Soft Serve: Replacing Capacitors

SS: Replacing Capacitors

How-To Guide :: Soft Serve :: Replacing Capacitors

Spaceman Soft Serve machines manufactured prior to 2021 may utilize a single-phase motor with start and run capacitors to drive the main auger to agitate the product.  Occasionally, one of these capacitors will fail preventing the motor from starting, or running well.  This article will go over the steps to replace a failed capacitor.  For more information on determining if your capacitor has failed or not, please see the SS: Troubleshooting Motor article.

Parts Ordering: The replacement Capacitors can be purchased via PartsTown.  Please refer to the parts list for your machine to determine the correct capacitors for your model.  Replacing capacitors on all machines is very similar.
Warning: You will be working with high-voltage capacitors.  It is VERY important to be extremely careful when working with these capacitors.  Failure to do so could cause severe injury or death due to electrical shock.


Required Tools

  1. Metric Hex Driver or Allen key set
  2. Flathead Screwdriver
  3. Philips-head screwdriver
  4. Metric Wrench set or adjustable wrench
  5. Insulated screwdriver
  6. Clamp-style Amp Meter / Voltmeter
  7. Insulated Needle Nose pliers
  8. Insulated Wire Cutters and Stripper

How to Replace a Capacitor

Warning: Always treat capacitors as if they hold a charge.  While these steps are designed to safely remove the capacitors, there is always a chance that they still carry a charge and can cause significant high-voltage and high-amperage electrical shock.  Always use insulated tools, and never leave exposed wiring or capacitor terminals unless capacitors are verified as discharged using an appropriate discharge tool.

  1. Turn Power Switch to Off and unplug the machine from the wall.
  2. Follow the instructions in the Operator Manual to properly drain, disassemble, and clean the machine.  

Warning: The machine must be unplugged as power may be available to certain components even with the machine power switch in the off position.

  1. Using a flathead screwdriver, unlock all panel locks remove the rear and side panels from the machine.  All panel locks are quarter-turn and should turn inward to unlock, they do NOT require significant force to unlock. For floor-standing machines, generally only the top panels need to be removed

Note: For smaller countertop machines, panels may be installed using an 8mm Hex-head bolt rather than quarter-turn panel locks.

  1. Locate the electrical box and remove the panel cover using the appropriate Philips-head screwdriver or wrench, depending on model.
  2. Manually press in the contactor for the motor(s) (Please refer to the wiring diagram to identify the proper contactor for your machine).  This will, generally, de-energize the start and run capacitors.

Warning:  Ensure your hands and tools are clear of the inside of the machine when performing this step.  Serious injury can occur.  While this step is designed to properly de-energize the start and run capacitors for the motor(s), there is still possibility that the capacitors will retain some charge.  Always treat capacitors as if they are holding charge and use an appropriate discharging tool to discharge the capacitors once removed.

  1. Locate the capacitor needing replacement, they are in grey plastic housing.  The Start Capacitor will have yellow wires, the Run Capacitor will have blue wires.  

Note:  For machines with multiple flavors, each  motor will have its own set of capacitors.  On certain 110V machines, only one capacitor may be present as an additional Start Capacitor is not required for these models.

  1. Using a 7mm wrench or Philips head screwdriver (depending on model), remove the two bolts securing the capacitor housing to the mounting bracket, and remove the capacitor housing from the mounting bracket.
  2. Remove the tape securing the two housing sides together, exposing the capacitor, and carefully slide the capacitor out of the housing until the leads are exposed.  Take special care not to touch the leads of the capacitor to anything, especially yourself or any metal tools / parts.
  3. Use a voltmeter to check the voltage on the capacitor.  Ensure the voltage is in the mV range, or near zero.  If the voltage is still high, use an appropriate resistor or capacitor discharge tool to safely discharge the capacitor until the voltage is in the millivolt range, near zero.

Warning:  Do not proceed until the capacitor is at a safe voltage level and fully discharged.  Failure to do so can cause severe electrical shock.

  1. Once capacitor is safely discharged, remove capacitor from the housing completely.
  2. Using insulated pliers remove spade connectors from capacitor.

Note:  On certain older machines, the wiring is soldered to the capacitor terminals.  For these machines, use wire cutters to cut the capacitor wires, one at a time to remove capacitor.

  1. Remove replacement capacitor from packaging.  Use a voltmeter to verify the new capacitor is also fully discharged (see Step 9).
  2. Reconnect spades to new capacitor

Note:  On certain older machines where the original capacitor had solder-on wires, you can either attach spade connectors to connect the wires to the capacitor, or, strip and solder the wires on the replacement capacitor.

  1. Insert capacitor back into housing, and install housing cap.  Ensure mounting bracket slots on the ends of the housing line up.  
  2. Seal capacitor housing with electrical tape.
  3. Install capacitor housing onto mounting bracket, and secure with mounting screws.  Re-secure and protect capacitor wires if they were removed from protective sheathing or zip-ties.
  4. To test the motor functionality, plug the machine back into power.  Place a clamp meter around one of the black power wires, and manually press in the contactor that drives the motor.  The motor should turn on and read approximately 1.0 Amps or less for 220V machines, and approximately 4.0 Amps for 110V machines.  Unplug machine from the wall before continuing.
  5. Reinstall electrical box covers, and side panels. 
  6. Follow Operator Manual to Lubricate, Assemble, Sanitize, and add product to the machine. 

    • Related Articles

    • FB: Replacing Capacitors

      How-To Guide :: Frozen Beverage :: Replacing Capacitors Spaceman Frozen Beverage machines utilize a single-phase motor with start and run capacitors to drive the main auger to agitate the product.  Occasionally, one of these capacitors will fail ...
    • SS: Replacing Single Phase Motor

      How-To Guide :: Soft Serve :: Replacing 1-Phase Motor Spaceman Soft Serve machines utilize either a single-phase motor with start and run capacitors or a three-phase motor driven by an inverter to drive the main auger to agitate the product.  These ...
    • SS: Replacing Three Phase Motor

      How-To Guide :: Soft Serve :: Replacing 3-Phase Motor Spaceman Soft Serve machines utilize either a single-phase motor with start and run capacitors or a three-phase motor driven by an inverter to drive the main auger to agitate the product.  These ...
    • Soft Serve Best Practices

      Standard Operation Guide :: Soft Serve :: Best Practices For most operators, a Soft Serve machine may seem like an overwhelming and daunting piece of equipment. The reality, however, is that with a few good habits and implementing proper processes, ...
    • SS: Replacing Pulleys

      How-To Guide :: Soft Serve :: Replacing Pulleys Spaceman Soft Serve machines utilize motors to drive a pulley which turns a belt attached to a gearbox. The belts need to be replaced on a regular basis when they begin to show signs of wear.  Spaceman ...