PLEASE HELP - Problems with Consul propane fridge (0/1)

Discussion in 'Home Power and Microgeneration' started by D. Robinson, Jul 9, 2006.

  1. D. Robinson

    D. Robinson Guest

    I hope someone on this group has the expertise to help me out with my
    fridge problem.

    The fridge is a Consul Safe-T-Vent model sold in Canada about 4 years
    ago. The model number is CQE22A-SV. I am the second owner and,
    unfortunately, don't have either the owner's manual or any real
    experience deaing with propane appliances. To make matter worse, the
    fridge is located in a remote cabin which makes transportation very
    difficult and a service call out of the question. The fridge is
    installed very well and I'm very hesitant to move it. I see moving it
    as an absolute last resort. It's also in excellent condition and looks
    basically brand new. There is no corrosion (or even much dirt) of any
    kind even at the rear of the fridge near the floor.

    The fridge worked fine when I first purchased the cabin 2 years ago.
    Recently it has come to the point where the fridge will not stay cold
    at all anymore. This happened suddenly at the first of this summer. At
    first startup things seem to be cooling down okay, but by the time the
    fridge has been running for a few hours it has basically warmed back
    up to just below room temperature. The flame in the firebox appears
    fine (nice large flame, not sputtering) so I doubt it's a propane
    problem. The fridge just won't stay cold. I have tried every setting
    of the temperature guage with the same results. I've double-checked
    the air intake and exhaust lines and they're fine. The meter in the
    front of the fridge (near the floor) has a needle that moves into a
    green area when the fridge is lit. The needle usuallt stays BARELY in
    the green. Sometimes it even fluctuates from just in the green to just
    in the white. This seems strange, but the fridge stays lit.

    This fridge is basically brand new and never moves. Could the
    refridgerant possibly have leaked out? All the workings at the rear of
    the fridge seem in perfect shape. Why is it cold at first but then
    warms up?

    Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated. I've enclosed
    photos if that's any help.
    D. Robinson, Jul 9, 2006
    #1
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  2. D. Robinson

    Guest

    I think the refrigerant is leaked, it leaks over a period of time so
    probably you haven't been able to see or noticed any leakage sign but the
    symptoms you mentioned are pointing into that direction.


    "D. Robinson" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I hope someone on this group has the expertise to help me out with my
    > fridge problem.
    >
    > The fridge is a Consul Safe-T-Vent model sold in Canada about 4 years
    > ago. The model number is CQE22A-SV. I am the second owner and,
    > unfortunately, don't have either the owner's manual or any real
    > experience deaing with propane appliances. To make matter worse, the
    > fridge is located in a remote cabin which makes transportation very
    > difficult and a service call out of the question. The fridge is
    > installed very well and I'm very hesitant to move it. I see moving it
    > as an absolute last resort. It's also in excellent condition and looks
    > basically brand new. There is no corrosion (or even much dirt) of any
    > kind even at the rear of the fridge near the floor.
    >
    > The fridge worked fine when I first purchased the cabin 2 years ago.
    > Recently it has come to the point where the fridge will not stay cold
    > at all anymore. This happened suddenly at the first of this summer. At
    > first startup things seem to be cooling down okay, but by the time the
    > fridge has been running for a few hours it has basically warmed back
    > up to just below room temperature. The flame in the firebox appears
    > fine (nice large flame, not sputtering) so I doubt it's a propane
    > problem. The fridge just won't stay cold. I have tried every setting
    > of the temperature guage with the same results. I've double-checked
    > the air intake and exhaust lines and they're fine. The meter in the
    > front of the fridge (near the floor) has a needle that moves into a
    > green area when the fridge is lit. The needle usuallt stays BARELY in
    > the green. Sometimes it even fluctuates from just in the green to just
    > in the white. This seems strange, but the fridge stays lit.
    >
    > This fridge is basically brand new and never moves. Could the
    > refridgerant possibly have leaked out? All the workings at the rear of
    > the fridge seem in perfect shape. Why is it cold at first but then
    > warms up?
    >
    > Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated. I've enclosed
    > photos if that's any help.
    >
    >
    >
    , Jul 9, 2006
    #2
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  3. D. Robinson

