Troubleshooting techniques

we have been discussing are very applicable to refrigeration equipment because the constituent parts are connected in a linear fashion. Faults can be located using cause-and-effect reasoning and the half-splitting procedure. The basic physics is interesting but a little counter intuitive. How can the application of energy cause there to be less energy (molecular motion = heat) at a certain location? Because of two heat-transfer events, energy is moved from one location, the refrigerated container, to another location, the outside world, where the heat is dissipated.


Underlying this is a consequence that follows from Boyle’s law. Robert Boyle (1627–1691) regarded acquisition of knowledge an end in itself. He formulated the law named after him, which may be stated as: “For an ideal gas kept at a fixed temperature, pressure and volume are inversely proportional.” We shall see how refrigeration equipment is able to lower the temperature within a confined area by compressing a refrigerant outside of that area, allowing it to cool, and then moving it into the area to be cooled and decompressing it.

The principle parts of a refrigeration system are:

  • The compressor
  • The condenser
  • The evaporator

The compressor is generally driven by an electric motor, most commonly 240-volt for small units and three-phase for larger ones. Years ago, there was a V-belt drive. This arrangement had the disadvantage that the compressor often developed a leak around the shaft, the seal having a finite life expectancy. To remedy this flaw, the hermetically sealed combination pump-compressor unit was developed and it is used today in most commercial-scale applications. Pump and motor are in a single enclosure and they run submerged in refrigerant.

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