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Re: New Fridge - setting up monitoring

"Dan Lanciani" <ddl@danlan.*com> wrote in message
> In article <i3i6nf$ene$1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
robert_green1963@xxxxxxxxx (Robert Green) writes:
> | going
> | away without realizing the lack of opening and closing the door would
> | the refrigerator compartment to below freezing
> I noticed this effect (i.e., that I was part of the temperature
> on my previous KitchenAid refrigerator (which replaced an in retrospect
> superior 1959 Tappan).  The temperature controls also required tweaking
> season to season apparently to account for ambient temperature.

I haven't seen the seasonal affect, but as we travel for two or three days
at a time, it's clear that we need to remember to turn the dial (expertly
calibrated with a variable width line and no numerals), up when we leave and
down when we're back.  The GE holds the temperature at 38 without freezing
when the door gets open even just a few times a day, but when no one touches
it, it's frozen milk, tea and more.

> This puzzled
> me at first.  I knew that only the refrigerator section was
> controlled (relying on the compressor to run enough to keep the freezer
> frozen) but you would think that this would at least result in, like, you
> regulating the temperature in the refrigerator section.

You would think that, but for whatever reason, it's obviously not so.
"There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a
dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity . . . The
Refrigerator Zone."

> I eventually decided that the problem was that the thermostat in the
> refrigerator section was in the air path from the freezer section, so
> if you set it such that the desired steady-state temperature was
> it would take a very long time to get there, perhaps never getting there
> you opened the door from time to time.  On the other hand if you set it to
> keep the temperature where you wanted with the door opening occasionally
> would freeze as you noticed when you weren't there to open the door.

It's not a good choice.  I'd hate to have to add anything to the
ever-growing "leaving the house checklist" (which I hope to someday automate
with a voice that will even know when I am lying to it just to get it to
shut up).   But just like the Whirlpool before it, this GE *has* to be set
back slightly if you keep the refrigerator below 40 degrees for normal use.

It may be just the way it's designed, although you would think that a
freezer that dropped from 0 to -10 would be nowhere near as bad as a
refrigerator compartment that dropped from 38 to 28 degrees.  Maybe the
voltage to the compressor increases when no one's home running lights or AC.
That's something worth monitoring just because there are sometimes rolling
brownouts at this time of year.  I wonder what the various tech support
people would say causes the problem of "vacation freezing."

Another thing I've found is a tremendous variance of internal temperatures.
The veggie drawer is 10 degrees warmer than the shelf where the freezer
exhausts into the refrigerator compartment.  The right hand rear corner is
the best place to keep the extra milk in - until it freezes.

I suppose if I dialed in remotely, I could turn off the fridge remotely via
a relay on the cord if the lower compartment was freezing, but there would
have to be about a year of reliability testing before that happened.  (-:

> I bought a Sub-Zero which uses a completely separate cooling system for
> freezer and refrigerator.  This works very well, but I still wonder how
> the old Tappan managed to do the same job with only one compressor.  As
> far as I remember it did not blow air from the freezer into the
> and I think there were coils in both sections, so perhaps it diverted
> freon according to need.

You would have had to have heard a pretty noticeable clacking for it to
switch coils, I would imagine.  There's a very loud clack in the GE's
startup routine (cold start from the wall plug) so maybe that's exactly how
it's done.

Speaking of noises, a friend suggested that one of the most useful records I
could have would be a simple microphone attached to the frame to record what
he believes will be a unique sound signature.  Since his lifetime was spent
improving the MTBF figures on F-16's, I tend to agree.  Just like Brit solex
carbs, the sound a mechanical device makes says a lot about how it's
operating (and yet so many people drive around with chirping brakes that
turn into scraping ones!).

> Systems to run multiple evaporators from one
> condenser (not one outdoor unit with multiple condensers) are starting
> to show up in mini-splits so this general kind of thing seems possible.

Did you ever look for the service manuals?  I haven't for mine, but I think
I am about to.  Your comments about seasonal changes have reminded me that
measure the internal and external humidity might be tell me more about what
causes the seasonal drift.  Now I know why I bought that web control device
that's still sitting on the workbench with the two humidity sensors and all
the other sensors I would need to monitor (and perhaps even correct) device
behavior remotely.  This is the perfect job for it.

The reason I know there's a fan inside is that when I opened the door with
room humidity near 100% I saw a jet of condensation emanating from a square
hole in the back at fan powered speed.  .

Good luck with your propane sensor.  I can only guess that part of their
reluctance to call back has to do with propane disasters.  I am sure they
feel that by sticking to Henry Ford's "any color" theory, they are limiting
problems down the line.  Did they say what their modem package cost?  You
could probably piggy back on that although it seems a shame to have to kluge
it like that.  Maybe they'll give you the modem deal free if you call them
back often enough. (-:  I've been amazed at what persistence can achieve.

Time to search for the on-line manuals amid the dozens of scam and
drive-by-downloading sites that target people looking for drivers, manuals
and song lyrics.  Maybe I'll just go to GE.  I need an extra shelf, anyway.
(Anybody notice how two liter bottles suddenly got taller?)

Bobby G.

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