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Old 09-17-2012, 03:18 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by pabloj13 View Post
I'm not arguing. I appreciate your help. I'm just trying to understand how it works. I just bought a 4912 myself and would like to avoid the issues. As far as I could tell I am not bypassing and defrost timers or anything, since the Johnson Controller just cuts power at a certain temp. I could see overdriving it if I was telling the Johnson controller to get the fridge to 15 degrees and then set the fridge thermostat to "Max". But this is sitting at 53. The fridge is constantly powered, which means any defrost timers would still be able to function. I checked the parts diagram for the 4912 and couldn't find any defrost timers or heaters. Is it actually self-defrosting?
It is sitting at 53° because the cold plate is freezing over and the cold air is not able to properly circulate within the refer. It is self defrosting by design. It is a refrigerator after all. There is no defrost timer or heater for defrosting. The cold plate is for cooling not for freezing.

When you isolate the Johnson temp probe in a location that cannot react real time with the ambient temperature, the refrigerator will run non stop. This is what is causing the freeze up. You have the temp probe in a small bottle of freezer goo and therefore isolated and unable to react realtime. You will have the same problem if you stick the probe to the outside of a keg. It is unable to react real time.


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Old 09-17-2012, 08:51 PM   #22
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Not to hijack this thread - but do either of you guys that posted that you have this unit have a link to the manual or wiring diagram? I've been thinking about converting mine to a kegerator and haven't wanted to do the cornstarch trick to figure out where the coolant lines run.



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Old 09-17-2012, 09:13 PM   #23
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Not to hijack this thread - but do either of you guys that posted that you have this unit have a link to the manual or wiring diagram? I've been thinking about converting mine to a kegerator and haven't wanted to do the cornstarch trick to figure out where the coolant lines run.
From what I understand the coolant line can vary a little in location, so it's worth doing the trick. Although I haven't seen any case where people drilled dead center and hit the coolant line.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:21 PM   #24
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Not to hijack this thread - but do either of you guys that posted that you have this unit have a link to the manual or wiring diagram? I've been thinking about converting mine to a kegerator and haven't wanted to do the cornstarch trick to figure out where the coolant lines run.
The cross over line for the condenser is tack welded to the under skin of the metal top and its location is variable. If you don't map it(cornstarch & alcohol), you run a very serious risk of destroying the Sanyo. Be very careful.....

Just a FYI: I converted my first one in 2005 and have done many since then. Today you are lucky to have one as they are not available any more.

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Old 09-18-2012, 02:37 AM   #25
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Ok, I'm sticking with my open-the-door-and-use-my-picnic-tap method.

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Old 09-18-2012, 05:56 PM   #26
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When I measured where to drill my 4912 I simply chilled down the metal top with freezer packs. I pulled the freezer packs off, waited for a tiny amount of condensation to form and plugged in the fridge. Within seconds I could see where the line was and I marked it with tape. Super quick and no mess

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Old 09-18-2012, 09:13 PM   #27
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I think DrHops is right that your fan unit running too warm may be the source of the problem.

I used the Johnson to help dial in my factory thermostat last year and haven't needed it since. My beer stays around 36ºF with the dial a little below the 5 setting. Many people have their probe in freezer goo to approximate liquid temp and not air temp. If the Johnson is working properly and has been correctly configured there's no reason to not use it as your thermostat. I had better use for mine on a fermentation chamber so I re-purposed it. Operating instructions for the A419 can be found here:
http://cgproducts.johnsoncontrols.com/MET_PDF/125188.PDF

I have a small amount of ice buildup on my cooling plate, it's fine. Under normal operation it will freeze any condensation when it's on. When it cycles off and the ambient temp inside is far enough from freezing the ice will thaw and drip down and out the drain hole into the drip tray above the compressor. The colder you keep it the more it will run and the more ice it will accumulate. Once you pass a certain threshold it won't warm up enough to thaw between cycles and it will begin to build up. I have my door open probably more often than the average user (checking levels, swapping kegs, bottling from the keg, grabbing a CO2 line to purge, ect.) so I get more ice.

I think too much ice buildup is a problem because it will start to insulate the cold plate making the fridge less efficient. Also a large amount of ice means a large amount of water in the drain pan when you defrost it, so it will overflow onto the components and the floor.

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Old 09-20-2012, 12:05 AM   #28
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I think DrHops is right that your fan unit running too warm may be the source of the problem.

I used the Johnson to help dial in my factory thermostat last year and haven't needed it since. My beer stays around 36ºF with the dial a little below the 5 setting. Many people have their probe in freezer goo to approximate liquid temp and not air temp. If the Johnson is working properly and has been correctly configured there's no reason to not use it as your thermostat. I had better use for mine on a fermentation chamber so I re-purposed it. Operating instructions for the A419 can be found here:
http://cgproducts.johnsoncontrols.com/MET_PDF/125188.PDF

I have a small amount of ice buildup on my cooling plate, it's fine. Under normal operation it will freeze any condensation when it's on. When it cycles off and the ambient temp inside is far enough from freezing the ice will thaw and drip down and out the drain hole into the drip tray above the compressor. The colder you keep it the more it will run and the more ice it will accumulate. Once you pass a certain threshold it won't warm up enough to thaw between cycles and it will begin to build up. I have my door open probably more often than the average user (checking levels, swapping kegs, bottling from the keg, grabbing a CO2 line to purge, ect.) so I get more ice.

I think too much ice buildup is a problem because it will start to insulate the cold plate making the fridge less efficient. Also a large amount of ice means a large amount of water in the drain pan when you defrost it, so it will overflow onto the components and the floor.
Ok yeah that's more what I was thinking. I took the fan out and so far it is much colder. I have it set just below 5 like you and a number of others have mentioned. Let's see if it lasts! Thanks again for your help. I would love to repurpose my friends Johnson, but alas I am building an Ebay aquarium temp controller for my fermentation chamber.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:35 PM   #29
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Update: Problems were several fold. The gasket had a big gap where it had pulled off. I fixed that, but still had major icing. In an attempt to isolate the problem, removed the fan and temp controller. Still had major icing. Unbeknownst to me, though, the previous owner had disabled the fridge temp dial so it was running constantly. Put back the Johnson controller and it was better but still icing some. Then plugged the hole where the lines head up to the draft tower. Icing fixed and temps holding steady. That's great. But now the lines and taps are warm since there is no way for air to enter the tower. Any ideas on how to cool the lines without opening up the great hole of icy doom?

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Old 01-14-2013, 04:47 PM   #30
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This is an easy fix, there are lots of threads about this if you need photos. I have done this on all three of the kegerators I have built, the first of which was a Sanyo.

Put some 1/2" copper up the tower making sure some of it extends into the fridge, insulate around it with foam then run your beer lines up the pipe. The copper will cool the lines and keep the first beer foam to a minimum. The more copper pipe that hangs down into the fridge the better it will work.



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