Fridge problem avoidance

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 10:52
ThreadID: 11921 Views:2167 Replies:3 FollowUps:16
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Hi all ,
As a dummy in things mechanical , I thought I would warn of a possible looming problem for some of you.
I have a brilliant Auto Fridge which I used for a month five years ago and then put away in my camping room .
I got it out to use it last month and the compreesor hummed away nicely but nothing got cold . I had left it unused for so long the seals in the compressor had
failed . As usual after I have stuffed something up , I read the instructions . It said that every few months you should run the unit to avoid the problem occuring .
How anyone would remember to do that , is beyond me - so be aware .
Willie .
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Reply By: Davoe - Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 11:07

Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 11:07
I think the fridges are best run often, I know a few people that use them inside when they are not using them just as bar fridges or xtra freezer space etc solving the problem of remembering to run it occasionly. The other option is simply to throw it into the back of your 4wd and go camping far more often lol
AnswerID: 53668

Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 12:28

Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 12:28
It's amazing how many people do not run refridgeration devices reguarly, especially through winter. Air cons in your house, spare fridges, air con in your car!!
I've got friends who for some reason "don't like air conditioning" and drive with their windows open 10 months of the year and then wonder why the air con doesn't work when it's 40+c! Once a week you should run your car air con for 10mins at a minium, if it's cold, turn the heater on! Run your air cons at home during winter every month, otherwise your gas will dissapear to that big hole in the ozone layer!
But I do like the alternative for your fridge problem, GO CAMPING! ;-)
5 Years, cor blimey what you been doin bloke!? Get it regassed and get out there!
AnswerID: 53677

Follow Up By: Roachie - Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 13:54

Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 13:54
Right on Jeff!!!!!
I can't go 5 weeks without going camping, or I'll be like a bear with a sore head at home!! LOLOL
In my case, I have an ARB 40 litre fridge. It "lives" permanently in the Patrol and stays on 24/7. These newer Engels/ARB units are great in that you can have both 12v and 240v cords plugged into the back at the same time. I've run some 240v cabling with a proper (caravan-type) inlet socket mounted on my bullbar. Each night when I get home from work, I grab the 240v cord from where it hangs down in the carport and plug it in to take over the fridge running. Also have a small battery charger in the back so the 240v trickle charges the aux batt over night too.
FollowupID: 315362

Follow Up By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 17:17

Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 17:17
Hey Roachie become a member as I would love to see a rig photo & decription of you Patrol
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Follow Up By: Member - Eskimo - Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 17:54

Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 17:54
Jeff who told you this rubbish "Run your air cons at home during winter every month, otherwise your gas will dissapear to that big hole in the ozone layer! "

does it mystriously seep pass the molecules of the copper tubes and or other components....geez Jeff go to school and learn why the something escapes from some must have a hole you wally! else it cant get out. Running will not stop the refrigerant from escaping if a hole is present.And the refrigerant wont create a hole!!!
FollowupID: 315395

Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 18:37

Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 18:37
Eskimo, you shouldn't accuse someone of posting "rubbish" without doing your homework first!
The refrigerant gas in a/cond & fridges has oil in suspension, this lubricates the seals when the compressor is running, if you don't run it for a long time, the seals dry out, shrink & leak! So the gas actually doesn't need to mysteriously seep the molecules of the copper pipes and or other components.
If you read the instructions with most portable fridges they suggest to just keep them running.
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Follow Up By: Member - Eskimo - Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 20:49

Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 20:49
read post (below also) and you will soon realise that we are talking about fridges which do not have seals that require lubrication of seals... they are all hermetically sealed. Do not confuse with car airconditioning which is also different to home refrigerated airconditioning systems (also hermeticly sealed)
also reed below ......and i do not run mine (2 off) except to proove they work and thats just before I take one or both out next
FollowupID: 315405

Follow Up By: Roachie - Tuesday, Apr 13, 2004 at 11:04

Tuesday, Apr 13, 2004 at 11:04
G'day Bob & Lex,

Yeh I'm considering becoming a member. My good mate, Pesty, (who I introduced to the forum) reckons he's going to become a member and that he'll beat me to it. He was so impressed with how well Ruth looked after he and Glenda (aka "Mrs Pesty") that he now has no choice but to join up.

Even if (when?) I do join as a member, I'm going to need truck loads of help if I ever intend to get any pictures of the Patrol on the forum; such is my limited knowledge of digital cameras etc (I presume that's what is needed to be able to have the pictures available?? LOL). We do actually have a digital camera (Kodak), and we've taken a few happy snaps with it and downloaded (is that the right term??) onto the PC so we can look at them. As far as then transferring them somewhere else.....I'd have as much chance of flying the Patrol around Mars a couple of times!!! LOL


FollowupID: 315649

Follow Up By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 17:41

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 17:41
You used the right terms. If you have a scanner atached to the puter you don't need a digital camera , just scan photos to a file on the puter then just follow the prompts to load them. if you get stuck there plenty of us who will help you.
FollowupID: 315873

Follow Up By: Roachie - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 20:46

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004 at 20:46
Thanks for the offer Bob,
I do have a scanner, but had to unplug it recently. My puter only has 2 USB ports. I used to have the Kodak dock and the scanner plugged into them; but now I'm on ADSL, I had to remove something, so the scanner went into mothballs. I spose I can just unplug the Kodak dock and replug the scanner, maybe?
Anyway, gotta join 1st, eh??
FollowupID: 315902

Reply By: Member - Eskimo - Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 13:55

Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 13:55
what sort of compressor does tye auto fridge have?
I dont think they are like an automobile airconditioning system which have a open drive compresso which needs lubrication to the shaft seal to prevent it "drying" out and hence a refrigerant leak develops.

