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1950's Frigidaire compressor relay  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Thu Jan 11th, 2007 05:54 am
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goingcommando
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Hi all - got a question I am hoping you can help answer.

I recently bought a 1950's era frigidaire refrigerator to turn into a kegerator (I know, great idea.) Since June it has been working without a hitch, but when I got home from holidays a few days ago, I noticed the ever-frightening leak on the floor. I opened the door and the hombrew was at a measly 45°F. Not ok.

So I checked around to find the problem and after some research decided it was probably the compressor relay (the usual, click, compressor turns on, a few seconds later shuts off, repeat, rinse, etc.) Since this is an older appliance, I am having a hard time finding the part I need. In fact only one place I know has a relay similar to the one I need. Info is below.

Relay info:
Frigidaire 1/8hp YT relay
Model # 5850824
Serial # 102231

Fridge info:
Model # 5400336
Serial #: 34B 46850 (although this may be related to the compressor since it was mounted on the condenser coil support rack)

My question is two pronged.

1. Since the ohm meter turned up nothing, I am assuming this is the culprit. If it is, can anyone see in the attached picture what the problem is and if it's fixable?

2. If it's not fixable and I have to order a new one, can I substitue any old relay that matches the compressor hp I have? Or do I have to find this exact one?

Any help is much appreciated. Thanks!

-gc

Attachment: IMG_3375.JPG (Downloaded 137 times)

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 Posted: Thu Jan 11th, 2007 06:57 am
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AccApp
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Check the resistance between the compressor's terminals. Should have continuity from all three tests. Not sure how much on something this old. No point in buying a relay if the comp is no good. What kind of refrigerant does this use? Does the unit tag mention it?



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 Posted: Thu Jan 11th, 2007 05:19 pm
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goingcommando
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Good point. Will check the compressor continuity tonight.

I only see the charge pressure and amp draw on the nameplate, but nothing related to what refrigerant is used. Probably R12 or something highly destructive like that. Will post more info tonight when I check it out.

Thanks,

gc

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 Posted: Fri Jan 12th, 2007 03:16 am
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goingcommando
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Ok, compressor continuity test shows that it is working correctly. Strangly enough, the relay does as well. Turns out my fuse was bad on my ohmeter so that's why it wasn't registering.

So compressor has continuity, and relay has continuity...only thing with the relay is that I have to physically pull the magnets apart to get it to open the circuit. So maybe when it's energizing the material isn't demagnetizing? Maybe the resistor in the relay is bad?

Any thoughts now? Should I reconnect the relay and leave to cover off to see what happens when the compressor kicks on?

Oh, and FYI, refrigerant is Dichlorotetrafluoroethane (CFC-114). Yikes, not refilling that anytime soon.

Thanks,
gc

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 Posted: Fri Jan 12th, 2007 05:21 am
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AccApp
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So does the compressor run? I'm guessing not.

At the risk of incurring the wrath of the esteemed members of the panel, sounds like you may want to try a 3'n1 starter. I'd go with an RCO810 but a RCO410 would probably work as well. If you want temperature protection, put an overload on the common terminal and we'll keep nickfixit happy.



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 Posted: Fri Jan 12th, 2007 05:45 am
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goingcommando
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No, the compressor clicks on, 1 second later clicks off. For the past few months it would cool fine, and the only problem I saw was that it would cycle on and off every 20 minutes or so. I have the fridge on the lowest setting and it still keeps it cool enough for me.

So still sounds like you feel the relay is at fault if the continuity test worked on the compressor. Guess it's not really worth it to try and repair this old relay if I can just substitue a new one in its place. I was mainly worried about not being able to swap new parts for old ones. I'll give it a try and let you know.

Thanks for the help.
-gc

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 Posted: Fri Jan 19th, 2007 05:02 am
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goingcommando
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Ok, so I got the 3-in-1 solid state relay overload start capacitor combo...but am having some touble figuring out how to apply it to my ancient fridge. Forgive my ignorance on wiring, but I can't seem to figure out how to make this work with what I've got. I attached a drawing of the wiring diagram of my fridge connected to the old relay (pictured in the first post...for reference in the first picture: L terminal on the right, S on left, M underneath). I have attached the 3-in-1 wiring diagram as well as my old hookup to the old relay in this post.

