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Author Topic: Refrigeration newbie - question one  (Read 521 times)

Offline Wedgeman55

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Re: Refrigeration newbie - question one
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2012, 08:00:41 PM »
Check windings - low reading is common to run winding (example 3.1)
                        next high reading is common to start (example 5)
                       highest reading - start to runn (example 8)     Also scratch compressor casing and check windings to ground to see if windings are grounding out. 
 
       Also,  good indicator is amperage.   Clamp around ampmeter,  check running amperage.  If LRA is 21, for example,  the run amperage should be around 3 amps.   (1/7 th lock rotor amps or LRA) - It said compressor was running at 1 amp,  could be bad head on compressor,   or there is a leak and no refrigerant or low refrigerant.   
 
       If you think commercial refrigeration is something you'd want to get into,  a couple of thoughts for you. 
 
        1.  They will call you at night,  in middle of night,  early and want you there YESTERDAY>     I used to have some accounts like this,  and they want you to drop what your doing and get to them fast.    I had a guy call last month,  had a south bend commercial stove (I used to be a service provider for them and am still listed).   I had 10 calls scheduled that day.    He called me at 7:30 in the morning.    I told him I could get there maybe tomorrow.   He wanted me there IMMEDIATLY.  He said he had to do breakfast and needed it right now.    I gave him another company to call.   
 
         2 SLOW PAYERS>    I've had more than one commercial customer that either stiffed me or was slow paying.    They demand you get there fast,  but then don't have the money to pay you.    Some will pay, some will "chum" you or pay you a little and send you only a little every month. 
 
       Basicly,  I only have good accounts left.   I've eliminated all the bad ones,  and won't do work for them anymore.    You'd probably be better off building up your domestic appliance business,  and mix in a few good commercial customers,  and not go the other way.     My opinion.   
Commercial Laundry repair Tech and Installer  1973 to 1980
Service Manager / Technician Commercial Laundry repair company 1980 to 2002
Refrigeration - HVAC - Boiler School 1974-1976
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Offline andersenappliance

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Re: Refrigeration newbie - question one
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2012, 07:23:22 PM »
thanks Wedgemann,

I did some work on a commercial stove for a duck club once.  It took a week and a half to get the part.  I asked the supplier what the customer should do if he was a restaurant, and they said they could get it quicker in that case....?!

I'll probably follow your advice on the residential, and just see what happens with the commercial.  I'm only set up for residential now anyway, and when I relocate, that's what I'll be doing.

I am going to go ahead and get gauges and a vacuum pump though.  I've also got to go back and do bit more studying on compressors.  I've heard many different things on the windings, all from trustworthy sources.  I think I fixed a poor cooling problem on a fridge by straightening out the filter/dryer line on one fridge.  She said it worked great since then, so I took credit  ;) but after verifying the relay, overload, and cold control worked, I was about to tell her "bad compressor."  The thing was simple, it didn't even have any defrost.  I hate guessing, so I have to dig a bit more, and come up with a checklist to find out what is happening in the compressor when the fridge is not working right.

Don't get me wrong. 

I have fixed lots of refrigerators.  Its just at a certain point, the compressor will seem ok, or maybe run a bit oddly (not always starting, or making funny noises) and there is nothing I can do to get the fridge back up and running.  And there is no shorted or grounded winding.  I'd like to have a better diagnosis in these cases than "Dunno...Mebbe you should get a new one...."

Offline AJ

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Re: Refrigeration newbie - question one
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2012, 07:34:01 PM »
Quote
I have fixed lots of refrigerators.  Its just at a certain point, the compressor will seem ok, or maybe run a bit oddly (not always starting, or making funny noises) and there is nothing I can do to get the fridge back up and running.  And there is no shorted or grounded winding.  I'd like to have a better diagnosis in these cases than "Dunno...Mebbe you should get a new one...."

That's when it's time to hook up the gauges and see what the high side and low side pressures read.

