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  • Beverage-air condenser / thermo

    I just bought a used Beverage-Air BM23-B yesterday for $500, approx 5 years old. My very first kegerator! The unit is in very good shape, although it is obvious the previous owner did not clean it regularly (beer line, faucet, condenser, etc.)

    As soon as I got home I cleaned the unit, plugged it in and set the thermostat to setting 5. Then I ran out got the Co2 tank filled and got a 1/4 of Lager.

    The unit is getting cold with no problem. I have placed a large cup of water inside and stuck a thermometer in it, and on setting 5 it gets down to around 30-32 degrees. The problem seems to be that the once the condenser kicks on, it does not want to shut off. I have to physically turn the thermo knob until it shuts off, otherwise it will keep running. This morning it kicked on and ran until lunch-time, until I turned the thermo knob to shut it off.

    My question is (besides the foamy beer I'm currently getting, and will deal with later) what could cause the condenser to continuously run? Bad thermostat?

    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks

  • #2
    Hi there, and welcome to the forums.

    It does seem that the most likely cause of the problem you describe would be a faulty thermostat. Thankfully these T-stats are not that expensive and relatively easy to replace.

    Before you replace it though, ensure that it is operating as designed and it's not just an alignment or placement issue causing it to not operate. The cap tube leading out from the T-stat should be being cooled by the airflow down the back wall, they are often encased in a plastic sleeve on these units and sometimes they get bent out of the way of the airflow and do not sense properly.

    Check the placement and if that doesn't seem to be a problem, it's likely the T-stat itself is in need of replacement.

    Comment


    • #3
      Also, I forgot to mention, the previous owner said that he ran the unit on the coldest setting, 9. If he did, I would think that the unit would have been constantly running.

      Could this have affected / damaged anything? Cause the unit to be acting the way it is now?

      Comment


      • #4
        JeffSlay,

        Did he mention why he had it at 9?, was he using an external temperature controller? Are you sure the unit didn't turn off for a few minutes when you weren't watching it? I don't think thermostat is damaged, 30-32 air temperature may not be low enough to go into a regular cycle. I take care of a Haier, it took a few days to get into a regular cycle, try not fiddle with thermostat too much, I did the same and unit never came back on, I had to turn switch to off, had to unplug, turn unit back to normal (middle), after that I didn't touch until I got a cup of water to 36 degrees. If your getting water to 30-32 degrees either thermometer is not calibrated or unit is working really well (and you have really strange water). If the previous owner had it at 9 without controller, unit may not get to temp.

        KB

        Comment


        • #5
          KB,

          Prior owner only said he kept the setting on 9 becuase he liked ice cold beer. Didn't say anything about a temperature controller.

          I'm pretty sure the compressor hasn't turned off, unless I actually turn the t-stat. I have a large cup of water in the unit, which I placed the thermometer in, and it's getting down to 34. The 30-32 was air temperature, before I started messing with the t-stat. Before I put the thermometer in the unit I checked it in a glass of ice water and it read 34, off by 2 degrees.

          I guess I'll turn the unit off completely, unplug it, plug it back in and put the setting on 5 again and see what happens.

          Comment


          • #6
            JeffSlay,
            Wonder what happened to all the Bev-air owners (probably partied out), I take care a Haier and if I set it at the maximum, it wouldn't shut off and I would freeze my keg. If prior owner had no problems like that then I'd try between 5-7 setting, let it set without opening door and see if temperature settles down. You should have settled temperature question before putting a keg in but one can only hope the keg survives. The first couple days are hard, the Haier ran for hours then off for only few minutes, then on again for hours. The Haier usually runs air temp at 27 degrees (with 1 interior fan) when its on, it pours at 39 degrees. If you don't have a digital thermometer, pick one up, then calibrate (ice cubes w/ water 32 degrees). Check beer temp before checking interior temp, if above 40 then not getting cold enough, then look inside, check any ice forms on evaporator (think that's what happens to troublesome BM-23's), check if inside fan is running. Search forum and don't despair.

            KB

            Comment


            • #7
              Yesterday around 5:30pm I turned off the unit, unplugged and plugged it back in and set thermostat to setting 5. The unit ran from that time until I went to bed. I got up this morning around 7:30am and the unit was still running. I am assuming it never shut off during the night.

              So, I just ran out and got a digital thermometer. Temperature of beer coming out of the faucet is 42-43 degrees (first pour). Temperature of the cup of water inside the unit is 39 degrees. Obviously my previous thermometer was screwed up (prior owner gave it to me).

              I am thinking about changing the thermostat to setting 6 to see how that works temperature wise, but as fas as the unit constantly running I am at a loss. Could be bad thermostat? Freon leak? I may end up calling a service tech, since I know nothing about fixing refrigeration systems.

              Comment


              • #8
                JeffSlay,

                1) your just assuming it didn't go off you don't know unless your sitting next to unit all the time. As I said before it could be on for hours then turn off for a few minutes then turn back on. In a Haier, turning thermostat colder doesn't make the air colder it just adjusts how long the unit runs (I assume the BM-23 does the same, where are all the BM-23 owners when you need them)

                2) If your unit was at peak efficiency and unit didn't shut off your keg would be frozen and ice would be forming in the back of your unit and the back of your unit would be extremely hot (most units also have a overheat trip as not to damage equipment)

                3) Digital thermometers give you readings in exact temperature 42-43 isn't exact, as mentioned in forum best method is pour 1 beer, dump, drink transfer, or whatever pour second in same glass, this should be the temperature of the beer in keg.

