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Think replacing the overload, relay or start device on your compressor will solve things, we dive into that thought

compressor ptc relayLet's start off by saying this;

Basically, a compressor is a brushless electric induction motor suspended on springs in a puddle of oil wrapped in a metal skin, then sealed up.

Okay so the whole engineering cleverness in that is pretty amazing and flavours of how they come in will vary but essentially, that's pretty much what they all are.

Except for a few oddball ones and, we guess, some of the latest and greatest technologies but for the most part, all domestics are like this. It's a time honoured way to do it that's cheap and reliable so, perfect for domestic refrigeration in the main.

With that now established there's really not a huge heap of things to break on these devices.

  Clutching At Straws

We get it. We understand the logic at play.

People largely think in two ways on this either, the thing is done and needs replaced or, they look for a cheap and quick fix often borne of desperation.

The former, go out and buy a new one or do what could be considered the sensible thing and get someone that has a clue about such things to look at it for them. Harsh, yes, but the sad truth as most non-refrigeration repairers have little clue about this stuff and we're sorry but, that's the truth like it or not.

The general public with no experience and who are simply gleaning what they can from wiki-internet, are liable not to be experts.

So people thinking they can sort it themselves go out on the great open plains if the internet and find some speaking of this magical relay, klixon, start device, PTC and so forth an that changing that will make the compressor spring back to life a job's a good 'un as they say... somewhere.

Well, no. Not really.

See that little thing that you see which will often be charred remains of its former self, well that is a start and protection device that is designed to fail when the going gets too tough.

Guess what often means life got too tough for it?

9/10 the compressor shorted dead, running like a dog and overheating or seized and overheated so that blew to prevent your house from burning down.

Putting a new one on to risk letting your house burn down might not seem such bright idea eh?

We know, tough love and no doubt there'll be detractors who always seem to know better in the comments and slag us off for the attitude, condescending nature or whatever. Can you get how much we care?

More people appreciate the straight-talking truth, sorry internet ranters.

  The Non-Experts Guide To The Odds

compressor relay 2If the compressor is sitting there going, "click... buzz... click... buzz" be prepared to be disappointed as that's 99/100 a sure fire indication that the compressor has had it and the protection device is doing exactly what it should in such circumstances, trying to fire it up and failing. Then giving up as it can't.

If there's water about, possibly the relay may be fried. But, no guarantee that said same water hasn't fried the compressor as well.

If it's a charred bit of junk, it's probably been toasted by the compressor shorting.

If it's lightly toasted you've got a 50/50 chance it's just the relay that's had it and not the compressor.

If the compressor is roasting hot, near to hot to touch and the unit isn't cooling, the compressor is almost for sure shot.

  Rare Circumstance

As a field engineer, the last thing you want is a double visit or a recall, that be the kiss of death to profit so, not good.

Changing relays and start devices, unless there's an obvious reason like a power spike or water ingress, ain't happening most of the time. Sure, if the customer wants to take the risk in the full understanding that if it bounces (AKA, doesn't work, fix fails in short order) then they pay to fix it properly that's fine but, if not, too bad as it's a punt on the basis of "might work, might not".

This is why, along with difficulty/hassle/laziness to an extent, manufacturers usually only sell full compressors and electrics all in one.

Plus they change the things at random in production often times as well, which hardly helps matters.

Manufacturers do so however as it's the only true cure, that's why. 100% guaranteed to fix it. No argument, no debate, no recall, just sorted.

But on the odd, rare occasion the relay etc can and does go but please, before you part with your money and prayers that it'll work please wrap your head around the fact that the odds, they ain't on your side here.

  We (Don't) Want Your Money

By all means, we'll sell you this stuff, universal relays, pukka ones in whatever flavours we can get them in for you, not a problem at all.

But what we won't do is allow you to do so without the facts, real experience from the people that repair them and have clung onto this hope before, only to find out the deities that we prayed to for a miracle wasn't listening many times over.

And that if you buy these things, fit them and so forth the risk well, that's all on you, your call, your risk. Don't ask for your money back if you decide to take a punt on it working or, blame us if it doesn't.

It is entirely possible that swapping out a relay or PTC etc will save the day and the fridge, freezer, fridge freezer or whatever will spring to life and work, at least for a while but if the compressor is shot, it's shot and the only solution is to replace that or the appliance.

Seized totally or just running like a wounded dog and overheating, the compressor will take out a replacement just as it did the original one.

What we want and, the purpose of this article, is for you to go into that with your eyes wide open and to know in advance that you may well be clutching at straws.

Now you know all this, it really is your call on what way you want to go.

If you understand and wish to take a chance on it, that's absolutely fine as we've done that as well but, at least we can honestly say that we informed you of the risk.

  Next Problem, Finding One!

It used to be that there was Danfoss and some also-rans because Danfoss (just ask about any longer in the tooth fridge guy) were solid, reliable and whilst expensive failures of them were very, very rare so good for service technicians as remember the "we don't want recalls" thing.

danfoss compressor relayBut that was three decades ago and when stuff starting to get driven down in price so did quality and we started to see all manners of weird things happen such as Embraco who is a Brazilian affair owned by Whirlpool supply a huge amount of compressors for domestic refrigeration.

But they don't often supply the electrics with no compressor it seems unlike Danfoss, who do or did.

The uptick in products from Turkey, Beko, Vestel and so on opened the door to other cut-price alternatives.

Then you've all the stuff that comes from China and, as is the way with Chinese things, support and getting parts for them ranges from impossible to laughably impossible.

This is how you get such cheap appliances folks, they cut the costs.

All this making getting a direct one-for-one relay, klaxon, PTC or whatever for a domestic refrigeration unit these days be just about totally impossible in many cases. Therefore you need to consider the universal types.

There's really only a couple of shows in town in that respect and some installations you need to work out the compressor rating, wiring and how to physically mount such devices, they are not a one-for-one swap and if you're not confident our advice is, don't try it.

  Not Easy

If you thought you'd go online, do a quick Google, order a new relay or whatever, get it and bang it on in two minutes you may well have to rethink that notion as it just ain't that easy.

Sure there's a number you can find but many, many more you cannot.

Then there's the risk factor as in, is that actually the problem you have?

If there were a magic bullet here we'd tell you but there really isn't and when you get into looking at this stuff you learn pretty darned fast it's not as simple or easy as most people think it will be when they set out looking.

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