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  • New To Me Bev Air BM23

    I just picked up an old Beverage Air BM23 kegerator from Craigs List for $150! It is old and dirty, smells a bit funny, and definitely needs a little TLC, but I think I got a sweet deal. I have always wanted a commercial kegerator to replace my Sanyo converted Kegerator, and finally was able to find one at a price I could handle!

    I put a pint glass of water in it to test the cooling, and after about half a day, it got down to 33F degrees (Thermostat set to 9, the highest setting) I left it overnight, and it looks like 33F is as cold as it will go. Is that all the colder these units will get, or does it need to be serviced?

    I have a couple questions for you guys:

    1. What are some good websites for parts and troubleshooting?

    2. Any tips on cleaning/preventing rust on the inside seams (Where the galvanized sides meet the stainless bottom)

    3. How do you tell what year the unit is from?

    4. I am missing the tower insulation, any good sources for that?

    5. In the following pic, what is that small hose for under the evaporator unit? (It is pretty nasty and I want to replace it!)



    Here are more pictures of the unit:






    I can't wait until I can truly test this thing out, and finally be able to accommodate pony kegs!

  • #2
    Originally posted by whiplash willy View Post
    I put a pint glass of water in it to test the cooling, and after about half a day, it got down to 33F degrees (Thermostat set to 9, the highest setting) I left it overnight, and it looks like 33F is as cold as it will go. Is that all the colder these units will get, or does it need to be serviced?

    I have a couple questions for you guys:

    1. What are some good websites for parts and troubleshooting?

    2. Any tips on cleaning/preventing rust on the inside seams (Where the galvanized sides meet the stainless bottom)

    3. How do you tell what year the unit is from?

    4. I am missing the tower insulation, any good sources for that?

    5. In the following pic, what is that small hose for under the evaporator unit? (It is pretty nasty and I want to replace it!)
    Congratulations on your kegerator!

    A bev air should certainly get colder than 33 at if it's working at 100%. If that is as cold as it's getting several things could be the issue. Thermostat might be faulty, the refrigerant might be low or it might just need some general servicing.

    Take a 5 gallon bucket, fill it with water and place it in the unit for 24 hours, be sure the thermostat is at max. After 24 hours, take the temperature of the water in the bucket. If it gets below 40 degrees then it will work as is - although at 40 it might not be cold enough for your preference. If it can't get below 40, it needs some help to make it get colder. A glass of water doesn't have enough mass to reflect the true temperature of the unit. It gets colder than a full keg will and it will warm up faster as the compressor kicks off. The air temperature is never constant - but a keg will be once it acclimates.


    1. This is a great website for troubleshooting - using the search function you can check to see if any threads/answers exist for your potential issues. If you can't find answers, make a new post. MicroMatic also sells every part you can need as far as beer components go. If you are looking for BevAir replacement parts for the unit itself, you can probably check bevair's website for where to buy parts.

    2. I would get a scrub brush and some rust removing solvent and take out as much as possible. Then put some sort of clear coat on top to prevent more. At that age of a unit, it's possible there is a lot of rust you can't see. There is a reason why it was $150 - which is a great deal.

    3. Looks pretty dated - are there any registration markings or serial numbers on the compressor - that is how our resident refrigerator expert, Iceman, typically can figure it out.

    4. Tower's aren't insulated - you can insulate your own if you want to. Some members use beer koozies or pool noodles. You should have a tower cooler on your unit, which will perform better without the insulation, in my opinion.

    5. I am pretty sure that hose is just to move condensation to the drain pan under the unit. You should be able to remove it and replace it with any comparably sized hose. Beer you are going to drink will not travel through this, so it doesn't matter what it's made from.

    These are great units and even if you dump an extra $300 into it, it's still a steal. Even if nothing else needs repair I would certainly buy new beerline. It's cheap and will make a difference if the previous lines weren't well cared for. Pick up a cleaning kit while you are at it.
    Last edited by Sketch; 07-16-2012, 10:17 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      If you have the serial number you can go to the Beverage Air website, Customer Support Tab, then Warranty Information, then Warranty Verification and it should tell you the in service date.
      What I have: Haier two tap, 525 faucets, tower cooler, 10' lines

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks guys. I will fill a 5 gallon bucket and let it sit for a few days to see what temp it gets to. It shouldn't be a problem running it at the coldest setting for an extended period of time right? I tried looking up the serial number (050I769) on Bev Airs website, but it says it is invalid, it must be too old to recognize it.

