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January 16, 2021

Viking Fridge Compressor Replacement

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:15 pm

The compressor in our Viking Professional 36 inch fridge had failed. It had been in service for about 12 years. Replacement of this compressor is non-trivial. Don’t try it yourself unless you have some familiarity with vacuum systems and refrigerants. First, the specific Embraco compressor is no longer in production. I found a suitable replacement, by Sikelan, with approximately the same electrical and mechanical specs (1.7 runtime amps, 10.9 LRA locked rotor amps, 1/4HP).

Failed compressor, before removal

Steps to replacement:

1. Extract the old refrigerant into a storage tank. In this case, the refrigerant, R-134A is a bad greenhouse gas, and so I connected the suction line from the old compressor to a previously evacuated storage tank rather than let it out into the atmosphere. This takes some vacuum system expertise, so like I said, if you aren’t familiar with that territory, leave it for an appliance pro.

Vacuum Manifold and Gauge

2. Disconnect wiring and cut the copper lines from the old compressor, then remove it.

Failed Compressor

3. Set up the new compressor in place, and solder or braze the intake, suction, and output tubes to the original fridge lines. In my case, these lines were different diameters and easy to identify. However, the tubes on the new compressor were slightly different diameter, which required creative use of a drill to get the old tubes to fit the new pump. Also connect the electrical lines appropriately.

The New Compressor, Installed

4. Evacuate the system via the suction line on the new compressor. I soldered a valve onto that line to facilitate this. Check for leaks. All good, so on to next step.

5. Connect a new refrigerant source to the suction line. I used R-12A refrigerant, which is much less impactful as a greenhouse gas than R-134A, by about 3 orders of magnitude. My local Canadian Tire store sells R-12A for about $16 for a 6oz can, exactly what I needed.

6. Start the compressor by plugging the fridge in. If all sounds good from the new compressor, load the refrigerant into the system. Use e.g. a kitchen scale to ensure you are putting in the correct amount per the fridge specifications. Disconnect the refrigerant supply after closing appropriate valves.

7. Try the fridge out. In my case, SUCCESS :-). Fridge and freezer compartment are now holding steady at 5C(40F) and -15C(6F).

Test - Temperatures in Fahrenheit

The Fridge, Successfully Repaired

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