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Training day

Today was a training day. I went in an hour early to do the restocking. And then sat in the staff meeting room while a perky woman explained stuff like chemicals, allergens, pH and so on. Being a bit of a chemistry geek with a stomach that doesn't like numerous things, I was actually quite good at the interactive parts, though sometimes I pretended I didn't quite understand the question as, well, the sort of person that when asked "what sort of bacteria causes food poisoning" can name four is the sort of person that nobody likes.

The morning was scheduled to run until 12.30pm, but I guess we were a good group as it was done by 11.45am. I was on break until 12.30pm and then we resumed by looking in detail at the work done in the industrial washing up. This took about an hour and a half, so went on until 2pm or so. Then it was my turn. Describe my work, what I do, how I do it.
I think the 'teacher' and the girls from quality control who were participating were a bit taken aback by my providing timings down to individual minutes. As for what I was doing? Well, perhaps the best way to put it is "an adequate job with woefully inadequate equipment". But, then, I could have told them that...

That was done by just after half two. My job really isn't that interesting. So... I had expected to be there until five, to do a few last things after and then leave. Instead, I had to do various things to take me to quarter to four (so I'd have worked seven hours). As it happens, something cropped up, so I did that and then clocked out at 3.58pm. I normally finish at 4.45pm, but remember I started an hour early today.

I can imagine they will take her suggestions on board. Which is a polite way of saying that a bean counter will be like "uh, not this year" and little, if anything, will actually change.
Which is fine by me. Because some of the suggested changes take longer, and time is something we absolutely do not have.


Fridge repair

The gizmo arrived by the parcel company Colis Privé. These turn up reliably as the drivers are paid a wage and not some per-parcel crap.

The dinky little thing was the control block and the probe attached by a metal coil.

I had to clip the terminals as the one previously fitted, and the associated plugs, were thinner.

Connection tags
Connection tags.

Here is the unit fitted into the moulding that goes on the side wall of the fridge.

The new part in place
The new part in place.

The sensor is a bit longer than the one originally fitted, as this is a universal spare and my fridge is tiny. But the tip is in the right place. I will, sometime, tie the piece of wire tubing to the feed pipe (upper right of the photo) using a cable tie. Keep it steady.

The sensor in place
The sensor in place.

I turned the thing up to maximum and let the fridge run until it was about 1.5°C on the top shelf. I then turned the knob until it clicked off. After a bit of obsessive fiddling, the fridge seems to want to have the top shelf at 0.6°C and I'm okay with that. I'll be warmer going down (as the cold comes from the top).


Now, the old sensor was getting a bit corroded, but it wasn't actually in bad enough nick to look like it had failed, or leaked, or whatever.

The old sensor
The old sensor.

The truth was revealed when I stripped the thing down. The little piece of metal (circled) is supposed to be attached to the piece pointed to. But many years and many times of switching on and off and it just gave up and broke. Which meant that, actually, the sensor part was working fine. It just couldn't switch anything on or off because the switch had given up.

What actually broke
What actually broke.
I guess I'm lucky that it failed in the 'on' position, else I would have either had no fridge (and that's a BAD thing given how much milk I drink) or I'd have had to open that thing up and short circuit the controller (to keep the fridge running) to then use the timer.

The fridge runs a lot, clicking on and off frequently. Though, the middle of a heatwave is probably not the best time to be observing the behaviour of a device!


In case anybody is wondering why I didn't bung a microcontroller in there (even a little ESP8266 would do the job) - yes, it would allow me to say "keep this at 'x' degrees" and it would, but then there's the programming, the switching of mains, the temperature calibration, and finding a way to patch 5V or 3.3V into a fridge. Possible, yes. Pain in the arse? Definitely.
This job cost about €13, two day delivery, and it took literally ten minutes to do: take out the old bit, fit the new bit, realise the spades were too big, clip 'em, refit the new bit, put the sensor in place, close door and hope it works, it does, wheee!


I love it when a plan comes together...



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Rob, 13th July 2022, 17:39
These parts have been "cost optimised" down to the point where they are just complicated enough to do the job, and absolutely no more. Which, for a thermostat to keep your milk cool, is all it needs. Now, if you were storing some highly temperature-sensitive medication, then yes, a microcontroller and multiple sensors might be in order. Sometimes, however, simpler is just better.
Rick, 13th July 2022, 19:11
That's what I felt. Keep It Simple S.... ;)

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