Short #67 – Defrost Termination and Failsafe
In this short podcast episode, Bryan quickly covers defrost termination and failsafe. He also explains what they mean in refrigeration systems.
We need to defrost evaporator coils anytime they drop below freezing (32°F, o°C). When evaporator coils have a coat of ice over them, they cannot transfer heat from the box to the refrigerant; the ice blocks the coil from the air in the box. In defrost, we add heat to the evaporator coil. We can add heat in the form of electric heat or hot gas (discharge gas); either of these can damage product if they run too long. A simple off-cycle defrost may also work on properly sized coolers and medium-temperature equipment.
We can control defrost by fixing the cycle onto a timed schedule. Unless we can use a complicated algorithm with a series of sensors, we almost never initiate defrost based on temperature. Instead, we initiate defrost based on a timed cycle. The defrost termination relies on a thermostat or control to stop the defrost, so a defrost will end early based on a temperature reading (since it will be well above freezing). After the defrost ends, there may also be a dwell time where the coil can drain its moisture before the refrigerator starts cooling again; that way, the moisture won't freeze back onto the coil when the system starts operating again.
If the defrost termination fails to kick in, we need to set a defrost end time to take the system out of defrost. We call that end time the failsafe. It is not a good idea to use the failsafe to predict the defrost cycles; it should only work in the case of emergencies.
So, to sum things up, defrost termination relies on temperature, but failsafe relies on time.
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