A New Hope – The Kegerator Genesis

Janky Shack recently acquired a broken kegerator destined to the scrap yard. As you probably know by now we had our way with it first to see if this 12 year old machine had any life left.

The first thing we noticed when we plugged it in was it made noise! yay something must be working. So we left it plugged in for a beer or two and opened it back up to only to find out why this thing had been abandoned… It was extra room temperature inside. NOT TO WORRY! This is where we got out a few screw drivers, a propane torch, and of course a bag of zip ties.

I did some further investigation inside where the keg goes only to find the thermostat wasn’t connected. Hmmm… that would be too easy though. So after connecting the thermostat and testing again we discovered one of the small copper tubes in the back near the compressor was starting a white Christmas solo career.

Now Janky Shack certainly has experience with air conditioning in machines with 4 wheels and a gas pedal, but hadn’t expanded its knowledge base into refrigerators until this point. While one of the team members was searching with a flashlight underneath for a v belt and attached 300 horsepower v8 the rest of us were on a mission to resolve the mystery of this long small diameter copper tube.

Thanks to a clash of clans addiction and an email full of craigslist ads, one of us had a smart phone to jack our brains into the matrix and we figured out this capillary tube is what this system uses to create a pressure drop.

Using a propane torch we heated the capillary tube until it only kind of burns you and worked the restriction back down to the bottom where there was a small accumulator. Bending the accumulator upwards a bit seemed to help the oil from getting into the capillary tube. Also the condenser was dressed up like a furry watching the Shining, so we removed the raccoon’s worth of hair.

For those of you who don’t have matrix access, after the refrigerant gas goes through the compressor it is condensed into a liquid via a radiator called a condenser. You have probably seen these outside of a house or in front of the radiator in a car. After the condenser the high pressure liquid refrigerant goes though a restriction, which in this case is a capillary tube. The restriction creates a pressure drop and this is where the magic happens, something about thermodynamics or something. Now that there is all this cold it needs to go forth and prosper into the air of the car or fridge or house so it goes through another radiator looking thing called an evaporator and then back to the compressor.

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