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Re: New Fridge - setting up monitoring

"Tony Hwang" <dragon40@xxxxxxx> wrote in message
> Robert Green wrote:
> > Just got a new fridge, and I thought I would try monitoring operating
> > parameters with my home automation system.  I 've got sensors for kWhs
> > ambient room temperature, freezer and refrigerator temps and the
> > of a sensor on the back of the unit.  I was hoping this should give me
> > enough of a baseline to be able to detect "out of whack" conditions
> > they show up in a puddle on the floor or a failure to cool.
> >
> > I discovered in my old fridge that as freon leaked, the kilowatt hours
> > shot way up before I noticed the problem in the fridge temp (that became
> > obvious on a very hot day when we had the A/C off and the kitchen temp
> > about 20 degrees over normal.  Unfortunately, on the old box, I didn't
> > good baseline figures from the early on when it worked well.  That's why
> > am trying to determine what information I need to be able to have my
> > automation system (HomeVision, CPU-XA, ActiveHome and more) record and
> > process to alert me that there's an issue with the unit.
> >
> > I suspect that the electricity consumed daily will rise as the dust on
> > coils builds up.  That should be detectable by looking at the average
> > power used figure.  I am recording ambient, backplate and internal temps
> > well in case the power usage increase is due to other factors, like this
> > stinking endless heat wave.  I also want a baseline on energy consumed
> > back plate temperature in case I decide to put a filter on the air
intake to
> > minimize coil cleaning.  I found out the hard way that an added filter
> > decrease air flow on some devices to the point of overheating the motor.
> > the filter blocks too much airflow I would expect power consumption and
> > back plate temperature to rise conspicuously.
> >
> > Reading this over, I realized I need two more monitors.  A
> > dialer that can call my cellphone to tell me to buy dry ice because the
> > power or compressor failed and a door alert to let me know if the dog
> > manages to open the door again!  She's been unable to do it with the new
> > because the magnetic seal is incredibly strong - much stronger than the
> > one.  Took nearly ten pounds of pull as measured by a fish scale.  But
> > might figure out how to do it in time.  She's been watching very
> > In fact, I nearly spit out my coffee because she was eating when the new
> > unit started up when it first arrived and she went off on it as if the
> > fridge had made a move on her food.  She's still not quite comfortable
> > it.
> >
> > Any suggestions on something I might have overlooked are cheerfully
> > Bad attempts at comedy or remarks on my sanity, with much less cheer.
> >
> > --
> > Bobby G.
> >
> >
> Hmm,
> Automation system itself can fail too. Even if it had redundancy
> built-in. I'd rather depend on my ears, eyes, hands and common
> sense. Also house insurance covers for spoiled food in case of break down.

You aren't implying that just because safety systems can fail, they
shouldn't be used, are you?

You can't really hear a bad compressor all the way across the country, can
you?   I'd like to be able to check my home's critical equipment when I am
away on travel so that there aren't any unpleasant surprises when I get
home.  Same with dust on the coils.  Getting down on my hands and knees to
check for dust bunnies was something I might have done when I had two
working knees, but facing two TKR's  now it's a real issue to deal with
anything that far down.  Even with an inspection camera on a stalk there's
still the faceplate that has to be removed.  If I can tell the coils are
clogging up by some other means, then my knees will be very much the happier
for it.

But the biggest reason to do it?  Curiosity.  I want to know if the
appropriate sensors *can* give me a heads up on incipient failure.  One of
my first jobs was doing quality control at a photofinisher and the test
strips, PH readings and other diagnostics often saved thousands of dollars
in reworked or ruined jobs.  One disgruntled employee kept tossing copper
pennies in the color developer tank, which made it impossible to get good
colors in the printing process.  It was easy to spot, even though the penny
was at the bottom of a six foot tall, 4 foot wide tank filled with rollers,
because of the change in the test strips we ran 3 times a day.  Since then
I've been sold on process monitoring, even with something as simple as a

My deductible would just about make filing a claim a total waste of time.
Most likely, it would raise my rates or give my insurer a reason to cancel

Many of the refrigerator issues I've had over the years wouldn't have
happened with a redundant sensor system in place.  These include the dog
opening the fridge door and yanking out stuff that blocked it open (here
come the "kill the dog" remarks from the heavy breathing Neanderthals), my
loading the freezer too full and not noticing the door hasn't closed, going
away without realizing the lack of opening and closing the door would drop
the refrigerator compartment to below freezing, having a blocked drain back
up condensate into the coils and freezing into a solid block, having the
fridge pop the GFI circuit it used to be plugged into,. etc.

I suppose it's just Usenet but it still surprises me at how many people are
concerned about how *I* choose to spend my time and resources as if it was
hurting them in some way.  No offense meant, Tony. You were at least civil
in your comments.  That's rare.  But if you look back to threads like the
one about cabinet safety latches, people were not shy or civil in expressing
profound contempt for the way someone had decided they wanted to handle

I appreciate your concern about system failures, but since this is a "bolt
on" that in no way affects the system it is monitoring, there's really
nothing to worry about.  It the monitors fail, I am back to where I started

Bobby G.

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