1939 GE Refrigerator Wiring Help

RAP

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Tennessee
Model Number
B5-39-A
I have a 1939 GE. Bought new relay(Supco R081) and thermostat(Ranco A30-180) to install. Ohmed out the compressor to locate SRC wires. I think I did that right but when I hook up the relay, it gets almost to hot to touch. This is without any additional wiring leading to the light or thermosta……it’s just power to the relay to the compressor. Can’t figure out why I am building up such a load to get the relay so hot. Compressor is cooling great. That’s issue number 1.

Issue number 2 is that I have tried to connect the wires leading to the light and thermostat and am only successful part of the time. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. I live in Tennessee if you know anyone in the Nashville area that works in old fridges. Thanks!
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
44,797
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
why I am building up such a load to get the relay so hot.
How big is the compressor? RO81 is for 1/12 hp to 1/5 hp. Sounds too small for a 1939 GE. RO41 might work better. It's for 1/4 hp -1/3 hp. What is the resistance of the start windings? Run windings?
Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
I don't have a way of looking up vintage appliances so I need to go by pictures you can supply. How many electrical components are there in the machine? There's a light bulb & socket, thermostat/cold control, light switch. Does your machine have a condensor fan motor (by the compressor)? Is there more than two wires on the cold control?

pro-relay-overload-comb-tj90ro41-ap4503032_01_l.jpg


Light, door switch, cold control and compressor only:

R-Hotwire-Solid State-no fan.jpg
 

RAP

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Tennessee
Guidance much appreciated.
Ohms between compressor wires(I labeled them 1, 2, & 3)
1-2 20.5 ohms
2-3 6.2 ohms
1-3 23.8 ohms

Compressor is 1/8 hp

Here are pics of my amateur wiring. I have one wire that was connected to the #4 terminal on the original relay but I can't reconnect it anywhere. It arcs everytime. It's the circle not connected to anything. Everything is working(lights, compressor is cooling, thermostat seems to be controlling level of cold when I adjust it) but I never here it cycling. I am an amateur so I don't know what to listen for. It's super quiet. My biggest concern is shortening the life of the compressor and the heat in this relay. Also of note, one of the line in wires and the black common on the relay are not being used. Again, sincerely appreciate any help. Thanks!
 

Attachments

  • 20210615_081702.jpg
    20210615_081702.jpg
    219.9 KB · Views: 68

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
44,797
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
Here are pics of my amateur wiring.
Looks like the worst wiring job I've ever seen. LOL I already know what wires look like. The picture is not showing me anything except red white and black spaghetti. Nothing is marked. Did you post the wrong pic??
I have one wire that was connected to the #4 terminal
OK my friend, let me say this once more. Numbers (on anything), or compressor terminals marked 1-2-3, or wire colors, is not going to do me any good. I don't have any way of looking it up. It works like this; I ask you a few questions, you give me a few answers, and I try to help you out. LOL
I don't have a way of looking up vintage appliances so I need to go by pictures you can supply. How many electrical components are there in the machine? There's a light bulb & socket, thermostat/cold control, light switch. Does your machine have a condensor fan motor (by the compressor)? Is there more than two wires on the cold control?
???
one of the line in wires and the black common on the relay are not being used.
Then you have it wired wrong. Probably the reason it doesn't cycle. Do you have a wiring diagram for that machine? Sometimes it's glued to the back of the machine.

"One of the lines in the wires" I'm not sure what that means but OK, what wire? What's it connected to?

The black common wire on the relay goes to the common terminal on the compressor. White goes to the start windings and red goes to the run windings.
 

RAP

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Tennessee
I told you amateur work at its worst! All good. I'll check in later when I'm in front of the unit and answer your questions step by step.... thx!
 

RAP

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Tennessee
Hi...twanted to see if we could connect sometime. I'm back in front of my 1939 GE and ready to answer questions to the best of my ability. Thx!
 

RAP

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Tennessee
There 3 wires going up to the light, door switch and cold control. One wire has a black barrel shaped thing on the end. Is that the cold control wire? If so, where should it be connected?
 

Attachments

  • 20210618_164604.jpg
    20210618_164604.jpg
    201.6 KB · Views: 66

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
44,797
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
Looks like it's just a splice. Use a razor blade and cut it open. You need to use your meter to find out which wire is which. If you only have the three electrical parts and the cold control only has two wires on it, (you never answered me) open the door and leave it open. Make sure the cold control is turned on. Find which two wires have continuity. Those will be the cold control wires. To determine which wire on the cold control goes to the compressor, turn the control off. Make sure you have a good light bulb installed and hold the door switch in and find which two wires show continuity. One wire will be common to the light bulb and cold control. The other cold control wire will be the one going to the compressor.
 

