Do I have a problem?

Have an upright freezer (about 7 ft tall) that is over 50 years old. It hasn't skipped a beat util last night. Went into the utility room where it's located, and heard an unusual noise. There would be a click, followed by a low noise (sonded like a small fan {none visible}). FYI, this is NOT a self-defrost model. The noise would last about 5 seconds, then a click off. After a pause of about 20 seconds, it would continue to repeat the 'cycle'.
On a whim, I rocked the freezer several times after which, the freezer (compressor) started and appears to be cycling normally since.
Might this be a relay starting to get flaky? I'm guessing there is an access panel on the back (nothing visible from the front). Any suggestions re: a DIY repair? Thanks.
HankG
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On 2015-01-02 16:00:32 +0000, HankG said:

Yes, I would put a new relay in before it quit's completely.
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That sounds like the "overload" relay (actually a thermal circuit breaker).
It is replaceable and shouldn't cost more than $5 if you get it wholesale. There are "universal" replacements too - but the one you get has to match the compressor full load amps.
AND (bear in mind) that overload relay is there to protect the motor. In the event that the power is interrupted while the compressor is doing it's thing, there's a lot of compressor "head pressure." If the compressor tries to re-start after a brief power interruption, the overload relay should click out and prevent it from starting - one to as many as four times, until the head (back) pressure on the compressor drops low enough for the motor to get off the starting windings.
You may just have chanced to walk in there while the relay was doing what it is supposed to, after a power glitch.
Most of the ones I've seen failed (working in pharmaceuticals with banks of refrigerators) have failed open - that is they don't allow the compressor to turn on - ever (no hum, no noise whatsoever)
They can also fail by tripping too early - but that failure mode is rare indeed. It is usually caused by burned contacts that heat up and add to the heat in the thermal circuit breaker causing it to trip out too early. But I've only seen that two times in 20 years.
Yeah, most of them can be repaired too, but it is safer to just replace it.
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wrote:

Thanks for that informaion. To the best of my knowledge, we did not experience any power 'irregularites'. The box was recently defrosted, but was recently filled to the brim with goodies. I'm thinking that the 'thermal' load wouldn't cause the compressor to draw more amps. I don't know about present technology, but as mentioned, this one is over 50 years old.
HankG
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