I recently got an old fridge from a friend for use as a fermentation fridge for my homebrewed beer. The reason they were getting rid of it was because it was working fine, however it wouldn't cool below 8C, and they were quoted a few hundred dollars to fix the problem. However despite not cooling particularly low, the form given to them by the repairman has a box which is ticked which indicates that it has been tested and is in compliance with some sort of Australian/New Zealand standard, indicating that there can't be terribly much wrong with it.
We took the fridge over to my house, and after leaving it for a day or two upright (since we had to put it on its side to transport it), I turned it on. It immediately tripped the circuit breakers. As soon as I tried to switch the breaker back on, it tripped again. However I persisted, and after a few attempts to turn the breaker back to the on position, it stayed there and the fridge began to cool.
The problem here is that I need to use an external temperature controller to switch the fridge on and off in order to maintain the temperature I need to ferment my beer (roughly 16-20C). This presents a problem, since turning the fridge on and off will trip the circuit breakers.
I've tried moving the fridge to a different circuit, but that didn't solve things. I'm reasonably sure that the circuit I moved it to (the one for my garage) has nothing else on it, or at least whatever else is on it was switched off when I tested it.
Does this issue sound like something that's easily fixed, and are there any common causes for this sort of issue? Could it be simply high inrush current due to the age of the fridge? Could it be solved using some sort of inrush current limiter? Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.