    R L driver Guest

    D. Robinson wrote:
    > I hope someone on this group has the expertise to help me out with my
    > fridge problem.
    >
    > The fridge is a Consul Safe-T-Vent model sold in Canada about 4 years
    > ago. The model number is CQE22A-SV. I am the second owner and,
    > unfortunately, don't have either the owner's manual or any real
    > experience deaing with propane appliances. To make matter worse, the
    > fridge is located in a remote cabin which makes transportation very
    > difficult and a service call out of the question. The fridge is
    > installed very well and I'm very hesitant to move it. I see moving it
    > as an absolute last resort. It's also in excellent condition and looks
    > basically brand new. There is no corrosion (or even much dirt) of any
    > kind even at the rear of the fridge near the floor.
    >
    > The fridge worked fine when I first purchased the cabin 2 years ago.
    > Recently it has come to the point where the fridge will not stay cold
    > at all anymore. This happened suddenly at the first of this summer. At
    > first startup things seem to be cooling down okay, but by the time the
    > fridge has been running for a few hours it has basically warmed back
    > up to just below room temperature. The flame in the firebox appears
    > fine (nice large flame, not sputtering) so I doubt it's a propane
    > problem. The fridge just won't stay cold. I have tried every setting
    > of the temperature guage with the same results. I've double-checked
    > the air intake and exhaust lines and they're fine. The meter in the
    > front of the fridge (near the floor) has a needle that moves into a
    > green area when the fridge is lit. The needle usuallt stays BARELY in
    > the green. Sometimes it even fluctuates from just in the green to just
    > in the white. This seems strange, but the fridge stays lit.
    >
    > This fridge is basically brand new and never moves. Could the
    > refridgerant possibly have leaked out? All the workings at the rear of
    > the fridge seem in perfect shape. Why is it cold at first but then
    > warms up?
    >
    > Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated. I've enclosed
    > photos if that's any help.
    >
    >
    >

    I know this may sound mad , but over here we remove them turn them
    upside down for about 24 hours and turn them the right way up again and
    they are fixed! It worked on the fridge in my caravan . It seems to be a
    problem with these absorption type fridges if they arent used very
    often. In constant use they are very reliable.

    see http://www.thenaturalhome.com/servel400k.htm




    steve the grease
    R L driver, Jul 9, 2006
    #3
  4. D. Robinson

    D. Robinson Guest

    On 9 Jul 2006 17:11:35 -0700, "DJ" <> wrote:

    ..
    >
    >http://www.danby.com/manuals/DPR2262.pdf
    >

    Thanks for the link. I looked all over the web for any info about
    Consul fridges with little luck. I never thought of Danby.

    >> difficult and a service call out of the question.

    >
    >Out of idle curiosity, where?
    >

    The cabin is located on a remote lake in Central Nova Scotia.

    >
    >I'd bet dollars to donuts your exhaust is plugged.



    I'd love to think that it's just the exhaust. In fact, I've had
    trouble with the exhaust before. The fridge worked good when I first
    bought the cabin but after a few months it became difficult to get it
    to stay lit. It would work fine for a few hours and then just go out.
    After a bit of calling around someone told me about the brush hanging
    from the back of the fridge and how to clean the exhaust with it. When
    I first cleaned it with the brush large chunks of hardened soot fell
    from the chimney down into the firebox. I cleaned the soot and other
    debris out of the firebox and even re-ran new exhaust and air intake
    lines. The fridge worked a bit better for a while, but now I have the
    current problem of lack of cold. The fridge still doesn't seem to run
    all that great. Like I said, the indicator shows it's barely running
    at all, although there's a good flame present in back.

