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Subzero 3211RFD Condenser Cooling


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18 replies to this topic

#1 GM

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 06:15 AM

Hello - I'm running into a problem with my 3211RFD not cooling the condenser sufficiently causing the compressor to short cycle. Any advice or suggestions will be much appreciated.

 

I've done the usual cleaning of the condenser and the condenser fan operation is normal (runs continuously on this model), but with the front baffle in place (the solid plate that installs in front of the compressors and helps direct exhaust air to the back and then down over the drain pan), it still gets too hot. Operation is normal with that baffle removed.

 

I don't see what else I can do to clean the condenser short of removing and tanking it. And while the fridge works great with that front baffle removed, I'm concerned that the drain pan may not evaporate normally.

 

Has anyone encountered this? Think it's OK to leave that baffle off? I don't want to start growing anything down in that drain pan.

 

Thanks in advance for any wisdom.

 

Glenn



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#2 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 07:27 AM

is the Compressor also running continuosly

(because of a leaky system) ?

Fan should still be able to cool it, unless Compressor is also bad


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#3 GM

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 07:43 AM

With the baffle in place, compressor cycles on/off due to heat. With baffle removed, compressor operation (and cooling) is normal.



#4 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:02 AM

What are the actual compartment temperatures?  

 

Also, is the condenser turning vigorously fast, moving air with a whooshing noise?  Or is it moving air but quietly?



#5 GM

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:15 AM

Compressors were too hot to touch with the front baffle in place. Condenser fan is running normally. Quiet but steady air flow. To my knowledge it's single speed only. It does run continuously in this model. 

 

And BTW, both compressors were replaced in this fridge about 5 years ago according to paperwork I found with the unit. The fridge side compressor is an Embraco.  

 

We bought the house 3 years ago and at that time I pulled the fridge and gave it a major cleaning, replaced doors seals, replaced drain pan that was missing, replaced rotted out drain hoses, replaced thermostats in both fridge & freezer, reinstalled rear baffle that was removed for some reason, installed new icemaker and valve, etc.

 

It's been running like a champ since.

 

Same basic setup as this pic from a 561 posted here previously: http://appliantology..._4_2_409005.png

 

Currently fridge is at a nice 36 degrees with control set at about 2 1/2.



#6 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:18 AM

I'm suspecting a lazy condenser fan motor-- that's where it's still turning but not at rated speed and not moving enough air.  The raises the head temperature and pressure at the condenser.  Can you make a Youtube video of the condenser fan running and post the link here?



#7 GM

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:21 AM

I can do that this evening. RPMs could be low. Unfortunately I don't have a strobe to check.

 

It would be great if that was all it was. Those motors are pretty inexpensive.

 

Many thanks. Video coming.



#8 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:25 AM

The tip-off was your statement:

 

 

 

Compressors were too hot to touch with the front baffle in place. Condenser fan is running normally. Quiet but steady air flow. 

 

That's not normal.  Condenser fan blades turning at rated speed should make noise as they push the air.  Quiet is bad.  



#9 PDuff

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 09:36 AM

Concur with Master Samurai.  Replace condenser fan motor and shoot compressed air or nitrogen through condenser coil to be sure it's clear.  Also check rear panel in ref section about halfway down on the left side for ice or moisture beading.  Could indicate system leak at evaporator.



#10 GM

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 05:28 AM

OK, here's some video. There is audio if you turn up your speakers a bit.



#11 certified tech group 51

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:48 AM

Your condenser motor appears to be a new unit............Aluminum housing  vs.  steel housing..........Which way is the air moving ???................Right to left or left to right????............................The  baffle  ( black metal plate with insulation on the inside and the wire diagram pouch on the outside   )  should have a gap, on the left side,  about 5 inches for the air to flow out of................Never heard of the condenser air flow to be forced down the rear of the unit to dry out the defrost drain pan........ Air flow is;    in on the right side, thru the condenser, into the compressor area and then out the left side around the decorative front panel................Blowing out the condenser coils with compressed air is a good way to clean the coils but beware of a dust storm into the kitchen..... :woot: ........................P.S...    Did I only see one filter dryer in the video ????............



#12 GM

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 10:08 AM

I thought about the dust storm issue, too - lol. I've cleaned with a good shop vac with a brush attachments from the inlet side. Pretty hard to get at the outlet side without some major disassembly.

