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  1. #1

    wiring questions: 40's fridge ( Did I mess things up?)

    I might have ruined my old fridge. Anyway, here's the deal. I bought a 1940 GE fridge last week. The wires had been yanked out of some sort of junction box. The box was gone. Now- this is where I might have totally messed up. I tested the compressor by directly wiring it to a plug. It worked great. So I then replaced the rest of the wiring.

    The compressor has 3 wires: one green, one black, one white. The green one goes to the thermostat. I re-wired this and it worked great. I decided to let it run for awhile to make sure things were alright. It ran for 5-6 hours before I turned it off for the night as I have more work to do on it.

    This morning I turn it on and all is well. Still works like a champ. I come back from breakfast and it is off. As in no adjustments to the thermostat did anything. Figuring the thermostat had died I again directly connected the black and white leads to the leads of the plug. Nothing.

    That said- after looking around, I am fairly sure that this had a starter relay at some point. That is now gone. So first thing- did I just ruin the compressor not running a relay? It seems weird that it ran fine before and now doesn't. Or does it need a relay to start again?

    Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Dacula, GA
    Posts
    12,855
    Well since your such a handyman there you shouldn't have any problem checking out your compressor to see if it is shorted to ground (no resistance) or open. Why would you want to mess with a antique frig anyhow. Thank you very much
    "I could have ended the war in a month. I could have made North Vietnam look like a mud puddle."
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    Barry Goldwater

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    California
    Posts
    2,069
    Here's what you're going to want to do, step by step.

    Take that 1940's fridge and throw it away.

    Go to your local appliance store.

    Buy a 2013 fridge

    Take it home and plug it in

    Never touch the wiring on it.

    enjoy years of refrigerated goods.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Phase Loss View Post
    Here's what you're going to want to do, step by step.

    Take that 1940's fridge and throw it away.

    Go to your local appliance store.

    Buy a 2013 fridge

    Take it home and plug it in

    Never touch the wiring on it.

    enjoy years of refrigerated goods.

    Uh... that's sort of not what I was asking about. These old fridges actually work quite well when they're repaired and I have a few that are actually more efficient than the newer one it replaced. But moving on, I went out and tested the resistance of the leads. One of the combinations with the green and one of the other leads showed resistance. The other combination had none. So I get a bad feeling that the windings on the motor are indeed open. That sort of sucks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Guayaquil EC
    Posts
    10,460
    Units from that era typically used a "hot wire relay" as the primary starting component for the compressor. It's purpose was twofold. One to de-energize the start winding when the compressor comes up to speed and also to protect it from an overload condition.

    I suspect that's what once was in that junction box.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    6,615
    Quote Originally Posted by icemeister View Post
    Units from that era typically used a "hot wire relay" as the primary starting component for the compressor. It's purpose was twofold. One to de-energize the start winding when the compressor comes up to speed and also to protect it from an overload condition.

    I suspect that's what once was in that junction box.
    Hi icemeister !
    Do you have any more info on that electric setup ?
    TIA,
    VTP

  7. #7

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by icemeister View Post
    Units from that era typically used a "hot wire relay" as the primary starting component for the compressor. It's purpose was twofold. One to de-energize the start winding when the compressor comes up to speed and also to protect it from an overload condition.

    I suspect that's what once was in that junction box.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    3,304
    was the compressor still hot when you checked it ?

    It might have tripped a overload switch inside

    If you get resistance back on the terminals after its cool , you just got lucky , if not , your luck just ran out

  9. #9
    I believe the compressor is hosed. I tested the resistance and there's basically none on the starter coil. Crap-ola. So basically I made a pretty dumb mistake.

    That said- I'm wondering what options I have here. There's a few places that rebuild vintage compressors but the cost of shipping and the work involved would be pretty expensive. Other options I'm thinking of would be to get the capacity numbers off the old one and size a modern replacement for it. I would need to fabricate a chassis for it if I did that. I've seen a few places that carry rebuilt compressors.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    6,615
    [QUOTE=bobwilson1977;15246231] I tested the resistance and there's basically none on the starter coil.

    What is "basically none" and how did you test it ?

  11. #11
    [QUOTE=VTP99;15261641]
    Quote Originally Posted by bobwilson1977 View Post
    I tested the resistance and there's basically none on the starter coil.

    What is "basically none" and how did you test it ?
    There are 3 wires that lead to the compressor: 1 black, 1 white, 1 green. I tested combinations of the three and only get resistance between green and white but nothing else. There should be two leads that have a smaller amount of resistance with the primary coil showing the most. As a last resort I also connected the black and white, then combinations of black white and green to 110 volts. Nothing. The unit had been working before. Then it stopped. So I assume the starter coil fried. Again- my bad as I didn't realize the starter relay was missing.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    529
    If it was mine, I would try to cross it over to a new compressor. It might be a tough road but I understand wanting to keep it. If we have one pass through the shop guys just about fight over it. When they are cleaned up they are pretty sweet.

  13. #13
    Yeah, that's what I'm looking into doing. This is totally alien territory to me. It has a 1/8 hp compressor in it now so I'm not sure what to look for as a replacement. I'll need to fab up a frame for it which isn't a problem since I can weld stuff. I like the fridge a lot. I have a 50's fridge in the kitchen and a 50's stand up freezer. Both work like new and believe it or not, use a LOT less electricity.

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