Freezer life when used as beer cooler

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I seem to be having my second failure of a chest freezer used as beer cooler. The failure mode is that the unit runs continuously but doesn't get the temp to drop more than a few degrees. It also seems quieter when running after failure
The space it is in in my basement is currently about 55F. The temp controller is a mechanical thermostat with the sensing bulb passing into the unit between the lid gasket and the top of the chest wall. The thermostat controls the power to the compressor through a relay. The temp is usually set to 35-40F.
Both units were obtained used for cheap or free, so maybe they were just worn out. They seemed to work fine for awhile. Each lasted a year or so.
Has anyone else had similar problems? Is there something that I am doing that is killing the freezers?
Bob F
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There is a limited number of reasons why they would be available cheap or free.
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Let's see. It could be near end-of-life. Or someone doesn't use it and doesn't want to pay the disposal fees to get rid of it. I see several each week on craigslist for free. The only problems are that now I have to take it down and pay the disposal fee, and I don't want to kill another if I'm doing the damage.
Bob
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I hope you didn't think I was insulting you Bob. I just wanted to point out that most free refrigerators are not working properly.
I teach at a technical school, the school gets many donations a year, almost all the donated items don't work properly.
A tight recycle time can tax a compressor or a small coolant leak can cause your problem.
Tom
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news:dPa3h.6702

Both units worked fine for months at least.
I just transfered everything to a smaller freezer. It all fit, so maybe I'll stick with that, although I liked having the extra space.
I'm thinking I will add a timer so that it can only turn on once an hour or so to reduce the short cycle problem. I'm not sure by what mechanism it would cause harm, but it seems like short cycleing is the most likely cause of problems, since the actual run time should be minimal.
Bob
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If you have the right controller you should be able to set a temperature spread. Set the spread a little wider, instead of 2-3 degrees make it 4-5 degrees. The compressor will run fewer times a day for longer periods, better for the compressor.
Mark R
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I hope someone answers that for you. Seems that a freezer set too high and the room temp at 55 deg may be a killing combination.
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Using the freezer as a cooler instead of a freezer actually puts less stress on the unit as long as there is enough temp differential in the controller to let the compressor rest between the on and off cycles. Setback, I think it's called. If the freezer runs excessively, and the controller is ok, the freezer is leaking freon and it's time for a new one. Please dispose of the old one responsibly.
Happy Brewing,
gw
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Free or cheap is your answer, continously running is likely low freon and very expensive on your electric bill, you might be paying 20-35$ a month to run your free junk when new energy star units might only use 5$ a month. Do the math and look at utility trend costs.
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Which really does not much to answer the question. Would I want to go buy a brand new unit and burn it up because I can't determine the problem?
Bob
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Bob F wrote:

I have a few words to share on this subject but bare with me it may be a bit long winded. You see, I went thru all this when I built my own fridge to create a coolbox for my home built bar.

Now you suggested the ambient temp of the room is around 55F which means you don't have far to go to achieve the set temp of 35- 40F. This relay that you speak of may be an issue. What governs this relay, does it have some other device it needs to satisfy other than the thermostat? On my fridge I had to go out and buy a seperate beverage thermostat that I could hardwire into the system. This allowed the system to operate at "beverage temps" 32-51F.

As John suggested in another post Free doesn't nessesarily mean that its "good". It could be that the former owner discarded it because it failed on him. Now I too obtained most of my equipment for free, compressor, evaporator, fan assembly etc. at appliance junkyards and yardsale giveaways yet upon assembly and an educated eye for detail you can typicaly tell the good from the bad. Electrical componants need to be new such as the defrost timer hardstart relays etc. Oh and check the accuracy of your thermostat with thermometer and see how far off it is. This can take out some of the mystery.

