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Old 23-01-2019, 08:50   #1
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Restoring 110V refrigeration system

I am looking for some advice or pointers on restoring a Rich Beers based hybrid system(110V and engine drive) that stopped working some time ago prior to my ownership.

I like the design and intent to re-do components needed to get it going again. I have experience and tools building smaller BD-50 based air-cooled systems. And i figured this is a step-up in complexity but doable for a DIY with engineering skills.

I don't need advice on converting to 12V. I have a 5kW northern lights generator.



For starters id like to get the 110V loop going.
Later on i'll get the engine drive working, as its a completely separate loop.



110V is a 1/3HP r134a Copeland based system with 1/4" ID copper high side and liquid receiver. suction is 5/16" ID



Does anyone know if these receivers and service valves go bad or can be re-used assuming I pressure test it.

Compressor looks very rusty and those wiring connections are old. So i've decided to get a suitable replacement compressor. Do they typically get shipped oil free?


Complete 110V condenser units are in the order of 500$+ while compressor can be had for $150.
Condensing loop and foils look ok and I plan to pressure test and just replace the fan. (110V).



Are there any good instruction manuals on initial charging and startup?

I have two boxes(fridge and freezer). Liquid (high)side splits and solenoid is used to shut off the flow to the fridge plate based on thermostat signal while freezer keeps running.

Are there any fine differences in charging a system with expansion valve as opposed to cap-tube?



I have the Kollmann refrigeration book already and there is some very good stuff there but i don't think there is specifics on split loop that has a solenoid.
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Old 23-01-2019, 15:05   #2
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Re: Restoring 110V refrigeration system

The first thing I would do if the 110 volt system is 134a refrigerant is connect gauges to system. If system shows pressure above 40 psi static I would connect a 120 power cord direct to solenoid and it will click and get warm. Next take a second 110 power cord direct to compressor to see if compressor will run.

If system has less than 40 psi add 134a refrigerant gas vapor only, bottle upright, till pressure in system equals refrigerant bottle pressure. Now test system for leaks using which ever of my books you have.

If there are no leaks detected power solenoid and compressor without any other wiring.

I need to know which receiver tank you have on the 110 volt unit and what refrigerant sight glass Rich used in that unit. Best email pictures and include thermostat and pressure switches. Rich either used two thermostats or one thermostat and one pressure switch.
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Old 23-01-2019, 20:34   #3
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Re: Restoring 110V refrigeration system

I have parted out the system as compressor was badly rusted and AC wiring was considered hazardous. So i apologize as I was not accurate in original post. Original Rich beers Condenser was replaced by a Copeland unit, so in a way 110V used to be Rich Beers but got replaced and converted to R134A. This is the one that Id like to replicate. I am realizing that original Rich beers one had a cap-tube, was R22 based and was tossed around 2007. This is also when expansion valves were put in.

At this point I need to determine if solenoid valve used for isolating fridge box was used for engine drive loop or 110V loop. I had taken it out as it was very rusty.

Having two separate boxes one freezer and one fridge do I need to have solenoid valve? It seems I do since you don't want to freeze stuff in the fridge. Fridge thermostat engages solenoid valve and stops refrigerant flow. And freezer thermostat stops the compressor once freezer plate reaches set temperature.
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Old 24-01-2019, 11:20   #4
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Re: Restoring 110V refrigeration system

From the pictures I see there is no evidence of Rich Beer,s design involvement in 110 volt system in picture #3. The eutectic plate is a SeaFrost cast aluminum plate with half of it outside the insulated refrigerated area. The two lines going into top of plate are for engine drive system.. The two lines at the bottom are for the 110 volt unit. Because there are two separate boxes and the 110 system on this plate has its own thermostatic control valve there is most likely a plate and valve for the other box.

Picture #1 shows lines cut and open on compressor and probably the king valve on receiver is open so oil and complete 110 system including holding evaporator plate is contaminated.. Because this plate uses a gasket to seal back plate, bad idea, instead of welding you need to verify the plate still has liquid in it one or two inches below top leaving room for expansion.

Picture #4 of oversize filter/dryer is most likely for engine drive system. As to your question on refrigerant flow and control of it to each box, the best control is two thermostats, two expansion valves and a solenoid to stop refrigerant flow to refrigerator box before it becomes a freezer. You need to make a drawing of all present 110 volt systemís tubing, then I can offer some options.

Two refrigerated boxes with both engine drive and only a small 1/3 HP 110 volt system is generally not adequate without the engine drive as the small AC compressor will need to run more than 5 hours per day.
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