    During this past weekend I even took the exhaust line off the fridge
    all together and let it run like that for a few hours. The fridge is
    installed between two rooms, with the back of the fridge extending
    into a storage area. All the exhaust gas went out there - not into the
    living quarters. This is one of the reasons why I don't want to move
    the fridge -- it's actually installed in a wall and siliconed all the
    way around. It would sure be a headache to move. Anyway, running the
    fridge with no exhaust line attached made absolutely no difference, so
    it's definitely not the line itself.

    So aside from using that brush some more (which I just tried two days
    ago with no effect), how do I clean out the exhaust any better? I took
    the exhaust apart before and there's no way to get at anything in
    there. It doesn't look like there's much a person can do in there
    other than brush his brains out from the top of the chimney.

    I've never heard of this "screw vortex plug". What is that?

    I can't see the propane pressure having changed. I use 100lb tanks and
    the one hooked to the fridge is almost full. The same regulator and
    lines have been used from the beginning and they all look fine.

    Thanks for all the input into this matter. I sure hope to be able to
    repair this problem myself. I thought these fridges were supposed to
    last for years. Mine's still basically brand new and I have nothing
    but trouble with it. Maybe the fact that it is turned off about 98% of
    the time makes a difference.
    D. Robinson, Jul 10, 2006
    #4
  5. D. Robinson

    wmbjk Guest

    On Sun, 9 Jul 2006 19:08:17 -0700, "Ulysses"
    <> wrote:


    >I have a propane fridge/freezer that was made in about '74 and it still
    >works great so I would tend to think ammonia loss is unlikely.


    Ammonia loss is very common. I have a neighbor who rebuilds these
    things, he has hundreds of dead ones where the rot on the plumbing
    isn't worth fixing. The RV models only seem to be good for a few years
    of full time use, which makes them a poor investment compared to
    electric fridges. As with many things off-grid though, up-front cost
    is the deciding factor. So most off-gridders in my area choose propane
    models initially and then pay about $500 a pop for rebuilt
    replacements as needed.

    Wayne
    wmbjk, Jul 10, 2006
    #5
  6. D. Robinson

    D. Robinson Guest

    Re: PLEASE HELP - Problems with Consul propane fridge (0/1) - DSCF0208.JPG (0/1)

    On 10 Jul 2006 07:35:28 -0700, "DJ" <> wrote:

    >
    >I may be down that way next month on my way to PEI. Making it a service
    >call would make the trip a business expense... ;-).
    >

    Now you're talkin'. If I can't get this fixed by then I might take you
    up on that. The road up there is a bit bumpy, but a beer or two once
    we get there might make you forget about the crappy drive. We'll have
    to bring our own cold ones, I guess.

    I live about 45 mins from the NB end of the Confederation Bridge. The
    cabin is about 50 mins further.


    > Any puddles under the
    >fridge from the condensation?
    >


    Nope, no puddles that I can see.

    Also, when I was running the fridge with the exhaust line disconnected
    there was plenty of heat and fumes coming from the chimney oulet. It
    didn't SEEM to be plugged...

    >>Anyway, running the
    >> fridge with no exhaust line attached made absolutely no difference, so
    >> it's definitely not the line itself.

    >
    >Ah, see, misunderstanding. Not the line from the fridge to the outside,
    >but the pipe from the burner box to the top of the fridge. That's the
    >one I figure is clogging.
    >


    This is the verticle pipe I've cleaned over and over again with the
    long wire brush. Other than pulling the chimney elbow off and shoving
    the brush down there, I can't really see what else I can do. The
    manual in the Danby link talks about disassembling the "baffle
    assembly" and the "flu extension", but I can't see how. Unfortunately
    the on-line manual is missing any technical diagrams whatsoever.

    The vertical tube that the chimney elbow connects to runs down the
    back of the fridge to an upright rectangular box made of galvanized
    metal. I can remove the cover of the box, but inside is just another
    tube surrounded by insulation. How do I get at the inside of the
    exhaust chimney to clean the screw vortex plug?? Should I disconnect
    the vertical pipe from this box? It seems to be siliconed as well as
    bolted in place (see enclosed pic).