It's hard to pinpiont your problem without a bit more info. What I did was rounded up anyone who had a working knowledge of refrideration and would pump them for info, walking each through the anatomy of your system and how your useing it. A guy that works in the field will absorb all you can dish quickly and surmise were the problem lies. Doing this I learned all I needed to troubleshoot my frankenfridge and now four years or so later she's still working hard. I still have to fiddle with the old girl now and again to make sure she's still hummin the right tune but going through this will help you in the long run. Hopfully you have a refridgeration guy to tap on for a few detailed answers. Good luck and let us know how your progressing!
Steve
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I don't have any friends with expertise in this area, which is why I posted here.
I replaced my high quility - low differential thermostat with a refrigerator type thermostat in a newer, smaller freezer. It is working fine at this point. Only time will tell I guess.
Bob
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Bob F wrote:

Ok, if you have no friends to tap on then lets work on this a little differently. When you got this fridge/freezer home did you give it an initial test drive to see if it had enough umph to get the job done? Did it get real cold and hold it there for several days? It needs to at least do that before considering it for this use. Then when selecting your replacement thermostat are you choosing an external unit that you hang on the outside of the unit and fish the probe into the box or is it a hardwire componant thats installed inside the box replacing the original and operates at "beverage temps" somewhere around 31-45deg.F ? The external units are popular , easy to install, yet may require some fiddling to find the "differential" of your set temp vs. your actual operating temp. Many folks don't go the way of the hardwire unit unless they feel at comfortable dismantling their fridge and it's related internal parts. I know I had to find a local supply house that sells only to wholesale licened profesionals and pretend I was one of the same and picked up several items for mine. If you've done all of this it "should" be operating at the temp you have selected. When you troubleshoot these things it's important to systematicly go through each link in the chain of things with ample review time before you can sit down. Let us know.
Steve
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thermostat manufactured for use in a refrigerator. It has a metal tube, about 1/16" in diameter and 3 or 4 feet long which I have snaked under the door gasket into the chect freezer. The thermostat has 2 connectors on it connected to the the hot line of a power cord with one connector going to the male plug end and one going to the female receptacle end. It seems to operate proberly..
This, and the two preceding chest freezers operated fine as freezers before adding the external thermostat. I tested that each could reach well below 0F before use.
The previous two freezers were operated with a similar thermostat installation, but the thermostat was not a refrigerator thermostat. It had a 1.5F differential. Both of the previous freezers worked fine for several months, set at around 40F. But after several months to a year, I noticed that the freezer would be running full time and not cooling very month.
This is all occuring in a basement in Seattle which normally sits at 55-60F.
Bob
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In that previous paragraph we identified your replacement as an "external type". But the key here is you suggested you may be placeing the probe into the "freezer section" not the fridge section! You'll be doing your work in the fridge section so "thats" where probe needs to go! Everything else seems fine. If this is the case then thats all there is to it. Now I'm sure you already know this but we'll mention it anyway. Set your "external thermostat" to your desired temp while the one in the freezer/ fridge is set to it's max cold. Ok!

Good!

This seems to be the nature of the beast. The mechanical versions have a seemingly higher differential than the digital models. Find the differance of your set vs. the actual operating temp. and make the proper corrections when you set it.
Steve
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I bought a cheap and very old Montgomery Ward chest freezer 3 years ago, and have been using it as a beer fridge just like you (thermostat controller) ever since. No problems.
It's very common to use a freezer in this way, so you've just had some bad luck.
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BTW...are you a homebrewer?
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Yes. My cooler currently contains two cornys of beer, 3 of apple cider, two of water, and the CO2 tank.
Bob
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I haven't made any in 2 years. I have 3 cornys in mine, one dedicated to root beer.
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Bob F wrote:

Bob, I hope my advise is helping you figure out where the problem lies with your fridge. After building my own from scratch I feel I can offer some helpfull advice when troubleshooting yours. It's been suggested that useing one of these external thermostats is somewhat stressfull to the original unit due to a short cycling of the unit at warmer temps. Personaly I haven't noticed this on the two that I have used, the second of which is still in use. Good luck
Steve
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