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Old 07-27-2010, 07:10 PM   #1
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Default Rewiring a 1950's fridge ... or "I hate 'lectricity!"

So, I've had this fridge for several years. It's a 1952 Coldspot that belonged to my wife's grandfather. When we were moving him out of his house, he told me I could have the fridge in the basement. It was dingy, he'd painted it with housepaint one or so times, and hadn't been defrosted in about twelve years. The freezer (single door, internal freezer compartment type) was nearly a solid block of ice, so I knew the thing worked. When I unplugged it, the electrical cord came apart in my hands, it was so dryrotted! *YIKES!*

But we let the ice thaw, dried it out and moved it into my basement. Over the years, I pulled out the shelves, sanded off the paint and some rust and gave it a quick spray with some rustoleum. It's sat in the basement untouched for a while now.

Now that I'm stepping toward kegging, I want to do something with it. It's still an eyesore and I'll have to restrip, properly deal with the rust, and repaint it some day. For now, I want to rewire it. From my memory, it looked like the cord was simply screwed into terminals on the compressor unit. No ground.

Home Depot sells appliance cords for replacements. I figure I can just buy one and put it on. I don' thave a whole lot of electrical experience beyond changing out switches and installing lights. What do I need to be aware of? Is polarity a concern? I'm assuming the new cord will be labeled as far as which lead goes to which blade on the plug. I'm hoping the contacts on the compressor are labeled. But houw would I tell otherwise?

As far as the ground. So do I just drill a hole in the frame somewhere and put a ground screw?

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Old 07-27-2010, 08:36 PM   #2
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Pics!!!!!!!!!

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Old 07-28-2010, 12:18 AM   #3
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I am not an electrician so FWIW I'd drill a hole in the frame or look for an existing screw/bolt. However I would be concerned about the other wiring in the unit if the main cord fell apart in your hands. At least try inspecting as much of the wiring as you can prior to going live.

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Old 07-28-2010, 01:07 AM   #4
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Well, I took some photos and spun the fridge around to get shots of the back. There was a plastic cover I'd never removed before, so I unscrewed it and looked inside. EEK!

There's a light in the fridge, which explains where the other leads go.

I may be in over my head here.













You can see that her grandfather spliced this SEVERAL times.





And, the rat's nest





So, anyone know of an antique appliance restoration shop?

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Old 07-28-2010, 01:14 AM   #5
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Not sure what I'm looking at in the last pic, but two wire A/C is hot and Neutral. The hot lead is generally Black the Neutral White. Since there is no polarity with this plug and in 1951, there was no ground or standard polarized outlet, I would say it doesn't matter where the Black or White leads are connected. Use your best guess. Attach no green ground wire, as this may cause issues with GFI circuits which may be part of the receptacle string you're plugging into.

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Old 07-28-2010, 01:41 AM   #6
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That is NOT in bad shape.....you've got yourself a really nice fridge there. I'd encourage you to look at other before and afters...you're sitting pretty. Even if the compressor fails, you'd still be wise just having a technician replace it. These things if properly restored can command a fair amount of cash (if you ever decided to part with it). Here's an example of one, I think yours could look better with flames or even some kind of dark metallic gloss.


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Old 08-12-2010, 04:54 PM   #7
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So, I had some guys from church over last night and we looked at the fridge. Someone suggested I have a mutual friend, who is an electrician look at it and rewire. I'm sure as heck not going to do it myself. Now I have to go about figuring out how to get the case off to check the interior wiring. I assume the wires going into the case go to the 1) thermostat and 2) interior light. Because the thing is insulated with fiberglass insulation, I want to make sure those wires are sound.

I already threw away the insulation from the door when I painted it. Should I just get standard insulation or can I adhere foam to the door to insulate it? I figure I'll put PVC shims in the door cavity between the exterior and door panel to give the shanks something to cinch down on and not deform the door.

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Bottling the Belgian: A Photo Odyssey

Beer is the mind-killer. Beer is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my beer. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see it's path. When the beer has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:03 PM   #8
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I just used standard wall insulation for a home in mine. Just don't pack it in there tight.

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Old 08-12-2010, 07:05 PM   #9
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damn you JetSmooth.

After seeing this awesome fridge, I went to CL and found...THIS FRIDGE...apparently I was too late.

Nice find man!!!

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Old 08-12-2010, 07:05 PM   #10
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How'd you keep it from sagging and bunching in the bottom?

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Bottling the Belgian: A Photo Odyssey

Beer is the mind-killer. Beer is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my beer. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see it's path. When the beer has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
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