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Old Electrolux fridge - advice needed
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Stirling-in-Oz



Joined: 08 Oct 2012
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:12 pm    Post subject: Old Electrolux fridge - advice needed Reply with quote

Hi all,
I am doing a Stephens and West Stirling caravan restoration and in it there is an old Electrolux fridge - it seems it is even older than first thought, because it is lit using a kerosene soaked wick. Trouble is, I have no idea how to light the fridge - the previous owner said it was checked over by a gasfitter to ensure no leaks, and was used extensively (just turned off at night). I has its own isolating LPG tap.

It is an Electrolux model number MB16b - Made in England. Also, there is another number at the very top inside of the fridge which says 16B10 Rich Gas.

Is there anyone who can help me with the following questions?

1) Do I light the actual wick then slide it in along its rail underneath the fridge to light the fridge?

2) Does this wick just stay burning? Or once the fridge is lit do you remove and extinguish the wick?

3) What material can I replace the wick with when it's all burnt out?

Thank you so much in advance.
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mistericeman



Joined: 22 Feb 2012
Posts: 94
Location: Not far from Oldhamabad

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This ...

http://www.path.org/vaccineresources/files/WHORefrigModules/Kerosene_Operated_Absorption_Ref.pdf

May or may not be of some help mate ....they seem to still be in use in some of the lesser modernised continents to keep vaccines safe .
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darren7303



Joined: 28 May 2012
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the same fridge, so can answer most of your questions.

Leave the temperature control inside the fridge at the 0 position. Dip the wick in Meths and light it, slide along the rail, or next to it - it has been know to get stuck on the rail. Push and hold in the red push button at the base of the fridge. Once the jet as lit keep the red button pressed in for about 5 - 10 seconds. Remove the wick and extinguish it. Adjust the temperature control inside the fridge depending on how cold you want it - probably 10 for your summers and 9 for your winters Laughing

It took me a couple of attempts to light it, knowing where to hold the wick, its now first time everytime.

To turn the fridge off use the isolator tap.

I wouldn't know what to replace the wick material with. Do you have Tilley lights in Australia? You could always buy one of the preheating torches and use the material from that
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Stirling-in-Oz



Joined: 08 Oct 2012
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:37 am    Post subject: No red button? Reply with quote

Alas, there is no red button - but thanks anyway Darren. I searched high and low for it, and there is no sign of any buttons - just the temp control switch and the on/off tap, and the wick. So I tried to get it working and whilst I get gas from the same line to the stove, I certainly can't hear or smell gas coming out from under the fridge. So perhaps a blocked jet??? - although I was assured it worked perfectly, the saying "let the buyer beware"always springs to mind! As no gas-fitters around my neck of the woods are prepared to look at an old gas fridge, I will probably have to bite the bullet and buy a new one - although it breaks my heart as I am trying to keep it mostly original.
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christine lowery



Joined: 30 Sep 2009
Posts: 496
Location: wallsend tyne and wear

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi
take out the fridge and give it a good clean
remove the jet and if blocked soak it in some vinigar do NOT push anything trough the jet
and bench test it its easyer to light
if the fridge lights but dosn;t cool invert it and leaveit for 24 hrs then light it again

do not let anybody who says they can fix it anyware near it, the coolant in this type of fridge is ammonia

chris Confused
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alan 869



Joined: 07 Mar 2011
Posts: 388
Location: Linköping Sweden

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The workings of these fridges are very simple. All the models up to the 70s had some sort of lighting arrangement to light the gas. The first ones had the wick type as yours. Later there was a wheel and flint arrangement where via a long rod to the front of the fridge, you turned the knob and the wheel at the back turned creating a spark (just like an old petrol lighter) which ignited the gas. The first ones just has ON-OFF for the gas but later ones had the button which you pushed in to get the gas flow. When the gas lighted and the jet etc got hotter then you could let the red knob spring out again. The thing with these is that if the light went out then, via a thermostat, the flow of gas would be turned off when everything got cold. It´s the same on my modern calor gas fridge. Push a button to bypass the termostat and let the gas flow. Ignite via a -peizo- (spelling?) spark and then after say 15 seconds when everything is hot enough, release the red button. If you are going to use it a lot then perhaps the best way would be to get a modern fridge system installed in the old case. I´ve had this done on one fridge and it wasn´t too expensive...

By the way, a word of warning. The ones without the -red- button can be dangerous. If the light goes out then the gas will excape without you knowing it. I wouldn´t have it going whilst on the move and would seriously consider not using it at night. As said, the -red- button ones automatically turn off if the temperature at the jet falls.


Last edited by alan 869 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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alan 869



Joined: 07 Mar 2011
Posts: 388
Location: Linköping Sweden

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mistericeman wrote:
This ...

http://www.path.org/vaccineresources/files/WHORefrigModules/Kerosene_Operated_Absorption_Ref.pdf

May or may not be of some help mate ....they seem to still be in use in some of the lesser modernised continents to keep vaccines safe .


