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Kaput kegerator - kung-fu required.

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MrDave

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I've got a Kegerator Mk III (aka BF-163) that recently started screaming its head off and throwing the EE error code on the LED display.
After a couple of power-cyclings, it began to read LE on the display.
I did some reading on here and a bit of Googling and determined that there were three places to start: the thermostat controller board, the keypad or the thermocouple.
I went to the LHBS, where I'd purchased the kegerator some years ago, and explained the situation. They sold me a controller board and went home to swap it in.
Learned a few things at this point.
  • There are at least two versions of the controller board. Mine goes from -4 to +28C. The replacement goes from 0 to +8.
  • If the thermocouple is disconnected/goes open-circuit, the display will read tE. Thermocouple error/temperature error perhaps?
  • The controller board has three connectors: the keypad, the thermocouple and the PSU/compressor controller board.
  • The connector for the compressor has four pins: a chassis ground, a signal ground, "COMP" and +5V.
So it appears that the controller board is basically a PIC that has inputs from the thermocouple and the keypad, in order to determine whether to turn on the compressor.
Given that it had COMP prominently marked on the board, next to a GND and +5V, I figured it was worth jumpering the COMPressor to both of these in turn.
As I was hoping, +5V to COMP made a relay click and soon afterwards the compressor started. Result!

Given that the keypad was working and the controller board seemed to be working, I decided the most likely culprit was the thermocouple.
Since I didn't have time to get to the LHBS before closing and I didn't want to leave the compressor running all day and night, I hooked up an STC-1000 and set it for 3C.
The next morning, I was at 3.1C. Smiles all 'round and off to work for the day.

Returned home to see 18C on the STC. Power cycled it all, waited for the compressor delay and the compressor didn't come back on.
Starting to look like more than just the thermostat is cactus.

Do I move on to trying to troubleshoot the compressor controller board, call a repair guy, or cut my losses and build a Keezer?
 

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