Freezer question

I got a free freezer, which I was going to gut and use for a fermentation chamber for beer. It's insulated, and would work with a thermostatic timer hooked to a heat lamp.
When I got it home, it looked so nice, I plugged it in. It dropped 20 F. in fifteen minutes. Compressor was humming along. I thought I would just leave it run and come back in the morning and see how it did. Good thing I stayed another ten minutes. At twenty minutes, it started a melodic hum hum about every ten seconds. All of the coils on the back of the freezer and compressor would move with the hum hum. It is a Sanyo, a small upright, about 4.5 feet tall and 2 ft. square in the other dimensions. It has the grid shelves that the refrigerant flows through. A black array of tubing on the back.
I unplugged it, and figured I would try it again tomorrow, but wanted to ask here if anyone here can tell me what this might be. It was free, and if I take all the shelves out, it will make an acceptable compartment to maintain a 70 degree plus or minus atmosphere for fermenting. I just don't want to trash it if it is something little, and I can get it fixed and maybe make a few bucks on it.
Ran fine and cooled for fifteen minutes. At twenty, started hum hum and shudderhum shudderhum.
Steve
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On 2/5/2011 9:16 PM, Steve B wrote:

Is there a label describing what refrigerant it uses? It could simply be low on refrigerant.
TDD
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wrote:

That sounds about what mine did. I think I called it surging after it was on a few minutes. I got my neighbor who I trade off work with to take a look at it. He put some Freon in it and its been working about 3 years now.
Jimmie
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On 2/5/2011 9:57 PM, JIMMIE wrote:

I repair a lot of refrigeration, mostly commercial units which usually have condenser coils with a fan. Last week I fixed one for a customer that was simply clogged with dirt. I used a product called Blast Out which is a condenser coil cleaner in a spray can that leaves no residue. The stuff has a very strong chemical odor and you have to use it when they're not busy and ventilate the place afterwards. Home refrigerator/ freezers have a dirt problem too when the condenser underneath gets stopped up with dirt but most of the stand alone home freezers I've seen have a convection cooled condenser either an exposed coil in back or under the skin of the whole cabinet.
TDD
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First, I'm not refrigeration guy, but I have seen a few played on tv.
Did you have this unit on it's side or end while you were transporting it? I'm think it's just possible a bunch of oil got somewhere it's not supposed to be. I've always heard it said you should leave refrigerators and like sit a few hours after transporting.
I think I'd try just letting it sit unplugged overnight, then monitor it for a while next time you power it up.
It won't cost you anything... good luck, let us know what you learn.
Erik
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wrote:

It had stood upright for about a month. I laid it down to move it, about five minutes, maybe ten.
Steve
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I can't help solve your problem but I think that using a freezer to maintain at 70 degrees by turning it on and off once in a while may result in wildly uneven temperatures inside the freezer if you're blowing 0 degree air every few hours. A refrigerator at least would have less of a problem with that since the air it blows should be warmer.
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On Sun, 6 Feb 2011 07:31:32 -0800 (PST), Shaun Eli

Read it again. He's not planning on using the freezer to maintain temp for fermenting. If he uses it for a fermentor it will just be an insulated case.
If the freezer works he can sell it and make some money to make more beer!!!!
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Wow, someone is paying attention.
Steve
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On 2/6/2011 9:31 AM, Shaun Eli wrote:

It's a do it yourself experiment, all rationality goes out the window.
TDD
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Responders in the brewing newsgroup do it all the time. By using a special thermometer that is held in the middle of the fermenting liquid, and not just in the freezer cavity, temperature can be pretty closely regulated. Plus, with the insulation, there aren't wide swings in temperature. And cheap thick styrofoam panels can be glued on the outside of the freezer as well.
Steve
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Hmm, keep replacing your refrigerator every five years and in 20 years or so they'll be paying *you* to run the refrigerator! ;-)
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