any chance of factory support?


I have a 5 ton Amana Prestige II (model RCC) that the builder installed in my home. I am the original owner having purchased the home from the builder in May 2001. According to the warranty papers the builder gave me, the unit has 5/10 warranty (10 on compress, condenser, and evaporator; 5 on "functional parts").
Today I noticed the lights flickering in the middle of the day, and I paid it no attention as I our power fluctuates quite frequently. Later, I noticed the temperature getting out of my comfort zone, so I checked the thermostat. It was set to 76, but the AC wouldn't kick on. So, I checked the breaker panel, and I found the AC circuit had been tripped. I tried to reset it, but it wouldn't stay closed.
I went outside to inspect the unit, and as soon as I turned the corner of the back of my house I could smell a distinct burnt, soot smell.
Here's what I found:
http://home.comcast.net/~woody.lott/burned_amana_rcc_01.JPG
http://home.comcast.net/~woody.lott/burned_amana_rcc_02.JPG
http://home.comcast.net/~woody.lott/burned_amana_rcc_03.JPG
http://home.comcast.net/~woody.lott/burned_amana_rcc_04.JPG
http://home.comcast.net/~woody.lott/burned_amana_rcc_05.JPG
http://home.comcast.net/~woody.lott/burned_amana_rcc_06.JPG
http://home.comcast.net/~woody.lott/burned_amana_rcc_07.JPG
http://home.comcast.net/~woody.lott/burned_amana_rcc_08.JPG
http://home.comcast.net/~woody.lott/burned_amana_rcc_09.JPG
http://home.comcast.net/~woody.lott/burned_amana_rcc_10.JPG
I don't know the correct, technical terms, but it appears to me that the "control unit" shorted and burned up. I looked at the wires and lines going to the condenser, and they look okay to me (FWIW).
I contacted a contractor that put a unit in my dad's house. He gave me 2 options: Replacing the entire outside unit with another R22 unit for $2600 or upgrading outside/inside to a Ruud Premium R-410A system ($5k).
I also contacted my wife's brother-in-law who works for a large mechanical co. doing commercial ac/refrigerator service. He suggested by-passing the controls entirely and wiring the condenser directly to the thermostat. That sounds like the cheapest option to me, but I'm concerned about the safety of such a modification.
What's my best course of action?
Thanks
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Shop around for a new modern up to date system. Bite the bullet and get on with life. Consider what you would do if the Rod went out of the Family car.
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Holy shit! I've seen a couple of units that had fires like that, but not nearly that bad. Both were real old Rheem (one was a Wards made by Rheem). On both, the compressor and fan motor were still good, and with contactor, start relay, and start and run capacitors replaced along with wires salvaged from old take -out units, both are still running after probably 5-6 years since the fires. First thing would be to have the compressor and fan motor checked. If they are still good, replacing the burned components and rewiring is not that big of a job, compared to replacing the whole unit. Also,any chance that a lightning strike may hae caused this? Larry
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As to factory support, who knows? You could contact them. Might be possible to rewire, replace the capacitors and contactor. I'd not want to "bypass the controls", but it's possible to wire the unit for a very simple set of controls. I'd be curious why it over heated.
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Replace the entire system with a new, high efficiency one with R410a refrigerant. Brother in law things never work out. Have a complete room-by-room heat load/loss calculation done to correctly size the new system for you home. Unless your home is close to 4,000sqft, 5 tons is most likely grossly oversized. $5k for a RUUD premium system will almost pay for the equipment....then there is the installation costs, sales tax, permits, inspections, the installers saleries, company overhead, etc.... then there is <gasp> profit.
For complete installation of a new Rheem/RUUD 5 ton, 16 SEER system, you can expect to pay right at $12,000. Aa far as I know, there are no manufacturers who have a 5 ton system that qualifies for the federal income tax energy credit.
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If I planned on staying in this house, I would do just that. However, I plan on getting a bigger house in the next 12-18 months, so I don't want to invest $12k that I'll never recover. Right now the $2600 option looks the best to me.
Does $2600 sound reasonable for a 5 ton 13 SEER unit? FWIW, I'm guessing it is $1k parts + $1.6k labor...
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If I planned on staying in this house, I would do just that. However, I plan on getting a bigger house in the next 12-18 months, so I don't want to invest $12k that I'll never recover. Right now the $2600 option looks the best to me.
Does $2600 sound reasonable for a 5 ton 13 SEER unit? FWIW, I'm guessing it is $1k parts + $1.6k labor...
You would be wrong.
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I love this picture!
http://home.comcast.net/~woody.lott/burned_amana_rcc_02.JPG
Also: Whoever the fuck has to service that thing has their work cut out for them.
Also: That thing's gonna cost a lot to run due to the restricted airflow around the unit.
Possibly what led to it's demise.
Call your insurance Co. and lie to them saying that the unit got hit by lightning.
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Looks like stormys been brazing again.
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On Wed, 05 May 2010 18:02:35 -0400, The King

    He must have found a can of propane.
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Hey OP. Take the slats off that fence near the unit and alternate them so you have some airflow.
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