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Propane refrigerator

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Charles in Aus.
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Joined: 16 May 2011
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Location: Victoria , Australia

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:41 am    Post subject: Propane refrigerator Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I use a gas powered fridge at my farm , we have no electricity apart from generator power . My ancient 150 litre Electrolux [ Dometic in the USA ] fridge is starting to take longer and longer to reach an acceptable temperature .
There are no leaks as far as I can see , no ammonia smell either , the gas jet seems to be working properly as the flame is clear and blue and yet it now taks five times longer to reach 4'C than it used to .
I have heard of ' Burping ' these fridges , inverting them to somehow recombine the refrigerant inside . Any tricks to this ? How long do you leave it upside down ? and would repeating the process a few times or agitating it to recombine the fluids be of any use ?
These units are ancient now , there are no servicemen willing to deal with them anymore and replacements are flimsy , smaller and incredibly expensive . I miss the ' good old days '
 
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Dr. Walt
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Joined: 06 Sep 2012
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Location: Pahrump, Nevada

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:57 am    Post subject: Re: Propane refrigerator Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Charles in Aus. - I have three Propane Refrierators, two Servel's and a Dometic. The last time I "flipped" one of my Servel's was about 15
years ago. If I remember correctly, I removed everything loose inside (shelves, vegetable bins, etc.) and then disconnected the Propane and
turned it upside down and left it that way for about 48 hours. I then turned it right side up, rehooked the Propane, cleaned the burner and
orifice, and fired it back up, and it worked OK. But I haven't used any of them for the last 10 years as I have several working electric
refrigerators.

Doc
 
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Keith True
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:02 am    Post subject: Re: Propane refrigerator Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I used Servel gas refrigerators years ago.I had no power in the woods,just propane.Back then the gas guys had seen quite a few of them,and said if they still work but just getting lazy,stand it on it's head.They wouldn't even attempt any diagnosis until they tried that.It was the first test they would do,and I could do it myself for free.They said overnight would do it.It was explained that the ammonia and water would separate,and whichever one was heavier would collect in the low points.I used to do it once every two years or so,it always worked.
 
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JustIn Case
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Location: Southeast Nebraska

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:43 am    Post subject: Re: Propane refrigerator Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Charles in Aus. wrote:
(quoted from post at 03:41:59 02/12/19) I use a gas powered fridge at my farm , we have no electricity apart from generator power . My ancient 150 litre Electrolux [ Dometic in the USA ] fridge is starting to take longer and longer to reach an acceptable temperature .
There are no leaks as far as I can see , no ammonia smell either , the gas jet seems to be working properly as the flame is clear and blue and yet it now taks five times longer to reach 4'C than it used to .
I have heard of ' Burping ' these fridges , inverting them to somehow recombine the refrigerant inside . Any tricks to this ? How long do you leave it upside down ? and would repeating the process a few times or agitating it to recombine the fluids be of any use ?
These units are ancient now , there are no servicemen willing to deal with them anymore and replacements are flimsy , smaller and incredibly expensive . I miss the ' good old days '


I've heard of burping them too, heck it's worth a try. But my thought on this is if it doesn't have a leak or ammonia smell or sign of a leak it should work. I thought the fridge in one of our camping units was not cooling right one too. It had a fire but it did not seem as big as it once was so I took it apart and used a wire pulled from a wire brush and some brake cleaner and cleaned the orifice where the gas comes out. A torch tip cleaner might also work if it's not too big. Anyway, the flame was probably 20% bigger after cleaning the orifice and it did appear to cool better then. It's worth a try, there's really not that much to go wrong with them otherwise. Good luck with it. Jim
 
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Mule Meat
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Joined: 14 Jul 2016
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:53 am    Post subject: Re: Propane refrigerator Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I have heard that the liquid accumulating in the evaporator is often caused by the unit not being level.

Never dealt with a propane or NG unit. Grandfather had one that used a kerosene burner. Only thing I remember him doing was replacing the wicks and burner. Heard him talk about burping, but never saw it done.
 
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Bob
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Joined: 03 Jan 1998
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:09 am    Post subject: Re: Propane refrigerator Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Did you pull it out and check to see if the heat exchanger cooling fins on the back need cleaning?
 
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teddy52food
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:47 am    Post subject: Re: Propane refrigerator Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Clean the flue of all carbon & make sure it is standing level.
 
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Olyj1947
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:04 am    Post subject: Re: Propane refrigerator Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I had an old motor home I used for shows and swap meets and would "burp" it every spring. It would run all summer and fall without a problem. Water condensates into the cooling system and being heavier settles into any low spot, bend, whatever. A flip shakes it loose and as long as it is running, will work fine. Good luck!
 
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buickanddeere
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Joined: 31 May 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:05 am    Post subject: Re: Propane refrigerator Reply to specific post Reply with quote


Any soot, dirt or dust on the heat exchanger surfaces ?
 
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Gary Mitchell
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Joined: 05 Jun 2000
Posts: 1562
Location: St Clair Co. Missouri

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:41 am    Post subject: Re: Propane refrigerator Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I recall pop doing that to one he had in his camper years ago and he talked about how it improved how it cooled. gm
 
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bobinia
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Joined: 24 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:52 am    Post subject: Re: Propane refrigerator Reply to specific post Reply with quote

My motor home started getting slow,replaced the regulator, works perfect,burner hast to make noise.
 
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Dusty MI
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Joined: 17 Dec 2000
Posts: 2206
Location: Lansing MI. area

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Propane refrigerator Reply to specific post Reply with quote

CVPost-bobinia wrote:
(quoted from post at 12:52:33 02/12/19) My motor home started getting slow,replaced the regulator, works perfect,burner hast to make noise.


I've found that if the burner is very noisy, then the air shutter needs to be closed down some.
 
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teddy52food
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Propane refrigerator Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I have 4 of them working just fine with no noise.
 
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jeffcat
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Joined: 28 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Propane refrigerator Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I remember my grandparents apartment in NYC had a gas fridge. Tiny thing about
the size of a baby crib on end. Had only room for one ice tray. The name might
have been crown,caloric, some such name. Only had a little pilot flame that ran
all of the time under a metal bulb. I cleaned the fuzz bunny's for her one time
with a tooth brush.
 
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jacksun65
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Joined: 23 Jun 2012
Posts: 1943
Location: Mount Sterling KY

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:39 am    Post subject: Re: Propane refrigerator Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Done at the RV dealership many times. lay it on it's side for 4 hours top for 4 hours next side for 4 hours set it up for the last twelve hours start it
up should work fine.
 
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