The air conditioner is often used on hot summer days, but hardly anyone knows how the car air conditioner is actually built, what components it has, and how it works. But everyone knows the principle basically from its cooler. Here is an accelerated course on component operation and possible defects.
The air compressor
The central element of the air conditioning system is the air conditioning compressor. It is used to control the air conditioning system when it is turned on by a magnetic switch. This component is a so-called “refrigeration unit”, which is driven by the vehicle’s engine via a V-belt.
This ensures that the gaseous refrigerant circulating in the air conditioning system is compressed. The compressor is produced in different models. For example, the refrigerant can be compressed by a classic reciprocating piston compressor or by a swash plate compressor.
Also widely used is the so-called rotary piston compressor, which works on a principle similar to that of the Wankel engine.
Synonyms for A / C compressor: compressor, refrigerant compressor
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Possible problems with the air compressor
If only lukewarm air blows through the interior of the car after the air conditioning is turned on, this can of course has many reasons. If you rule out leaks in the system from which refrigerant can flow and the refrigerant level is sufficient, the compressor is often the cause of the malfunction.
During long periods of rest, the moving parts of the compressor are no longer sufficiently lubricated, which can lead to parts blocking, especially with older compressors, for example after a long winter.
As a result, the refrigerant can no longer be compressed. Air conditioning compressors are very expensive. A new compressor for a VW Golf VII 2.0 TDI, for example, costs over € 800 from VW. Online price comparison can save well over 50%.
Heat is generated during the compression of the refrigerant, which also heats the refrigerant to a temperature of 50 ° – 70 ° Celsius. The task of cooling the refrigerant again is performed by the condenser of the air conditioning system, which works according to the principle of the heat exchanger.
For this purpose, the gaseous and heated coolant is fed into a coil of the coil-shaped tube and, if necessary, supported by radiator fans. In this way, the refrigerant cools and condenses. Once it has returned to its liquid state, it is passed through the dryer.
Possible problems with the capacitor
When the air conditioning system no longer works properly, for example after winter, the source of the defect is often found in the condenser. This is because the component is mounted in the vehicle directly behind the radiator grille and is, therefore, the perfect target for stone chips such as those caused by grit in winter.
Small stones quickly penetrate the fins and tubes. A small leak is enough to allow the refrigerant to escape. Since the air conditioning system is not usually in operation in winter, the defect is not noticed for a long time and the coolant level has enough time to drop.
The air conditioning condenser is also one of the parts that are not very cheap. The Golf VII 2.0 TDI costs over 300 € from VW.
The air conditioning condenser became known thanks to a recall action by the Japanese manufacturer Toyota in 2013. Water that has condensed on the radiator could cause a short circuit in the airbag control units – Toyota had to recall 900,000 vehicles
The dryer consists of a desiccant cylinder and an internal filter. The function of the dryer in the air conditioning system is to protect the system from damage by filtering dirt particles, as the name suggests.
To protect it from moisture by removing water from the refrigerant thanks to the hygroscopic components when the refrigerant passes through. the dry filter. In this way, the system is protected from corrosion and malfunction.
Possible Consequences of a Worn Dryer
If the air conditioner starts to corrode in some areas or if the moving parts of the system fail, the cause may be the dryer. Like all filters, the air conditioning system filter dryer is a wearing part that must be replaced regularly.
If this is not done and the air conditioning system continues to operate with a saturated filter, water and dirt particles enter the system and consequential damage is inevitable. The manufacturer specifies the replacement interval.
Even if the system has been opened for some reason, the filter drier needs to be replaced. Filter cartridges are not expensive and are already available for less than 50 €.
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