With summer winding down, it’s a good time to look ahead to cooler weather and consider a low ambient situation. In this troubleshooting problem, you’re following up on a complaint from a restaurant manager that one of the ice machines in his high-volume establishment isn’t producing enough ice. There are two identical machines in this installation. Both are remote condenser type and are of the same age, having been installed ten years ago in the same section of the kitchen. Preventive maintenance has been performed regularly, and the remote condensers are located on the same area of the roof.

The restaurant manager reports that from the middle of the day through the afternoon, the cubes from the problem ice machine seem incomplete, although they are nearly as plentiful as the identical unit that’s operating properly.

In the evening hours, the situation gets worse. The suspect machine simply doesn’t produce enough cubes. The manger is able to determine this capacity problem based on his experience with this particular machine and the ability to compare the operating efficiency of both units.

The history of both units is that periodic maintenance has been performed on a regular schedule since installation, and cleaning has been accomplished according to manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations. Neither unit has been checked at a time other than the periodic maintenance schedule.

Upon arrival, you find the following conditions and factors:

  1. There is adequate water supply throughout the ice machine system.
  2. Proper voltage, well within tolerance specifications, is being applied to both units.
  3. Ambient temperature at the remote condenser location is 60-degrees.
  4. The system head pressure is lower than normal, and the low side pressure is near normal.
  5. The liquid line pressure between the head pressure control valve and the receiver (refer to Figure One) is cold to the touch.

Your troubleshooting question: What component in the refrigeration system is at fault?

Submit your answer here.

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