    Thanks again, DJ, for all your help so far.
    D. Robinson, Jul 10, 2006
    #6
  7. DJ wrote:

    >
    > D. Robinson wrote:
    >> I hope someone on this group has the expertise to help me out with my
    >> fridge problem.
    >>
    >> The fridge is a Consul Safe-T-Vent model sold in Canada about 4 years
    >> ago. The model number is CQE22A-SV. I am the second owner and,
    >> unfortunately, don't have either the owner's manual or any real
    >> experience deaing with propane appliances.

    >

    Mine's the same age (but in constant use). Nice fridge, but a bit small for
    everyday use. The wife wants more P/V power so that we can run a real
    fridge :)

    > But, all in all, I'd bet the chimney at the back of the fridge.
    > Happened to me once.


    It's happened to me _often_, but it always just put the pilot out. But in
    my case, it's caused by ice buildup when the temperature is just a bit
    below freezing and snow is blowing into the corner where the vent is. I
    imagine in OP's case it's not totally blocked, just restricted.

    One problem, though, is that if he does get it cleaned out, the ignitor may
    need cleaning - every time this happens to me, the ignitor gets carboned
    up, and is a pain to clean (and impossible without moving the fridge).
    --
    derek
    Derek Broughton, Jul 10, 2006
    #7
  8. DJ wrote:

    > Dude, as I mentioned, I have two of them. One "pre-exhaust", one with.
    > Both are venting directly into my kitchen, with a Kidde Digital CO
    > Detector sitting five feet away from them. In the two or three years
    > they've run there, never a peep out of the detector, and it will
    > register 30 ppb.


    VERY interesting. As mentioned in my previous post, under certain
    conditions I have a problem with ice buildup on the vent. I have run it
    with the exhaust into the kitchen, but that scares me. I might just try
    that again next time, with the CO detector moved closer to it.
    >
    > Down inside that vertical pipe on the back of the fridge is a little
    > screw-type thing. It fills up the entire pipe except for a small gap
    > all the way around. If you haven't seen it, you've not cleaned it, and
    > that's CRUCIAL. Read the manual ;-).


    I didn't know that either - this has been a most helpful thread.
    >
    > Actually, yes, that's probably it. Spiders are nasty critters for
    > fouling propane and gas stuff that's left dormant.


    They must love trace quantities of propane :). I've seen nasty fires in
    barbecues from failure to clean out the spiders in spring.
    --
    derek
    Derek Broughton, Jul 10, 2006
    #8
  9. DJ wrote:

    > As I mentioned, I have two Consuls. Actually, funny story. When we
    > first moved into our off grid home, we were trying to save every watt
    > we could. The wind turbine wasn't hooked up, tiny battery bank, ah, you
    > know the story. Anyway, started off with the Consul. When the system,
    > and funding, became available, and we were able to buy something
    > electrical and energy efficient, it was decided by my wife that we'd
    > buy another Consul. She had gotten used to the fact that the fridge
    > made no noise, and wasn't willing to give that up!


    LOL. I'll point that out to my wife. She's _very_ sensitive to noise.

    >> I didn't know that either - this has been a most helpful thread.

    >
    > Just buildin' karma ;-).


    Well, if you decide to make the house-call to the OP, to make it a business
    trip, feel free to come by my place too (how could the revenooers question
    the trip if you made two calls). I'm in Nova Scotia too, on the Eastern
    Shore. :)
    --
    derek
    Derek Broughton, Jul 10, 2006
    #9
  10. D. Robinson

    Me Guest

    In article <>,
    D. Robinson <> wrote:

    > When
    > I first cleaned it with the brush large chunks of hardened soot fell
    > from the chimney down into the firebox. I cleaned the soot and other
    > debris out of the firebox and even re-ran new exhaust and air intake
    > lines. The fridge worked a bit better for a while, but now I have the
    > current problem of lack of cold. The fridge still doesn't seem to run
    > all that great. Like I said, the indicator shows it's barely running
    > at all, although there's a good flame present in back.