Sibir were a common make in the 50s and beginning of 60s. Kerosine and calorgas are not the same in any way. Infact the kerosine ones are safer as they are not dangerous if the light goes out. They need quite a bit of maintanence and the smell of the kerosine was their downfall. Gas wins hands down apart from the explosion-toxic risk
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darren7303



Joined: 28 May 2012
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rather than replace the fridge for a modern one, could you not get hold of a red button or similar and fit it to the fridge? I think it is is just gas in, gas out and a thermocouple which runs from the rear of the valve and is fixed above the jet.

I'm sure these kind of valves would have been fitted for a while.

Or leave the fridge in so the van looks right and use a 3 way fridge outside the van?

If you are set on replacing it, can we talk about some spares for mine?
Shocked
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alan 869



Joined: 07 Mar 2011
Posts: 388
Location: Linköping Sweden

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rather the working parts of a new fridge inside the old one. I would think that the working parts of the fridges with the red button could be changed for the old system. Although trying to mate the red button system with the old one might prove difficult. As you say, parts for these fridges are getting rare. Of course up to the OP what he wants to do...
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Stirling-in-Oz



Joined: 08 Oct 2012
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:46 pm    Post subject: The old fridge Reply with quote

The only trouble is that the fridge is English and all the parts and even salvageable models are in England, mostly likely. Getting any replacement parts for a conversion would be difficult. Also, the gas-fitter who has at one stage put a new gas tap on the unit has done it in such a way that I can't even slide the fridge out to inspect it - it's firmly held in place by the copper lines supplying the gas! I again spoke to the previous owner yesterday who told me to leave the wick burning for a while as it can take some time for the fridge to light up. Maybe the gas doesn't release until the wick warms up the jet, a kind of old fail safe if the flame ever went out...this is what the previous owner seems to think.

I agree with Alan, I would never leave it on at night, and it is going to be the choice between modification from the original by replacing it with a new fridge
Sad or attempting to work with what could be a dodgy fridge that can only be used in the day...bearing in mind, last night alone never dropped below 25 degrees after a 42 degree day!

In Australia, caravanning is actually better in the cooler months.

Thanks all, much food for thought. I will post if I ever get it going. More curious now. Will try and clean the jet with compressed air.
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alan 869



Joined: 07 Mar 2011
Posts: 388
Location: Linköping Sweden

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still think I would undo the gas pipes and get it out. As said, give it a good clean and get it going on a bench just to make sure it´s okay. Has it got a compressor or is it an ammoniak one? I still haven´t had any joy from the Technical Museum in Stockholm, might try and give them a ring. If only Electrolux had some sort of archive but I haven´t had any luck so far. I think in the end I would get it converted to a modern -innerds- as it were and keep the shell as it is. Whilst on the bench I would get it going and then after a while blow the flame out and see if the gas gets turned off or not. I´m thinking of getting this one although it´s mains not gas. That of course would be another option. Get an old one that works on the mains....



The fact that it was made in England means nothing really. Electrolux had-have factories all over. The ones I´ve had in my vans (made in Sweden) have had fridges made in England....[/img][img][/img]
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christine lowery



Joined: 30 Sep 2009
Posts: 496
Location: wallsend tyne and wear

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the other possability is
if the dimaentions are the same as the later rm120's do a door swap and have a new fridge -gas and electris behind
it would look the same but be alot safer and more practical

christine
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Stirling-in-Oz



Joined: 08 Oct 2012
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:00 am    Post subject: Door swap - reality television or vintage caravan reality Reply with quote

Hi all,
Loving the idea about the door swap, or alternatively to have it fitted out on 12V / 240V. Am toying with prospect of a quiet diesel generator to run and supply power to the van when out bush, using gas for stove and oven only. Oh, I am also toying with the idea of an instant water heater hidden away in one of the cupboards.

Just as an aside, got the old Whale hand pump working beautifully - works like new.
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Stirling-in-Oz



Joined: 08 Oct 2012
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:02 am    Post subject: Australian summers Reply with quote

...and the other consideration here is the ridiculous heat - will probably need better technology to ensure I keep the beer cold!

p.s. did anyone realise that the biggest kitchen cupboard in the Stirling is the liquor cabinet? So happy to see these olden day tourers had their priorities in order.
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Stirling-in-Oz



Joined: 08 Oct 2012
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:07 am    Post subject: The fridge saga is resolving now Reply with quote

Well, I feel like a marathon runner starting to see the finish line. Just for you Brits, it is 41 degrees here today, and will be 42 tomorrow. A town about 100kms inland from here peaked at 46 degrees yesterday - the hottest day since records began 150 years ago.

So its timely to be talking fridges with people in the Northern Hemisphere who are in the middle of an undoubtedly cold winter. I'd take the cold any day.

Anyway, I have tracked down a gasfitter and refrigeration guy here in my local city who is happy to retro-fit the fridge with an electronic safety switch and Piezo ignition and pilot light. Assures me the fridge will be perfectly safe for many years to come as essentially there is not too much to go wrong with them.

Will remove it and take it in on Thursday for him to look at.

Thanks for all the help so far.
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