RAP

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Tennessee
Looks like it's just a splice. Use a razor blade and cut it open. You need to use your meter to find out which wire is which. If you only have the three electrical parts and the cold control only has two wires on it, (you never answered me) open the door and leave it open. Make sure the cold control is turned on. Find which two wires have continuity. Those will be the cold control wires. To determine which wire on the cold control goes to the compressor, turn the control off. Make sure you have a good light bulb installed and hold the door switch in and find which two wires show continuity. One wire will be common to the light bulb and cold control. The other cold control wire will be the one going to the compressor.
I'll do my best to answer your question: There are 2 black wires connected on one side and 1 red wire connected on the other. They are connected to one of those Ranco cold controls from antique appliance. The 2 black wires are connected on the L2 terminal and the red wire on the L1 terminal. Does this seem correct? Also, when you say three electrical parts, are you referring to the cold control, light bulb and door switch?
 

RAP

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Tennessee
Regarding your last statement "The other cold control wire will be the one going to the compressor", what wire on the compressor does the cold control wire connect to?
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
44,797
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
are you referring to the cold control, light bulb and door switch?
Yes, that's correct. It sounds like it's wired exactly like my diagram. If I'm following you correctly, there a red wire and two black wires on the cold control. Connect the red wire to one of the two power wires for the solid state relay. One of the black wires on the cold control connects to the power cord "N" white wire. The other black wire on the cold control connects to the light bulb socket. So, the neutral side of the power cord goes to one side of the cold control and one side of the light bulb socket. The L1 side of the light bulb socket goes through the door switch and connects to the L1 side of the power cord and the other power wire for the solid state relay. I'll change the wire colors on the diagram to make easy for you to follow:
R-Hotwire-Solid State-no fan.jpg

I tried to make it easy to follow. It sound like they used the same color wire for the light and switch. Try to remember this; The cold control breaks the neutral side of power for the compressor and the light switch breaks the L1 side for the light. Door open the switch closes and the light bulb gets 110 VAC. Door closed the switch opens the circuit (on L1) and no light. Cold control turned on, the compressor gets 110 VAC and runs. When the cold control gets cold enough the contacts open the circuit to the compressor (on Neutral) and the compressor turns off.

Got any questions, just ask :)
 

RAP

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Tennessee
Ok boss... I'm gettin there! Thanks for coloring the diagram to match what I had. So here is where I'm at. Compressor is coming on and cooling. Cold control was half way and compressor stopped running. I then advanced the cold control knob a little more and compressor came on so I feel I'm on the right track but here is my issue. When compressor is not on, light does not come on. When I advance cold control knob and compressor comes on, so does light so I know I've got a wire connected on the wrong side.
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
44,797
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
When compressor is not on, light does not come on.
It sounds like there's a wire in the wrong spot. Keep in mind manufactures don't always connect the wires in that same configuration. The end result is the same. For example, the neutral wire from the power cord connects to the cold control then jumpers to the light socket. It could just as easily connect the light socket then jumper to the cold control. The light needs 120 VAC at the socket to work. It sounds like the neutral wire for the light socket is on the wrong side of the cold control so when the cold control opens the neutral side of the compressor circuit it's also opening the neutral side of the light socket. When the compressor is running you said the light works. Does the light go out when you press the door switch in?

I think I need a video/picture tour of your machine. Include the inside where the cold control and light switch are, and the machine compartment where the wires come through and the compressor. Not too close. I want to get an idea of the lay out. I got some old eyes so make sure they are in focus..lol.
 
Last edited:

RAP

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Tennessee
It sounds like there's a wire in the wrong spot. Keep in mind manufactures don't always connect the wires in that same configuration. The end result is the same. For example, the neutral wire from the power cord connects to the cold control then jumpers to the light socket. It could just as easily connect the light socket then jumper to the cold control. The light needs 120 VAC at the socket to work. It sounds like the neutral wire for the light socket is on the wrong side of the cold control so when the cold control opens the neutral side of the compressor circuit it's also opening the neutral side of the light socket. When the compressor is running you said the light works. Does the light go out when you press the door switch in?

I think I need a video/picture tour of your machine. Include the inside where the cold control and light switch are, and the machine compartment where the wires come through and the compressor. Not too close. I want to get an idea of the lay out. I got some old eyes so make sure they are in focus..lol.
Yes....light goes out when you press the door switch.
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
44,797
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
light goes out when you press the door switch.
OK the neutral wire is going through the cold control. It should be a direct circuit path to the light bulb.
 
Top