Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. -- Carl Sandburg
There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

April 22, 2014

Reinstall Refrigerator

The outside air for refrigerator ventilation I rigged up really didn't work well due to the very hot summers we have. The fridge is made to use air under 110F. I sealed up the lower vent and insulated the upper vent cavity and put a piece of  vinyl flashing around it.  I used the good aluminum duct tape to secure the insulation better and decided the refrigerator doesn't need extra insulation on the top if I'm using the inside air for ventilation. The current configuration forms a seal at the top of the refrigerator fan on the back and that brings the air under the refrigerator, up the back, thru the fan and over the compressor and out the top.
Sealed and insulated van wall in fridge cavity
Upper rear of cavity
The blue box is the cover for the terminals
After all of that and tidying up the wires with copious numbers of wire ties, I reinstalled the fridge cavity base and the 3/4” high rails on which the fridge sits to ensure plenty of air space. I did a better job of sealing off the old propane fridge vents to the outside with vinyl flashing taped and sealed with aluminum duct tape and secured the insulation layer ion the van wall, leaving about an inch and a half of airspace behind the fridge. The fridge is made to use inside air for ventilation that enters at the bottom and a fan at the back draws it up the back and over the compressor then vents out the top. I put the fridge into the cavity and using a piece of the vinyl flashing to help the slightly projecting coils slip past the cavity frame. Before I pushed it into the cavity, I hooked up the power and switch wires and turned it on. It came on just like it is supposed to. Yay!!
Ready to push into the cavity
Vinyl flashing to protect the coils as it goes past the frame. There's an inch inside for the coils to have air flow
Mounting L bracket
I found a couple of shallow electrical boxes to use to cover the wiring terminals for the refrigerator wires to protect them. I used Velcro to adhere them to the top of the cavity and still make them easily removable.
The metal tab that holds the top of the door pin had gotten scratched up with all my pulling the fridge in and out of the cavity so I sanded it smooth and spray painted it with the bronze paint and did the tap that holds the swivel lock on the other side.
I had cut a piece of metal decorative grill to form a base for the things I want on the top of the fridge like the remote switch, the on/off switch I wired last year, the indoor/outdoor thermometer I use to monitor the inside temperature, and a little clock.  I secured it with 3 small screws on the top that I painted in the bronze paint so they are not obvious.  I secured the remote switch with #6 screws and nuts instead of the wood screw it came with.  I made little thin strips of metal flashing and bent to a S to make hooks for the thermometer and clock.

Update: The fridge again quit running after a short while; it seems the compressor died again. I don't know if the wiring is bad or I just have terrible luck. I used the fridge as a cooler for vegetables and fruit with ice in the bottom and gave up on it. It's warranty ran out. The next try will be a simple thermostat controlled one without any fancy electronics and I will rewire it. I got a small Dometic chest fridge that has worked very well in the meantime.

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