                4) Just service call itself might be $100+, try troubleshooting yourself, look to see if unit is sealed tight. Door seal can be checked by inspection (look for wear, unevenness), throw bright flashlight inside, close door and see if light escapes from door seal, look to see if air isn't out from another area. You can look to make sure fan inside is running, back of unit isn't iced over there are lot of things that might be wrong that you can fix. Try setting to max, if unit isn't turning off, setting thermostat should make any difference, if it does get colder and unit doesn't turn off, you purchase a external temperature controller which is under $100.

                KB

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by KillianBoy View Post
                  JeffSlay,

                  You can look to make sure fan inside is running, back of unit isn't iced over there are lot of things that might be wrong that you can fix. ...
                  Indeed, I don't think it has been established if the evap fan is running or not, if not that could easily be why the unit is not cycling.

                  Check the fan inside the unit, at the top and make sure it is pulling air over the evap and pushing it down the back wall and report back!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BrewGuru View Post
                    Indeed, I don't think it has been established if the evap fan is running or not, if not that could easily be why the unit is not cycling.

                    Check the fan inside the unit, at the top and make sure it is pulling air over the evap and pushing it down the back wall and report back!
                    Yes, the evaporator fan runs constantly, whenever the unit is plugged in, and I can feel the cold air blowing down the back wall. I shined a flashlight into where the evap fan is to see if I could see any ice/frost and didn't really see anything, but the opening for the fan isn't a very big area.

                    Seal around the door appears to be in good shape.

                    I did turn the thermostat down to 6, and now the cup of water I have inside is starting to freeze on top. Compressor continues to run...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      JeffSlay,

                      At least it gets cold enough, probably 33-34 degrees (water in a cup is not the same as beer in keg). keep checking temp of beer every 24 or so. Do a search on forum under bm23, beverage air or bevair (anything under 4 letters won't search), couple threads regarding your problem and some pictures. One person had a evaporator fan so loud he couldn't hear the compressor go on or off. Some threads mention the fans will not turn off, do the research and see, from what you report everything might be fine.

                      KB

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If compressor is running constantly, the box is not getting down to temperature set by the thermostat. If you can turn off the compressor by turning down the thermostat, I'd say the thermostat is operating correctly. I believe the trouble lies more in the compressor.

                        Did you transport this unit standing upright or did you lay it on its side? If transported on it's side, did you allow it to sit upright for at least 24 hours before you turned it on?

                        If this were my unit, here are the steps I would take.

                        1. Beer Temp: 43 Target: 38
                        2. Compressor: Coils - are they clean? Dirty coils can raise temp 5 degrees easily.
                        Airflow around compressor - anything blocking airflow?, should have
                        at least 3 inches clearance
                        3. Thermostat: Set to 7. Leave unit alone for a few hours and retest temp. Should get
                        down to target temp at this point.
                        4. Door seals: Check for icing on evaporator fins. Icing means bad seal and warm air
                        getting inside causing condensation.
                        5. Set thermometer in airflow coming out of evaporator fan inside the box. Air temp should be low 30's.

                        If you check these steps, and unit still not getting cold enough, call a refrigeration mechanic. May need freon boost or have freon leak?

                        You have a good quality box, purchased at a decent price. You have room in the value department to spend on professional help. BM23 runs over $1,200 new.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DCullender View Post
                          Did you transport this unit standing upright or did you lay it on its side? If transported on it's side, did you allow it to sit upright for at least 24 hours before you turned it on?

                          If this were my unit, here are the steps I would take.

                          1. Beer Temp: 43 Target: 38
                          2. Compressor: Coils - are they clean? Dirty coils can raise temp 5 degrees easily.
                          Airflow around compressor - anything blocking airflow?, should have
                          at least 3 inches clearance
                          3. Thermostat: Set to 7. Leave unit alone for a few hours and retest temp. Should get
                          down to target temp at this point.
                          4. Door seals: Check for icing on evaporator fins. Icing means bad seal and warm air
                          getting inside causing condensation.
                          5. Set thermometer in airflow coming out of evaporator fan inside the box. Air temp should be low 30's.
                          Yes, transported the unit standing up.

                          1. I know beer temp should be around 38. If this means water freezes inside the unit, does that matter?

                          2. Cleaned the compressor coils the day I got it. They were very dirty, caked with dust. Should the coils be very warm to the touch? (Again, I know nothing about refrigeration systems)

                          3. Will keep adjusting the thermostat gradually to get to required temp.

                          4. I checked the door seal using the dollar bill test. Appeared to be fine. To check for icing on the evaporator fins, I would assume I need to shut the unit off completely, in order to remove the evaporator housing?

                          5. Air temp is about 29-30 degrees

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If the evap fan is running, and things are getting cold enough, and the compressor turns off when you turn the T-stat down, I'm leaning towards a faulty thermostat. They do go bad, and are a relatively easy R&R.

                            The compressor is probably fine if it cycles off normally when you turn the T-stat down, if the compressor did not cycle off until you pulled the plug, that would be different. It's running, and it's cycling off when the T-stat is manually cycled, however it seems that the cutout is not being reached when the T-stat is in a single position.

                            At this point I'd be replacing the T-stat or testing with a known good one.

                            And yes, the condenser coils should be warm when the compressor is running.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ok, so I turned the thermostat up/down (whatever way you want to call it) to setting 6. Beer temp is now 38 degrees on second pour, however cup of water inside unit is frozen, which may or may not matter.

                              I think I'll try replacing the thermostat with a new one myself. If that doesn't work, it has to be the condensor, or some part of the refrigeration system, and I'll have to get a service tech. Although that should be very interesting, because I called around to a few of the service companies in my area (Coatesville, PA) that actually service Bev-air units, and they won't come to a personal residence becuase its a commerical unit and they only provide service to businesses.

                              I appreciate everyone's input.

                              Comment

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