A few weeks ago I posted here concerning a problem with the cold control
thermostat fitted by a repair firm to my fridge freezer unit. In trying
to resolve the issue I came across http://www.fridgedoctor.com/ . The
Fridge Doctor himself, Mr Yuzik, offers a free advice service, which helped
sort my problem out but more importantly, he's produced a book The Fridge
Doctor Book, some of which you can read on his site. I sent off for it;
it cost £18 including postage, and comes with a cd containing 2 hours of
explanitory video. I've spent the weekend looking at it and consider the
purchase to be money very well spent. Whilst it's written for the
North American market - it comes from Canada - other than the reference to
120V, it's perfectly relevant to UK fridges and freezers, covering every
type of fridge/freezer. The book's a real handy size - between A5 and A4
size - with a spiral binder so it always lays flat.
The book has 198 pages and an excellent index. There's lots of
cross-referencing to the various chapters and diagrams. It's written in
plain English - it's clear and assumes no prior knowledge but goes into
great detail where necessary, which the videos on the cd make even easier to
understand. The text is laid out in a logical manner; for example, for
each component found in a fridge, there is an overview, then its purpose is
stated, how it works is then explained, where it can be found in the cabinet
and the modes of failure are given. There are plenty of diagrams, again
presented in a way that even someone without electrical or engineering
knowledge would be able to make sense of. There's plenty on repair and
test procedures and troubleshooting charts. There's even a chapter on
optimising your fridge and one on repairs to the hermetic system. It's
packed with good advice not only on things like the hazards of transporting
a fridge but also on food cold storage. The video cd isn't just a
repeat of what's in the book; for example, there's a demonstration of the
benefits of installing a hard start pack. It's entertaining and
interesting and would be worth £18 on its own. It's clear that he's put
a great deal of care into compiling both the video cd and the book - a
labour of love rather than an exercise to generate income. I've seen
nothing even remotely like it on the market.
One of the best things that's happened to me is having had the problem with
the fridge and the expensive visit from the dodgy repairman, otherwise I
would never have come across this brilliant book which I cannot recommend
too highly. It should go without saying - but I'll say it anyway - I
have no connection whatsoever with Mr Yuzik or his site other than being one
extremely satisfied customer.
The details are at
Now, I know this is relating to 120V and not 240V. I intend to look into
whether 240V packs exist etc. Anyway, I'm reproducing below the info off
the above page in case you have problems getting it.
"When a 120 volt split phase compressor is older it sometimes becomes "hard
to start". In the process it sometimes ends up burning out its overload or
start relay, or it can "short cycle" and cause food in the freezer to thaw.
For detailed information on how a compressor is started see the Section
Three article "Compressor Start Relay For Split Phase 120 Volt Compressors".
There is a device on the market that most technicians know about that might
help make it run for a few more years, but very few home owners know about
it. In some cases unscrupulous technicians would rather replace the
compressor than install one of these, simply because there is much more work
and profit in a compressor replacement. So you would otherwise never hear of
The device is called a hard start pack. It is a self contained solid state
device that takes the place of the normal relay and overload mounted inside
the terminal cover on the side of your compressor.
The hard start pack also adds an enhanced feature to the start circuit that
few compressors come with from the factory, and that is capacitance.
Capacitance, when in the circuit across the run and start windings,
temporarily increases the motor's torque during it's start-up phase and also
saves electricity. Typically, a standard 1/4 horsepower compressor that
draws a peak amperage of about fourteen amps during start up, will drop to
nearly half of that with one of these installed. This situation is not only
beneficial to the compressor itself, but to all the contacts in the
electrical devices that control it, such as the cold control and defrost
So, due to the relatively low cost, availability, and advantages of this
device, at the first sign of trouble such as the compressor cycling on its
overload during start ups, or an original relay or overload burn out,
instead of getting a replacement original device, why not replace the whole
works with one of these? If your compressor still won't start, then you know
for sure the compressor is burnt out and needs replacement. After all, if
you later decide to get the refrigerator overhauled, it would be a good idea
to get the technician to install the hard start pack on your new compressor
while he is doing the overhaul.
There are some different sizes available in hard start packs, so you must
know your compressors horsepower rating and whether or not it uses a run
capacitor, so you get the right one. One common size is rated at 1/12 to 1/5
horsepower, another for 1/4 to 1/3 horsepower, and some newer universal
designs are made for use on all domestic compressors.
Caution! Very Important!
If your refrigerator was manufactured after 1997 the compressor may use a
run capacitor placed between the common and run terminal. You can determine
this by taking a close look at the original starter and the wires going to
it. Most run capacitors are black and about the size and shape of a 9 volt
battery. A special hard start pack that has provisions for the run capacitor
must be used in this case. Why? Operating a compressor that was designed to
use a run capacitor without one will cause the compressor to burn out in
approximately 6 months. The run windings on these newer compressors are not
designed to work without the capacitance." etc ... the page then gives
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