Author Topic: Commercial Kegerator Cycling  (Read 1199 times)

Offline narcout

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Commercial Kegerator Cycling
« on: November 23, 2010, 07:50:03 PM »
For those that have experience with commercial kegerators, how often is too often for them to cycle?

I've had a Beverage-Air kegerator for a little over two years now, and it cycles pretty frequently.  Maybe once every 45 minutes to an hour.  I'm using the unit's internal temperature control which I have set at 6 (9 is the coldest, 5 is the factory default).

The temperature probe is bracketed onto the back wall and insulated in clear tubing. I'm wondering if I should try to insulate it a little more.

Offline Tim McManus

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Re: Commercial Kegerator Cycling
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2010, 11:02:49 PM »
Check your seals and make sure there aren't any leaks.  If it's cycling that much the air temperature is rising quickly.  Either that or you have a thermostat that needs adjusting or servicing.
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beveragebob

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Re: Commercial Kegerator Cycling
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2010, 12:54:29 AM »
What size kegerator is it? I have the BA Single 1/2 bbl and the one that holds 3 1/2 bbls. All converted of course to hold cornies. the big one cycles every 15-30 minutes depending on ambient temps in the house. I think I have it set between 6-7. The smaller unit usually kicks on every half hour or so. I think I have that one set at 6. HTH's
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 01:09:29 AM by beveragebob »

Offline beerocd

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Re: Commercial Kegerator Cycling
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2010, 06:18:13 AM »
Could you put the probe in a bottle of water? I think that would get you less frequent, longer cycles. And the other option (besides getting out a professional repaiman) Is to use a different temperature controller. (Johnson or whatever) You'd crank the built in thermostat all the way up (as cold as possible) and set the Johnson to the temp you really want and allow it to control the cycling on and off.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 06:21:15 AM by beerocd »
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Commercial Kegerator Cycling
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2010, 06:23:32 AM »
Never put the probe in water...you can run too much and overtax the compressor by exceeding the duty cycle. Also your beer will swing and what you want is the air surrounding the beer to experience the temp swing and the beer to remain at an almost constant temp.

My commercial kegorator is old as heck and I have no idea how often it cycles. As much as it wants  ;)
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Offline abraxas

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Re: Commercial Kegerator Cycling
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2010, 09:06:09 AM »
Never put the probe in water...you can run too much and overtax the compressor by exceeding the duty cycle. Also your beer will swing and what you want is the air surrounding the beer to experience the temp swing and the beer to remain at an almost constant temp.

Duty cycle should be the same either way, it will run longer and less often.  Also, 5 gallons+ of beer is going to swing much less readily than 12 ounces of water.  I've always been under the impression that a compressors life is more related to the number of total cycles than the duty cycle as starting and stopping are much harder on the compressor than running longer, though I am no expert in this area.

Offline narcout

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Re: Commercial Kegerator Cycling
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2010, 02:23:03 PM »
The smaller unit usually kicks on every half hour or so. I think I have that one set at 6.

Yeah, I've got the smaller one. It holds 3 cornies and a 10 lb. tank. Sounds like maybe it isn't cycling more often than it's supposed to.

I might try calling customer service just to verify.  If they say otherwise, I'm sure a little extra insulation on the probe would take care of it. 

Offline MDixon

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Re: Commercial Kegerator Cycling
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2010, 02:34:50 PM »
ab - running longer is EXACTLY what can exceed the duty cycle...Here's a page with a decent explanation, was really about air compressors, but makes the point...
http://www.about-air-compressors.com/dutycycle.html
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Offline abraxas

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Re: Commercial Kegerator Cycling
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2010, 03:11:25 PM »
ab - running longer is EXACTLY what can exceed the duty cycle...Here's a page with a decent explanation, was really about air compressors, but makes the point...
http://www.about-air-compressors.com/dutycycle.html

Probe insulation is going to cause ambient air in the unit to go a little lower and then raise a little bit higher.  Total wall losses should about even out for all practical purposes.  Thus the compressor will run longer when it does run but then less frequently to create a certain amount of total cooling resulting in a near even duty cycle (run 10 minutes every 20 instead of 5 every 10).  I've seen receiver tanks sold as a means of limiting compressor cycling to extend compressor life in vacuum systems before (also probably saw the same when I interned in industrial refrigeration but it's been awhile).

From your site: http://www.about-air-compressors.com/receivers.html
Quote
Most electro-mechanical equipment “doesn’t like” to be cycled on and off. The frequency of the on/off cycle may lead to premature component failure, draw higher energy resources, etc. Your compressor is an electro-mechanical device.

One way industry deals with this is to provide continuous run compressors. When the downstream air pressure drops, these compressors begin compressing air until the high pressure set point is reached. At that point, they stop compressing air, but the motor still runs.

In non-continuous run compressors, to help eliminate too-frequent on/off cycling, compressors are coupled with receivers.

There's a limit to this of course when you risk overheating the compressor but typically we are running the fridges well above the design range for homebrewing.


Offline abraxas

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Re: Commercial Kegerator Cycling
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2010, 03:23:27 PM »
A barely related side note; I've always heard that one of the ways refrigerators have become more energy efficient is by reducing the size for the compressor and increasing the duty life.  So sometimes a more energy efficient fridge actually has a smaller, albeit maybe better built compressor.

Not sure if this is true.

beveragebob

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Re: Commercial Kegerator Cycling
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2010, 07:21:48 PM »
narcout, it sounds like it is running normal to me.

Offline oscarvan

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Re: Commercial Kegerator Cycling
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2010, 02:59:17 PM »
I have experienced the "this is broken" while it was working just fine syndrome. It happens.
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