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Troubleshooting OLD Victory fridge compressor

vaporvacvaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
Hi all! Background: I have a 1940s Victory commercial built-in fridge with remote compressor (in the basement) that has suddenly gone warm. It was completely overhauled less than 5 yrs ago... new compressor, fan, lines, etc. The fan is working, but the compressor clicks after I unplugged and plugged it back in. I guess it's the starter, capacitor, or compressor. Is this something I can troubleshoot myself or should I just bite the bullet and hire it out? Shouldn't these things last longer than five years? I think the last one was over 30yrs old. Thank you for any guidance. C

Further info: I believe this is an "air-cooled" compressor, in that there is a fan constantly on cooling off the compressor. The compressor was fairly hot when I first discovered this, but the fan was on.
Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
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Comments

  • unclejohnunclejohn Member Posts: 1,530
    You can try removing the relay that plugs on to the compressor terminals,it has one and replace that along with the start cap. If that doesn't do it it's probably toast. Have you been cleaning the condenser coil.
  • vaporvacvaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    I keep it clean...its kind of tucked away and it's up on it's own stand, not near the floor. Thank you for the suggestion.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874
    @vaporvac

    This is a perfect thing to ask on the monitor top forum in the "other vintage refrigerators" section
    http://monitortop.freeforums.net/

    We have a few guys that do commercial refrigeraiton there as well as antiques.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • clammyclammy Member Posts: 2,496
    If that remote compress in a area that get ahi ambient temp .Usually if the compressor is hot there s promblems and if it does operate in a hi ambient it s life span will be shorten ,It was most likely a r 12 system now running on sub refregrant which in some cases delivery less capacity and run a little higher head,when it was over hauled was the the evap and trv or cap tube (metering device )replaced there s alot of things that can go wrong espically on old stuff .As others have stated replace that start relay on the compressor and ohm out that compressor and make sure shes not toast if so u don t need that start relay .If your familar with the control and such then go through it and fiqure it out if not call a pro or the gentleman who last worked on it .Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874
    1940s could be several different refrigerants.

    I think R12 was slowly gaining popularity but SO2 was still extremely popular.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • clammyclammy Member Posts: 2,496
    Wow SO2nearly forgot all about that one ,it was back in the skull did a job years ago where most of the conduit they run the lines in where still all over the place and they where remotes of course no one removed any of the old dead equiptment jus left it there like a grave yard .You still had some gas fired ammonia refregeration system in the residental market also back then but they where usually in residental homes andi have only seen then in homes that usually off the beaten path vacation hunting cabins .Cool stuff none the less peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874
    edited March 2015
    clammy said:

    Wow SO2nearly forgot all about that one ,it was back in the skull did a job years ago where most of the conduit they run the lines in where still all over the place and they where remotes of course no one removed any of the old dead equiptment jus left it there like a grave yard .You still had some gas fired ammonia refregeration system in the residental market also back then but they where usually in residental homes andi have only seen then in homes that usually off the beaten path vacation hunting cabins .Cool stuff none the less peace and good luck clammy

    I was under the assumption that no residential stuff ever used ammonia.
    I say this because a guy I had talked to a while back told me no residential refrigerator had ever used it and I just shrugged my shoulders.

    However, a year ago I found a report from General Electric from 1924 when they were starting development on the Monitor Top. It was something like a 600 page report talking about how much people were willing to spend, how reliable they had to be etc.

    In the report, it talked about ammonia having a bad reputation and should be avoided because of this. I guess it's possible very early 2 piece systems used it, but it didn't seem like any even remotely modern systems made after the mid 1920s would have used it. I'm assuming these are the really old ones you're talking about?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    ChrisJ said:

    I was under the assumption that no residential stuff ever used ammonia.

    They not only did, they still do http://servelrefrigerators.com/
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874
    SWEI said:

    ChrisJ said:

    I was under the assumption that no residential stuff ever used ammonia.

