What to do with an old A/C unit?

I have recently purchased a new window-mount air conditioner, and now I am looking at the crappy old one saying "I can't just throw this away after having read the Dumpster Dipping instructable!" Any ideas on how to reuse/recycle this horribly used (purchased ca. 1988) A/C unit that hardly puts out cold air anymore?

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Rishnai9 years ago
Hmm... you could open it up, remove all the nasty grimy dust, try it again, and if that doens't help its cold-air output, see about getting it professionally drained (although I bet it's drained already due to the lack of cold air, draining A/Cs is not a home project), then use it as an electric air compressor. They're actually pretty handy for that.
LinuxH4x0r9 years ago
I've been thinking of hooking a wind turbine straight to the shaft of the compressor to make a co2 neutral cooler. If you do take it apart use the blower fan for a small wind turbine.
...thinking of hooking a wind turbine straight to the shaft of the compressor...
Wow. Since window air conditioners have all the compressing stuff sealed inside a heavy steel shell with just the electrical connections going thru it, that would truly be impressive. Well, best of luck!
. Yep. The shell is part of the suction side of the pump. Have to have a good mechanical face seal (ie, expensive and alignment of the stationary member would be difficult) where the shaft penetrates. Certainly not impossible, but probably not practical for a DIYer. I'd try to find a compressor designed for an external driver.
????? Have we been tearing apart the same type of air conditioners? I find a metal cylinder with rounded ends, just inlet, outlet, and electrical connections. Smooth down the sides with a grinder and it'd make a good cannon projectile.
. Right. The compressor motor (another good source of Cu, BTW) is sealed inside the metal cylinder (shell). To use an external power source, you would have to pierce the shell.
Or just follow the wiring diagram with the AC unit to hook up the capacitor and power lines to the compressor and plug it in? :-) (And now I'm reading killerjackalope's comment and wondering if "throwaway" window units are getting confused with central AC systems...)
. LinuxH4x0r and I hijacked this topic and started talking about using a turbine to drive the compressor. . . Central units and window units are essentially the same, just the former having the evaporator further from the condenser/pump. All units I've seen have a sealed compressor (to reduce fluorocarbon emissions?).
Look down, at the comment I posted, it's got a solution to the motor replacement problems and to the drive... Plus it's better use of space...
And... I'm still confused. I could get a pulley on the shaft of the double-ended blower motor, but as I've yet to crack open one of those compressor / motor units I fail to see how to add a belt drive. Or how to extract the motor for a disco ball. Or how to even make those small sputtering things into a "carbon neutral cold air pump." For all I can tell, there's one or more sliding pistons in there being driven like a solenoid plunger, no shaft at all! Things almost make sense if we were talking about a compressor similar to an automotive unit with an electric motor on the other end of the shaft, the combo then sealed inside the heavy shell, but it'd be constructed so tightly together there would be no available shaft to work without removing the motor part, which is likely an integral structural piece as for compactness within that small sealed shell the shaft can be supported with one outside bearing on the compressor end, one on the motor end, and that's it. Both motor and compressor could actually share a housing, a true integrated unit, under that shell. That would be the best engineering. And there is no freon tank. If I was to ever pursue a wind-driven "carbon neutral" cold air pump, I'd start with an automotive supplemental air pump (smog pump). They spin easily and take pulleys. They also generate enough air pressure to counter the outgoing pressure in an exhaust system, while an A/C compressor generates even more pressure to liquefy the refrigerant. That just adds inefficiency as it's unnecessary for the application.
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