After so many years of doing this through I can diagnose a sealed system problem without going so far as to connect a set of gauges.

I'm confident when I tell the customer the refrigerator has a sealed system problem. I could connect a set of gauges to determine if it's low on refrigerant, a restriction or simply a week compressor, but unless it's under warranty the final outcome is going to be the same no matter what the sealed system problem turns out to be.

Offline andersenappliance

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Re: Refrigeration newbie - question one
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2012, 11:34:16 AM »
Yeah, but at that point, for residential fridges, I'd have to pierce the tubes to put ports on it, so I could see what is happening.

They are already there for bigger systems, but I wouldn't open up a customer's system to check pressures if I wasn't d-sure that I'd get paid to fix the problem.  That usually is not in the cards for a residential fridge.

It seems that short of that, the best you can do is do the electrical checks (windings, amps) and maybe frost patterns on the evaporator, then say "I dunno,...."

On that point, How do they get these systems hermetically sealed and ready with out ports?  I need to hit youtube or something.

Offline AJ

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Refrigeration newbie - question one
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2012, 11:40:33 AM »
It can be hard to get paid for a, I don't know call.
There is a A-1 valve that I use to use all the time on them.
At the factory the refrigerant is added and the the tube simply pinched off. Ever notice the pinched off copper tubes?


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Offline andersenappliance

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Re: Refrigeration newbie - question one
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2012, 11:56:27 AM »
Yeah, I've seen 'em.  I just try to visualize that on an assembly line.  It must be interesting work to be a mechanical engineer who has to figure out how to put things together on a production line so they can be mass produced.

Getting paid for an "I don't know" call is tough, but you can get money for saying "Your best bet is to get a new one."  Either way, the real money is in fixing it.  That is also the best way to build a good rep. for your business.

But I guess, for residential fridges, that is not always going to be possible.   I just hate the doubt.  I never want to suggest condemning something, when it is a bad board, or suggest a new board, when the compressor is going. 

I guess I just need to spend more time on this.  I don't have questions like these with other appliances.


Offline andersenappliance

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Re: Refrigeration newbie - question one
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2012, 12:03:39 PM »
I have a couple of line-piercing valves in my stuff.  I've never used them.

I understand that they leak badly, and aren't a permanent option.

Since I tossed my crappy e-bay gauges, I've never bothered with them.  I figured that they'd be good to help find out what is going on, then, if you are going to evacuate the system, you'd install permanent valves at that time.

What are your guys experiences with these valves?

Offline Earl Dryer

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Re: Refrigeration newbie - question one
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2012, 09:56:45 PM »
I do sealed unit repairs, but only at my shop, too much equipment to pack around and too much time required. Customer picks up & delivers. In my shop I can work on several machines at the same time, where as on site repairs require much thumb twiddling. 80% of sealed system problems are plugged up dryers on residential refrigerators, no big deal. I would be happy to stay at the shop and replace dryers. I get $125 for dryer replace job, in shop and $225 for on site. Good thing about the shop is, you don't get stiffed. I use an ATV lift to elevate the refrigerator to work comfortably.  I install a permanent Valve on the process tube and the dryer has one. I will use a BPV for diagnostics but I do tell customer that there is a leak risk. One little trick I do before installing the BPV, paint a thin layer of epoxy on the seat side of the valve, haven't had any leaks thus far.
One thing to remember is 134a is a pain in the rear to work with, sometimes and like JW said 5psi is a good goal. Weighing is impossible if you are doing sweep charges. We all develop systems that work for us.  Good luck

Offline andersenappliance

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Re: Refrigeration newbie - question one
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2012, 10:02:37 PM »
One little trick I do before installing the BPV, paint a thin layer of epoxy on the seat side of the valve, haven't had any leaks thus far.

That's Golden!  Great Idea!

 :thanks:

Offline AJ

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Re: Refrigeration newbie - question one
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2012, 10:11:24 PM »
Cool trick.  O0

 

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