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Thread: taking apart air conditioner compressors

  1. #1
    Metal Recycling Entrepreneur
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    taking apart air conditioner compressors

    Is it worth taking these apart? Is the only way cutting outside shell? Can I pry apart?

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    Copycat



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    The only way to get them apart is by cutting them. Is it worth it? Depends on what your yard pays for sealed units.

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    Quote Originally Posted by copycat View Post
    Is it worth taking these apart? Is the only way cutting outside shell? Can I pry apart?

    Thanks
    Copycat
    This is one of the items that had me itching to invest in a digital scale. I've weighed it out every which way it is possible to turn them in and based on prices here I cut them open and also separate the copper. It's in the 6-8.00 difference range depending on what type of compressor if I tear them apart verses selling them whole. This price also includes the cost of using a half grinding wheel on each one.

    I read a post recently that said on a/c compressors that there are 3 weld marks and if you cut those and then drop it you can get the insides out.

    For me personally it's worth taking them apart.

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    If you pry it apart without cutting it, I want to see a video.



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    i never cut them apart because i never knew any better would like to see a video first before attepmting

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    Quote Originally Posted by Libertytow View Post
    i never cut them apart because i never knew any better would like to see a video first before attepmting
    It's simple. Drain the oil out first. Use a grinder w/thin cutting wheel, cut 3/4 around, force the rest open (easy) then take out the motor, cut your copper off that and all done. I will warn you that the copper will be a bit slippy because it'll have oil residue on it. When we do compressors we make a day of doing what we've stockpiled because we will have oil residue all over our gloves and of course my clothes because of the way I work.

    BTW there are videos on youtube showing various people cutting them open and the different methods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AuntieCake View Post
    This is one of the items that had me itching to invest in a digital scale. I've weighed it out every which way it is possible to turn them in and based on prices here I cut them open and also separate the copper. It's in the 6-8.00 difference range depending on what type of compressor if I tear them apart verses selling them whole. This price also includes the cost of using a half grinding wheel on each one.

    I read a post recently that said on a/c compressors that there are 3 weld marks and if you cut those and then drop it you can get the insides out.

    For me personally it's worth taking them apart.
    That might have been a post of mine.

    I find theres more than 1Kg of copper in each one, maybe 3Lb. Its not that hard to get the wiring out as its covered in slipperly oil, clean of oxides & paper & tar.
    With my 9inch grinder & a 9inch disc for NZ$6 each, I find it costs about 50cents to cut one open. (or, I can cut open 12+ per $6 disc)

    Once the disc gets worn down to the size of your smaller grinder (ie 5 inch dia) take the disc off & replace it with a new one, or put it in the smaller grinder & keep using it.
    Using a smaller disc in a larger grinder is a good way to waste grinder discs, plus it takes a lot longer..

    If I had a lot of them I'd try & get the varnish off the wire so I can sell it as #1 Copper grade.

    Heres a pic of one so you can see whats inside it. I can't see the spot welds but they are there somewhere.
    Last edited by eesakiwi; 09-10-2012 at 09:39 PM.

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    sealed units

    I would sell them whole. I have never taken them apart does not seem worth the time if you can sell whole unit as is. In my area they sell for .30 per lb

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    Quote Originally Posted by eesakiwi View Post
    Heres a pic of one so you can see whats inside it. I can't see the spot welds but they are there somewhere.
    Last edited by Bear; 09-19-2012 at 08:08 PM.

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    I do not generally take motors apart and I've never done a sealed unit. Keep in mind when you extract one component out if another; you don't gain 100% of the difference. sealed unit price is broken down into 3 categories when disassembled. 1. Copper 2. Shred or heavy melt ( depending on how your yard grades and pays) 3. the waste oil

    These numbers are arbitrary but just as an example: 25 lb sealed unit @ $.30 lb = $7.50
    25 lb sealed unit - 2 lbs copper /-1 lb oil = 22 lbs @ shred price of $0.10 lb =$2.20 in shred + 2 lbs copper extract @ 3$ lb= $8.20 for a gain of + $.70. If you can knock out xxx per hour or day and your satisfied, great.

    Naturally, if your numbers were different and it was worth your time in your eyes. Then, go for it. Just make sure you're properly adding and deducting properly or, you could just be tricking yourself and waisting time. Hard work doesn't always equate to more money the numbers won't lie.

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    Russell, in my area sealed units only bring .085 a pound. So a 20# pound compressor would only bring 1.70. If I break it down then I get .10 for the bodies ( 17.5# at .10) and 2.50 a pound for the copper (!.8 pounds at 2.50) and 8 ounces of oil that has a value that I won't post. So by breaking them down I get around 6.25 vs. 1.70 if I don't. I broke down 65 compressors today and got 133 pounds of copper and around 1400 pounds of #2 prepared.

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    freonjoe
    how long did it take you to break down the 65 units?

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    Quote Originally Posted by scraprecycler View Post
    freonjoe
    how long did it take you to break down the 65 units?
    don't get him started braggin ; )

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    Scraprecycler, It took 4 hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scraprecycler View Post
    freonjoe
    how long did it take you to break down the 65 units?
    The man knows his stuff and is good at it! More importantly, he knows his safety issues as well.


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