Sometime soon I'll be taking a 45 minute drive to look at a friend's DC
powered propane fridge. I've never even seen one of these. She says it
hasn't worked for months, but recently a solar power expert has been
working up there, repairing things. Now the fridge works, sort of. As
she describes it:
There is an ON/OFF slide switch which is now mysteriously backwards; the
ON indicator light comes on with the switch supposedly in the OFF
position. I'm thinking this is a SPST that just got pulled and
reinstalled backwards, but maybe not.
The burner will light, and cool the box to 34F, when she presses the
start button. However, once the fridge warms up, it won't re-ignite
What tools should I take, and what should I be looking for?
On Thu 16 Dec 2010 11:39:04p, Smitty Two told us...
I'm sorry, but I have no answers or suggestions.
Just wanted to say that I've always been fascinated by the natural
gas and kerosene powered refrigerators and gas airconditioners of
many decades ago. The fridges reqired no electric power whatsoever
and werwe often purchased by families in rural areas without electric
service. From what I understand, gas a/c was more efficient to
operate than electric units, with many fewer moving parts to wear
Good luck with finding what you need.
~~ If there's a nit to pick, some nitwit will pick it. ~~
The sealed unit contains a mixture of ammonia, water and hydrogen which
is in a specific ratio. When the refrigeration unit is repaired, a
refill cylinder containing the proper mix must be used to completely
replace the gas charge. It's a very interesting old and proven
technology but you must know what you're doing or the darn thing will
never work. If the cooling unit is defective, the usual repair is to
remove the whole assembly from the refrigerator case and replace it with
a re manufactured unit. The repair depots have the proper equipment to
replace the ammonia, water and hydrogen charge.
If it's like the RV refrigerators it will indeed have a pilot light if
it uses a manual piezo igniter to get it started. The DC is presumably
just used for a circulator fan to keep temps more even and the unit
would actually operate without power.
That parts diagram shows the unit to have an electric reigniter. I
believe these are normally intended to reignite the pilot if it gets
blown out by a wind gust, as opposed to operating as a fully
intermittent ignition system. It should be pretty obvious if there is a
pilot burner by the thermocouple when you look at the unit, and if that
pilot is going out when it shouldn't.
Yes, they are common on devices that have a pilot but the location of
the pilot makes it difficult to relight it when it goes out.
Particularly with propane since running out of propane results in all
the heating devices pilots being exstinguished. It should have the
typical pilot detection setups that are common to gas appliances with
pilot lights. The tube type or the millivolt setup.
Absorption chiller, interesting stuff. These days they are common in
little RV refrigerators, and in big industrial refrigeration,
particularly where there is waste heat available from another process to
drive the chiller. I've heard the factory fish processing ships use
absorption chillers powered off waste heat from the ship's engine(s).
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