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troubleshooting refrgerator

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Kirk Leach, Oct 28, 2004.

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  1. Kirk Leach

    Kirk Leach Guest


    I live in Latin America and am having a problem with refrigeration in
    my house that I think must be related to the electrical supply.

    The refrigerator works properly for a period of time, several days,
    and then does not, for several days at a time, with the temperatures
    going into the 50s. Obviously unacceptable. We have tried six
    different refriegerators, and it is happening with them all, so we
    highly doubt the problem is the refrigerator.

    We have had the electricity checked by three different electricians
    and all get 110V from the socket, even when the fridge is not working
    properly. They have check various other things, to no avail.

    I have never had this kind of problem before, and that includes living
    in Latin America for several years.

    Anyone have any ideas what could be going on?

  2. Jack Hayes

    Jack Hayes Guest

    Any chance it is running way off frequency?

  3. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

    It sounds like you may be getting an intermittent or a high-resistance
    connection at the breaker panel or perhaps in the socket the
    refrigerator is plugged into. If the electricians unplugged the
    refrigerator and then measured the voltage at the socket that could
    give them the 110V reading they got because there'd be no appreciable
    load and therefore no appreciable voltage drop across the
    socket/breaker. Since the fridge sometimes works and sometimes
    doesn't, what I'd do to isolate the problem even further would be to
    run the fridge from an outlet fed by another breaker for a while and
    see what happens. If it runs with no problems for say, a couple of
    weeks, then I'd start checking the wiring.
  4. Kirk Leach

    Kirk Leach Guest

    I am not sure what that means. Please clarify.
  5. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Apologies if this is insultingly basic, but you never know:

    Power lines are AC, alternating current. The frequency is the rate at
    which the current "turns around".

    Many motors, called induction motors, derive their operating speed
    from that frequency, because the AC sets up a rotating magnetic
    field in the motor, which then drags the armature around behind
    itself. (the magnetic field does this dragging). Getting a magnetic
    field to rotate is a different topic - call it electronics trickery
    for now. :)

    If the line frequency is too low, the motor won't get up to
    the proper speed, and won't generate proper back EMF, so it will
    overheat and trip the thermal cutout.

    If the frequency is too high, the motor might simply not run
    at all because the rotor can't keep up.

    Next time you ask the power company to look at your mains,
    ask them if they have a recording frequency meter as well as
    voltmeter and spikemeter and all that.

    Good Luck!
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