Author Topic: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?  (Read 1449 times)

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Offline ivaylo

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Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« on: October 08, 2018, 03:18:44 pm »
Hey guys,

A friend moved from the US to the Netherlands. Got her US wine fridge with her. The controls, displays, etc. all work, but compressor won't turn with any of the adapters she's tried (labels pictured). Must be the frequency difference (no idea if those adapters convert frequency, guess not), but I was expecting it if not run extended periods of time to at least turn?

Any product on the market which could help her?

Appreciate your help,
Ivaylo
 

Offline abraxa

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2018, 05:26:32 pm »
I'd say those adapters don't work because the surge current of the motor is HUGE since it's essentially stalled on startup, likely forcing these into overload shutdown.

This fridge is so small, I'd invest in a real transformer. Something like these:
https://www.ebay.nl/itm/Heavy-Duty-Step-Down-Voltage-Converter-Transformer-300W-240V-to-120V-UK-to-USA/121525710587
https://www.ebay.nl/itm/TOYOZUMI-TRANSFORMER-SD21-02KB-PRI-200-240-V-VOLT-SEC-100-115-V-2-KVA-CAP-TR2/291560158620
 

Online capt bullshot

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2018, 05:34:11 pm »
The usual fridge compressor motor relies on the line frequency.
Using a proper (and large enough) transformer, most probably it'll start to run, but will run slower than intended and may have increased power consumption. Both will result in decreased efficiency of the fridge. One might try some combination of charger, large enough battery and 60Hz / 120V inverter with large surge power capability, or just get a new fridge.
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Online BrianHG

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2018, 08:03:28 pm »
For a whine cooler made in China, it will cost you less to buy a new 240v50hz one than converting 50hz to 60hz with something like a true sine wave inverter connected to a DC power supply with enough startup surge current support for the compressor.

You also have to worry about the inverter setup being safe if you go the homemade solution.  Getting a proper 60hz sinewave out with that startup surge current support will cost money.
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Offline Karlo_Moharic

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2018, 09:04:21 pm »
For a whine cooler made in China, it will cost you less to buy a new 240v50hz one than converting 50hz to 60hz with something like a true sine wave inverter connected to a DC power supply with enough startup surge current support for the compressor.

You also have to worry about the inverter setup being safe if you go the homemade solution.  Getting a proper 60hz sinewave out with that startup surge current support will cost money.

Yep  :-+
 

Offline Karlo_Moharic

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2018, 09:40:59 pm »
It can also be the case that motor got damaged during transport
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2018, 12:11:51 am »
See how that converter says "Converter Mode for hair dryers only"? It's probably the kind of converter that is basically a triac dimmer permanently set to halfway. I'm no expert on motors and magnetics, but my hunch is that the compressor motor (or the control electronics for it) simply cannot function with the chopped-up sine wave from those. Try a real transformer — and as others have said, a beefy one.

Or just buy a new wine cooler.
 

Online Hero999

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2018, 12:25:57 am »
I agree, the converters already tried are probably thyristor based and give a horrible waveform, only suitable for resistive loads such as hair dryers. It's possible that using such an adaptor on a fridge could either damage the motor, the adaptor or both. If it won't work on a transformer now, I suspect the motor got burnt out when it was powered from the crappy adaptor.
 

Offline ivaylo

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2018, 04:20:03 am »
Thanks guys! These are more alternatives of why it possibly doesn't work than I would have listed without seeing the thing...
 

Offline Wolfgang

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2018, 10:36:15 am »
There is one more problem that needs to be solved:

The motor will need 60Hz to run properly. While average power is not too much, the type of motor built into refrigerators consumes an insane amout of inrush current while starting.
The inverter creating 60Hz must be pepared to supply this current. So you dont need a 85W inverter, you need a 1kW inverter instead. The inverter must also be OK with a highly reactive load.
 

Offline alpher

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2018, 12:59:22 pm »
There is one more problem that needs to be solved:

The motor will need 60Hz to run properly. While average power is not too much, the type of motor built into refrigerators consumes an insane amout of inrush current while starting.
The inverter creating 60Hz must be pepared to supply this current. So you dont need a 85W inverter, you need a 1kW inverter instead. The inverter must also be OK with a highly reactive load.
Not to mention a shitty euro type mains network, unable to supply the staring current.
 

Offline Wolfgang

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2018, 01:10:27 pm »
Sorry to disagree, but the mains in Europe (at least in Germany) is a *lot* stiffer than in the States.
A statistics of power downtime tells a lot.
 
