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Thread: Old engine oil running a fridge/ freezer?

  1. #1
    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    Old engine oil running a fridge/ freezer?

    I've seen/herd of people running full size domestic fridges by putting a candle on the pipe work behind the appliance, I'm thinking that instead of the candle to provide the heat you could use some sort of wick with a constant supply of free old engine oil gravity fed feeding it ? It might be the weed but I'm thinking it could work?
    just a simple guy
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  2. #2
    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    Or maybe a gas appliance converted ?
    just a simple guy
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    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    I've not heard of such a invention modification. Would the heat from one candle flame be hot enough to do the heat exchange?
    A yellow flame is remarkably cooler than a blue flame.

    Heres a link to a alternative system. Modified LPG fridge. If you can incorporate solar direct or solar to battery storage, hourly burst of timed air extraction or blown air system could make daily maintenance minimal. Running a sawdust firebox could be viable.

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    even a gypsy caravan is too much settling down.
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    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    This is the predecessor to the first clip of a wood powered LPG fridge. It shows you how to pipe up the fire.


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    even a gypsy caravan is too much settling down.
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  5. #5
    Heavenly Creature realnutter's Avatar
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    According to wikipedia, a candle produces about 80 watts of heat, which is more than most combination fridges need.... So if a candle can do it, an oil lamp should be able to too....


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  6. #6
    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    I've been working for a bloke that owns a couple of garages and he offered me a regular supply of old oil ,I only use my old oil in my chainsaw bars/oil can/bonfire starting so I'm thinking of uses for it, maybe it's too thick for a wick though? Might need thining with something?
    just a simple guy

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    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    I'm sure there's got to be a old engine oil burner design you can modify. If you could then get a header tank of old oil set up, this would allow you to run the unit indefinitely. I've not seen a domestic fridge or freezer converted though. Have you got any links? I do like some of the Earth fridges that use a old upright fridge/freezer and dig it into a Earth bank, sinking the lower 3 foot into a foot well and banking up the soil spoil around the two sides and back of the fridge/freezer. Retaining the original doors intact and accessible when standing in the footwell. It doesn't get cold enough to freeze but low enough to store cool produce.
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    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    I heard of the candle idea many years ago before I had the internet so I'm guessing I got it from the alternative energy centre up in Wales,my data allowance is fragile but I will try to find something on YouTube.
    just a simple guy

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    Comfortably Numb Rick69's Avatar
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    You cannot easily convert a normal fridge freezer to run off heat like an absorbtion fridge - its a completely different system.
    Best bet for a normal fridge is to change the 240v compressor for a 12v one. Or fit a car air con compressor and power that from a water wheel, windmill, 12v motor etc.

    Absorbtion fridges will run from any heat source.

  10. #10
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    Used engine oil is nasty stuff, many unpleasant chemicals that you don't want in your body, take care.
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  11. #11
    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    I was thinking I would set something up in it's own shed I was expecting a smell/fumes and possible fire.
    just a simple guy
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  12. #12
    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    I've just taken a 3way fridge out of an old caravan I'm scrapping for the aluminium chassis,I'm going to connect it up to gas to see if it works then I'm going to mess about with it and see if I can get it to work from some sort of flame.
    just a simple guy
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    Me gone,bye bye.. NomadicRT's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Offgrid hero
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    I've just taken a 3way fridge out of an old caravan I'm scrapping for the aluminium chassis,I'm going to connect it up to gas to see if it works then I'm going to mess about with it and see if I can get it to work from some sort of flame.
    If you can find a wsy of substituting the gas jet for a oil fed flame in the same position it should work.The gas flame is only small...maybe if you used a variable wick out of a mini paraffin lamp that might give you some control over the fridge temperature ? worth a play anyhow.
    Hebridean at heart..everywhere else is just somewhere on the way back there...
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  14. #14
    Heavenly Creature realnutter's Avatar
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    Perhaps you could put a fuel tank on top of the fridge, feeding down to a float bowl assembly off an old SU carburettor to keep the fuel level constant at the wick... then adjust flame height as NRT said....
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  15. #15
    Me gone,bye bye.. NomadicRT's Avatar
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    Theres a length of copper? pipe runs to the burner assembly so im sure you could probably use that to feed oil to the burner assembly and rig up.a wick.to replace the gas jet....Its been a while since i.got into the bsck.of my fridge but im.pretty sure it should be doable...the flame is only half inch high and my fridge is 1C most of the time.
    Hebridean at heart..everywhere else is just somewhere on the way back there...

