Monday, September 26, 2011

Beverage-Air BM23C-B Direct Draw Beer Refridgerator (or the 1980's equivalent model)

First an foremost, praise to and the many bargains and rare finds you can obtain through that service.

I acquired the kegerator for $100 back in the summer of 2010. It's roughly 30 years old, and its newer counterpart retails for about $1,200 - $1,500. It being a $100, largely neglected, piece of equipment, I understandably had some technical troubles. The compressor fan would jam until I bent each blade into a new shape that wouldn't catch on other parts. The unit would suddenly stop cooling (ruining a 5 gallon batch of beer). It had, on occasion, delivered a minor electric shock to me when I would mess around with components.

The modern BM23C-B

I had it unplugged for about 3 months since there was no beer being brewed in the last trimester of my wife's pregnancy. I plugged it in 2 days before I intended to keg my latest batch of homebrew only to have it trip a breaker. This upset me greatly since my breaker box is located in what I lovingly refer to as my "dead hooker basement". It's the type you would expect to see on the news after hearing the phrase: "Local man arrested after the an anonymous tip led to the discovery of the bodies of seventeen women in the basement of his suburban home." A basement not at all unlike this:

Internet example of a creepy basement. I decided not to search for the term "dead hooker" at work.

After I bravely reset the breaker, I went back to the safety of my main floor and began again. This time, I turned off the kegerator thinking it must be on the same breaker as our new mini-fridge that we recently acquired for keeping baby bottles upstairs. Having worked as an electrician for a year, I have seen stranger wiring jobs than a circuit upstairs having a few outlets downstairs. I unplugged the mini-fridge and went back downstairs to turn on the kegerator and what happened next can only be described as a lesser 4th of July celebration exclusive to the gap between fridge and wall.

I quickly shut off the impromptu and anachronistic celebration and hovered over the area looking for signs of a fire. There was none. I then examined the rear of the device looking for the culprit. The wire that powered the compressor fan was so old that it had hardened and cracked in at least 7 individual places that I could see.  There were "arc marks" all over the compressor, and I was filled with a dread that I had killed my mighty kegerator.

The next day, I set about the task of replacing the wire in question and was met with more than simple success. Not only did the kegerator work, but it worked better than ever. It no longer sounded like a single stroke diesel engine when the fan was running, and it reached the temperature I desired in approximately 30 minutes.

I cannot put this more plainly. No other fridge in the history of keeping items cool in a contained space can compare. It's clearly almost impossible to kill the thing, and can run strong for at least three decades.

If you want beer on tap where you live/work/play, and you have disposable income, you should buy one today.

If you want beer on tap where you live/work/play, and you do not have disposable income, you should lurk on craigslist, ebay, or your preferred previously owned retailer site until you can track one down.

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