with 240 volts of electricity, I have 2 things to check outside. Maybe today is the day. Maybe not. Probably not, But you never know. I swear to leave the vodka alone until I am done working on it though. You can take THAT to the bank.