In refrigeration news, I found an Ojeda glass-top ice cream freezer for sale on craigslist for $100. I contacted the seller and after a few missed connections, he told me that he didn't want to waste my time and when he plugged in the unit to check it out, the compressor wouldn't come on. I thanked him for letting me know and wrote off the unit, but after thinking about it for a minute, I wondered if he was still willing to sell the non-working freezer at a reduced price. He was willing, so I offered him $20 and he accepted.
I drove about 60 miles to pick it up this afternoon and it's in nice shape, but missing the side access panel. (No matter; that will be hidden behind a wall anyway.) While he was showing it to me, he demonstrated the malfunction by plugging it in and pointing out the digital thermostat was lit, but the compressor wouldn't come on. To tell the truth, I was hoping at this point that it wouldn't suddenly start working after we had already negotiated the lower price. We loaded it into my vehicle and I brought it home and put it in the bus. I didn't want to leave it plugged in—not knowing why it wasn't working to begin with—so I would only plug it in to troubleshoot and only for a few minutes at a time and only while I was actually in its presence lest a fire break out or something weird.
I researched the unit on the internet and couldn't find any useful Ojeda user manuals, but I eventually did find the manual for the digital thermostat made by AKO. That little two-button device has many powerful features, although I'm not sure how many of them are supported by the Ojeda freezer. One thing I did learn was the little snowflake icon was blinking, indicating the compressor should be running but isn't due to a parameter setting that is preventing it from running. It took me a while to scan the menu options (including resetting the password to the default—it took me about ten minutes to go through all the possible passwords before I hit the correct one) and while I was poking around, the compressor kicked on! YAY!
I think the setting that was preventing the compressor from running was some kind of anti-cycle delay to keep the unit healthy; it is a commercial freezer, after all. Whatever it was, it's running now and I'll check the temperature in the morning. The inside walls were already cooling when I left it. It's also whisper-quiet.
In my search for a suitable top-loading refrigerator, I've seen a few of these units for sale, although they have all been much larger and never less than several hundred dollars, usually over $500. This should make a nice refrigerator, and with the built-in programmable thermostat, I won't even need to use the Johnson Controls unit I bought a few months back. (I wonder how long I can keep that before Amazon refuses a return?)
Powerful little AKO controller: