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DIY Refrigeration
03-03-2015, 08:50 AM,
#1
DIY Refrigeration
I have a pretty, old 50s-era Gibson refrigerator. Unfortunately the coolant coil in the fridge cracked and leaked freon everywhere. So no more cooling.

I've been looking for some kind of a retrofit kit that would allow someone in a similar situation to place a cooling coil within the box of refrigerator, run lines out the back and connect to a modern condenser of some kind. I've yet to find anything like that.

Does anyone in the group have any experience with closed-system refrigeration? I know next to nothing about it myself, but am starting to pick up the basics here and there. Anyone have similar interest and want to pool resources/research?

Let me know.
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03-03-2015, 11:02 AM,
#2
RE: DIY Refrigeration
Unfortunately, being Federally regulated (EPA) you won't find refrigeration kits for amateurs. I played with the same idea when I accidentally cracked a cooling coil while manually de-icing my old fridge. Should be possible to bend copper tubing from Home Depot into any shape you wish in the box, then run it to a condenser. As long as you include an appropriate valve when you braze the system together, and keep it clean, any refrigeration tech should be able to pull a vacuum on it then charge it. I know in CA it was hard to find someone who would charge it for you unless they worked on or built the system due to environmental laws, I don't know how difficult that would be here. Maybe setup the coil and the box, then have a tech install the condenser?
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03-03-2015, 04:04 PM,
#3
RE: DIY Refrigeration
You should be able to braze the crack.. but Abearden is correct you will have to know someone with access to coolant to recharge the system for you.

however if you wanted to strip something working and put it into this non working device that could make a nifty project as well.
-Dan

"If you didn't build it, you will never own it." - Barton Dring
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03-03-2015, 04:35 PM,
#4
RE: DIY Refrigeration
(03-03-2015, 04:04 PM)Dan Wrote: You should be able to braze the crack.. but Abearden is correct you will have to know someone with access to coolant to recharge the system for you.

however if you wanted to strip something working and put it into this non working device that could make a nifty project as well.

I actually have a little dorm fridge that I was considering cannibalizing for just that purpose... just not sure that you could do it without cutting up the coils to get the evaporator coils onto the back, putting you back in a position to need someone to come in and recharge.

Suppose that the difference in size would let you put some insulation around the "outside" coils and vent them with an additional fan or something.

Seems like something that would have some audience if you could provide some kind of "quick-connect" type coil for retrofitting into existing fridge units. Something that wouldn't require brazing/soldering, that could then be purged/charged on a current-gen compressor by a professional for a fraction of the cost. And therein lies the challenge. Smile
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05-20-2015, 01:11 AM,
#5
RE: DIY Refrigeration
You can braze modern fittings on it, vacuum it down (using an old fridge compressor ironically) then refill it with R134a or a little bit of caster oil and propane (not recommended)

The r134a may or may not eat the seals out of just about everything, and the propane is slightly more flammable than the alternatives. (which is also surprisingly flammable)

My best suggestion would be to canibalize it for other projects. Old fridges do not insulate nearly as well as their modern counterparts and their refrigeration system is lackluster as well.

I'm using a 40's/50's era pump for a silent air compressor in the corner of the garage.
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