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Old 05-11-2009, 10:48 PM   #1
Damonic
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Default Massive $6,000 commercial cooler... for FREE

Yes boys this could be the greatest CL score ever... if I can get it running of course.

Found a CL ad listing a commercial six 1/2 door freezer/cooler for FREE. Only problem was that it didn't work. The guy worked for a bar in downtown Chicago and said the thing just stopped working, he didn't know the details, and he didn't care. He just wanted the thing gone since they had already bought a replacement. I knew compressors for these things could be $800 but it was still worth my time. Even if I couldn't fix it I figured I could use it for storage or remove the stainless steel to be re-purposed. I called right away and he said he'd call back with the make and model but then went dark for 2 weeks. I figured a scrapper had offered him cash but no, he had just been busy. A trip to downtown Chicago with my truck and trailer, a pissed off "differently abled" person, and a bar full of confused patrons later... I get it back home and assess the situation.



This thing is BIG!!! About 76x32x80, 60+ cubic feet of storage, and over 600lbs. It wouldn't even go through the (non-standard) door to my bunker so we had to take off the casters, push it in, jack it up onto two kegs, and reinstall the casters. I am glad SWMBO did not see us idiots underneath that monster. I was told it was a freezer and cooler which in my head = fermentation chamber and kegerator/cooler. Alas, it was not a dual temp unit but simply a refrigerator... the two left doors being a single space and the right four doors being another. I still think it could be rigged to allow for dual temps but first things first...



It's a Delfield/Atco 6076-S which is a 120V unit (surprisingly) with a 20A plug. It looks as if the fancy digital controller has been bypassed and a dial thermostat wired in its place. I'm guessing the controller fried and they just didn't want to spring for a new one. Good thing I have a LOVE controller that could be installed to bring it back from analog hell. When I turned the thermostat down the fans and compressor kicked on, the everything sounded fine... no awful grinding noises or anything so I put my digital thermometer inside and let it run for a couple hours. Ambient temperature at the time was about 45 degrees and when I came back the temp inside the cooler was almost 60. Now I'm no HVAC expert but I believe a system with no refrigerant would do just that. Heat as opposed to cool.



There's also a sight glass on the line leading from the base of the compressor to the evaporator above the cooler bays. The color is purple which correlates to dry but I'm unsure whether this is for showing refrigerant or moisture in the lines. I'm hoping the problem is simply no refrigerant or a leak in the lines somewhere but wanted to see what you guys thought. I found a trustworthy guy in the area that services commercial units like this but money is tight and I'd rather do whatever I can before he makes his $150 service call. Is there a way I can do a leakdown test myself? I'm praying it can be fixed for cheap and then converted into the MOTHER of all kegerator/fementation units.

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Old 05-11-2009, 10:56 PM   #2
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I can't help you, but still want to bow in reverence. Good luck and keep us updated.

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Old 05-11-2009, 11:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damonic View Post
I found a trustworthy guy in the area that services commercial units like this but money is tight and I'd rather do whatever I can before he makes his $150 service call.
Pay him the $150.00. Keep him filled with your homebrew and you will not be disappointed. A good repair tech IS worth keeping around.

The initial cost is insurance against you destroying the unit before he has a chance to get you up and running.
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Old 05-12-2009, 02:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
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Pay him the $150.00. Keep him filled with your homebrew and you will not be disappointed. A good repair tech IS worth keeping around.

The initial cost is insurance against you destroying the unit before he has a chance to get you up and running.
I second this.

Furthermore, once you describe what your purpose in running this thing is he may be more interested in the project. It's always good to have a mechanical expert who has a personal interest in your projects.

After all, you'd be hard pressed to get the guy to 'keep his eye out' for spare used door seals or other parts for your regular fridge unit but he might think of your monster beer fridge when he sees a unit hitting the scrapper.
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Old 05-12-2009, 06:16 AM   #5
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wow what a score...I am intrigued..

I would just get the guy to come out as well.

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Old 05-12-2009, 06:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thataintchicken View Post
Pay him the $150.00. Keep him filled with your homebrew and you will not be disappointed. A good repair tech IS worth keeping around.

The initial cost is insurance against you destroying the unit before he has a chance to get you up and running.
since it seems that you don't know anyone who does this kind of work this is your best option. its awfully hard to diagnose mechanical/hands on type things over the phone or net, so much can be just a loose wire or a blown thermostat that it would definitely pay to have him come look.


now just because i do have a friend who works on that type of shiit, list the make/model/and other shiit for me an i'll talk to him this weekend
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Old 05-12-2009, 08:13 AM   #7
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I work a little bit with refrigeration systems and I'm no means an expert. Looking at the sight glass it looks like there is no freon in the system. Look at the sight glass when the compressor fires, and if you see "bubbles" the freon is low in the system and will need a charge. Refrigerant in the sight glass usually will have a slight "reddish" tint to it. Hope that helps.

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Old 05-12-2009, 08:16 AM   #8
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As someone that works on aircraft A/C systems, I third getting a qualified tech out. The sight glass is THE way to determine the condition of the refrigerant. If it is reading dry, I would not run the unit.
It is possible to get a unit cold with very little refrigerant and nothing inside. What is happening is the air in the refrigerant lines is compressing and expanding enough to cool the inside. If you had a greater load, such as food or kegs in there, it would not work. However, this is just conjecture based on what you have said and what I know. A tech needs to look at your unit. But universally true is that the refrigerant is what carries the lubricant through the system, so if you are running it dry, you are dooming your compressor to failure.

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Old 05-12-2009, 08:49 AM   #9
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Get the tech out & fill him with brew.

Heck, you may even be able to CL advertise for a tech in exchange for parts cost & brew. I would advertise it as:

"Home Brewer Needs Refrigerator Tech: Will pay for parts and exchange home brew for labor."

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Old 05-12-2009, 09:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeinAK View Post
I work a little bit with refrigeration systems and I'm no means an expert. Looking at the sight glass it looks like there is no freon in the system. Look at the sight glass when the compressor fires, and if you see "bubbles" the freon is low in the system and will need a charge. Refrigerant in the sight glass usually will have a slight "reddish" tint to it. Hope that helps.
I was just about to say you might just need some freon. Nice score man!
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