Can you use two single capacitors instead of one dual capacitor?

Can you use two single capacitors instead of one dual capacitor?

       The short answer is Yes. The dual capacitors are intended to house two single capacitor in one container. They are widely used in Air conditioner condensers. There they power the compressor, usually the higher value of the two, and the cooling fan. They are made for convenience. They save space and are cheaper compare to two single ones. They also use one common wire that helps to de-clutter the compartment.

What are the Pros and Cons of using single vs dual capacitors?

Pros of using single capacitors:

  • You can make any value, this works great to replace add number capacitor: 30/3, 30/7.5, 35/3, 40/3 40/7.5, 50/10, 60/3, 60/10, 70/3, 80/10, etc. On the other hand, when you do not have the correct value and you are far away from the shop.
  • You can replace only the one that fails. (Pro-tip: buy quality capacitors that last here)
  • If you upgrade/replace the fan motor, most likely the new motor will require a different value capacitor or different wiring connection.

Cons of using single capacitors:

  • You need to add an additional bracket and a jumper wire for the second cap.
  • May not have enough space to mount two capacitors.
  • The cost of two single capacitors is higher than one dual.

Pros of using a dual capacitor:

  • Using an original bracket and wiring will look better.
  • Save money buying only one cap.

Cons of using dual capacitor:

How to wire two single capacitors instead of one dual?

IMPORTANT: The procedure to be done by license professional only! Make sure you disconnect All the Power coming to the unit. Double check with Voltmeter. Discharge the original capacitor.

That is a example of dual ran capacitor in a condenser.

That is example of using a two single run capacitors in a condenser.

First, make sure you have a safe mounting spot to add the second bracket.

A spot with some clearance on each side will work. You can use the original bracket to mount the first single capacitor.

To make the new bracket you can use a roll of pipe strapping

Cut the length to size so the strap extends 1-1/2 inch on each side.

Secure the bracket in the compartment. Using self tapping screws helps, just make sure the back side of aria that you will drill is clear.

This an example of how should the mounted capacitors  look like.

The common wire that comes usually from the contactor can be connected to any of the two capacitors.

A jumper wire from one capacitor to the second capacitor. This will be the “C” Common side of each capacitor.

Then second sides that are unused of each capacitor are the FAN and HERM (Compressor) connectors respectfully.

Very often you will encounter additional wires connected to the C terminal of the dual capacitor. This is done because of the convenience for the manufacturer to use the 4 plug common terminal.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for good explanation regarding how to connect capacitor ,Well understand and it will be great assistance for me in future

  2. On a 10 to 15 year old compressor would it be wise to install a 2nd capacitor for 95 degree outside temperature?

    1. Hi Ronnie,
      The age of the compressor shouldn’t matter. You are supposed to stick to the original capacitance of the compressor. With the higher ambient temperature, the refrigerant pressure is also higher, so the compressor will start more difficult, but that was considered by the manufacturer in the calculation of the size of the capacitor.

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