So the problem is the terminals are not labeled on the compressor, but since two of the terminals are bridged at the compressor, I assume those are the start/run and the lone terminal is the common. So referencing to the attached picture in this post, I should connect the RECO white to #3 on the compressor, red to #2, and black to #1.

Then of course the problem is that is doesn't make sense for me to connect the two wire nut connections directly to the oulet for power...but maybe that's right? (please note, no 3rd grounding prong on this fridge) The part I label "fridge" in the diagram is coming fron inside the fridge cabinet, and I assume connects to the light, temperature switch, etc.

So I guess my real question is, do I just connect this up the same way I described and just guess on the start/run terminals on the compressor? Also, does the power connections on the RCO go directly to the outlet? I am thinking not, but maybe I'm missing something.

Any help would be great.

Thanks all.
-gc

Attachment: Relay-wiring.jpg (Downloaded 116 times)

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 Posted: Fri Jan 19th, 2007 08:10 am
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That Guy



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Just for temporary you can hook the two black wires to the cord or a jumper cord that will be plugged into line voltage, 120 volts.  The red wire from the 3 in 1 goes to the "run" terminal on the compressor. White goes to "start" and black goes to the "common" terminal. This set up will be to see if the compressor will run.

I think your compressor is shot, and that is why it won't start. So you can wire it like I described above and then plug it in to see if the compressor starts and runs. If it starts for a few seconds then quits again, its probably pulling way too much amperage and the compressor is bad.

On the old refrigerators they used to use the relay box as a terminal box too. One wire would go to the thermostat and then come back down to the relay. Another might go to the light switch. You can worry about that later, if the compressor runs OK on the temporary wiring. If you have an amp meter you could get a better idea of the condition of your compressor. They usually pull 3 or 4 amps when running. A bad one can pull 7 or 8 or more amps and will trip the overload protector in a short amount of time.

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 Posted: Fri Jan 19th, 2007 05:16 pm
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goingcommando
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Thanks for the info. I'll try it when I get home tonight.

Is there any way to figure out which terminal on the compressor is the start, run or common? In the above picture, I was assuming terminal 1 on the compressor is the common since the other two are jumpered at the compressor. But is there a standard for which compressor line gets connected to the S, L and M on the relay?

thanks,

gc

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 Posted: Fri Jan 19th, 2007 08:42 pm
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That Guy



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When you say they are "jumpered at the compressor" what do you mean? If you are saying there is continuity between the two terminals, but no wire on the outside, that would be correct. There should also be continuity between the common terminal and the other two. the actual resistance is going to be small, say like about 6 ohms or so from the common terminal to run, and 8 or so ohms from the common terminal to the start terminal.

Normally m = motor or the "run" terminal of the comp. S = the start terminal of the comp. The common usually goes straight to the compressor, though it may have a overload protector in between line and the terminal of the comp.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 20th, 2007 12:28 am
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AccApp
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Post a pic of the compressor's terminals.



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 Posted: Sat Jan 20th, 2007 02:27 am
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goingcommando
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ok, pic of compressor posted below. You can see the "jumpered" connection between the middle and right terminals I was talking about.

Referring to the wiring diagram above, far left terminal in pic is connected to neutral from power source, middle terminal to the S terminal on the relay, and the far right terminal is conncted to the M terminal on the relay.

Attachment: compresor.jpg (Downloaded 93 times)

Last edited on Sat Jan 20th, 2007 04:28 am by goingcommando

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 Posted: Sat Jan 20th, 2007 04:16 am
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I don't know, maybe I've had a really long day, but that picture makes little sense to me. Is that really a wire between terminals 2 and 3? Terminal 2 is labeled  "start/run" ?

I think we need to ask a member that has been doing this for over 25 years. I've worked on pancake compressors and lots of stuff from the fifties and sixties, but I don't remember ever seeing one with a jumper between two terminals. Is the wiring as brittle as it looks?

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 Posted: Sat Jan 20th, 2007 04:30 am
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goingcommando
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Oh, it's brittle alright. Don't know why they're jumpered. Maybe that's how it was done back then.

I hooked it up and it ran for a good minute before the relay tripped it off. Waited a minute or two and it ran again, this time only for 30 seconds.

I took a reading between the motor terminal and the common terminal, (pic below) and on the multimeter setting for 150VAC I get 125volts and 0.8kohms. So that tells me I'm pulling only 0.15amps? Doesn't sound right to me.

