I’ve been thinking quite a lot about refrigerator designs and what steps I’m going to take in developing them. I tend to take on a lot more than I can chew and then when it all becomes too overwhelming, I get frustrated and give up or get distracted by something else. In this case, I think I’ll use that to my advantage. There are so many projects I would like to explore related to vapor compression systems, thermal energy storage, refrigerator cabinet design and so on, that rather than design the hell out of something, going through thousands of iterations until it’s a rich and thoughtful idea, only to be without the skill set to bring it to fruition; I will jump head first into a hands on build I know I can accomplish while developing skills I need to proceed further along the way. As I reach the limits of effective manual data logging, I will have the motivation to design and build and accurate, repeatable data acquisition system. If I become frustrated by the limits of hermetic compressor, I’ll investigate purchasing an open drive system. Maybe I’ll become fascinated by using a low temperature brine with PCM balls to maintain a refrigerated cabinet at desired temperatures. I’m not limiting myself to a specific project. We’ll see where it goes.
Once I find steady work I’m going to build a very crude test platform that pumps heat from a vessel of water and discharges it into the air. This project will help redevelop my brazing skills. I have enough parts lying around for most of it. Some copper coils for a water heat exchanger, radiative coils, fans, compressor and some Coleman coolers for a water vessel. I’ll have to rig everything up on an insulated board that can sit on top top the water vessel with evaporator coil suspended below. Some sort of fan and shroud will have to be fashioned for the condenser. A small brass flow control valve can be used for the refrigerant control. BBQ grade propane will be suitable as the refrigerant. Simple schrader access ports will be used at first, but I’d like to quickly acquire some king valves since these machine will be altered constantly. In that regard, it would be wise to construct a liquid receiver that the refrigerant can be pumped into during modifications rather than venting it. I may have to rig up some sort of recovery machine sometime.
The point is, I want to keep this fun. I’m not doing any of this for money, so if it’s not fun why do it?