Repair DVD for the Danby Consul Gas Fridge

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Danby / Consul Propane Gas Refrigerator Service Repair DVD

The Danby / Consul Gas Refrigerator has been in production for over 30 years using the original designs of the components. With the correct care and gas fridge maintenance, these units have been in service since their introduction to the market. We have repaired hundreds of units and brought them back to life from what the owner considered “dead”. Now we offer our expert repair DVD to show you how we do gas refrigerator repair on the Danby / Consul units. DVD Features Include; Set-up tips, General Maintenance, Lighting Instructions, Cleaning the Burner, Replacing the Thermocouple, Checking Gas Pressure, Leak Testing, Cooling Unit Diagnosis, Cleaning the Flue, Permanent fix for the “Factory Design Flaw” and Much More…
Danby Consul DVD = $49.95 Click here to order the DVD

Danby Propane Refrigerator Comparison Information

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Danby Propane Refrigerator – vs – the EZ Freeze EZ-10

Imported and private labeled by the Danby Corporation, this gas refrigerator is identical to the Consul Fridge. Both made by Whirlpool of Brazil, these units only differed by the name plate on the front door. Production of these units ended in 2012 and are not available anymore. No plans to bring the brand back are on the horizon. Some parts are available and service is still available as well. Our service department continues to repair them for our local customers or those who don’t mind trucking or shipping them to our facility. Others may choose to get outside help by purchasing the Danby Repair DVD. On today’s market a well kept unit is resalable from anywhere between $600.00 and $1000.00. A comparable new model made by EZ Freeze (EZ-10) will sell for $1399.00 on today’s sale marketplace. Both are considered a small propane refrigerator.

With the proper care and maintenance the Danby refrigerators were a great asset to any off-grid vacation home, hunting camp, or full time off-grid home. One of the major draw backs to the Danby Consul fridge was the small freezer size. The 1.1 cubic foot capacity is only large enough for 2 frozen chickens and a couple of ice trays. The newer EZ Freeze EZ-10 freezer compartment measures out at 2.2 cubic feet which is moderate for a cabin size fridge. The Danby Consul fridge has been the industry leading cabin size fridge for many years, but with them being discontinued the choices have narrowed to the 10 cubic foot size. Cost is slightly higher but the gain in capacity and much less maintenance and headache is well worth the price. The EZ Freeze propane refrigerator for sale on our site here

Danby Propane Refrigerator Information

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Danby Gas Refrigerator – All-Purpose Refrigerators Requiring No Electric Power

Danby propane refrigerator is among the popular gas refrigerators around today. This exceptional refrigerator is an excellent appliance to have in off-grid locations, cabins as well as vacation homes. It doesn’t matter how long electric power may be unavailable in your location, you will have your food items, perishable items as well as other items well preserved with Danby gas fridge and other gas refrigerators such as the Consul gas refrigerator.

Danby gas refrigerator is ideal for use in:

Vacation homes

Cabins

Remote locations

It is also perfect for use as an emergency backup

Features:
Danby Fridge works perfectly to produce great value for the money invested. You will find 7.8 cubic foot box unit with freezer compartment, having other features such as removable shelving, interior light (battery-powered), egg rack, glide shelves (three) and massive vegetable crisper. The refrigerator also comes with removable crystal compartments, recessed-handle European rounded door, reversible door hinges as well as other standard features. This unit is consider a small propane refrigerator compared to the EZ Freeze line of larger models.

Other features include piezo ignition and temperature control systems integrated in such an easily accessible manner. There’s also safety shut-off valve, and of course, no electric plugs are needed. The Danby gas refrigerator keeps your perishable items intact and helps you preserve just anything without relying on conventional electric power to do so. This item is an excellent buy for everyone; whether you are residing in the center of the city or in remote locations where there may be no electric power supply. Vacation homes and cabins are also known to benefit greatly from these exceptional refrigerators as they have their foods and other items well preserved without relying on solar or regular electric power supply.
These refrigerators also feature male flare fitting (3/8 inches).