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Online Nusa

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2018, 01:50:23 pm »
This is one of those cases where the cost of a proper solution will equal the value of that fridge. (Which is about $300 new.) Unless you've got other appliances that can share the same solution, it's likely better to buy a replacement fridge locally.
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2018, 02:02:35 pm »
There is one more problem that needs to be solved:

The motor will need 60Hz to run properly. While average power is not too much, the type of motor built into refrigerators consumes an insane amout of inrush current while starting.
The inverter creating 60Hz must be pepared to supply this current. So you dont need a 85W inverter, you need a 1kW inverter instead. The inverter must also be OK with a highly reactive load.
Not to mention a shitty euro type mains network, unable to supply the staring current.

Beg pardon?

There are a few kiloamps available pretty much anywhere.
 
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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2018, 02:43:15 pm »
It surprises me that anyone would take their wine cooler across the ocean in the first place. Items like those generally aren't worth the hassle and cost. Maybe she just really enjoys cool wine.
 
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Offline ivaylo

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2018, 04:37:35 pm »
...Maybe she just really enjoys cool wine.
Yes, she does :)
 

Offline Jeroen3

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2018, 04:53:40 pm »
How many VA would you need?
Conrad is a major distributor of various electronics components not limited to business only.
They sell this 250VA transformer: https://www.conrad.nl/p/block-e-jet-250-automatische-voorschakeltransformator-e-jet-250-512972
But there is also a 1000VA version. (It has a NEMA5-15 socket)

But, I don't know how large or special this cooler is... You might be better of just getting a new one.
 

Online Daixiwen

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2018, 06:26:31 pm »
I think all it needs is a batterizer in parallel to deal with the inrush current
 
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Offline tooki

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2018, 08:43:15 pm »
Not to mention a shitty euro type mains network, unable to supply the staring current.
As an American who’s lived in USA and Europe for about the same number of years each, I have no idea where you got the idea that Europe has “shitty” power grids. In my experience Europe does a far better job, both in terms of power quality and availability. There’s a reason why UPSs and surge protectors are super common in USA, and rarely seen here outside of data centers...
 

Offline Jeroen3

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2018, 11:23:03 pm »
The idea of shitty power probably comes from the grid time deviation we experienced begin 2018.
 

Offline babysitter

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2018, 12:38:49 am »
Which was a financial thing of "unwilling to supply", I'd say grid robustness made that it only slowed the clock and didn't make the grid break into two or more parts and rolling blackouts.

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Offline alpher

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2018, 01:39:13 pm »
Let me elaborate then, "a few of kiloamps" is actually a very weak network,
Minimum for any kind of dwelling should be arround , 20Ka, most  of Ontario area being in 200Ka range for most of commercial and some   of residential dwelling, and   some unfortunate souls being close to the transformer even higher (which cost serious money).
Don't wan't to start a pissisng mach  but the relative absence of star/delta starters so common in Europe speaks for itself. I've never seen one used on a motor of less that 150Hp.

 

Offline james_s

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2018, 02:21:17 pm »
Well UK is the closest to Europe I've been, but the arrangement at least where my friend lives is a bit different. One transformer stepping down to 240V feeds the whole street he's on, so especially near the end of the run the voltage range is pretty wide. He was monitoring his for a while and we saw everything from a low of about 220V up to a high of over 250V. I monitored mine and never saw it outside a range of 118V to a high of 121V, the standard setup here is a transformer either on a pole or a vault by the edge of the road that steps down 7200V to 120/240 feeding only a few houses within a couple hundred feet of the transformer.

Even so, that's not going to cause any trouble starting a refrigerator motor. Most stuff isn't going to mind a slightly wider voltage swing.
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2018, 02:57:59 pm »
Let me elaborate then, "a few of kiloamps" is actually a very weak network,
Minimum for any kind of dwelling should be arround , 20Ka, most  of Ontario area being in 200Ka range for most of commercial and some   of residential dwelling, and   some unfortunate souls being close to the transformer even higher (which cost serious money).
Don't wan't to start a pissisng mach  but the relative absence of star/delta starters so common in Europe speaks for itself. I've never seen one used on a motor of less that 150Hp.

I'm sorry, what?

No normal residential installation can handle a 200kA fault current. Hell, most decent size industrial ones can't. And you're going to have one hell of a time achieving that with 120V! 20kA is already very substantial.

20kA at 240V would require an EFLI of just 12mΩ - with 4AWG conductors that's only 7.5m of cable. 200kA would involve just 1.2mΩ - that's about 3m at 0000AWG.

Would you like to try again with your brain engaged?!
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Running an US Fridge Compressor in Europe?
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2018, 03:01:47 pm »
Be on the lookout for a small used VFD and that should do the trick.

Too bad it's not the reverse (run a small 240V compressor on 120V) since there's a fairly simple solid state converter for that. Basically just rectify the mains with a voltage doubler and switch a pair of MOSFETs such that it generates 120V AC of the opposite phase, which then is combined with the incoming 120V to make 240V.
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