Thread Number: 78928  /  Tag: Refrigerators
1963 Frigidaire FPI - compressor start relay?
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Post# 1028911   4/4/2019 at 07:12 by frogkid11 (Richmond, Va)        

Hi gang, I just recently acquired a turquoise 1963 Frigidaire FPI and am trying to diagnose an issue so hoping the scholars here can assist. After giving her a deep cleaning both outside and inside, I plugged it in to see what she would do. The entire fridge came to life and looked beautiful inside, when the doors were shut you can hear the fan motors running but then you can hear the compressor try to start but fails after a few seconds. About 2 minutes (or even less) go by and it tries to start again with no luck. I am wondering if this could be a malfunctioning start relay, and if so, can someone instruct me on where to find it and does anyone have the part number? Thanks so much for your help and happy collecting!

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Post# 1028913 , Reply# 1   4/4/2019 at 08:08 by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        

Hi there. The compressor start relay is indeed the most likely cause of your problems. Frigidaire was kind enough to locate a sticker on the back of many fridge models which identified the wiring diagram and the model number of the relay.

If you are not a "stickler for 100% originality" you can install a newer style of relay which will take the place of that one. There are some small differences in the internal works of the modern relay versus the original. Someone familiar with these fridges and with an "acute ear" can hear a difference in the compressor startup sound. If you're not concerned about a small change in the startup sound, I would simply install a modern relay.

The Supco RO81 or RO41 are commonly used. Some of the guys here may be able to tell you which one would be most suitable. The RO41 is for larger sized compressors which require more running amps. If you look at the compressor tag and see the running current or horsepower rating, that will tell you as well, which to use.

Often, over time, the contact points wear away in the original relay, preventing it from making contact and engaging the start winding of the compressor motor. The result is the sound and symptom you're having.

The second and much less likely scenario is that the compressor has suffered some type of mechanical damage and is seized or locked up. This could happen if the unit was run for years with the condenser clogged with dust, or if the condenser fan underneath the unit has stopped working.

The RO81 / 41 devices are very inexpensive so it's a good bet to try that first and see what the results are.

Post# 1028914 , Reply# 2   4/4/2019 at 08:15 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
That looks like

My old refrigerator , If you got it in Rockingham NC from Ron Jones estate it is,,,The problem I had with it was it needed a defrost timer and the fridge never would get as cold as I wanted the air duct thermostat thing needed replacing.

Post# 1028919 , Reply# 3   4/4/2019 at 09:11 by frogkid11 (Richmond, Va)        
Thank you Dave...

I looked on the back and I can see yellow residue where a long rectangular sticker might have been but now all that is left is a section which has a long list of Frigidaire patent numbers. I will likely invest in the Tech Talk for this year as I have the one that goes with my 1961 Frigidaire FPI. Can you tell me where the relay is located? The only work I've done underneath the fridge so far is to remove the kick plate and vacuum under it to remove the cobwebs. I have her sitting on towels right now as not to scratch the hardwood floor but will slide her out to take a look under from behind the unit. The compressor appears to be original but hopefully some identifying information will surface when I remove the back protector and look.

Post# 1028920 , Reply# 4   4/4/2019 at 09:14 by frogkid11 (Richmond, Va)        
Hey Hans - it may be yours

I did pick it up from a little town in NC just over the border from Va but not sure if this person bought it from the estate. He wanted to put it in his original kitchen of the house he bought but it's too large so it was in his garage. I've had to replace the defrost timer on my 1961 FPI and it fixed my issues perfectly so if this one needs another, I hope it's just as easy.

Out of curiosity, why did you chose not to fix those things for yourself?

Post# 1028929 , Reply# 5   4/4/2019 at 10:38 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Non Starting FD Compressor

combo52's profile picture
Hi, adding to what David said in reply #1, I would use the 3 in 1 relay for 1/4-1/3 HP compressor with the start capacitor.

This refrigerator just has the condenser on the back of the ref [ no condenser fan motor to worry about or clogged condenser issues ]

The relay is located under the front of the ref behind the aluminum kick-plate on most of the 63 refs, on some it is mounted closer to the compressor in the rear.


Post# 1028932 , Reply# 6   4/4/2019 at 10:42 by frogkid11 (Richmond, Va)        
Thank you John!

I appreciate that additional recommendation and will take a look under the unit to locate the start relay. Thanks again!

Post# 1028934 , Reply# 7   4/4/2019 at 11:00 by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        

Hey that's great to know it has a fanless condenser. That eliminates the possibility of the condenser fan failing and damaging the compressor.

That 3-in-1 device with the capacitor would be an RCO410 as shown here:

Those are pretty easy to get at any local HVAC supplier.

Post# 1028989 , Reply# 8   4/4/2019 at 19:48 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        

I got that fridge about 20 years ago in my hometown of Lenoir NC It was bought new at Shaw Furniture which is still in business, I DID use it a while But I hate loathe and despise a frost free fridge

Post# 1029000 , Reply# 9   4/4/2019 at 21:15 by frogkid11 (Richmond, Va)        
What a small world, Hans!

So did you happen to sell it to a guy named Tyler? That's who I purchased it from and he has a bunch of washers and dryers, mostly Frigidaire.

Post# 1029013 , Reply# 10   4/5/2019 at 04:00 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        

I gave it to my best friend Ron Jones, Ron committed suicide and I helped his Mother sell his stuff Tyler got it then, I know Tyler too.

Post# 1029395 , Reply# 11   4/9/2019 at 21:23 by frogkid11 (Richmond, Va)        
Oh no....

Hans, I'm so sorry to hear about such a tragedy. I guess that does confirm this is the unit that you owned once and just how small of a world we live in :-)

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