Sunday, June 4, 2023
HomeUncategorizedConsumer Product Quality Declines - 2009 Refrigerator Compressor Autopsy

Consumer Product Quality Declines – 2009 Refrigerator Compressor Autopsy

I know what you’re thinking…another “Old Guard” old man posted about how bad things were, with nothing but anecdotal evidence that this was the case. Please watch the video before you judge me. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be unhappy when one is forced to accept concepts like “abandoned society” and “low value/high total cost of ownership” and “poor ownership experience” in the name of “progress”.

The backstory of this video is as follows. A few years ago, a local gentleman brought me his 1947 GE refrigerator to rewire and reseal. That job went well, and he’s been using that fridge as a drink freezer ever since.

Fast forward to last week and his main kitchen refrigerator stopped working. Without any warning, it started clicking and shutting off compressor overload as if the compressor was stuck. I don’t usually use modern appliances; however, it’s local and the owner can take it to the back of his pickup without much trouble. So I agreed to take a look.

Compressor fails to start. I’ve tried boosting with a higher voltage, adding capacitors, etc, but nothing breaks it. So, I ended up installing a recycled compressor to keep him working.

Here is a video where I take it down and check the root cause of the failure. Again, I need to reiterate that I’m not saying everything “old” is better because it’s “old”. I mean this compressor and its application shows clear engineering choices sacrificing its longevity in the name of saving some energy. These marginal design choices aren’t the only way to get a high-efficiency unit, as refrigerator compressors from the 1940s and 1950s were very efficient while consistently serving longer. This failing unit is purely an example, it just does enough to fix the problem until it becomes someone else’s problem. When it becomes a problem, it goes to the landfill and all the foam parts cannot be separated or recycled.



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