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Curing Chamber help

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 04:21
The chamber has been working flawlessly all this time. This past week, I was in the basement and heard a click. When I went to the chamber, the climate controller was still energized for cooling. When I opened the door, the lights were still on in the refrigerator and the compressor was not running. I heard what sounded like water sizzling on a hot pipe. After reading some things about it, it sounded like these compressors will shut down when they overheat. I unplugged it and plugged it back in and still no go. I also dialed the internal stat controller to off and back to the coldest mode. The inside of the chamber was about 57 degrees when it's normally 53-54. I closed the door and the next morning the chamber was satisfied to the proper temperature. I've noticed lately that it seems to be running more often than it usually does to maintain the proper temperature. In the winter, the basement is usually 66 degrees and now it's 72 and probably more humid. I took some paper towels and closed off the computer fans that are programmed to run about 5 minutes per hour to replenish new air into the chamber. That seemed to help, but I still don't think it's quite right. Any suggestions? It's a 5 month old frigidaire and I can imagine what they would say if they had to come in a recharge it. I'm not convinced if I plug up all the holes right now that the unit would maintain 40 degrees like a regular refrigerator would. I'm kinda kicking myself now because I had no idea how often I would be using this for curing. If I would have known that, I would have probably bought a commercial double wide. Suggestions?

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 16:12
by redzed
I have a large stand up freezer that I am using as a fridge with a separate cold controller. Every 30 or so hours it stops running and all I hear is something moving through the lines so I assume it's defrosting. When I first noticed that I was a bit concerned, but that was quite a while ago and it's still going strong. Try running it on the regular control for a few hours. Shouldn't affect your product too much if at all. Then at least you will know whether the fridge is operating the way it was originally designed to do. And fridges will probably run more often in the summer if the ambient temps are higher.

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 16:30
by Bob K
Its probably the auto defrost , like Chris said. Even though our (Chambers) units are run on a external controller, separate from the internal/ fridge freezer controls they are programed to "defrost" the coils periodically to remain frost free.

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 12:10
by Bob K
Until you figure it out.
You can always put a few frozen gallon jugs in the unit and it will maintain a 52-55 temp as long as you limit the outside air exchange to a few times a day.

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 12:16
OK, after knowing nothing about refrigerators, this one drove me crazy, but I think I found the issue. The question is how to fix. The drain pan had very little water in it and the drain hose is clean. There's a timer with an override knob on the back of the unit. Apparently this unit will defrost 15 minutes per 12 hours, even at the times it may call for cooling. If that timer is in defrost, the compressor won't kick on,,,,but that's not the issue. I pulled the back shroud off from the inside to inspect the evaporator coil. It looked fine KIND OF. The one side of the evaporator coil where the capillary tube enters was all iced up. 4" from that capillary tube is a sensor clipped to the piping of the coil. That's another sensor to tell the unit it needs to heat the coil. If that ices up, the sensor engages and runs the heater coil, which in turn, the compressor won't run. I pulled all the meat and put it in an upright Eurocave wine cooler for now. I let the refrigerator sit for 3 hours to melt the ice. Even after 8 hours, this morning, the unit has only reached 54 degrees without running through any controllers, which means the fan ran all night and the compressor kicked in and out during heating the coil cycle. I don't think this unit likes humidity. Are the commercial units any better for recovery rates. I am ready to throw this one away. I have a 17 year old GE split in the garage and that thing has been working all the time in the summer with high humidity and much higher ambient heat.

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 17:29
by Butterbean
I'd check the Freon before I scrapped it. Sounds like you have a pin hole leak and are low on freon.

You didn't by chance lay it on its side did you?

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 18:05
The compressor has voltage going to it and not always kicking on. It's either the compressor or the capacitor.

Posted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 06:28
Well, after a bunch of thought, I took an amprobe to the voltage line into the compressor. When you plug the refrigerator into the wall, the compressor will kick on and the current is only .7 amps and the refrigerator will not cool much past 63 degrees. If I rotate the timer into the defrost circuit, the compressor will stop and the fan continues to run. If I turn the timer past the defrost point, the amprobe reads 5.4 amps and the compressor does not kick on and 10 seconds after that, the overload relay kicks in. once the overload relay kicks in, the amprobe goes to zero. 2 minutes after that, the overload resets and the compressor kicks back on drawing .7 amps, but still not cold at all. The LRA is 5.6 amps on the compressor. I was told the amperage should be 5.6 divided by 6 on the low end and 5.6 divided by 5 on the high end. Based on that .7 is too low. Either needs a charge or the compressor is defective. These are sealed units with no service ports. If it's a small leak, good luck finding it. If it's a compressor, why bother. I am looking at a Turbo Air Commercial TSR-35SD. They are trying to locate one for me locally. Although I really did nothing to this that would cause a leak or cause a compressor to fail, gook luck finding someone willing to cover it under warranty due to the modifications.

Posted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 16:10
by Bob K
Sounds like your all in :mrgreen:

Maybe raise the stakes:

Posted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 16:51
by Butterbean
A few years ago I picked up a stainless steel upright freezer a restaurant was throwing away. I happened by while they were loading it to carry it off for scrap. I saved them the drive and paid the scrap price for it. They said it didn't work. My buddy and I scratched our heads over it for a while and determined it had a small leak by spraying it with a leak detector. We soldered the leak and recharged it and its been working ever since. Prior to repair it showed many of the same signs as yours. If this is the problem you might could do the same. Since its a closed system, you can use a bullet piercing valve which should cost under $5.

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 13:29
I ordered the new refrigerator and I convinced my wife the old one isn't worth fixing. My plan was to throw it away. Then I woke up this morning and said "wait, I don't need a compressor and coils for fermentation". Now it's just a matter of finding a location to put it and use it for my fermentation process. Brilliant :lol: :cool:

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 14:38
by Shuswap
LOUSANTELLO wrote:I ordered the new refrigerator and I convinced my wife the old one isn't worth fixing. My plan was to throw it away. Then I woke up this morning and said "wait, I don't need a compressor and coils for fermentation". Now it's just a matter of finding a location to put it and use it for my fermentation process. Brilliant :lol: :cool:
Ditto - my grandson is visiting and he said "Papa you have six fridges, how come?"