Uh-oh - the fridge is bust...

...and I think I might be to blame (but don't tell the wife). Could be nothing more than coincidence but...
A couple of days ago I accidentally left the fridge door ajar before leaving for work - it was like this for around 8 hours. Upon returning the contents still felt 'cold' and there was a good deal of ice on the back wall. I shut the door and thought nothing more of it - the freezer contents still seemed frozen and the fridge only had a pack of Boddies and a lettuce in it... (I chucked the latter)
Anyway, this morning I found that the Boddies no longer seemed cold, and indeed the ice from the back wall had completely gone - and I mean completelt... there is normally the odd frozen 'droplet' on there which runs out of the back when it defrosts (although it's not a frost-free model but presumably this effect is normal due to the cycling of the compressor). The freezer contents, whilst very cold, are not as frozen as they should be. The light still works (so it's not all bad).
This may be the perfect excuse for a new fridge however in the meantime it might be beneficial (if only to lessen the landfill requirement) to try and fix it (if possible for nothing but my time) and so, given the small number of components involved, my initial idea was to permanently connect the compressor up.... but then it dawned on me that it may be this that effectively bust the thing in the first place. Possible/likely?
I'm fairly proficient with working (safely) with mains voltages so some direct pointers would be gratefully received. If it makes any difference it's a combined fridge/freezer (bottom/top) upright.
Mathew
P.S. Please regard this plea as an emergency... the beer is getting warm...
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What I'd try is to completely defrost the fridge. Open the door, unplug, and point a large fan at it. Then see what happens.
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wrote:
|...and I think I might be to blame (but don't tell the wife). Could be |nothing more than coincidence but... | |A couple of days ago I accidentally left the fridge door ajar before |leaving for work - it was like this for around 8 hours. Upon returning |the contents still felt 'cold' and there was a good deal of ice on the |back wall. I shut the door and thought nothing more of it - the freezer |contents still seemed frozen and the fridge only had a pack of Boddies |and a lettuce in it... (I chucked the latter)
First thing to do is to *Fully* defrost the fridge, leave it off for 24 hours or until the sides do not feel cold.
Switch it on again, leave it for some hours. Checking if the motor runs when first switched on. Measure the temperature in the fridge. Best done with a digital thermometer, which are now quite cheap from Maplins, Lakelandlimited or many other places. The temperature of a cup of water, or the centre of a tub marge, left in the fridge for several hours should be between 1 and 5 deg C, but you could push it to 8 deg C. These are the temperatures for *food* in the fridge, but should be OK for the Boddies ;-)
--
Dave Fawthrop <dave hyphenologist co uk>
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Dave Fawthrop wrote:

Thanks Dave and Ian... your suggestions sound the same hence I'm assuming you're both thinking the same thing? If so what is it? Is it that the evaporator may have iced-over and thus the thermostat is not calling for cooling? Or perhaps that the iced-over evaporator is not doing a good job of cooling the fridge? (the evaporator is, as you've probably guessed, hidden within the panelling on this fridge)
Mathew
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Just that ice can form in strange places, and stop it working. Fully defrosting (don't use a heater, just blower) it is the first step to making sure it's really dead.
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|> Dave Fawthrop wrote: |> |>> First thing to do is to *Fully* defrost the fridge, leave it off for 24 |>> hours or until the sides do not feel cold. |> |> Thanks Dave and Ian... your suggestions sound the same hence I'm |> assuming you're both thinking the same thing? If so what is it? Is it |> that the evaporator may have iced-over and thus the thermostat is not |> calling for cooling? Or perhaps that the iced-over evaporator is not |> doing a good job of cooling the fridge? (the evaporator is, as you've |> probably guessed, hidden within the panelling on this fridge) | |Just that ice can form in strange places, and stop it working. |Fully defrosting (don't use a heater, just blower) it is the first step |to making sure it's really dead.
Agreed! one can never tell without close examination of the fridge exactly what the problem is and where the ice may be.
I *think* it will recover.
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Dave Fawthrop <dave hyphenologist co uk>
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Is the room it's in very cold?
Cheaper fridge-freezers use only one thermostat which regulates the fridge compartment - the freezer section just tags along for the ride. If the room is very cold the fridge bit may not ever come on - so the freezer bit doesn't either.
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Skipweasel
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Guy King wrote:

It's in the kitchen so a fairly constant 19/20C.
I'll give the defrosting a go... it sounds promising.
Mathew
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Mathew Newton wrote:

Thank you all for your suggestions... I opted to defrost the beast and whilst waiting decided to have a nosey at the thermostat... Having removed, and tested, it I found it to be not working! Just to confirm, I shorted the stat wires and applied the power - the fridge kicked into life!
I guess that me leaving the door open and the fridge breaking was pure coincidence then? It seems too much so for me...
Anyway, now I need a new stat. A quick Google search on the stat markings 'Ranco K59-L4113' only found a single source (SpeedySpares) for 20 all-in. Given I only paid 40 for the fridge (arguably irrelevant I know) I'd like to know if a (cheaper) universal type might be suitable - there are a few on eBay for <5. What, specifically, am I after? I can confirm the stat has two terminals (in addition to the two earth terminals) and has a capillary length of approx 600mm - significantly shorter than all the ones I've seen... what do I do with the excess? Presumably it can't be chopped off? To recap, the fridge/freezer is a two-door upright with a single compressor and no frost free function (it's basic in every way). Is any other info relevant?
Finally, they say a picture speaks a thousand words so here's two: (although would I be right in thinking they all look much the same?)
http://www.newtonnet.co.uk/permanent/stat1.jpg
http://www.newtonnet.co.uk/permanent/stat2.jpg
Thanks for all your help thus far.
Mathew
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You could attempt to dissasemble the thermostat, and determine why it's not working. It may be that the contacts have gotten a bit hot at some point, and oxidised to the point that they no longer conduct. Often removing them, and rubbing firmly on ordinary writing paper may help.
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Mathew Newton wrote:

A cheapie eBay one for a fiver worked fine for my equally basic FF. You could poke it into another freezer (or the pile of ice about to be delivered outside our doors shortly :) and see if you can hear or see it click off. If not, it's the gas inside escaped. Some of the eBay sellers offer different lengths. Some have telephone help lines. No, you can't cut the extra off :-) just coil it up somewhere. I guess you want the same length inside as it used to be, but with luck the adjuster will cover any difference. Whilst waiting for arrival, put the fridge on a timeswitch with an experimentally-determined on/off period per hour.

Looks pretty much like mine (old & new).
Chris
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chris snipped-for-privacy@postmaster.co.uk wrote:

You were right with your last point. As Ian suggested I ended up taking my stat apart expecting to find some grubby contact however it was clear that, even at room temperature, the 'bellows'(?) on the probe was never going to activate the switching mechanism - it simply wasn't protuding far enough.
So, after having no success finding a suitable 2-pin universal stat I opted for a 3-pin from eBay (5) in the hope that I might be able to transplant the probe/bellows from that to mine.
As soon as I opened up the new stat it confirmed my suspicions about the bellows so I made the transplant to my old stat and hey presto it's now all fine and dandy!
Thanks everyone for the suggestions, all of which were valid and thanks to a process of elimination led me to a successful fix.
Cheers,
Mathew
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