Unfortunately production of the Danby Propane Refrigerator ceased a few years ago.  Parts for the refrigerators are becoming increasingly hard to find.  We try hard to find parts for those consumers who have a refrigerator that needs help, but its getting harder and harder to do.  We did buy a large quantity of parts and pieces after the Danby factory stopped producing the product but these pieces are limited.  We will continue to try and find parts, even used parts when available.

This was the smallest propane refrigerator for sale in our lineup until the factory stopped production. The smallest unit we sell today is the EZ Freeze EZ-10.

Here’s a quick look at the features of the Danby gas refrigerator:

Manual piezo ignition

The refrigerator light is powered by D size dry cell battery

Gas Consumption Low 700 BTU/hour

Gas Consumption High 1600 BTU/hour

Door shelves and egg storage are integrated

Easily accessed handles

Vegetable crisper

Wire shelves ( 3 full width)

 

Consul Propane Refrigerator – Service Notifications

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Consul Refrigerator – Service Issues

In the Mid 1980’s, there were very few gas refrigerators in production on the retail market. In fact there were only 2 brands that were considered reliable. One brand name was the Consul. Made in Brazil and imported into North America. Based on an average electric fridge, the Consul was small. It was common place for a home owner to purchase 2 and use them side by side to accommodate the entire family. Although the 1940 model Servel propane gas refrigerators looked much larger, the capacities of both brands were very similar at about 8 cubic feet.

Compared to the 1940 Servel units, the Consul gas fridge freezer was much more efficient and reliable. Compared to a 2014 model EZ Freeze, the Consul is slightly less efficient and much less reliable. Considering the age of design of the three mentioned fridges, the reliability is par for the course based on age of design.

What design issues does the Consul propane refrigerator have? Most of the design flaws center around the burner area. The most common issue that we see is the burner burning foul due to ingested debris. This can not only cause the LP refrigerator to not cool properly but also be dangerous to the homeowner if left unattended. Very high levels of carbon monoxide can result in health issues. The old 1940 Servel units showed these same traits but on a much worse scale.

When the burner gets fouled by debris the flame puts off soot through the exhaust. This soot will coat the boiler and lower the boiler temperature and as a result the refrigerator interior temperature will rise above safe food keeping temperatures.

Pictures on this page show a severely neglected Consul burner and the resulting soot ball the was cleaned out by our service technician. This is one of the worst cases we have seen. This Consul unit required a full burner rebuild. When it left the shop, it was in good working order with interior temperatures at 29 degrees Fahrenheit in the refrigerator compartment.

We used the same step by step procedure for this rebuild as we show in the Danby / Consul Repair DVD.

Consul Propane Refrigerator – Parts

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Consul Propane Refrigerator Parts Information

Do you have a Consul propane refrigerator? Since they are no longer being made, it is a valuable gas fridge. Some of the controls and critical parts are still available for gas fridge maintenance. Most Consuls that are in need of repair or service can be fixed. Parts like thermostats and cooling units are not available, but most of the burner parts are. We have supplied a list of parts below that we carry in stock.

#DYN-201 Gas Refrigerator Repair DVD
#DYN-202 Flue Extension Pipe
#DYN-203 Flue Brush
#DYN-205 Baffle with wire
#DYN-207 Burner
#DYN-208 Piezo Electrode
#DYN-209 Thermocouple
#DYN-212S Orifice – Low Altitude 0-2500′
#DYN-212H Orifice – High Altitude 2501- and up
#DYN-213 Air Intake Fitting – Brass
#DYN-223A Gas Feed Line
#DYN-232 Piezo Sparker and Wire

About the Consul Refrigerator

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Information on the Consul propane refrigerators

The Consul Refrigerator is no longer in production. The factory has ceased production in 2012 with no plans to restart. It was the smallest of the gas fridges that we sold with 7.8 cubic foot capacity. The smallest unit we currently sell is the EZ Freeze EZ-10 at 10 cubic feet overall capacity. The Consul unit was built in Brazil by the Whirlpool Corporation. Production was briefly moved to Argentina for economic reasons, but after only a few years, production returned to Brazil. The units’s production run spanned over 30 years with very little changes made in design within the past 20 years. The main cooling unit remained identical throughout the last 25 plus years. Many cabinet cosmetic changes were made in this time frame and only a handful of mechanical control updates occurred.