Attachment: multi.jpg (Downloaded 94 times)

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 Posted: Sat Jan 20th, 2007 10:27 am
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That just doesn't look right!!!! Maybe that thing that looks like a jumper between terminals 2 and 3 is a stray piece of wiring that somehow got shorted across those two terminals creating your problem.

Did you by anychance every look at this area on the compressor while it was still working before you started having these problems? Remember if looked any different?

Do your have an actual wiring diagram from the unit that you could scan or take a picture of for us to see?



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 Posted: Sat Jan 20th, 2007 11:22 am
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Keinokuorma
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goingcommando wrote: I took a reading between the motor terminal and the common terminal, (pic below) and on the multimeter setting for 150VAC I get 125volts and 0.8kohms. So that tells me I'm pulling only 0.15amps? Doesn't sound right to me.
No, it can't be right. You set your meter to 150V AC right... then you're reading 12,5 at the 0-15V range, multiplied by 10 that would give 125V which is OK. BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, the Ohms scale isn't working when you measure voltage. Although the pointer points some reading on the Ohms scale (0,8k in this case) it is not true. You can't measure resistance like this. Actually if you tried, you would destroy the meter.

Remove the wires from the two terminals, set your meter to Ohms, calibrate the meter (by clamping the leads together and adjusting the calibration wheel until you read zero). Then, and only then, touch the leads to those prongs and get the reading. I bet you will get something closer to the truth, like 5 to 10 Ohms, maybe just some 3 or 4.

Another BIG BUT. The resistance reading was done with DC and the winding inductance isn't accounted for. From 125V, 8 Ohms you would get 15,6A which is neither true. If you need to know the current draw, you will need to measure it. If your meter does not have an AC Ampere range of at least 5A span, preferably 10A, don't do this. OK, if it does, go on. Put one of the wires back on its own prong. Set your meter to said range, clamp one lead to the free wire, one to the free prong. It's AC, polarity doesn't matter. Fire it up and get the reading.

Last edited on Sat Jan 20th, 2007 11:25 am by Keinokuorma



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 Posted: Sat Jan 20th, 2007 12:57 pm
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Keinokuorma
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BTW the object in the picture doesn't look like a jumper. Could just be a molding artifact. If there was a a jumper, it wouldn't be necessary to come to that point with two wires.



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 Posted: Sat Jan 20th, 2007 04:57 pm
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goingcommando
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You are correct, the object in the picture fell off when I wiggled it. Must have been some debris from the wiring. So yes, there is no jumper between terminals 2 & 3. Sorry for not checking that more closely...was hard to get my fingers around there.

Next problem, as you said, I just looked at the scale and read ohms while I was measuring voltage. So I recalibrated the unit to 0, set the selector to RX 1KOhms (the only resistance setting it has) and tested the terminals. They read 0.  I'm guessing my little radioshak analog multimeter doesn't have a range that I can use to measure this...

Ok, so new digital multimeter purchased and a reading (while setting it to the 200Ohms range) gives me 4.9. I assume that's 49 Ohms, which would mean I'm pulling close to 2.5amps? that sounds much better to me, but not sure if it's correct.

Let me know what you think. Again, sorry for the ingorance on multimeters and resistance readings. First time for me.

Thanks,
-gc

Last edited on Sat Jan 20th, 2007 06:38 pm by goingcommando

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 Posted: Sat Jan 20th, 2007 07:08 pm
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Keinokuorma
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Bet it's 4,9. Remember, DC resistance measuring does not give the impedance of the winding at a given frequency. Say, if the winding draws some 3A at 125V, 60Hz, we get impedance around 42 Ohms. But resistance is arounf 5 Ohms.



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 Posted: Sat Jan 20th, 2007 08:10 pm
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goingcommando
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Not sure if I'm exactly following what you wrote. But if I am only measuring 5 ohms, does that mean the compressor is drawing something like 25amps at 125Volts?

So since the compressor runs for a few minutes and doesn't just shut off when I temporarily hook it up the way That Guy suggested, I guess I'd like to check out how to hook up the 3-in-1 to see if it will run for an extended period of time. I can't seem to figure out how to hook it up correctly though. Any ideas on how to do it?

First crack at wiring it below. With this setup the light works inside, but the compressor doesn't start at all. The two lines labeled "P" coming out of the RCO are the black power lines.

Attachment: RCO.jpg (Downloaded 81 times)

Last edited on Sat Jan 20th, 2007 08:12 pm by goingcommando

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