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Old 08-17-2013, 08:57 PM   #1
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Default vintage fridge to custom paperweight conversion

So since I finished replacing the insulation and wiring on my 1940-something GE fridge, it has slowly gotten warmer and the evaporator has less and less frost on it with a greasy residue as well. I started poking around with a black light and found the source of the oil, and then confirmed with soapy water that it is a pinhole leak where the copper tubing meets the aluminum evaporator. None of the hvac or appliance guys in town will touch it and i likely couldn't afford it even if they would.

So I'm left with a really big paperweight in the basement. I'm glad that i haven't painted it yet, but it still really hurts to see it reduced to scrap.

Now, I've seen a few threads where people have torn apart mini fridges for custom cabinet kegerators, so I wonder if I might take a similar approach to have a working vintage piece again.

I think my best option would be using the sealed system from a small chest freezer. Has anyone ever removed coils from a chest freezer before?

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Old 08-18-2013, 12:04 AM   #2
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Ask those HVAC guys about adding Leak Freeze to your fridge to seal that hole. It works really good!

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Old 08-18-2013, 12:11 AM   #3
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Ask those HVAC guys about adding Leak Freeze to your fridge to seal that hole. It works really good!
But then you also got to recharge it with Freon-22, which can be costly, unless you know how to tap the sources....

Just thought of this. Use it as a fermentation chamber with a modern air conditioner as your cooler. Probably more efficient, than the old compressor.
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Old 08-18-2013, 12:32 AM   #4
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Nah, my old fridge is identical to kerber's (with an extra couple cubic feet) and he came up with 180W as actual consumption.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/vint...ml#post4154562

That's a far cry from an air conditioner which is likely going to run probably 1000W. Since there isn't a defrost function, the thermostat is mechanical and there are no fans in it, basically when the compressor is off, it's completely off. I think the only way it could get more efficient is if it were a monitor top where all the heat is vented from the top and not the bottom.

They don't build them like they used to, that's for sure.

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Old 08-19-2013, 03:16 PM   #5
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JB Weld it to start.. see if you can get that pin hole filled. Worth a shot.

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Old 08-19-2013, 04:55 PM   #6
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You could gut an older stand up fridge and fit those parts into your vintage fridge. Have a look at this:

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Old 08-19-2013, 06:33 PM   #7
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JB Weld it to start.. see if you can get that pin hole filled. Worth a shot.
Yeah, I did give that a go, but it didn't hold. I cleaned it as well as I could with acetone and I scuffed it up with some sandpaper before applying the JB Weld. There was still pressure on the system, tough so that could have been part of the problem. I'm going to have to torch it off now and if I'm going to use a torch, well I might as well get some appropriate solder.

At church yesterday I had a couple of people that are willing to help me fix and recharge it. One of the guys is a retired HVAC guru and has some refrigerant. I'm thinking this may be my best option.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:18 PM   #8
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At church yesterday I had a couple of people that are willing to help me fix and recharge it. One of the guys is a retired HVAC guru and has some refrigerant. I'm thinking this may be my best option.
Hope he likes beer!
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