Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

paulskirockspaulskirocks Solar Expert Posts: 84 ✭✭✭✭
I've read some threads mentioning converting a chest style freezer into a fridge... Any specific details would be appreciated... Thanks

Comments

  • paulskirockspaulskirocks Solar Expert Posts: 84 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

    Maybe I posted this in the wrong forum... Feel free to move it...
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,837 admin
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

    Here is one thread:

    Chest freezer as a chest refrigerator


    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,253 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

    Here's a European article, I've kept bookmarked for maybe doing one next year;

    http://www.aselfsufficientlife.com/chest-freezer-to-fridge-conversion-the-most-energy-efficient-fridge-ever.html
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • Logan5Logan5 Solar Expert Posts: 32
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

    I did this to a Haier 5.1 cu chest freezer a couple years ago. it has a separate bottom drawer in the front. I used a "Johnson Controls" thermostat unit. it runs on 110v AC I do plan to convert it to DC,with a "Dan Foss" bd series compressor and condenser but as a freezer only, my preference is to purchase a RV side by side, DC operation unit for my home needs. I also have a 3.5cu chest freezer used as a freezer I would retire. chest style refrigerator took some getting used to. but the front bottom drawer made it easier and worth it in the end I use almost no power to keep my goods cold. I see some nice looking digital PID thermostats from China, just add a relay.
  • paulskirockspaulskirocks Solar Expert Posts: 84 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?
    Logan5 wrote: »
    I do plan to convert it to DC,with a "Dan Foss" bd series compressor and condenser but as a freezer only,

    Can you tell me more about this conversion? Thanks
  • paulskirockspaulskirocks Solar Expert Posts: 84 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

    OK, after scouring threads, I have definitely decided to go with the converted chest freezer... I found a
    24 volt dc temperature controller
    that I can run off my battery bank, which can remotely turn on/off the inverter... I found a 24 volt dc time delay relay which could trigger another heavy duty relay, allowing the refrigerator to accept power after the inverter has a chance to fully kick on... Seems like a good plan, at least... I'm guessing the power consumption of the temperature controller would by significantly less than having to have the inverter constantly on to run a 120 volt ac controller...
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?
    OK, after scouring threads, I have definitely decided to go with the converted chest freezer... I found a
    24 volt dc temperature controller
    that I can run off my battery bank, which can remotely turn on/off the inverter... I found a 24 volt dc time delay relay which could trigger another heavy duty relay, allowing the refrigerator to accept power after the inverter has a chance to fully kick on... Seems like a good plan, at least... I'm guessing the power consumption of the temperature controller would by significantly less than having to have the inverter constantly on to run a 120 volt ac controller...

    Which inverter?
    There's quite a difference between one an another sometimes. The ability to run in stand-by mode can help too. Weigh it out carefully. You may want to have 120 VAC available on demand for other loads; having the inverter on/off tied to the 'frige may not be so desirable in such a case.
  • paulskirockspaulskirocks Solar Expert Posts: 84 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?
    Which inverter?
    There's quite a difference between one an another sometimes. The ability to run in stand-by mode can help too. Weigh it out carefully. You may want to have 120 VAC available on demand for other loads; having the inverter on/off tied to the 'frige may not be so desirable in such a case.

    Well, I'll be going with the Samlex SA-2000K-124 inverter, which still draws about 7 watts while in power save mode... So, assuming maybe 23 hours a day of power save mode, that would eat up around 165 watt hours, which seems wasteful... I'm only at the cabin for 3 or 4 nights a week, so when I need to use that inverter, I can have a remote switch to leave the inverter on when needed... For my basic 120 volt entertainment and lighting, I have a 12 volt battery bank and a Morningstar SureSine inverter, which only pulls 0.055 amps... It is interesting that it still pulls 0.025 amps when the unit is off... Anyways, other than using kitchen appliances, such as toaster or coffee maker, or run power tools, the Samlex will just be for the fridge...
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 4,858 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

    there are comments from WayneinNS here about using his 300W morning star to run his fridge... perhaps another option?
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
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    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • paulskirockspaulskirocks Solar Expert Posts: 84 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?
    westbranch wrote: »
    there are comments from WayneinNS here about using his 300W morning star to run his fridge... perhaps another option?

    Yea, I read that he put in a starting capacitor, and will definitely be looking into that option... It would be nice if I could run it off my Morningstar...
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?
    Yea, I read that he put in a starting capacitor, and will definitely be looking into that option... It would be nice if I could run it off my Morningstar...