    If you have SOOT CHUNCKS in the chimney, you have a major burner problem.
    Propane should be burning very clean, and there shouldn't be ANY
    major deposits in the chimney. Sounds like the Air intake is plugged,
    or something, isn't allowing fresh air into the burner.

    Me who runs a Propane fired ammonia adsorption RV Referin his cabin
    Me, Jul 10, 2006
    #10
  11. D. Robinson

    D. Robinson Guest

    On 10 Jul 2006 07:35:28 -0700, "DJ" <> wrote:


    >
    >Down inside that vertical pipe on the back of the fridge is a little
    >screw-type thing. It fills up the entire width of the pipe and about
    >six inches long except for a small gap all the way around. If you
    >haven't seen it, you've not cleaned it, and that's CRUCIAL. Read the
    >manual ;-).
    >



    I won't be up to the cabin again for a few days. When I get there next
    time the first order of business will be dismantling the chimney and
    seeing what I can do with it. Once I seperate the upper pipe from the
    burner box, what should I expect? I expect this will let me stick the
    cleaning brush even further down into the chimney pipe. How will I
    know if I've cleaned the vortex screw (aka baffle) adequately? Can I
    remove any workings from this pipe or will sticking the brush down
    there be enough?

    As far as ignition and combustion that other posters have mentioned,
    I've had problems with both. The piezo ignitor stopped working a long
    time ago and the fridge now has to be lit with a barbeque lighter
    after removing the metal door from the firebox. Starting the fridge
    now requires two people (one in back with the lighter and one in front
    at the buttons). Big pain, but it was never really an issue since the
    fridge always got good and cold.

    I've also had combustion troubles. For a while now, the only way the
    frigde would stay lit for long periods is if I left the metal door of
    the firebox somewhat ajar. I assume this either let more air in or let
    some exhaust out. Either way, it won't stay lit properly as long as
    the firebox door is screwed into place.

    As far as the piezo ignitor goes, this will likely have to be
    replaced. I've cleaned it numerous times with no effect.

    As far as the combustion troubles go, could this be the result of a
    blocked exhaust as well?
    D. Robinson, Jul 10, 2006
    #11
  12. Evaporater ammonia type fridges have to be within plus or minus 10 percent
    of rated boiler temp to work properly.....bets are that the flame is not
    burning properly.
    Propane is a dirty fuel because of the oder additives. Remoce and clean
    the orfice with alchol and air (do not use a sharp or damage WIL Occur)
    Clean the flue with a soft wire brush...............check for yellow
    stains on the tubing welds.... if any the fridge has a leak and is toast.
    Go to dometics or simaler and look at there trouble shooting for rv
    fridges very simaler.

    "D. Robinson" wrote:

    > I hope someone on this group has the expertise to help me out with my
    > fridge problem.
    >
    > The fridge is a Consul Safe-T-Vent model sold in Canada about 4 years
    > ago. The model number is CQE22A-SV. I am the second owner and,
    > unfortunately, don't have either the owner's manual or any real
    > experience deaing with propane appliances. To make matter worse, the
    > fridge is located in a remote cabin which makes transportation very
    > difficult and a service call out of the question. The fridge is
    > installed very well and I'm very hesitant to move it. I see moving it
    > as an absolute last resort. It's also in excellent condition and looks
    > basically brand new. There is no corrosion (or even much dirt) of any
    > kind even at the rear of the fridge near the floor.
    >
    > The fridge worked fine when I first purchased the cabin 2 years ago.
    > Recently it has come to the point where the fridge will not stay cold
    > at all anymore. This happened suddenly at the first of this summer. At
    > first startup things seem to be cooling down okay, but by the time the
    > fridge has been running for a few hours it has basically warmed back
    > up to just below room temperature. The flame in the firebox appears
    > fine (nice large flame, not sputtering) so I doubt it's a propane
    > problem. The fridge just won't stay cold. I have tried every setting
    > of the temperature guage with the same results. I've double-checked
    > the air intake and exhaust lines and they're fine. The meter in the
    > front of the fridge (near the floor) has a needle that moves into a
    > green area when the fridge is lit. The needle usuallt stays BARELY in
    > the green. Sometimes it even fluctuates from just in the green to just
    > in the white. This seems strange, but the fridge stays lit.
    >
    > This fridge is basically brand new and never moves. Could the
    > refridgerant possibly have leaked out? All the workings at the rear of
    > the fridge seem in perfect shape. Why is it cold at first but then
    > warms up?
    >
    > Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated. I've enclosed
    > photos if that's any help.
    no one that you know, Jul 14, 2006
    #12
  13. D. Robinson