    They not only did, they still do http://servelrefrigerators.com/
    Sorry,
    I should've said aside from absorption type.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    I figured for remote hunting cabins, that's what @clammy was referring to. There are some large commercial cold storage facilities that use ammonia refrigeration, but the engineering oversight and safety requirements are huge.
  • clammyclammy Member Posts: 2,496
    There s still amomnia out there in absorbition system .Its classifyed as a toxic refreregant and requires a seperate endorement when appling for a chiller operator lic from the state .I preped and took the test about 3 or 4 years ago and luckly where i prepared only preped for the amomonia /chiller operators lic i belive over 200 tons .It does have the highest latent value i believe next to water r 717 It was quite a lre learning experence for myself alot of advanced math i had not done in eons and the same goes for brain cells .Servel does have alot of techonlogy built into those ac absorbition system w ddc controls to bad there price tag is quite hi but so are there eff espically on there stated ramp up and ramp down cycles .Having your buildings automated controls tied in properly are surely key .Other upsides of amaonia are there prices and enviromental ozone impact is lower if not nil to and cfc or hcfc but dupont and others don t own thats why you don t see it s much the other half being that usually all sch 80 pipe must be used in there construction driving up costs and weight .One day i believe they will be common again as they where many many moons ago.Less then 1 year ago my buddy pick up a refrigerator and a chest freezer both lp fired amonima absorbition based and they where not cheap .Could have broght a huge sub zero i believe some of the older kevenlators where absorbition i could be mistaken peace and good luck clammy good post
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • vaporvacvaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    edited March 2015
    So I want to thank everyone for this lively conversation. After following the advice given here, it seems it's the compressor. :(:( Just over 5 yrs old. I'm picking up the new one Monday. Total bummer. It's in the same place it's always been. How to avoid in the future?
    The good new is that the company putting it in (my friend, who upgraded it 5yrs ago suggested them as he's tied up), is the company that originally serviced this fridge eons ago! They actually remembered it; I guess it's famous!
    AND, they may have the hollow-core gasketing I've been unable to find in their parts cemetery. AND they may be able to hook up my Vstats while they're at it.
    I totally vetted them in that regard. Dan H is their guru! Yeah! So it seems I may have found someone local to service my boilers yearly. I guess that makes up for the bad compressor and HW heater that gave up the ghost recently. When it rains, it pours.

    P.S. since this seems to have generated some interest, I thought I'd post a couple of pics showing the fridge itself and the remote compressor set-up. This fridge is about my most fave thing in the house.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    What kind if refrigerant does it use? Did they change out the original R-12 for something newer without changing the evaporator or orifice? Maybe without properly cleaning the old oil?
  • vaporvacvaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    I think it's r-22 and I thought everything was replaced including the lines. I remember they accessed the back from the old ice door. Hmmmm.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • unclejohnunclejohn Member Posts: 1,530
    You may want to put a pump down on that so you don't get slugging on start up, That or add a accumulator. How long is the suction riser?
  • vaporvacvaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    Thanks @unclejohn. Where is the suction riser? The picture shown is everything there is...
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • TechmanTechman Member Posts: 2,144
    edited March 2015
    Nice! I want one! What is the comp mn#? The bottom draw is a freezer? The metering device HAS TO BE A TXV because of the "receiver tank" on the CU. R22 is not known for its wonderful use as a low temp refrigerant. After the new comp/CU is replaced, make sure to get a SuperHeat reading. The "suction riser" is actually a "suction drop" I believe. Have the comp oil tested for acids ,and if yes they MUST install "HH" , LiquidLine and Suction Line FilterDriers, and put in a "SightGlassMoistureIndicator" even if it is not a TXV metering device. Depending, adding a "Suction Accumulator" might be a good idea as unclejohn said, and possibly a "CrankCaseHeater". How cold does it get where the comp is located? Also think about an "extended comp warranty" , the comp/CU comes w/ a 1year mfrg warranty, the "policy" is for an additional 4 years. More $$$ though.I went to the Servel (ammonia) Residential class some years ago.
    I would try the comp "start relay and cap" first, before changing the comp/CU, its a lot cheaper.
  • unclejohnunclejohn Member Posts: 1,530
    The insulated line is the suction line. How high is the evap. above the compressor. Techman is right it is a drop following refrig. flow, from the basement looking up it's still a drop but I called it a riser. The trouble is if it's full of liquid refig when the compressor starts it won't last long. A liquid line solenoid at the refig will prevent that. Is the one compressor doing both the freezer and the refig? I don't see a defrost clock.
  • vaporvacvaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    I'm going to have to read up on this stuff! Whew, This is ONLY a fridge... no freezer. We tested and it IS, unfortunately, the compressor, which is just over 5yrs. old.
    I'm picking it up on Monday and will mention these comments to the fellow putting it in. He seems to enjoy my questions and is happy to share his knowledge. He's VERY familiar with DanH whom he called his guru of steam! How lucky am I!
    I'm happy to hear any additional suggestions/comments.

    @Techman, the bottom part is where the compressor could go if it weren't remote. I want to turn it into a freezer, but my friend just rolled his eyes. My basement is cool in the Summer, and comfortable in the winter. It's a fairly steady temp being sub-grade.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • TechmanTechman Member Posts: 2,144
    What is the metering device?
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874
    Better question yet, what was the metering device originally?

