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MCBR402S Magic Chef mini-fridge condensation on top

jeffshead

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
3
Location
US
Model Number
MCBR402S
Brand
Magic Chef
Age
6-10 years
I got taken on Craigslist. The lying dbag said the refrigerator was almost new and worked flawlessly. It is in really good shape (inside and out) but when I get it home, I look up the model number and realize this thing is probably at least 7 years old. After a couple of days I notice condensation on the very top of the fridge. It does however cool and freeze just fine.

I removed the plastic top cover and found a small amount of water and ice on the foam. There are a few areas in the foam, no bigger than dimes, which appear to be soaked through with ice. I melted the ice but those spots are still cold so I know they will ice up again and cause water to pool again.
IMG_20190822_193223.jpg

Is there anything I can do to fix this? Is this a common problem?
 
Last edited:

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
36,343
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
Try a piece of insulation over it. I can't tell what I'm looking at in your pic. Is the condensation on the top cover?
 

jeffshead

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
3
Location
US
The pic is of the spray foam insulation under the top cover. The top cover is removed. The discolored areas are water soaked. It was iced over in those areas but it has melted since the top cover has been removed. There isn't enough room to add extra insulation. The plastic top cover rests on top of the foam. When the cover is in place, condensation does form on the cover and it is cold to the touch. When I removed the cover, there was quite a bit of puddled water on the foam. Just a matter of time for enough water to form and start dripping.

Here is another pic, zoomed out:
foam.jpg

I do not think the issue is caused by lack of insulation. The only areas of the foam that are cool to the touch are the small areas where ice formed. It looks like the foam has absorbed water in those spots and it is freezing. It seems the top of the ice formation eventually melts and forms small water puddles on the surface of the foam. I'm guessing the water in the foam is in constant contact with the cooling tubes because it is very cold to the touch in those wet areas. The top plastic cover and whatever air gap that exists, when the cover is in place, must be providing enough insulation for the water impregnated areas to freeze which creates a freeze/melt cycle that fuels itself.

I tried using a hair dryer to dry the spots but maybe I did not do it long enough. I would like to know if anyone has experienced this issue. Is it just a matter of leaving the unit unplugged for several days until the water evaporates or is something causing the foam to absorb/wick the moisture? Is this just a result of me laying the unit on its back during transport which caused water from the cool-down to work its way into the foam or is this a more serious issue?
 
Last edited:

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
36,343
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
OK, I got it now. The problem is most likely a separated cap tube. I'll try to explain. Compressing any gas increases its temperature. After the compressor compresses the refrigerant it's forced into the condensor to remove most of the heat and it condenses back to a liquid where it goes through a filter/drier and into the capillary tube up to the evaporator. The evaporator is at a low pressure so when the refrigerant enters the evaporator it boils and turns into a gas. That's what makes it cold and the evaporator coils frost over. At the exit of the evaporator is the suction line where the refrigerant returns to the compressor. In order to keep the frost from migrating down the suction line to the compressor the cap tube which has the warm refrigerant from the condensor, is married to the suction line. This is for a full size refrigerator but same principal:
Refrigerant Flow.jpg

This is what I think the problem is with your machine. It's a common problem with a lot of the older machines. Not that common on newer machines but I have seen it happen. It's not repairable
 

jeffshead

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
3
Location
US
Rick,

I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. I called Magic Chef to see just how old this unit is. They told me it was manufactured in 2004.

The seller flat out lied to me about the age and its working condition. It looks practically new and she listed it as "brand new" and she kept saying it was "brand new". I thought it was only a couple of years old. What really ticks me off is her response when I politely asked her if she would take the fridge back since she sold it under false pretenses. And to rub salt into the wound, the price of the newer model just dropped substantially on a back-to-school special buy sale a couple of days after I handed my money over to that dishonest witch.

Live and learn...

Thanks again,

J
 
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