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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > I broke my keezer
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:41 AM   #1
skidude
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Default I broke my keezer

Sorry for the long post, I tend to ramble when I make new posts and I can't help it.

I have (had?) a 5.5cu. ft. chest freezer that I had painted black and turned into a kegerator. Today I poured a nice belgian tripel and took a big sip of room-temperature beer. It tasted great, don't worry (I've visited England), but it just isn't what I want. I've also got another batch carbonating that I was excited to try, but I'll be waiting for that one.

I have the Johnson Control standard basic controller that I haven't touched in three years, and the kegerator has been rock solid cold for three years. Now it's like drinking the dog's water. Alcoholic, slightly carbonated and more delicious dog's water.

I took the side panel off this freezer unit, and the compressor was very hot. I couldn't leave my hand on it for more than a second. The compressor doesn't do anything, it just sits there (sometimes clicking, or buzzing very slightly) while being very hot. The plastic liner that "shields the insulation" seems to be melted around this compressor. The compressor is obviously the culprit here. My first thought was that I had the unit too close to the wall, but upon further review it just seems like I got unlucky.

My options appear to be: 1) buy a "new" freezer on craigslist or from Sears, or 2) call a repair man to come replace the compressor.

I have never paid somebody to repair something I own besides once before I learned how to work on my own car. How much does it usually cost to repair a freezer like this? Is it worth it for a freezer I bought new for less than $200 three years ago? If I have to buy a new one, I could get one big enough to lager with, or at least have two beers on tap and a third carbonating, so that is one small vote in the "buy a new unit" column.

The real question, though, is:

Why did my kegerator break, and how do I prevent it from happening again? Do they hate being run on a thermostat that cuts power frequently? is the computer fan that cools my tower causing some kind of problem by generating heat inside? Was it just a fluke? Or was the freezer too close to the wall? (it was probably an inch and a half from the wall at the back, and the same on the side with the vent but that side wall only comes out a foot so 3/4 of the vent was open to unlimited air while 1/4 of it was limited to an inch and half or so of air.)

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Old 12-04-2012, 04:23 AM   #2
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Sometimes compressors die. I'm not particularly familiar with your controller, but one thing that will kill a compressor very quickly is called "short cycling". Essentially there needs to be a delay built into the circuit somewhere, so the compressor won't turn off and back on again until a certain amount of time has passed (2-3 mins is usually adequate). You also need to ensure adequate airflow, all that heat being removed needs somewhere to go.

Even if you have a friend that does appliance repairs/refrigeration, and is willing to do the work for some homebrew, you're likely not going to come out saving any money due to the cost of a new compressor, even less so if you're paying labour for the repair.

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Old 12-04-2012, 08:52 PM   #3
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You can get a "3 n 1" it's a starter, relay, and overload in one little package. The clicking that you hear is the compressor trying to start (long distance troubleshooting) I keep a couple on hand have 5 fridge/freezers so if something happens I am prepared

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Old 12-04-2012, 09:06 PM   #4
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Also called Hard Start Kits.

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Old 12-04-2012, 09:18 PM   #5
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If a hard start kit doesn't fix it, you're better off buying a new freezer. Been there done that.

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Old 12-04-2012, 09:35 PM   #6
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The day after Thanksgiving i had the same with my garage beer fridge. same issue with the random clicking from the compresser. look up the make and model of freezer do i google search for a start overload relay, i went through some place called easy appliance parts ordered it the following week tuesday was at my doorstep wednesday afternoon. Another way to determine if the start relay failed is, if you pull it off and it rattles, the innards are toast. mine cost all of 34 bucks shipped, compair to the coolant evac fee and recycling fee of a dead fridge or freezer its worth a shot.

FYI - fridge runs like a champ again, forgot to mention that...

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Old 12-04-2012, 10:28 PM   #7
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Thanks guys. I looked up my freezer on sears.com and the first page of reviews is all people saying the compressor died after a year, so that combined with the melted lining and really hot compressor tells me that it's toast.

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Old 12-04-2012, 10:51 PM   #8
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Sear's doesn't manufacture fridges/freezers I can tell you the number of fridges I have replaced the overloads in the 3 n 1 just replaces all the possible compressor problems short of a burnt out compressor. But if a $30.00 part isn't worth checking, the compressor is getting hot from constant trying to start the compressor need to move refrigerant to help cool them.

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