        It is R12, so it must be really old. From what I am reading so far, R12 is really expensive to refill, and may not be worth keeping the unit if it needs more R12 right? Can this unit use any other types of coolant, or am I stuck with R12?

        My condenser coils don't seem too dirty, but they do appear to have some light surface rust on them. Could this cause a problem? Is there anything I can do to clean them besides compressed air and a vacuum?

        I am going to remove the evaporator cover and check things in there, and do some light cleaning. I am thinking of replacing the thermostat as well, since they are pretty cheap, just to see if that helps with the cooling. Do the thermostats need to be calibrated, or do you just wire it in and go?

        Also, one other thing. After running it for a day and a half, I noticed some moisture inside the unit, around the lower side seams. This is probley why those areas are rusted. I am guessing this is not normal. How can I find out where the moisture is coming from?

        Comment


        • #5
          Check the door seal:

          Throw a bright light into the kegerator (battery operated, flashlight, lantern, etc). Shut the door. Look around the door seal for ANY light poking through, even a pinhead. This works best if the lights are off in the room the kegerator is in.

          If the door seal is faulty (at this age, it probably is, unless someone recently replaced it) then fixing that should take care of any condensation. If there are a lot of holes/gaps in the seal then fixing it will also allow the unit to get to a colder temp. It won't have to fight warm air entering or cold air escaping through the gaps.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sketch View Post
            Check the door seal:

            Throw a bright light into the kegerator (battery operated, flashlight, lantern, etc). Shut the door. Look around the door seal for ANY light poking through, even a pinhead. This works best if the lights are off in the room the kegerator is in.

            If the door seal is faulty (at this age, it probably is, unless someone recently replaced it) then fixing that should take care of any condensation. If there are a lot of holes/gaps in the seal then fixing it will also allow the unit to get to a colder temp. It won't have to fight warm air entering or cold air escaping through the gaps.
            Thanks Sketch, I will do that. I may just replace the seal anyways because they aren't that expensive.

            So for the rust in the lower corners, between the galvanized side walls and SS Floor, I will be sanding to remove the rust. I want to put something over that area to protect it from rusting again. 3M makes a Marine Grade Silicone Sealant

            (Link: 3M Marine Grade Silicone Sealant, 08019, 3 fl oz Tube, Clear-Shop 3M)

            That sounds like it may help prevent rust in that area due to moisture/condensation. Any suggestions on what to use to seal that area?

            Comment


            • #7
              A couple of quick things...
              You should never have to set the temperature control to '9'. If everything is working as it should, you run the danger of freezing up the evaporator. Those units generally should run at a setting of '4' to '5'. If it does not reach temperature at those settings you could have problems. It could be anything from a bad door seal to refrigeration problems.

              The door seal could be where the moisture is coming from. An easy way to check is to take a dollar bill & close the door on it at various points around the seal. With the door closed, tug lightly on the dollar. If the dollar slides out without resistance the seal is not sealing but if you can't readily slide the dollar around the edge of the door you're seal is probably okay.

              I wouldn't worry too much about the drain tube. You might wish to carefully take it loose from the drain fitting on the evaporator pan & blow it out with compressed air.

              From your pics & given that you have an R-12 unit, I would say you definitely have an old unit - 20 years or more. It is at least pre-1994, that is the year R-12 was phased out. If you could get a closer shot of the data plate (without the cord in the way) on the compressor I might be able to tell you how old it is from the serial number. There are replacement refrigerants for R-12 that work pretty well but I can see from the pics that the unit has never needed to be serviced - no service valves.



              ​THE ICEMAN
              My conversion ===------->> KILLER KEGERATOR
              "Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
              -Dave Barry-
              "We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards.
              Strong beer is the milk of the old."
              -Martin Luther-

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by THE ICEMAN View Post
                A couple of quick things...
                You should never have to set the temperature control to '9'. If everything is working as it should, you run the danger of freezing up the evaporator. Those units generally should run at a setting of '4' to '5'. If it does not reach temperature at those settings you could have problems. It could be anything from a bad door seal to refrigeration problems.


