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I'm having issues getting my Bull Mini Fridge to cool. It was not working when we bought the house, but we never really needed to use it. I have been trying to figure out why it doesn't cool. The lights come on when the door opens, but the wiring in the back is kind of a mess.

I'm guessing a rat got into it, there are some frayed and severed wires, mostly the green ground wire. I tried reconnecting them all as I thought the ground loop would work, but still no cooling. I hear something turn on when i plug it in and the temp selector is at 6, but just never gets cold.

Is this thing doomed? or could it be something I am missing? Anything else I can check?

I'll take a picture of the wiring when I get home

  • Does the fridge have a fan to circulate air on the inside? Mini fridges usually don't. – JPhi1618 Apr 8 at 20:14
  • I really dont see any fans or coils. There is a white box in the back where the power plug cable goes into and then a large metal container in the back. When I turn it on, I hear something turn on, but not that loud and then I hear fluid in the back of the fridge, moving around. The black metal container gets cold, but the inside does not – Jeff Harding Apr 8 at 20:16
  • Is the compressor running? If there is no power to the compressor it won't get cold. – Ed Beal Apr 8 at 20:24
  • How do I tell if the compressor is running? I hear something turn on, but nothing gets cold. – Jeff Harding Apr 8 at 20:57
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The only moving part in a mini fridge is the compressor. If you plug the uint in and hear something come on, that is the compressor. If the compressor is running, the wiring is probably ok.

If the compressor runs for a while and the fridge never cools, then you most likely need a professional to check out the sealed refrigeration components. Normally this isn't worth the cost on a mini-fridge but outdoor units are much more expensive so it's probably worth a repair call to check it out.

  • Does the compressor blow the cold air into the inside of the fridge or is there a fan for that in a mini fridge? I hear something like fluid moving up and down the back wall of the fridge, but there is no air blowing inside the unit – Jeff Harding Apr 8 at 21:14
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    No, in a mini fridge the compressor pushes the refrigerant through coils that make a freezer area or coils in the sides of the case. – JPhi1618 Apr 8 at 21:34
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How long did it sit unused? I ask because refrigeration compressors (if that's what yours uses) have motors that are "hermetically sealed" inside of the compressors, but there are still moving parts and those moving parts have rubber-like seals around them that keep the refrigerant inside. The refrigerant also acts as a lubricant for the seals so if the fridge sits for a long time without running, the seals dry out, crack and let the refrigerant leak out. Once it's gone, it no longer cools even though the compressor motor runs (until it locks up because it uses the refrigerant as a lubricant too). In theory you could take it to an appliance service shop to be recharged, but if the seals are already gone, it's not worth fixing because the repair labor would cost you more than a new one.

  • Its been at least 2.5 years since its run successfully, probably longer. Sitting outside under a concrete block bar with minimal circulation in summers of 100 degrees – Jeff Harding Apr 8 at 21:09
  • It's toast IMHO... Take a look on Craigslist or Nextdoor (if you are in the US), people give these things away for free all the time because they buy them for their college age students, then the kids move back home or into an apartment with a fridge and the mini-fridge ends up redundant. – J. Raefield Apr 8 at 21:14
  • Thats what I figured, just wanted to give it the college-try to fix, since its $400 new. What makes a fridge an outdoor fridge? Are the components less exposed? – Jeff Harding Apr 8 at 21:16
  • If it's a true outdoor rated unit, as in EXPOSED outdoors, the components are stainless steel or are galvanized to protect against corrosion and the electrical systems are sealed. But if the fridge is INSIDE of an outdoor cabinet not exposed to the raw elements, often times people will just use a standard mini fridge. Bull sells both types, but $400 sounds like it's a true outdoor unit. might be worth trying to repair in that case. – J. Raefield Apr 8 at 21:21
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It is possible it can be saved but this is not a DIY project due to EPA laws. I have found mini fridges to not have a long service life . The problem I have found with them they have a very small Freon charge. Most systems have small leaks which are two small to detect, but over time enough leaks out so it won't cool properly. I have 3 or 4 that were given to me, I installed a service port and pumped them down then added the Freon all my fridges are r134a. I do have a license and the proper equipment to do this you may be able to find a local shop that will recharge it for you at a reasonable cost if you take it in. Most of these small units are so inexpensive that the time it takes to do the repair usually is 75% of the price of a new one, then the Freon, and service port usually bring it over the top unless you have a friend that will do it on the side. So it is possible but probably not DIY.

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