I am of the opinion that car fridges are "hermetically sealed" and a no use time period should not bother them?

some electronics could suffer from a lack of use but this is rare!
AnswerID: 53686

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 16:52

Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 16:52
Auto fridges, unless electrothermal (That new cheapy type that metls cars eletrical wiring from during high continuous currents) have motors and compressor, hence they should be run regulary so that brushes etc are kept in good working order.
FollowupID: 315378

Follow Up By: Member - Eskimo - Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 17:48

Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 17:48
Jeff, Willie specifically said seals

There are only two types of compressors on the market (as far as I am aware) for portable eg car 12 or 24v fridges. ...the Danfoss which does not have seals and the swing type in the Engell which also does not have seals and both being hermetically sealed ( away from corrosion causing gases ie oxygen) should not need running except as i said before ...may-be for some electrics such as capacitors but this is very rare.

(there is another type which is 240v and is a rotary compressor which is common to the domestic fridge and also is hermetically sealed and does not have brushes)

Maybe Willie or some one else can enlighten us further as to the real reasons why the instructions said it should be run on a regular basis.
FollowupID: 315394

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 18:42

Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 18:42
Eskimo I apologise if I was inccorect somewhere there, but that's what I've always been told and have always done, and I still have a 17 year old air con that cools my entire house. thank you for pointing out any of my errors so tactfully.

I might book in for night school classes ASAP and empty my bin.

FollowupID: 315399

Follow Up By: Member - Eskimo - Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 20:42

Thursday, Apr 08, 2004 at 20:42
Jeff, Certainly no offence meant, but

I am a qualified shiet kicker hehehe er should i say a no-all hahaha in addition to being a fridgie. Have been in the industry for some ...well a bloody long time and have built my own car fridge from scratch ...had to buy the components and copper piping but i had to design and put it all together. No leaks untill i fractured a pipe cos it bounced Too High in the back of the cruiser ....cant happen now as i have a fridge slide
The compressors and other components used do not have flexible seals that require lubrication...believe me!
kindest regards
FollowupID: 315404

Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Friday, Apr 09, 2004 at 06:49

Friday, Apr 09, 2004 at 06:49
Eskimo do i have to run my engell is all rite not to run it for a few months. Because I dont whant that thingy drying out if I have got one.

All the best
FollowupID: 315421

Follow Up By: Member - Eskimo - Friday, Apr 09, 2004 at 11:11

Friday, Apr 09, 2004 at 11:11
I have both (an Engel and trailblazer) and they sit in the shed until i need to use them...about twice a year. These fridges do not have seals...not like you car aircon which does.

(Actually the seals on your car aircon do not dry out becoming porous ...rather the thin film of oil between the seal and shaft seal face actually becomes the "seal" preventing refrigerant loss.)

Having said this I can say from experience that some electronic and electrical components such as capacitors and IC's like being used. But as I said (and its my opinion based upon experience with the equipment i work with daily and my fridge's) - this is rare.
FollowupID: 315432

Follow Up By: Member - Willie Sydney - Monday, Apr 12, 2004 at 12:45

Monday, Apr 12, 2004 at 12:45
Hi Eskimo ,
Good name for a man in the refrigeration business !
The Autofridge uses a Danfoss BD35F compressor and Danfoss control system . The Storage instructions say the following:
"When the Autofridge is to be stored away and not used for some time,you should occasionally run the fridge to ensure the compressor is kept lubricated "
"Run the Autofrigde for 1-2 hours every 4 to 5 weeks "

It is a big 73 litre fridge and it is a giant pain in the bum to pull it out of my camping room and set it up in my car every 5 weeks .

The unit that failed was the smaller model which I had sold to my mate .
Then to my embarrassment , we founf the motor worked OK but the fridge did not cool . I jumped to the conclusion that it must have seals like an air con unit which must have dried out .
Thanks ,
Willie .
FollowupID: 315599

Follow Up By: Member - Eskimo - Monday, Apr 12, 2004 at 17:11

Monday, Apr 12, 2004 at 17:11
I see reasoning with their request to run fridge every month or so but imo its is not warranted if you are using it about twice a year.( thats ok for me to say because if mine stops ((possible compressor siezure would be the reasons if we believe their request to run every 4-5 weeks is to prevent failure)) as i can fix mine cheaply, but i built mine more than 7 yrs ago now and all is okay) to my recollection the Danfoss tech data does request that the compressor be run every so often.

Doesnt the auto fridge run on 240V as well?
If so hook up to extension lead. If it doesnt operate on 240v go to a transformer makufacturer (plenty of in capaital cities) and get them to make a 240vAC to 12vDC power supply. very simple to make and reasonably cheap.

Other reasons why fridge wont cool when compressor runs:
blocked drier, short of refrigerant - always a leak but not thru sheaft seals hehe, failed compressor ie broken valve, piston conrod etc.

Dont know about the autofridge but a there is a commonly componenet that uses what looks like a bicycle valve to get access to the refrigeration system . in the trade they are called schrader access valves. Havent seen a perfectly good one yet that will last more than 5 yrs. have seen plenty leak from day 1. These access valves come with a cap and rubber seal that only need tightening by hand. the rubber seal in the cap also perishes in time...given enough time for size of leak enough refrigerant leaks out and thats the end of the refrigeration.

If this is the case get the finger tightened caps replaced with a copper bonnet and proper flare cap, preferably brass, and not alloy as they havce a tendency to crack...this way it wont matter if the valves leaks as the cap will prevent loss of gas.
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