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Hello, I'm looking to power our fridge on a generator if the power goes out for over a day. We

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Old 04-07-2017, 08:06 AM
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Default Refrigerator on generator
Model Number: FPES19BDL1   Brand: Frigidaire   Age: More than 10 years   

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Hello,
I'm looking to power our fridge on a generator if the power goes out for over a day. We recently lost power for a few days but the food was all right since the temperature inside the house dropped to 45 degrees after the first day. I'm worried about summer time temps though.

Generator specs: 1,500 running watts and 2,000 surge watts.
Refrigerator: Frigidaire FPES19BDL1
Using an inductive ammeter meter the fridge pulls 19.5 amps on startup, 2.5 amps running.
Fridge has no issues starting on regular power.

What I'm hoping is there is a way to temporary install a device to help start the compressor ONLY when I have the generator powering it. I would manually install and remove the device via the wiring in the back when the power goes out. The fridge has no issues starting on regular power and it sounds like leaving a device hooked up might damage the compressor if used when not needed.

When starting the fridge on generator power the fridge fan turns on and I hear a relay click and 1 second later unclick but the compressor doesn't get running. The cycle repeats every 30 seconds or so and I stopped trying after the 4 retry to let things cool down and avoid damage. The voltage drops from 120VAC to 95 when the compressor tries to start with no other load on the generator using a 12 gauge wire to power the fridge.

Going off the fridge ID plate, I see an 89 in the model number. I think that is generally about when the fridge was purchased, 1989? or roughly there about at least as we recollect.

Compressor info:
Made in Italy
ESM8 R12 2,8FLA 25LRA 115 VAC
60Hz Single-phase
Thermally protected
30061


I read online and it sounds like there is some devices that might help the fridge start easier... but I'm not sure what to buy?
Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.


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Attached Images
File Type: jpg Fride ID plate2.jpg (124.7 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg fridge - comp ID.jpg (152.3 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg fridge - back dirty2.jpg (198.8 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg fridge - side of comp wiring2.jpg (160.1 KB, 5 views)

Last edited by alex-wiz : 04-07-2017 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 04-09-2017, 04:16 PM
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You ask an interesting question.

I'm going to hope your meter is incorrect as 19.5A is a huge draw. If you are in the US it would be be unusual if any 120 circuit in your house was above 20A, which will trip the breaker between 16-18 amps in reality.

I'd think that if you let the pressures in the system equalize, your compressor may be able to start on the generator. You'd need to unplug or turn off the fridge for 15-20 min to allow pressures in the system to equalize, so the compressor overload doesn't stop it. The overload is there just for that reason. The overload will trip as many times as it takes to start the compressor. The compressors are not powerful enough to start against the pressure in the high pressure (hot) side.

If you were to unplug it from the wall while running and then plug it back in quickly you'd probably trip the overload also; depending on high side pressures and how fast they drop as the refrigerant seeks equilibrium.

Try it after it's been off for 15 min and see if it starts. Also try measuring the amp draw on the red wire at the compressor at that point. If it is truly drawing 19A at 120V that is a new record for me.

Unless you live in a very hot climate or keep the unit relatively empty you may not need to power it continuously to preserve temps in a short outage. If you do not open the door frequently and have a full load you can probably get away with only letting it run to temp 3-4 times per day for several days. You can help it by filling free space with water bottles or anything that would help keep temps stable while the machine was off.

Oh and clean that condensor!

Let us know how it goes,
Drew

Last edited by PNWDrew : 04-09-2017 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 04-10-2017, 04:35 AM
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You know what's weird?

That relay says FSP on it.

The 19 amps is a peak amp reading and only happens for a second. Your running amp reading of 2.5 tells me the the compressor is OK.

Just clean all the dust out.
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Old 04-10-2017, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNWDrew View Post
You ask an interesting question.

I'm going to hope your meter is incorrect as 19.5A is a huge draw. If you are in the US it would be be unusual if any 120 circuit in your house was above 20A, which will trip the breaker between 16-18 amps in reality.

I'd think that if you let the pressures in the system equalize, your compressor may be able to start on the generator. You'd need to unplug or turn off the fridge for 15-20 min to allow pressures in the system to equalize, so the compressor overload doesn't stop it. The overload is there just for that reason. The overload will trip as many times as it takes to start the compressor. The compressors are not powerful enough to start against the pressure in the high pressure (hot) side.

If you were to unplug it from the wall while running and then plug it back in quickly you'd probably trip the overload also; depending on high side pressures and how fast they drop as the refrigerant seeks equilibrium.

Try it after it's been off for 15 min and see if it starts. Also try measuring the amp draw on the red wire at the compressor at that point. If it is truly drawing 19A at 120V that is a new record for me.
...
Oh and clean that condensor!

Let us know how it goes,
Drew
Hi Drew
I appreciate you note to help as i'd really like to get this fridge ready just in case. Its a personal challenge now I think!

Yes indeed it is 19.5 amps on startup, no typo and i'm in the US, 120 volts. I made a recording of it also during the initial test to see how much power it draws.
Video: Startup amps on shore power


Never thought about what you said regarding pressures equalizing and the hard pressure to overcome on initial turn over. I had waited about 5 mins before trying the generator on my previous test. I did retry the test tonight and waited 20 mins before powering it up after it had been off. I powered it off via the circuit breaker panel and waited by the way. Still not being able to start it. I'm wondering if I wait longer it might improve my odds? Unfortunately I didn't remember to measure the amps on startup tonight (figured it might be the same? ) and ran out of time to remove the back panel again and check the amp draw via gen startup. I can do that again this weekend.

I will clean up the condenser I did clean it from the front side about a year ago, never removed the back panel before so that area was neglected.
Does the overload tripping and the fridge trying to start possibly damage the motor? As in how many attempts should I let the fridge try while on generator power? I would figure to many attempts would not be good is why I ask.


ThatGuy: How come the relay saying FSP is weird? Did they not supply original equipment parts? I repaired a washer years ago and thought they did, or maybe i'm mixed up.
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Old 04-17-2017, 05:42 PM
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Just wanted to do a update.
I tested the fridge again but this time left it powered off for 4 hours!
Powering it up with the amp meter showed 15.6 amps of surge. Less than the 19.5 I saw previously. I have not tried it on the generator again but that second lower rating is within the 2,000 watt surge rating for the generator. I hope to test the fridge on the generator again this weekend doing the same test, 4 hours off before restart. I did try measuring the amp's after 1 hour and I still saw 19.5, same as 15-20 minute rest before restart period Not sure why it takes so long to lower the amp draw.
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Old 04-30-2017, 07:20 AM
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So I tried the fridge a few more times without the generator to see the startup amps after letting the fridge sit on its on for 2 hours, 3 hours, and 4 hours before startup. Each time the fridge pulled 19.5 amps and once 22.5.

The condenser area is very clean now with all most all dust removed. I'm noticing though this weekend that the compressor is pulling 22.5 amps on every startup now, running amps staying the same 2.5. Even if i do a 30 min, 1 hour or 2 hour off period before startup the amp draw is now 22.5. So why did the amp draw increase from 19.5 to 22.5.

Can a old worn klixon relay (PTC? compressor start relay) increase amp draw?
I did some reading and it sounds like its more likely the compressor getting old/failing or drier/filter clogging?
Note the RUNNING amps are the EXACT same though.

Ultimately the fridge is old and way past it's prime but i'm curious at this point since its an interesting troubleshooting project.
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