 

That fan motor is original as far as I know. I did clean it all up a couple of years ago. I didn't look for a date code.

 

The way this unit appears to be designed is that the air is pulled in the front right, pulled over the condenser by the fan, then pushed down the rear of the fridge by way of a solid panel that stands off about 1.5" from the back. The air then exits down over the drip pan and out the kick area.

 

With the front baffle removed as in the picture, air does in fact just drift out the front left area.

 

That front baffle is a white piece of steel with fiberglass insulation on the side facing the compressors. While it doesn't create an airtight seal at the front, it does block off most of the area directing the air to the back.

 

I'm guessing the design was not only to move air over that drip pan, but also to keep the icemaker line where it enters the freezer from freezing up? That's why I'm hesitant to just leave it off. I keep thinking Subzero put it there for a purpose.

 

And I'm not sure on the dryers as I wasn't looking for them specifically. According to service manual driers were originally next to the condenser. I can't see how to attach a copy of that manual here but if anyone would like a copy PM your email info and I'll be glad to send it out to you. 



#13 certified tech group 51

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 09:33 AM

Did the 'over heating' of the compressor show up recently, how did you find the problem???...If you are correct on the freezer water line , I would leave the panel off and monitor it for a while, it is in your own home so you can keep a eye on it...main thing is air flow across the condenser coils , the more the better.......The replacement condenser motor speed is about 1300 R.P.M.  



#14 GM

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 09:47 AM

Yes, overheating showed up recently. The temp in the refrigerator side of the unit started creeping up to the point where I pulled off the top panel to listen for the compressor cycling and found it going on/off frequently and very hot to the touch. I suppose some sort of thermal cutoff was at work to keep the compressor motor from burning up.

 

I'll take your advice and leave the panel off and watch it. And just for fun I'll throw another condenser fan in there. I found a brand new one for $40 online so worst case I'll have a spare. And with the fan pulled out for the swap I can get in a bit on that side of the compressor for more vacuuming.



#15 PDuff

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 10:11 AM

Might be a good idea to remove the rear panel in ref section and examine the frost pattern on the evaporator.  Remove shelves and pull upper crisper drawers and shelf forward a few inches.  Remove three screws from upper fan cover and remove cover.  Should be able to carefully pull panel out and up off side mounting pegs.  Check evaporator for excessive frost or ice buildup at inlet (upper left corner).  If buildup is found indications are a sealed system leak in that evaporator causing excessive compressor run time.



#16 GM

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 10:18 AM

Thanks Sohei. I did have that internal panel off early in my diagnosis phase and evaporator coil and inlet were not iced up.

 

At this point I'm running without the top compressor area baffle in place and performance is normal although room noise level is certainly higher. Fridge compressor is not overly hot (can comfortably put your hand on it) or running that often and temp in fridge maintains a steady 30-40 degree range.



#17 woftam

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 08:16 PM

  Sounds like you need to blow out cond coils..It is going to make mess.I carry old towels to seal off compressor side best I can and use exhaust from shop vac. Baffle does force air down to drain pan so check pan if you are going to run without it.

 

  I see in video ref side heat exchanger and compressor was replaced, was evaporator replaced as well? Can also see fre side drier has been replaced but ref drier  passes by to quick to make out. Was it replaced ?


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#18 GM

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 06:36 AM

Just to close this out for anyone doing a search, the issue was inadequate cooling of the condenser. Fan turned out to be OK, but even though the condenser was well  vacuumed out, that wasn't sufficient. I had to remove the shroud assembly around the condenser, vacuum, then I sprayed it down on both sides with coil cleaner. What a mess, but it got tons of dirt out. Took a couple of hours.

 

I did leave the front baffle that sits in front of the two compressors off as it does help cooling and there doesn't seem to be any adverse effect to icemaker operation (was concerned about line freezing) or the drip pan contents evaporating. it is noisier than before, however, but not too objectionable.

 

My recommendation to any homeowner that inherits one of these and wants to keep it would be to remove the doors, get a handtruck and take the entire carcass outside, and go at the entire top area with compressed air and a pressure washer for the condenser. While that might seem like a lot of work, price a 48" replacement and then it won't seem so bad :wink:



#19 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 07:12 AM

Thanks for posting the update!  This will help others coming along in the future with a similar problem.  






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