For the most part, they are very reliable propane refrigerators with only a few quirks. Maintenance is higher than the EZ Freeze Brand and most other modern built gas refrigerators. Some folks experience some frustration with the maintenance due to inexperience. We have serviced over 1000 Consuls at our repair facility over the years and it is rare that we can’t bring one back to life. Usually the repairs are under $200.00 which includes a full service. cleaning, and a thorough testing.

They are very simple in design with no moving parts. Most problems are related to servicing of the burner caused by owner neglect. The unit does have one factory design flaw that we have identified and developed a cure for. This flaw is present in every machine but usually only rears it’s head in operating climates over 2500 feet in elevation. It poses little to no danger to the user other than the fact that the food will not be cold and can cause spoilage.

We realize there are thousands of units in vacation homes or hunting camps within North America and we cannot possible service everyone of them. We offer technical telephone help to customers that purchased the original unit from us. The repairs are too time consuming to do a walk thru over the telephone. Our staff has put together a gas refrigerator Repair DVD for those interested to learn how we keep these units in tip top running order.

Gas Freezers vs Solar Freezers

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There are two types of freezers used in off-grid living.

The two types of freezers used are gas powered or DC powered. Both are produced with a high insulation value to create the best efficiency. The major considerations between a Propane Gas Freezer and a DC Electric Freezer are initial cost and availability of the power source. The power source being DC, propane gas, or natural gas.

If solar energy, wind energy, or hydro energy is available or a possibly at your location, then the DC electric freezer initial cost will be low and this will be the best choice. If none of these DC energy sources are available and purchasing the equipment to capture the DC Electricity is necessary, then the initial cost of the DC unit can easily double. The freezer must have power available at all times to keep the food storage at good freezing temperatures. This usually means that these freezers will require a battery bank for power storage during night in the case of solar powered, or when the wind is not blowing in the case of wind generated power. In some cases of hydro power, batteries may not be needed. Solar power is not free. Solar power requires batteries and batteries do wear out and must be replaced. This must be considered when doing cost analysis.

This is where the possibility of a gas freezer may be best. Gas Freezers can operate from stored LPG (Propane) gas or piped in Natural Gas. In some cases, a natural gas well is available on the property site and a natural gas freezer would be ideal. An un-metered well means free power to the natural gas freezer. Propane gas is supplied either by truck to a permanent tank on the property or smaller portable tanks that can be transported and filled at a filling site. Permanent tanks are available in a variety of sizes ranging from 100 gallons to over 1000 gallons. The freezer can operate from any size tank. The question is, for how long. It is typical for a propane freezer to use approximately 2 to 3 gallons of LPG per 7 days.

What are some of the other differences? Performance, portability, and availability.

Performance between a DC powered or compressor driven unit versus a Gas Freezer or absorption system unit are only different in what is called “recovery times”. This is the time it takes for the temperatures to come down or recover to the thermostat set temperature. Both types will get as cold as one another, but the compressor driven unit has the advantage in recovery speed. It is estimated to be four times faster than that of an absorption freezer.

If you open the door or lid of either freezer to retrieve some food goods then the recovery times will only be minutes for either unit. In this case the differences between the two types is of not much concern. When putting non frozen goods into the freezer, this is when the difference of recovery speed shows up. The greatest difference of recovery speed shows when the units are started up from an ambient air temperature state. A typical chill down time for a DC Solar Freezer will be approximately 2 hours whereas the propane gas freezer may take up to 8 hours.

Both units can be portable. The Propane Gas Freezer is very portable due to the nature of the propane being in tanks. The DC freezer is also portable if the unit is operated by a portable power source such as batteries of a vehicle or a small solar system. The weight of the unit is another consideration. Gas freezers are heavier by at least 80 lbs. due to the absorption system weight.

Currently there is a very limited number of manufactures for both types. The DC Solar Freezers are available from a handful of manufacturers and only in chest style. The gas absorption freezers are only available from one manufacturer and only in upright configuration.

