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Old 07-16-2007, 01:52 AM   #1
howlinowl
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Default Craigslist find

Went and picked up a kegerator I found on craigslist today. Paid 75 bucks for it. It's an old Beverage Air BM23C. It came with the CO2 bottle and a keg.

One thing, even before I looked at it, I pretty much decided that I'd get it. I needed an extra CO2 bottle anyway, figured that was probably worth the 75 bucks. If worse came to worse, I could part it out, sell the tower on ebay and scrap the evap coil.

I didn't take my flashlight with me. Saw the 134A sticker on the compressor, figured it was an original 134A system.....wrong.....it's an old R12 box with a replacement compressor.

Pics below, first is of the front:
http://www.howlinowl.com/photos/bm23c/BM23C.jpg

back:
http://www.howlinowl.com/photos/bm23c/BM23Cback.jpg

The aluminum CO2 bottle:
http://www.howlinowl.com/photos/bm23c/CO2.jpg

After I got it home, put the guages on it. Unit was out of gas. Put a little R22 as a tracer for my leak detector and jacked it up to 120 psi with some dry nitrogen. The evaporator coil seems to be ok, but the detector was going crazy at the condenser end. I unbolted the condenser and compressor, pulled them out and sprayed them down with some soapy water. You can see the foam on the condenser at the leak. I pretty much thought it was the condenser coil, it's pretty rusty.
Below is the pic of the leak at the condenser:
http://www.howlinowl.com/photos/bm23c/leak.jpg

Tomorrow I'll find out from work what a new condenser coil will cost. The box is pretty rusty, not sure what may work to remove the rust. I think maybe a little work with a scotchpad may get rid of the light rust, but it does have some pits.
Dunno if I'll keep it or maybe try to sell it if it come out ok. I already have a True kegerator, wife really doesn't want another at the house.

Allan

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On Deck:

On Tap 1: Yuengling Traditional Lager
On Tap 2: Kayumanggi Ale (pronounced "Kai-you-mang-ghe) Tagalog for "Brown"
Various bottles and cans: San Miguel Premium Lager, Flying Dog Mix Pack, Sierra Nevada Brown Ale
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Old 07-16-2007, 05:36 PM   #2
kilroy
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Keep this one for those parties that you go to - (if you have a truck and can load it in to it)
Of for Camping - with a small generator to keep it cool of course.

Kilroy

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Old 07-16-2007, 06:46 PM   #3
RadicalEd
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Owch, that condenser is nasty! Good luck finding a new one in decent condition; the local junkyard might supply you with one, but I'll tell you from personal experience it's a b1tch trying to find a decent condenser these days. Maybe it's just where I live.

But you seem pretty up to snuff on this stuff; having r22 and nitrogen does suggest that you do this for a living . Not to mention the dectector and soap test.

Seems like a nice CO2 cylinder, though.

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Old 07-16-2007, 07:16 PM   #4
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how easy is it to do these kinds of things if you have no training? don't you need a license to get the refrigerant, or is that only the old refrigerant?

i once got a free chest freezer off craigslist, and it wasn't working, turned it on, but didn't chill. having these sorts of skills would be nice if it isn't too much money. i could get a nitrogen tank for a decent price most likely, but how about the leak detector and the refrigerant and connectors?

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Old 07-16-2007, 10:10 PM   #5
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Yep. I do do this stuff for a living, work for a commercial a/c and refrig. company. Got some prices from work for a condenser and capilary tube today. My cost: about 100 bucks for the parts, not counting the cost of refrigerant and a new filter/drier. I'm kinda debating whether I should go for it or not.....If it belonged to a customer, I may suggest a new unit, as they would have mark up on the parts plus labor. But, still, my labor for myself is free, so I may just fix it up. Not sure if it is worth fixing up to sell, I dunno if I could get more than a couple hundred for it once it is running. I'll probably clean it up and see how good it looks, then decide if I should fix it. I need to see if I can get 2 six and half gallon carboys in it. Maybe get it working, use it to for fermentation and also for dispensing whenever we have folks over for backyard BBQ's and such.

Allan

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On Deck:

On Tap 1: Yuengling Traditional Lager
On Tap 2: Kayumanggi Ale (pronounced "Kai-you-mang-ghe) Tagalog for "Brown"
Various bottles and cans: San Miguel Premium Lager, Flying Dog Mix Pack, Sierra Nevada Brown Ale
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Old 07-16-2007, 10:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnef
how easy is it to do these kinds of things if you have no training? don't you need a license to get the refrigerant, or is that only the old refrigerant?

i once got a free chest freezer off craigslist, and it wasn't working, turned it on, but didn't chill. having these sorts of skills would be nice if it isn't too much money. i could get a nitrogen tank for a decent price most likely, but how about the leak detector and the refrigerant and connectors?
I started with the company I am with 7 years ago.... only refrigeration experience I had was with auto A/C systems, as I used to work as an auto mechanic years ago. Didn't know anything about AC electrical systems. They sent me to apprentice class. You do need a EPA card to handle refrigerant, since it is regulated since the Montreal Protocal. Isn't too hard to pass the test.....but, out of my whole class, I was the only one to get a Universal Card. You have to pass the Core, and then there are 3 different classifications. I have all three, been a long time, but I believe that Class A is for residential, small residential type appliances. Class B is for medium, residential A/C and walk in coolers/freezers and such. Class C is for low temp., Large commercial chillers. Originally, I had the intention to just pass the core and Class B, as that is all I needed for the equipment the company I work for deals with. But, when it came time to take the test, the rest of the class wanted more time to study. I was ready, so I just started studying the other stuff. Out of the whole class, I was the only one who got a universal card. One other guy got the core and Class A (he needed the B for where he worked) and the rest failed......kinda sad, as I believe the rest of the class really just didn't apply themselves.