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    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    To be honest I've never taken a fridge out plenty of gas boilers and ovens but no fridges,I don't know how big a flame it uses on gas I've only ever seen a blue light in the little round window but not much bigger than a pilot light I'm guessing but if I runs on gas I will be able to see it in action and make a judgement on the wicked idea. I've not had time to see how much room I've got to cobble something together round the action area,I was thinking I will raise it up off the floor and some how connect a greenhouse type heater up to it with a reasonable size tank for run time but it's just a stupid idea I dreamt up last night
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    Last edited by Offgrid hero; 23-02--2017 at 05:23 PM.
    just a simple guy

  17. #17
    Me gone,bye bye.. NomadicRT's Avatar
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    I dont think is stupid..theres no reason why it couldnt be done.All the fridge requires is a small flame like a pilot flame.The flame heats the manifold and its contained in a small chmney box about 2 inches in diameter or square (cant remember off hand) with the flue going up the back and outside.Theres no compressor or pump to worry about as the coolant is self circulating.
    Ill find my fridge instruction manual im sure it has a diagram.I think.if you either use the burner assembly or remove it and construct one for oil using a wick theres no reason why it shouldnt work.
    Hebridean at heart..everywhere else is just somewhere on the way back there...
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  18. #18
    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    The idea might be flawed from the fuel perspective I don't know if neat engine oil or a thinned version will work I'm guessing it will be a smokey old business it might just soot up?
    just a simple guy

  19. #19
    Comfortably Numb Rick69's Avatar
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    There is no reason that the burner has to be next to the fridge. If you put a piece of brass rod or similar into a flame, the other end gets hot. You could place the end of the rod on the vaporiser where the original gas flame/heater was and this would have the same effect. You could then put the fire or heat source a little distance from the fridge - maybe even use the wood burner to provide the required heat?

    Small oil burner running on oil soaked cat litter with a small orifice for the flame would provide controllable heat. The whole concept is a great idea worth further exploration.
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  20. #20
    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    That was my initial thought on the connection from the adjustable oil heater just a length of metal tube if the fuel is free it doesn't matter so much if it's not super efficient.
    just a simple guy

  21. #21
    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    Or flatten a length of 22mm copper like a ribbon bend it round a pipe on the fridge and back out on top of the flame from the wick?
    just a simple guy

  22. #22
    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    Thinking about it it would be better using some tube because it would exhaust all the heat/fumes up the fridge chimney and by the looks of it a lot of the heat exchanger process happens
    just a simple guy

  23. #23
    Me gone,bye bye.. NomadicRT's Avatar
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    You could probably wrap the tube round where the 12/240 v heater element usually sits round the vaporiser since you wouldnt be needing that.
    Hebridean at heart..everywhere else is just somewhere on the way back there...
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  24. #24
    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rick69
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    There is no reason that the burner has to be next to the fridge. If you put a piece of brass rod or similar into a flame, the other end gets hot.
    .
    Are you implying that copper rod or copper wire has the similar properties to fibre optics? In that if you put light in at one end of fibre optic you get a equal light out the other end? Or are you saying the heat will travel along the rod, no matter how long a length and it will be the same temperature or very very very much lower temperature at the other end of the rod/wire? Heat loss in copper is high. Just need to get my head aroundyourthinkig.
    even a gypsy caravan is too much settling down.
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