This brings up the last comparison. Chest style versus upright style. There are two arguments. You can decide which makes more sense. Chest style units do not allow as much cold air to escape since the lid is opening at the top and cold air falls. Upright freezers are usually open for less time since the goods are staring you in the face and are more accessible than the buried goods in the chest style. Furthermore, if the freezer is full of food then there is less air to fall out when the door is opened.

EZ-Defrost System for Gas Refrigerators

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Why are all gas refrigerators manual defrost? In order to accomplish an automatic defrost cycle that includes timers and heating elements, the unit must have electric power. This electric defrost cycle puts a large load on the electric supply. Built primarily for use in off grid non-electric locations, the manufacturers of propane gas refrigerators elect not to include this feature. The frost build-up inside of the refrigerator compartment is inevitable and eventually will lower the efficiency of any gas non-electric refrigerator. Depending on a few factors will determine when and how often the off grid refrigerator will need to be defrosted. The humidity in the air, number of door openings, and moisture on groceries will all contribute to frost build up and will vary depending upon the owner and climate. We find that a defrosting schedule can be as often as every 3 months or as little as once a year even within the largest propane refrigeratorEZ Freeze has developed a defrosting method that takes all of the work out of defrosting. It is as simple as turning a dial. The EZ-Defrost System is available on all models.

How do I know when it’s time to defrost my Gas Refrigerator?

Here at WarehouseAppliance.com we have been using propane refrigerators for over 30 years. We have come up with a simple way to determine when defrosting is required. A non electric refrigerator will have aluminum cooling fins located on the back wall of the refrigerator compartment. Humidity will collect on these fins and turn to ice. We monitor these fins and find that when the frost builds up between these fins to the point where there is no air space between the fins due to ice build up, then it is time to defrost.

How does the EZ-Defrost System work?

The EZ-Defrost System includes multiple parts. First is a pan under the cooling fins inside the fridge compartment with drip spout that directs the water to a funnel mounted on the back wall of the fridge interior. The water then funnels out through the back wall and down into a removable tray on the rear of the unit. The tray is designed to either be removed and emptied or left in place where the water will evaporate due to the heated tray holder.

As close to automatic as it gets.

In order to defrost, all you need to do is turn the temperature thermostat dial to a minimum setting in the evening and in the morning the frost in the fridge will be defrosted and drained through the above process. At this point in time all you need to do is turn the thermostat dial back to where it was prior to defrosting. No need to empty the contents of the fridge. No need to turn off the unit. No need to use a hair dryer or hot water to defrost. This is why we call it the EZ-Defrost System.

 

 

Functions of a Propane Refrigerator

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How a Propane Refrigerator Functions

Propane fridge how it works
CLICK IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW

When looking into how a propane refrigerator functions we go back to 1820, where English scientist Michael Faraday used liquefied ammonia to cause cooling. And our modern day civilization can credit this early start to effective cooling; as it sets the foundation for today’s refrigerators. Where an absorption ammonia refrigerator or gas refrigerator still functions on the same foundational basis as what Micheal Faraday had started with all those years ago. The mixture that these cooling systems use is a blend of anhydrous ammonia, distilled water, and hydrogen vapor. 

Propane is a byproduct of natural gas processing and a byproduct of refining petroleum, being an inexpensive commercially available fuel source. Lending to the ability to be off grid and yet having the ability to power a refrigerator. Here we analyze how a propane fridge functions by using propane as an effective fuel source.

For cooling in the propane refrigerator the ammonia and water is heated by a propane flame, which is exactly why the propane refrigerator gets its name. The heat from the propane flame then causes the ammonia and the water to vaporize into a steam, traveling through the perk tube. From there the process that this steam follows is to then percolate or perked. This same perking process is very similar to the process that a coffee percolator adheres to. At this stage this is where the inner tube, also known as the perk tube, in the propane refrigerator boiler emits steam as the water bubbles, causing them to move upward.