May be possible to get R134A without a licence..... seen small cans of the stuff at auto parts stores, so I'm not sure if you can buy it without a card. R22, R404A, R410A and such you can only get from a supply house, and it 24 or 30 lbs (depends on the refrigerant, R22 is 30 lbs, R404a is, I believe, 24 lbs for the same size jug). So, if you have a small commercial size freezer, it may not be worth buying a whole jug of R404a if all you need is 20 oz. Good thing about my company, I just fill out an invoice for what I used for this and turn it in with the $$ and I don't have to buy a load of refrigerant, ect.

The electronic detector I have cost me 400 bucks..... I wouldn't think it would be feesable to purchase one if you are not in the business.... but the soap I sprayed on the condenser was just dishsoap and water in a spray bottle, cheap enough for anybody to use.

Allan

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Howlinowl Third World Brewing
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Secondary 1: Empty
Secondary 2: Empty

On Deck:

On Tap 1: Yuengling Traditional Lager
On Tap 2: Kayumanggi Ale (pronounced "Kai-you-mang-ghe) Tagalog for "Brown"
Various bottles and cans: San Miguel Premium Lager, Flying Dog Mix Pack, Sierra Nevada Brown Ale

Last edited by howlinowl; 07-16-2007 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 07-16-2007, 11:07 PM   #7
RadicalEd
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You're luck on the refrigerants; it's several hundred for R404a last time I checked! R22 is better, but still needs certification. It's easy enough to get online (www.epatest.com) but I'm a cheap SOB .

One really easy way to get R134a is to buy an air duster; they're actually full of it despite it's dubious environmental qualities (better than R12, at least).

One of the most popular refrigerants right now for hobbyists is R290, propane. Yep, that same stuff you BBQ with. It's properties are actually nearly identical to R22, making it a great alternative. Of course there is a risk since it's flammable, but a well-built small system has no leaks or oxygen, and only contains a few seconds of BBQ burning worth. Use at your own risk, though, and always do some research first!

Gnef, the N2 is just for pressure/leak testing, and so is kinda optional. You can pressure test by pulling a vacuum on the system with a vacuum pump, which you need anyway for HVAC, but it does help in the soap 'n bubbles test. Carefully watching ebay and a few forums, I've accumulated all of my gear for $200-250, plus materials to work with. And thats with me building my own vacuum pump (easily the most expensive part). Unless you go into business or install/fix your own A/C system, it likely won't pay for itself, but it is terrific knowledge to have and you can do a lot of neat things with it.

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Old 07-16-2007, 11:26 PM   #8
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I've heard of people using propane for refrigerant.....(heck, the most common refrigerant is good old water....ice, when it changes state from ice to water removes buttloads of heat, that's why it works well in an ice cooler, change of state is what refrigeration is all about.....either refrigerant in an a/c system changing state from a liquid to a gas, or ice changing state from solid to liquid). Of course, we don't use it for good reason, flammability. Heck, I've heard of folks putting the stuff in their car a/c system....ok, until you crash and the thing becomes a blowtorch.

You could get Nitrogen, use the dishsoap and get a set of guages (don't know how hard it is for the average person to get a set, I get mine at a supply house that only sells to the trade) and leak check that way. This condenser had quite a large leak, I put 120 lbs pressure to it and it leaked down to 100 in 20 min. so I knew it was quite large. A good way to spot a leak is to look for oil stains.... some oil usually leaks out with the refrigerant, so you'll spot some oil stains, usually coated with dust. But, once you find the leak, ya got to fix it. You'll need to do some hard soldering (acy/oxygen and some 15percent silver solder). Plumbers use the soft solder and a propane torch. Not sure how well it may work on refrigeration, we don't, but I swear I've seen it used on new equipment.

Then there is the 40 percent we use to solder copper tubing to steel service valves. It flows at a lower temp. I still have a service valve with blobs of 15 percent all over it. I screwed up and used the wrong solder, I keep it as a reminder.

Allan

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Howlinowl Third World Brewing
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On Deck:

On Tap 1: Yuengling Traditional Lager
On Tap 2: Kayumanggi Ale (pronounced "Kai-you-mang-ghe) Tagalog for "Brown"
Various bottles and cans: San Miguel Premium Lager, Flying Dog Mix Pack, Sierra Nevada Brown Ale
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Old 07-17-2007, 12:39 AM   #9
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Gauges are pretty easy to find on ebay, but you have to be patient for a deal to come around.

I use Mapp for the little brazing I've done so far. Takes a little while, but it gets the job done. It's a whole bunch cheaper than an acy/oxy torch, but I've heard there are $50 mapp/oxy torches around, and I'll probably step it up to one of those. IIRC propane torches work on the 45% silver stuff, but then the cost of a better torch very quickly outweighs that of the more $$$ solder.

What I'd like to play with is an induction coil. I've seen a few videos of them in action and they look like fun.

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