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MCWBC77DZC Magic Chef Dual Zone Wine/Beverage Cooler - Need Diagnostic Advice

etherplain

Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2017
Messages
1
Location
California
Model Number
MCWBC77DZC
Brand
Magic Chef
Age
1-5 years
Hi,

I've had this Magic Chef dual-zone beverage cooler for a little less than 2 years and have had to repair it twice (so I'm aware that it's not the best built cooler, but would prefer not to replace it just yet if I can repair it or under $100). First time it was repaired under warranty (one of the fans went out) and the second time it wasn't, but it was the same problem so I just swapped the fan myself. It's been about 6 months since that last repair and I now seem to be having a totally different problem with it, and don't know where to start with diagnosing the issue.

Here's the "symptoms": The top zone of the cooler cools to the set temperature (I have it set at 42 F). The bottom zone is the problem area. If I set it to 42 F it'll never reach that temperature and instead fluctuates between 50 and 57. Initially I thought the bottom fan went out again but I observed it spinning on more than one occasion. However putting my hand in front of it, purely subjectively, it MIGHT be blowing softer than the top fan.

Since the condenser seemed to be running near-constantly, I cranked up the bottom zone to 57 so it wouldn't burn-out.

I assume that the condenser can't be at fault if one zone is keeping up. With the bottom fan seemingly working--though possibly not as well as the top--I'm wondering what else could be the issue? It is clearly warmer on the bottom (beverages, mostly soda cans, are definitely not as cool as before) so the thermostat must be working properly. What am I missing? Is it possible the fan could still be the issue or perhaps the electricity/signal getting to the fan? Any thoughts on what I should check and how to check it?

Appreciate any advice. Thanks!
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
39,713
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
Since the condenser seemed to be running near-constantly....
Single evaporator, it uses the fans to control the temperatures in each zone. If the compressor is running constantly it sounds like a refrigerant shortage or partial restriction. Feel the compressor. Compressors normally run warm. A compressor that runs hot usually indicates a problem with the sealed system. I doubt it's the fan motor however, if the two fan motors are the same try swapping them around.
 

surferJR

Premium Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2017
Messages
3
Location
CA
Hello,

I'm having what seems to be the identical problem that etherplain posted, but I don't see any follow up. I'm hoping someone will pick up this thread and give me a little more advice. Thanks in advance! I've had this fridge for at least 6 years and several weeks ago I had this same exact problem, but after unloading and cleaning the coils, the situation improved back to normal (cooling in the low 40s) for maybe 3 weeks?

In summary: Magic Chef mini fridge as noted above is cooling differently in each zone. I'm thinking from reading other posts that my compressor has failed. It gets VERY hot, so you can't touch it. Last night, when I unplugged it, unloaded it, and removed it from its home in the cabinetry, the upper zone was in the 50s F and the lower zone had reached 70+ degrees F.

I'm testing it and have had it plugged in for only about 30 min. I'm setting the zone temps different to see where it can go at this point, but I'm going to unplug it soon if it stays this hot.

Other info:
--coils are clean (a toothbrush works great!)
--2 fans inside are both running
--fan that blows on the coils (inside back panel) is also running
--I started to hear a "chugging" sound, pretty faint, from the back at around 30 min.
--compressor has been running

After 45-60 min, it has cooled the upper zone, which is smaller, to the low 40s, while the lower zone is getting to the high 50s. I'm guessing that if I leave it running, the temps will eventually come back up due to the heat of the compressor motor, but since I've taken it out of its enclosure, and it's empty, I'm not sure if I can replicate the problem without putting it all back. This will be my next step if it passes this test, I guess.

Final question: If I can get a replacement compressor for just over $100, should I attempt replacement? I'm pretty handy with this sort of stuff.

Thanks for any advice!
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
39,713
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
The problem could be a partial restriction in the system or it could be the compressor. The only way to tell the exact problem is by connecting a set of refrigeration gauges to the system. You need special tools and a good understanding how refrigeration systems work before you can do any repairs not to mention you need to be certified by the EPA. Sealed system repairs are expensive and will often exceed the machine's value. Check the compressor windings with an ohm meter.
R -Compressor Windings Test.jpg
 

surferJR

Premium Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2017
Messages
3
Location
CA
Thanks for the quick reply and helpful advice! The update is that the zone temps got down to 40 and 48, but now are up to 63 and 72, so I've unplugged it. So, I think what you're saying is that a repair of any kind involving the compressor is not something for me to attempt (aside from checking the windings with an ohm meter)?? My dad has done some refrigeration work and may be certified but he lives a long way away and won't be up to visit for several months.

However, if I get an appliance repair person to check it out, I'm guessing it's going to be very costly. Is your advice to just plan to replace the fridge, or do you think a service call diagnosis is at least worth the try?

JR
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
39,713
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
If it was something you could do it might be worth it but any service call at all will be close to the cost of a new machine.
 

Jalepeno

Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2020
Messages
2
Location
Fairfax County, VA
This is pretty much the same problem I have. The bottom chamber doesn't get very cool, like 58*. The upper is doing well and cools to 38* no problem.
 
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