Central Air - Compressor Capacitor question

Hi:
Our A/C stopped working the other day, I think we have a deeper problem with the control wiring or thermostat since I believe what caused this is the unit was running around the clock whether the system was calling for A/C or not, but now the damage may be done.
Now the fan works fine, the system comes on fine when we turned on, but I don't believe the compressor is coming on or at least it's not working properly. It does get hot (waiting for it to cool down right now to do more troubleshooting). I opened up the area that contains the control wiring and there is what appears to me to be a capacitor and it looks in pretty rough shape. The casing has broken open a bit and is rusted badly.
Here is a picture:
http://mirkwood.no-ip.org:8081/20120624_140736.jpg
I've done a little research and there are a multitude of things that can cause a compressor to fail and pretty much the only thing I'm comfortable fooling with by myself is swapping out this capacitor. So the question is, even if the capacitor is bad, would it even help replacing it? Why would the compressor get hot if the capacitor wasn't helping it start in the first place? Also, is there anything else easy I could check into?
The system is an old Westinghouse model, I've accepted that I'm probably going to have it replaced but if I could get a couple of weeks out of it now I could at least do this on my own terms and not buy something under pressure.
It's Sunday so i can't get a new capacitor today, so I thought I'd ease my mind by asking some questions. Any help is appreciated, thanks in advance.
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Sounds like it's time to ask your friends and neighbors who they trust, to repair HVAC systems. It's one of the most expensive systems in your house. Much can be wrong, that we can't diagnose over the computer. They repair call may save you a lot of money in the long run.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Hi:
Our A/C stopped working the other day, I think we have a deeper problem with the control wiring or thermostat since I believe what caused this is the unit was running around the clock whether the system was calling for A/C or not, but now the damage may be done.
Now the fan works fine, the system comes on fine when we turned on, but I don't believe the compressor is coming on or at least it's not working properly. It does get hot (waiting for it to cool down right now to do more troubleshooting). I opened up the area that contains the control wiring and there is what appears to me to be a capacitor and it looks in pretty rough shape. The casing has broken open a bit and is rusted badly.
Here is a picture:
http://mirkwood.no-ip.org:8081/20120624_140736.jpg
I've done a little research and there are a multitude of things that can cause a compressor to fail and pretty much the only thing I'm comfortable fooling with by myself is swapping out this capacitor. So the question is, even if the capacitor is bad, would it even help replacing it? Why would the compressor get hot if the capacitor wasn't helping it start in the first place? Also, is there anything else easy I could check into?
The system is an old Westinghouse model, I've accepted that I'm probably going to have it replaced but if I could get a couple of weeks out of it now I could at least do this on my own terms and not buy something under pressure.
It's Sunday so i can't get a new capacitor today, so I thought I'd ease my mind by asking some questions. Any help is appreciated, thanks in advance.
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The capacitor is toast.... Unless you can read the information on the side of it, your going to need the unit model and serial number when you get to the supply house to get the correct value replacement. Once the capacitor is replaced, the next questions are going to be... did anything else get taken out when the capacitor went? Was there another cause that made it blow up, other than age??
Your best plan of attack is most likely to get it repaired and running to buy you a little time to put money back or arrange financing to replace the old system.
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On 6/24/2012 6:41 PM, Steve wrote:

Thanks for the responses all. I agree with above. I think there was an underlying cause: the system was running non-stop for at least 2 days before I even knew it, then the compressor started to give out. I'm going to start by replacing the capacitor and getting a new thermostat to see how that goes, then start shopping for something new and more efficient anyway.
Thanks again.
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Yes, the thermostat is the most likely part. We've had many home owners come here for advice. Most of the time they already replaced the thermostat a couple times.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
getting a new thermostat to see how that goes, then start shopping for something new and more efficient anyway.
Thanks again.
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Replacing the thermostat is a waste of money 99% of the time. When your new system is installed, the installer should put in a new digital one for you as part of the install. if the system was running non-stop for 2 days, you have another problem that will need to be corrected by a tech.
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On 6/24/2012 2:25 PM, pawn wrote:
(snip)
FYI: Replacing the capacitor had no effect. I called a tech over and he said the compressor is seized, probably due to the starter relay being fused closed (on) and it was running non-stop without me knowing (probably should have noticed but, you know).
Getting a new system Tuesday. Thanks foe the info/help to those that offered it.
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Sorry to hear it was an expensive part.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
On 6/24/2012 2:25 PM, pawn wrote:
(snip)
FYI: Replacing the capacitor had no effect. I called a tech over and he said the compressor is seized, probably due to the starter relay being fused closed (on) and it was running non-stop without me knowing (probably should have noticed but, you know).
Getting a new system Tuesday. Thanks foe the info/help to those that offered it.
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