                The door seal could be where the moisture is coming from. An easy way to check is to take a dollar bill & close the door on it at various points around the seal. With the door closed, tug lightly on the dollar. If the dollar slides out without resistance the seal is not sealing but if you can't readily slide the dollar around the edge of the door you're seal is probably okay.

                I wouldn't worry too much about the drain tube. You might wish to carefully take it loose from the drain fitting on the evaporator pan & blow it out with compressed air.

                From your pics & given that you have an R-12 unit, I would say you definitely have an old unit - 20 years or more. It is at least pre-1994, that is the year R-12 was phased out. If you could get a closer shot of the data plate (without the cord in the way) on the compressor I might be able to tell you how old it is from the serial number. There are replacement refrigerants for R-12 that work pretty well but I can see from the pics that the unit has never needed to be serviced - no service valves.



                ​THE ICEMAN

                That would be awesome if you could look up the date for me off the compressor. I am interested in knowing its age!

                Here is a close up picture of the serial off the compressor:

                Upclose serial.jpg

                I also typed it out since it is kind of hard to read:

                AE 160 AS 719 (A6)
                T F2287 E 0 3 4 9 5 2 AE 3417 4
                115Hz 60 LRA-22

                Over the weekend I filled up a 5 gallon bucket and set the thermostat to 5. After 24 hrs it the water temp got down to about 40*F. I then set the thermostat to 6, and tested it 12 hours later, and then again this morning at it was at 37.5*F. This morning before I left for work I set it to 7, and will check it again.

                I feel that it could probley cool better, but it is probley cooling well enough for use. What do you guys think? I still need to check the door seal. I also need to check/clean the evaporator coils.

                The Compressor Coils are free of dust now, but do have a little surface rust, as you can see in the pic. Do you think the rust will have a negative effect on cooling?

                Compressor Rust Small.jpg

                Also, my last kegerator was a converted Sanyo Mini Fridge. I had it plugged into a Johnson's control box, so the temp was very consistent. How is the consistency of the BM-23's thermostat? Also, as you get to the last 1/4th of the Keg, do you have to mess with the thermostat, or can you set it and forget it?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Did you calibrate your thermometer before using it? If you didn't and it's reading a few degrees colder - your unit might still not be cold enough. Being that you are still in the middle of the dial - it's probably fine, but since you are just barely below 38, you might double check.

                  As far as 'cooling well enough for use' that is a bit of a personal question. I dispense my beer at 38, because I find that to be optimal as far as flavor/ease of balance goes. If you want cold cold beer - you might want your unit running at a lower temp.

                  I don't have any input on the surface rust, I personally wouldn't worry about it - but I have no real knowledge about it.

                  The BM23 should be much more consistent than a sanyo - but if you have a bad door seal - it will have a hard time maintaining a constant temp. You should not have to adjust the temperature near the end of a keg. It's not uncommon for that last little bit to be slightly over carbonated - but I don't personally adjust temp, and I don't know of any other members that do either.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sketch, I had problems in the past with crappy thermometers, so a few years back I went all out and bought a $100 thermopen, so I would never have to worry about inaccurate readings! I did test it in ice water and it is good.

                    ThermoWorks - Splash-Proof Thermapen Thermometer

                    I will keep testing each dial setting to see what temp my bucket of water gets down to after 24 hours...that would be good to know anyways! I am glad the BM23 thermostat is consistent, I don't like adding "aftermarket" items to things if I don't have to.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      whiplash willy,
                      If you don't have the air hose for the tower cooler, you are going to find one once the water gets to temperature, I think it goes into the hole between dial and fan, other end hooks at shank.
                      KB

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by whiplash willy View Post
                        That would be awesome if you could look up the date for me off the compressor. I am interested in knowing its age!

                        Here is a close up picture of the serial off the compressor:



                        I also typed it out since it is kind of hard to read:

                        AE 160 AS 719 (A6)
                        T F2287 E 0 3 4 9 5 2 AE 3417 "A"
                        115Hz 60 LRA-22

                        Over the weekend I filled up a 5 gallon bucket and set the thermostat to 5. After 24 hrs it the water temp got down to about 40*F. I then set the thermostat to 6, and tested it 12 hours later, and then again this morning at it was at 37.5*F. This morning before I left for work I set it to 7, and will check it again.