    Wayne's system is a little bit more complicated than just adding a capacitor.
  • paulskirockspaulskirocks Solar Expert Posts: 84 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?
    Wayne's system is a little bit more complicated than just adding a capacitor.

    That's what I gathered, as he mentioned an autotransformer... And, I'm wondering if there is some kind of RC circuit delay feeding a relay, to delay the compressor to kick in until the capacitor gets charged? Anyways, I hope to get some guidance... I'm not a newbie to circuits, soldering, etc, being a ham operator and electrician...
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,837 admin
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

    I think Wayne is using time delay (or voltage sense) relays and such to use an auto transformer to output lower voltage to the motor during staring--Which jacks up the current to the motor (motors tend to care more about current when starting than they do about receiving 100% voltage). Also, matching starting (and possible a run capacitor too) is in the mix.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?
    BB. wrote: »
    I think Wayne is using time delay (or voltage sense) relays and such to use an auto transformer to output lower voltage to the motor during staring--Which jacks up the current to the motor (motors tend to care more about current when starting than they do about receiving 100% voltage). Also, matching starting (and possible a run capacitor too) is in the mix.

    -Bill
    Yes BB, and I just 5 minutes ago did a major explanation on the other thread asking the same questions about fridges/freezers.
  • paulskirockspaulskirocks Solar Expert Posts: 84 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?
    Yes BB, and I just 5 minutes ago did a major explanation on the other thread asking the same questions about fridges/freezers.

    Sorry to be redundant... Not trying to be an irritant... I'll go do another search...
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,837 admin
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

    Not a problem. I will live. :D

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

    This is the latest thread on Wayne's adventures in refrigeration rewiring: http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?16252-My-latest-freezer-converted-to-fridge-showing-VERY-good-results
  • paulskirockspaulskirocks Solar Expert Posts: 84 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

    I found the response in another thread. Thanks. I really appreciate the schooling.
  • rplarryrplarry Solar Expert Posts: 203 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

    If I understand what you are trying to do correctly, ie, let your inverter go into stand-by mode so you save some watts, I would think that the thermostat would not function while the inverter was in stand-by 'cause the thermostat would not be getting any power.
    I did a freezer to refer conversion a couple of years ago and it has worked perfectly ever since. Here is a link to more info on how I did the conversion.
    http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=47172#pid593136
    Hope this helps,
    Larry
  • paulskirockspaulskirocks Solar Expert Posts: 84 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?
    rplarry wrote: »
    If I understand what you are trying to do correctly, ie, let your inverter go into stand-by mode so you save some watts, I would think that the thermostat would not function while the inverter was in stand-by 'cause the thermostat would not be getting any power.
    I did a freezer to refer conversion a couple of years ago and it has worked perfectly ever since. Here is a link to more info on how I did the conversion.
    http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=47172#pid593136
    Hope this helps,
    Larry

    Thanks for the link, I'll check it out... As far as the thermostat, I would go with a 24 volt model that can trigger a relay to turn on the inverter, and a second time delay relay to power up the fridge after the inverter has a chance to kick on... Seems pretty straight forward...

    Although, if I could manage to modify the freezer to be able to run on my Morningstar inverter, then I would just let the inverter be in power save mode when the compressor is not on...

    However, if I go with the 2000 watt inverter, then the current consumption in power save mode is still significant enough that I would prefer to trigger it on and off with the 24 volt relay... I guess the only issue is whether it is hard on the inverter to turn on and off every hour... I don't like the idea of a 7 watt drain constantly, even when the inverter is not in use... At least the little Morningstar only draws less than a watt in standby...
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

    That would depend on the thermostat. Some are just bimetalic elements controlling contacts and need no power.
    Keeping it simple is good. :D
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?
    That would depend on the thermostat. Some are just bimetalic elements controlling contacts and need no power.
    Keeping it simple is good. :D

    That's what I first thought as well, but found that in a few months the thermostat no longer worked properly and on checking it out, found that the dampness had caused major rusting of one of the metals used in the bimetal coil. After that, I changed to modified electronic thermostats with the sensor removed and mounted remotely inside a moisture proof container inside the "fridge". Have had no problems since.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

    Hmm.
    I was thinking about this and how there used to be only bimetalic thermostats. An exposed one certainly would be a corrosion problem. Then I remembered some of the old ones had the contacts sealed in a glass tube and activated by a magnet, and some of them tilted mercury switches. Well we all know the problem there! That's why we don't have the silent switches anymore either.

