no thermal protection for refrigerator compressor -- fire hazard?


Hi folks--
I have a little (about 1.5 cu. ft.) refrigerator that died---doesn't cool and makes no sound.
There is a kind of circuit breaker inside the "relay assembly". That breaker butts up against the compressor, and apparently it is supposed to sense overheating of the compressor. The breaker can be removed from the rest of the relay assembly. It makes a rattling sound when I shake it. When I bypass that breaker, the fridge seems to work fine.
Is that breaker designed for fire safety or just to protect the compressor from overheating?
I don't mind risking the compressor being ruined or the whole fridge being ruined since I got it for free.
Of course I wouldn't want to risk burning the house down.
Would I be risking a fire if I remove that breaker and use the fridge?
Thanks for your help!
Matt
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It's probably the overload protector...if the power goes off and then back on after a second or two, the compressor has to re-start against the built up pressure and it can't.
so that device is designed to click off for a while until the pressure dies down and it can re-start.
You should be able to find a replacement for it.
I would do that if I were you otherwise the compressor will probably be runied one day when it tries to re-start.
Mark
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Mark, thanks for your reply.
Mark wrote:

I see ... now I find a datasheet for the device at: http://www.sensata.com/files/4tm.pdf

I found it at jr.partsearch.com for $22 delivered. It seems that a fridge of this size goes for around $80-$100 new.

I drilled open the overload protector and found a dry dead roly-poly centipede and something that looked like a worm that was still wet. Also the (coil) heater was fused and melted into pieces. My guess is that the bug blocked the contacts from tripping off so that the heater overheated and fused. From the datasheet:

My last question is whether it is common for the protector to trip or whether the fact that it tripped (or tried to) indicates another problem.
Matt
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It is very common for it to trip if power is removed from a running compressor and then re-applied without waiting a few minutes for the pressure to equalize.
If you reapply power before the pressure equlaizes, the compressor motor cannot start so the motor will be powered and not turning and it draws an excessive current that will burn it out in a handfull of seconds. The protection device is designed to open the circuit in a second or two.
The protection device will cool and reset itself automatically after a minute or two.
Almost every refirgerator and air conditioner works this way.
Caution, do not drill into the compressor, it is hermetically sealed.
If you found a replacment protection device, buy it, replace it and consider that you have done a great job.
Before you buy a new replacement protection device you can bypass the old protection device just for a short test and verify that the compressor works etc. but DO NOT use the unit that way. Do not remove and re-apply power without the protection device in place.
Mark
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Mark wrote:

I only drilled some plastic rivets out of the protection device so as to open it for a post-mortem. The rattling sounds I mentioned were fragments of the fused heater.

Okay, I just ordered the replacement part. By the way, I picked up the fridge at somebody's curb on junk day. It is five years old and hardly a scratch on it. This will keep it out of the landfill for a while. Hmmm ... now if I can figure out how to keep a roly poly from crawling into the new part ...

Thanks for your very detailed and helpful replies.
Matt
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Dr. Dave had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/Re-no-thermal-protection-for-refrigerator-compressor-fir-214150-.htm :
------------------------------------- Mark wrote:

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Dr. Dave had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/Re-no-thermal-protection-for-refrigerator-compressor-fir-214150-.htm :
------------------------------------- Mark wrote:

Dr Dave:
You might want to check out my web site for a cure for these problems. With my unit you could short out the thermal switch and never have to worry about ruining your compressor. WWW.Dr-Dave-Lutz.com Worth a look. Dr Dave.
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Matt wrote:

Daewoo FR-062R 1.7 cu. ft. refrigerator. S/M No. : FR062R0010 http://www.eserviceinfo.com/downloadsm/15404/daewoo_FR-062R.html 3018101941 3018101711 3018108021 RELAY SWITCH ASSEMBLY 174SHBYY-52 <-- this seems to be the part number to look for http://www.sensata.com/files/4tm.pdf TEXAS INSTRUMENTS 4TM THERMAL PROTECTOR PRODUCT BULLETIN MCKS006B http://jr.partsearch.com
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