    wmbjk Guest

    On Fri, 14 Jul 2006 19:36:41 -0700, "Ulysses"
    <> wrote:

    >
    >"wmbjk" <> wrote in message
    >news:eek:...
    >> On Sun, 9 Jul 2006 19:08:17 -0700, "Ulysses"
    >> <> wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> Ammonia loss is very common. I have a neighbor who rebuilds these
    >> things, he has hundreds of dead ones where the rot on the plumbing
    >> isn't worth fixing. The RV models only seem to be good for a few years
    >> of full time use, which makes them a poor investment compared to
    >> electric fridges. As with many things off-grid though, up-front cost
    >> is the deciding factor. So most off-gridders in my area choose propane
    >> models initially and then pay about $500 a pop for rebuilt
    >> replacements as needed.
    >>
    >> Wayne

    >
    >That's not very encouraging and makes me favor the idea of running a freezer
    >from solar panels/batteries and a cheap inverter instead of getting a gas
    >fridge. I've read that some compressors or motors on refrigerators run hot
    >on MSW so I'm skeptical about doing that too.


    Sine wave inverters are becoming more affordable.
    http://www.donrowe.com/inverters/puresine.html

    > I'm thinking of using the
    >freezer for making blocks of ice (in plastic bottles) and unplugging the
    >refrigerator and using it for an ice box. I'll have to see how cold it can
    >stay with just ice. Meanwhile, it seems like it would use less energy to
    >make ice in the freezer and use the fridge for an ice box but, like they
    >say, energywise there is no free lunch. Does anyone think this would take
    >less energy that running a fridge/freezer?


    If you'd be interested in building your own, I believe you can buy a
    kit with the same innards used by Sun Frost. There used to be a good
    article here http://www.novakool.com/articles/boxplan.htm about how
    someone built a fridge for his boat. Perhaps you can still find the
    article somewhere if you're interested. The project was basically a
    super-insulated box, with a counterweighted top lid. Efficiency was
    about the same as the small Sun Frosts.

    Wayne
    wmbjk, Jul 16, 2006
    #13
  14. D. Robinson

    wmbjk Guest

    On 16 Jul 2006 10:43:14 -0700, "Tony Wesley" <>
    wrote:

    >wmbjk wrote:
    >> If you'd be interested in building your own, I believe you can buy a
    >> kit with the same innards used by Sun Frost. There used to be a good
    >> article here http://www.novakool.com/articles/boxplan.htm about how
    >> someone built a fridge for his boat. Perhaps you can still find the
    >> article somewhere if you're interested.

    >
    >You could use the "way back" machine, aka the internet archive.
    >
    >http://web.archive.org/web/20020602065143/http://www.novakool.com/articles/boxplan.htm


    Excellent. It's good to know that the article wasn't lost.

    It does appear that the kit is still available
    http://novakool.com/products/conversion_units.htm. As I recall they're
    pretty expensive though.

    Wayne
    wmbjk, Jul 16, 2006
    #14
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