    Why we don't have the switches with the neon locator glow anymore I don't know, but it isn't needed for the 'frige! :p

    Wayne, you run a steady low Voltage DC for running the T-stat, right?
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?
    Wayne, you run a steady low Voltage DC for running the T-stat, right?
    Yes, all three are supplied with 12 VDC which pulls in relay contacts when the thermostat calls for cooling. Actually the bimetal ones I used to use, and rusted, were modified mercury bulb types intended for furnace/AC use.
    The newer ones for furnace/AC are all electronic with a little relay, no more mercury. And of course, they're powered by a battery of one type or another. This a real boon to furnace repair guys around here. The thermostat batteries go dead about once a year or so, and they charge you $100.00 or more for a new thermostat, because, they tell you, the old one is "burned out"!
    Many of them have very easily replaced AAA cells, but the customer isn't told that :(
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,121 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?
    Hmm.
    I was thinking about this and how there used to be only bimetalic thermostats. An exposed one certainly would be a corrosion problem. Then I remembered some of the old ones had the contacts sealed in a glass tube and activated by a magnet, and some of them tilted mercury switches. Well we all know the problem there! That's why we don't have the silent switches anymore either.
    Why we don't have the switches with the neon locator glow anymore I don't know, but it isn't needed for the 'frige! :p

    Even the ones that used a mercury filled tube for the switch contacts use a bi-metal spring (in the form of a coil) to move the tube. That element is still subject to corrosion. What you got was a very low contact resistance (suitable for use with a gas valve driven by a thermocouple heated by the pilot) and no sparks (outside the tube anyway) as the contacts open and close.

    You can still get switches with neon (or LED) pilot lights. Just not necessarily at Blue and Orange.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?
    inetdog wrote: »
    Even the ones that used a mercury filled tube for the switch contacts use a bi-metal spring (in the form of a coil) to move the tube. That element is still subject to corrosion. What you got was a very low contact resistance (suitable for use with a gas valve driven by a thermocouple heated by the pilot) and no sparks (outside the tube anyway) as the contacts open and close.

    Well they must have been magic ones in the refrigerators of old as they kept working for decades without any fancy electronics! :p
    You can still get switches with neon (or LED) pilot lights. Just not necessarily at Blue and Orange.

    Don't know what "Blue and Orange" is. I can't find them on the shelf in Canada. Maybe my favourite electric house can order them in (box of 100 at a time, no doubt).
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,121 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?
    Don't know what "Blue and Orange" is.


    Sorry, a translation for you northern folk: Lowes and Home Depot.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

    Ah. Thought it would be something like that.

    No Lowes here anywhere. Nearest HD is 2.5 hours away (maybe 3 in this weather). Got a Revy, I mean Rona, in Bridge Lake. Another in Williams Lake. Neither is very large. That's the difficulty with remote living; long way to go to the store and when you get there they don't have room to carry everything. Timbr-Mart was out of 2x4 joist hangers last week.

    Ramble mode off. :p
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,837 admin
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?

    We still have them in the US:

    http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202035012/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=illuminated+light+switch+toggle&storeId=10051
    http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202035014/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=lighted+light+switch+toggle&storeId=10051
    http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202035002/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=lighted+light+switch&storeId=10051
    and more...

    Does not appear to be as many as there used to be in decades past...

    One issue I did have with Neon illuminated light switches--On on brand of CFL (early CFL, very well built)--The neon lamp would charge the input capacitors of the CFL's--And they would blink every few seconds (trying to start)... I had to change back to the old switch as it was way too irritating.

    With LED lamps, you may find them glowing very softly in a dead dark room with a lighted switch.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,121 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Converting top load freezer into a refrigerator?
    BB. wrote: »
    Does not appear to be as many as there used to be in decades past...

    One issue I did have with Neon illuminated light switches--On on brand of CFL (early CFL, very well built)--The neon lamp would charge the input capacitors of the CFL's--And they would blink every few seconds (trying to start)... I had to change back to the old switch as it was way too irritating.

    With LED lamps, you may find them glowing very softly in a dead dark room with a lighted switch.

    -Bill

    Neon bulbs eventually age to the point where the peak of the AC will no longer trigger them reliably (they are a negative resistance device, like a fluorescent tube, but since they are used for much lower power, you can get away with using a resistive instead of inductive ballast.) Then you get the neon bulb itself flashing.

    And, for a lovely paradox, the strike voltage is reduced by the ionization caused by incident light. This allows an aged neon to fail in such a way that it will glow when exposed to light, but turn off in the dark!
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
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