Articles by Joe Marchese

Ice Breaker: Tricks of the Trade

By Joe Marchese
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While repairing refrigeration equipment, technicians sometimes come up with unique methods of solving problems. Many of these are used again and again and become known as “tricks of the trade.” When a bunch of technicians get together, they oftentimes enjoy sharing new tricks they learned or developed recently. It’s like a badge of honor.
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Ice Breaker: Oil Management

By Joe Marchese
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When multiple compressors are piped together with a common suction and discharge header - such as with the arrangement of a parallel rack configuration - oil return to each compressor is a major concern. Typical oil recirculation rates are dependent on three factors.
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Ice Breaker: Generic Refrigeration Maintenance Tips

By Joe Marchese
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The actual frequency and tasks performed will vary from system to system. However, here are some generic maintenance tasks which can be applied to many refrigeration systems. These tasks can be divided into two groups: one for maintaining the cabinet and one for maintaining the refrigeration system.
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Ice Breaker: The Difficult Service Call

By Joe Marchese
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We all, at one time or another, come upon a system that is quite difficult to repair or to troubleshoot. This can be a very stressful experience. Different technicians have different ways of handling this stress. Some throw tools. Some talk to themselves. A better way of handling this stress is to first take a break.
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Ice Breaker: System Charging for Flooded Condensers

By Joe Marchese
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Refrigeration systems utilizing an outdoor air-cooled condenser located in an area where the outdoor temperature can drop below approximately 70°F must be designed to prevent the system’s discharge pressure from dropping too low. There are several different methods that can be used to accomplish this task.
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Ice Breaker: Testing Capacitors

By Joe Marchese
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Many single-phase motors used on refrigeration systems will incorporate some type of capacitor. They will either use a start capacitor or a run capacitor. Some motors will even use both. Troubleshooting the operation of these motors requires a technician to know how to test both run and start capacitors.
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Ice Breaker: Diagnosing a Restricted Capillary Tube

By Joe Marchese
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Although a capillary tube can become totally restricted, a far more common problem is when it becomes partially restricted, allowing some refrigerant to flow into the evaporator but not enough to satisfy the requirements of the system. This seemingly easy problem to diagnose is actually rather tricky at times.
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Ice Breaker: Diagnosing a Defective TXV

By Joe Marchese
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Thermostatic expansion valves (TXV) are responsible for metering the proper amount of refrigerant into an evaporator coil. When they fail, they either cause the evaporator to be flooded (overfed) or starved (underfed) for refrigerant. Read more and find out how to diagnose a defective TXV.
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Ice Breaker: Reducing Flash Gas

By Joe Marchese
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Less flash gas equals a higher net refrigerating effect and a more efficient system. Many designers reduce the amount of flash gas by additionally subcooling the liquid refrigerant entering the metering device. This lowers the refrigerant temperature; meaning less refrigerant will flash off to cool itself down to the evaporating temperature.
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Ice Breaker: Working Safely With Circuits

By Joe Marchese
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Working safely should be a technician’s No. 1 priority; especially while working around electrical circuits and devices. Electricity is a powerful force that could kill or cause severe harm if mishandled. A technician must always be aware of this potential hazard.
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