Between these two mix components; since the ammonia is lighter than the water, the ammonia will turn into steam earlier than the water will. Which then allows for the ammonia steam to be pushed up into a condenser by the hydrogen pressure that is generated, as it is dissipating the heat, leaving the water to fall down into the outer tube; and is then pushed into the absorber tubes which then returns to the mixing tank, also known as the absorber tank.

As the ammonia steam is moving upward through the rectifier and into the condenser tubes; it then turns into a rich ammonia liquid once more. Here this rich ammonia liquid is then pushed into the top of the evaporator tubing. After it is in the evaporator, it then meets the hydrogen gas moving up through the inner tube inside the evaporator. From here this hydrogen gas absorbs the rich ammonia. As the ammonia meets this hydrogen gas here in the evaporator it then creates a chemical reaction. This chemical reaction then evaporates the ammonia, thus making it extremely cold at that point. This is what is called absorbing the heat, or better stated, removing the heat from the refrigerator box. See the image to the right to locate the propane refrigerator parts.

In the meantime, you will find that the water is then being pushed backwards to the absorber coils. At this point this is where the water drops downward to the absorber tank. While this is happening, the hydrogen gas passes upward through the absorber coils and “catches” any ammonia left in the weak water that is falling downward and carries it up to the top of the evaporation system. From there it then drops it into the outer tube of the evaporator. It then flows downward in a mist form causing it to become extremely cold. As it falls down, the rich ammonia returns to the absorber tank, also called the mixing tank. In the absorber tank the rich ammonia mixes with the weak water which allows it to continue with its cycle all over again. Constantly looping through the above processes to generate the cooling effect. With the ammonia serving as the coolant and the water, ammonia and propane serving to provide the continuous flow for the ammonia. 

In summary we learned about the following:

  • Ammonia will cycle through from gas to liquid and this process causes cooling effect
  • Hydrogen vapor or hydrogen gas generated by the boiling water
  • Distilled Water – more dense and heavier than ammonia allowing for the ammonia to boil and steam first
  • Propane – used as the fuel source to generate enough heat to start the cycle and boil the water and liquid ammonia
  • Generator – creating the ammonia gas
  • Separator – separates the ammonia from the water
  • Condenser – this is where the hot ammonia gas cools and then is condensed again to create the liquid ammonia
  • Evaporator – converts the liquid ammonia to a gas thus causing the cooling effect
  • Absorber tank also known as the mixing tank – where the water absorbs the ammonia gas  

An ammonia absorption cooling system is a unique design specifically so that a person can operate independently by using either a propane, natural gas, or butane burner in order to heat the ammonia solution, therefore creating an ammonia refrigerator. Earlier on, there were also many cooling units that used a kerosene burner to heat the solution. This type of kerosene fueled refrigerator is still available on the market, yet its availability is in a limited capacity. 

 Our modern day propane refrigerator technology wouldn’t be possible without the discoveries of Michael Faraday and those early refrigeration mechanics. Our propane refrigerators of today are much improved in efficiency, capacity, fuel efficiency and functionality but we owe our thanks to these early inventors for the beautiful propane refrigerators of modern day. Our propane refrigerators provide options for hunters, homesteaders and more by allowing effective alternatives for off grid refrigeration and food storage. Check out some of our most popular propane refrigerators for your own off grid food storage needs.

Comparisons of Propane Refrigerators

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Compare Propane Refrigerators

When doing propane fridge comparisons, in times past, the SERVEL built in the 1930’s -1950’s lasted for generations due to the fact that their design was made with the intent to last a long time. In later times, the refrigeration units have become more streamline with less heavy duty materials for lighter weight and still have quality performance. An average propane gas refrigerator today will last approx. 15 yrs. By that time the box will be looking quite tattered under normal use.

The older style SERVELS were much heavier in weight than the newer style ammonia cooling systems are. These older units weighed as much as 400- 500 lbs. The newer refrigerators weight anywhere from 150-275 lbs. This again is due to lighter materials and higher quality workmanship. There is also a larger amount of selection available on the market to choose from today compared to 50 years ago.

When SERVEL in Evansville, IN sold out the business to ELECTROLUX, ELECTROLUX then sold it to DOMETIC Corp. in Sweden. The SERVEL name was still being used by DOMETIC until 2005. This refrigerator is now called a DOMETIC refrigerator which is still being produced by DOMETIC.