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • TechmanTechman Member Posts: 2,144
    edited March 2015
    Where does the LPControl connect into the freon system? Does it have a "Schrader T fitting ?If yes, thats so that the loside press can be watched in comparison to actual box temp, gotta know both in order to set the LPC properly. The proper temp of everything in the box is based on the proper temp of the beer as it goes down . LOL.
    A CCH might be good.
  • pecmsgpecmsg Member Posts: 1,393
    That looks like a 1/3 HP copeland. If you could post a pic of the tag on top of the cond fan and comp that would help. The box also probably has Fiberglass insulation that’s sagged and deteriorated over time.
    That box originally was probably r-12 with x-valve.
    Due to the age I would consider a new condensing unit ½ HP R-404A. The x-valve would have to be changed possibly add a pump down solenoid valve.
    Either way make sure the dial in the SH at the compressor for 20 – 40*f.
    Was it ever determined why the compressor failed? 5 years is too young.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874
    What's an "x valve" ?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • vaporvacvaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    edited March 2015
    Why do you suggest going with a bigger compressor? This is the size it had before. Do you mean the if the insulation is compromised, it will need a bigger compressor, and that the early failure could be due to it having to work too hard to maintain temp? I'll post the model # in a few, but it is a Copeland. I was going to get the replacement this afternoon. I have it set as you recommend and the interior thermometer never budges from 38deg, ever.
    No idea from anyone (either installer or parts house where I bought the last one) as to why so short a life beyond bad luck.

    I have had trouble keeping down the condensation due to the gaskets. I posted about them earlier this year looking to get the proper replacement. Could that have stressed the compressor?
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • pecmsgpecmsg Member Posts: 1,393
    Refrigeration Hardware Supply for the gaskets.

  • vaporvacvaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    This is my prior post concerning the gaskets. I tried RHS, no luck, but I'll look again. http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/152533/old-victory-refrigerator-gasket-source#latest
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • pecmsgpecmsg Member Posts: 1,393
    If the door frame is magnetic then go with that style.
    Look for Screw Mount.
    https://www.rhsparts.com/storefrontCommerce/custom-gaskets.do
  • AbracadabraAbracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    ChrisJ said:

    What's an "x valve" ?

    expansion valve
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874

    ChrisJ said:

    What's an "x valve" ?

    expansion valve
    That doesn't tell what kind though?
    High side and low side floats were very common back in the 1920s-1940s. Cap tubes were rare, though a few companies were using them.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,418
    I bought a new commercial Freezer and Refrigerator, seperate units, matched pair, Stainless steel, inside and out, 21 Cubic ft each, two door each, top mount compressor about 8 years ago. The compressor in the freezer died about a month before the 5 year warranty expired and that was replaced at no cost for parts. The compressor on the refrigerator died about a month ago and I'm trying to decide if I want to replace it or look at replacing the pair. They have had other problems over that time as well, evaporator leak, heater problem, etc.
  • vaporvacvaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    It seems like things just get cheaper and cheaper, but residential stuff is not any better.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874
    edited March 2015
    And this, is why I like my Monitor Top's so much. They were, and are the most reliable appliances ever made, bar none. Not to mention I love how they all say "Refrigerating machine" on them.

    This one had an estimated 120,000 hours on the compressor and was still working. Sadly, a few of our members tried to get this one from FirstEnergy to restore it but they denied them and said it had to go to a museum that wouldn't use it. Such a shame that it used less electric than her new one, without a doubt. All well.



    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,418
    I had a 35 year old freezer before I bought these. When I got these, I gave that freezer to my son and it lasted another 6 years before it finally died (probably not really dead but they don't want to put any money in it because they say they really don't need a freezer)
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874
    edited March 2015
    @Fred

    1927-1934 monitor tops have compressor unloaders and crank case heaters. They can also run on 100 - 130 volts without a problem.

    1935-1938 still have unloaders, but they did away with the crankcase heaters due to some changes.

    1927-1932 and 1935-1938 the unloaders are controlled by oil pressure. 1933-34 are centrifugal.

    All years have pressure fed hardened steel bushings and the compressors are machined to a few ten-thousandths of an inch.

    All machines use high side floats.



    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,418
    Does Copeland make a scroll compressor for refrigeration equipment? I have their Scroll compressors in my two central air systems and they are great, reliable and relatively quiet. I think they have a lot Fewer moving parts as well. seems like most central air systems have moved to them over the past five years or so.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874
    Personally, for smaller things like this I've always had a lot of respect for Panasonic compressors.

    What is that fridge, 1000 btu's at most?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Fred said:

    Does Copeland make a scroll compressor for refrigeration equipment?

    All kinds of them, but not in those sizes AFAIK.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,418
    SWEI said:

    Fred said:

    Does Copeland make a scroll compressor for refrigeration equipment?

    All kinds of them, but not in those sizes AFAIK.
    Thanks, I just look up their product offerings. Looks like 1 hp is the smallest they offer.
  • vaporvacvaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    Hi. My compressor is a Copeland ARE27C3E-1AA-103, 08L21384E. I think the first # is the model# and the second is the serial#. 115V. if that helps.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
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