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Recharging an r134a refrigerator?

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Well, I've more or less "adopted" a GE Whirlpool Gold Ice Maker from '07. After finding out that new these things retail for $1,700, I'm determined to fix it - long story short I've found that it's demonstrating symptoms of being low on refrigerant. The evaporator "line" gets cold, and it gets frosty at the very end but it's obviously not getting cold enough. I did a little bit of research and some other GE refrigerators/other equipment from that time have already required recharging.

 

Long story short, I'd like to recharge it - but I'm having trouble finding a way to recharge it. I've studied A/C systems and know all about how they work, but it's proving difficult to find the resources to actually learn to do it. I don't need anyone to say "you need a licensed tech"; I know that the parts/taps/gauges that I need can be purchased locally/online. If I can do a simple recharge without having to evacuate the system, I'm pretty sure that I can, it'd be nice to know...

 

The compressor gets warm, but not hot, and the condensing coil doesn't really get warm but is completely clean and the fan is operating. I'm not sure how these things are supposed to "cycle", being the type of icemaker that it is. I believe it has to switch from cold to hot once ice has formed on the cascade tray, to melt the sheet of ice so it will slide onto the slicing tray where it will be cut into cubes.

 

Help me out, OCC!

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Is it an Ice maker or refrigerator with ice maker?

 

Do you have a set of gauges? How deep do you want to get to fix it ? You can call me if you need to but I have some options!

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you make it sound like A/C gauges are cheap - they are not

I only know how to work on auto A/Cs but they operate similarly

you may be able to rent the tools locally

you should also call around to get a quote on a recharge, shouldnt be over 100$ and will save you a headache

did you search youtube for a how to video yet?

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you make it sound like A/C gauges are cheap - they are not

I only know how to work on auto A/Cs but they operate similarly

you may be able to rent the tools locally

you should also call around to get a quote on a recharge, shouldnt be over 100$ and will save you a headache

did you search youtube for a how to video yet?

 

Nope not making them sound cheap but knowing him and his capabilities I have to ask. I work on commercial refrigeration systems for a living. A simple recharge is going to cost more than a $100. That will barely cover the trip charge in my neck of the woods. Plus with a leak you will need to find and repair said leak again raising the repair cost.

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It's a legit icemaker, not a fridge that has an icemaker in it.

 

http://www.whirlpool.com/kitchen-1/refrigeration-2/refrigerators-3/-%5BGI15NDXXS%5D-1001330/GI15NDXXS/

 

That's the newer, replacement model. Being that it still is cooling and probably sat for over a year before they got rid of it, I'm not too concerned about a hole. I'd like to get it working so I could sell it, lol!

 

Up top is the cascade tray that is two pieces of aluminum that sandwich the cooling coils. Underneath it is some more plumbing and an accumulator. The plumbing beneath the cascade tray actually gets frost on it - will freeze water immediately on your skin (it feels "sticky, so to speak) so I KNOW that it's working enough there. I'm not sure if a "clog" could exist or if the accumulator could go bad, or something.

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The accumulator just keeps liquid from slugging the compressor. Does it have a cap tube or TXV for the metering device? A clogged cap tube can give the same symptom as a low charge. The most likely culprit is a leak. How much of the evaporator freezes up without water running over it?

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The accumulator just keeps liquid from slugging the compressor. Does it have a cap tube or TXV for the metering device? A clogged cap tube can give the same symptom as a low charge. The most likely culprit is a leak. How much of the evaporator freezes up without water running over it?

 

None of the evaporator freezes. If anything, it's just cool to the touch but like I said the plumbing underneath it gets loads of frost on it. As far as I know it's completely sealed. No services ports/etc from what I can find

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None of the evaporator freezes. If anything, it's just cool to the touch but like I said the plumbing underneath it gets loads of frost on it. As far as I know it's completely sealed. No services ports/etc from what I can find

 

That sounds like it is part of the switching mechanism is bad not allowing the refrigerant into the evaporator. Either a relay or valve not working correctly.

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That sounds like it is part of the switching mechanism is bad not allowing the refrigerant into the evaporator. Either a relay or valve not working correctly.

 

 

OK thanks Frank. I'll look further into that...

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