Some of the newer propane refrigerators for backwoods and off the grid living that are on the market today are ; DIAMOND, EZ-FREEZE, DOMETIC, CONSUL, and DANBY. These are all ammonia absorption systems that run off of either, propane, natural gas, or butane burners. The DOMETIC refrigerator is the only one that is still available with kerosene

The CONSUL and DANBY refrigerators are manufactured in BRAZIL S.A. Both made by the same company.

The DIAMOND and EZ-FREEZE refrigerators are manufactured in the USA. by separate independent companies.

As was mentioned before, an average absorption cooling unit today runs for 10-15 years. The cause of this difference in length of performance compared to the older style SERVELS is based on 1 primary thing. When SERVEL built those huge old refrigerators, the materials used on the cooling units was so much heavier and thicker, thus adding all the extra weight, that they hardly ever rusted out. The evaporator also was galvanized to prevent rusting. Rusting is a primary cause for leakage in the cooling units itself.

There are times in hard, heavy use that an ammonia absorption refrigerator will block up in the boiler section [perk tube] in 5-10 years. When this happens, the refrigerator can be recharged again. This is done by first removing the ammonia solution and then removing the blockage in the perk tube. When the unit is repaired and welded together, the unit is recharged again with new solution.

EFFICIENCY

The gas consumption on a “modern day” gas refrigerator is less than half the amount than an older SERVEL is due to the designing of this cooling system. An average amount of propane used in the older SERVELS was 3-4 lbs. a day. This is approx. ¾ gal. of propane a day. The average amount that the newer style propane refrigerators use is 1 – 1 ½ lbs. a day, an approx. amount in volume @ gal. is 1/3 gal. per day.

The amount of improvements that have been made in the newer style refrigerators [built from the mid 1970’s – today] by improved performance in gas usage is credited wholly to the improved engineering on absorption cooling systems

VENTING

The older SERVELS with their larger burners have been noted to burn much more dirty than the modern day refrigerators do. Since the modern-day propane refrigerators use only ½ the amount of fuel to operate, they are also noted to burn much cleaner. These unburned gas fumes are what they call carbon monoxide [CO]gas. When too much of this gas is emitted into a room, it will create CO poisoning if this level of CO is too high.

The older SERVELS built in the 1930’s – 1950’s were noted to emit up to 1500 parts per million [PPM] of CO gas fumes at the exhaust vent. If this would be emitted into a room 10′-20′, it would emit approx. 300-400 PPM of CO into the building [this amount varies depending on the size of the room]. This amount of CO is in a danger zone for exposure. It is highly recommended to vent an older SERVEL because of this high level of CO emission. This is due mostly because of the the design of the burner setup. The older SERVELS are not legal to operate in CANADA and are discouraged to be used by the USA. The government of United States has set up a system to reclaim these SERVEL refrigerators by paying the owner $100 + disposal costs just to get them off of the market. Many people loved the longevity of these refrigerators that have been used for 70 some years and find it hard to part with these units and therefore, creating more hazard for themselves. This is why the government wants to omit these refrigerators. Any older style SERVEL refrigerators that are still in use today can be disposed by calling, SERVEL ACTION COMMITTEE at 1-800-782-7431.

Any propane refrigerator built in the 1980’s until current are much cleaner to operate. On the average, these refrigerators will omit 20-30 PPM of CO at the exhaust vent tube, which omits approx. .001 PPM of CO in a room. The allowable amount of PPM of CO permitted in a living area is 50 PPM . At this amount of CO in any given area , no one should ever need to worry about CO poisoning with a modern day propane refrigerator.

A propane refrigerator does not generally need to be vented to the outside.

If a homeowner is to box in his propane refrigerator in a kitchen with cabinets built over the top of the refrigerator and around the sides, it is always important to put a vent in the floor towards the back of the refrigerator and on the top of the refrigerator for ventilation so that heat can escape from the cooling system . If this is not done , a refrigerator will overheat, thus causing it to loose efficiency in cooling. Read more….