                        I feel that it could probley cool better, but it is probley cooling well enough for use. What do you guys think? I still need to check the door seal. I also need to check/clean the evaporator coils.

                        The Compressor Coils are free of dust now, but do have a little surface rust, as you can see in the pic. Do you think the rust will have a negative effect on cooling?



                        Also, my last kegerator was a converted Sanyo Mini Fridge. I had it plugged into a Johnson's control box, so the temp was very consistent. How is the consistency of the BM-23's thermostat? Also, as you get to the last 1/4th of the Keg, do you have to mess with the thermostat, or can you set it and forget it?
                        It looks like your compressor has not been changed over the years. I have highlighted the serial numbers & model number I was looking for above. The 'F**87' tells me that the compressor was manufactured in June of 1987. The 'AE3417A' was the model number of the compressor. If for some reason you had to replace the compressor down the road the new model number would be 'AEA3417AXA'. So basically you have a senior citizen as far as beer boxes go - about 25 years old.

                        As I mentioned before, everything looks to be original on the unit meaning it has not had need to be serviced as far as the freon goes. That is a good sign. Check on the door seals & take your time checking the temps - adjust it a little at a time & let it run.

                        The condenser coils don't look bad, I wouldn't worry about them. Just make sure they stay clean.


                        EDIT: If you will go back to your first pic of the evaporator housing, you will see a hole in the cover in the upper left corner by the temp control. That hole originally had a tube running up to the top of the tower providing cold air to keep beer lines in the tower cooled. You may wish to get some tubing to replace the one that is missing or else you will have foaming problems.




                        ​THE ICEMAN
                        Last edited by THE ICEMAN; 07-23-2012, 08:18 PM. Reason: Added Goodness...
                        My conversion ===------->> KILLER KEGERATOR
                        "Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
                        -Dave Barry-
                        "We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards.
                        Strong beer is the milk of the old."
                        -Martin Luther-

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Iceman, thanks for checking the date for me! It is cool knowing the manufacture date. I still have the original tower cooler tubing, but you can tell it is 25+ old. It is yellow and moldy. I am going to remove the brackets, and find something I can replace it with, I rather not pay $25 for micromatic's replacement.

                          So far it seems it will cool kegs to the temp I want, but as it is, I may have to set the thermostat too high. Running it at 7 or 8 would cause issues right? I think I will have to set it to 7 or 8 to get the temps I would wont in it's current state. I still have more things I can do like cleaning the evaporator, changing the door seal, and possibly a new thermostat, but we will see how it goes.

                          Here are the temperatures I have achieved so far in my 5 gallon water bucket, after letting it sit 24 hours for each setting:

                          5 -- 40*F
                          6 -- 37.5*F
                          7 -- 36*F
                          8 -- 34.5*F

                          My next step will be cleaning. I want to remove the tower to clean it, but I am worried I may ruin the seal/gasket between the tower and the top. Do you guys think that will happen, or know where I can get a new gasket?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If it were me I would put the setting at 6 for 37.5 degree beer - my personal dispense temperature is 38.

                            If you want colder beer, you should be fine moving the dial to 7 or 8 as long as the compressor cycles - if it runs constantly without ever turning off, that is where I think an issue could arise.

                            Also - the door seal. When you replace that, assuming it's as old as everything else, your unit will run much more effeciently.

                            Tower Mounting Gasket

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As long as the compressor cycles on & off at 7 or 8 you shouldn't have a problem. The temp control, over time, may have come out of adjustment internally. The only danger is if the compressor runs continuously causing the evaporator coils to freeze over. The only way those units defrost themselves is when the compressor cycles off & the evaporator fan blows air through the coil to melt any frost that might have built up.

                              EDIT: Looks like Sketch beat me to it.



                              ​THE ICEMAN
                              My conversion ===------->> KILLER KEGERATOR
                              "Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
                              -Dave Barry-
                              "We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards.
                              Strong beer is the milk of the old."
                              -Martin Luther-

                              Comment

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