Fixing a Fridge

A couple years ago, I bought a very inexpensive wine cooling refrigerator by Haier (OW0912H6H). Turns out, it is a fairly simple device made by Oster. It will hold 12 bottles of wine and gives you the option to set the inside temperature you’d like. For the first couple of months, it worked like a charm, then for whatever reason, it stopped working.

Front view of a similar model
Front view of a similar model

I noticed one day that the digital gauge showed the ambient room temperature. I tried unplugging it, letting it rest – I would have rebooted it, but there wasn’t any way to do so. So it sat. No longer cooling, no longer keeping my wine just the way I like it.

The other day, I received a couple of bottles of wine for my birthday, nice enough that I wanted to make sure they would keep until I had a chance to enjoy them. This got me thinking about my non-working wine refrigerator again. I decided I’d do a search on the internet (yay interwebs!) to see if anyone else was having a similar problem.

Turns out, a number of people have had the same problem – the fans just stopped working and nothing would make them come back on.

I found a whole lot of people complaining about the product, and how it didn’t work, but not a lot of help. Finally, after a number of pages, thank you Google, I was able to find someone that solved the problem so many people were suffering with.

The root cause of the problem was pretty simple. The manufacturer used a very small fuse, 5 amp, when the design really required a 7 amp fuse. You wouldn’t think that two amps would make such a difference, but there you have it.

If you happen to have one of the fancy, cheap wine refrigerators that’s not working here’s how you can fix it. I’ve added some pictures, in case you’re not sure what’s going on.

Note: I am not an electrician. I’m just someone that likes to tinker. While I don’t think this is difficult to do, you’re really on your own here. These steps that I’ve followed worked for me, though your mileage may vary. Please proceed at your own risk.

You’ll need a few supplies:

  1. Soldering iron, with solder
  2. 7amp fuse (#270-1029)*
  3. Inline fuse holder (#270-1281)*

* Radio Shack part numbers. I already had a soldering iron, so the fuses and fuse holder cost me about $6.

Unplug the refrigerator. Seriously. Unplug it. Before you open the back, unplug it.

Open up the back of the refrigerator that you just unplugged. You’ll need to remove a number of small Phillip head screws. You can take the entire metal cover off, but you probably don’t have to. I removed the top set of screws, so that I could easily access the circuit board behind it.

Circuit Board w/o Fuse
Circuit Board w/o Fuse

There are three more screws holding in the white / cream colored circuit board mounting bracket. Remove those screws too, so that you can easily get to the circuit board. Unplug the power line that runs to the circuit board. You can leave the other wires, on the left side attached, if you’d like.

Find the four really small screws that hold the circuit board to the mounting bracket. You’ll need to get all of those out, as you’ll have to get to the back of the circuit board to remove the inline fuse.

I left the small wires on the left attached, so the circuit board was hanging from the back of the unit. I set it on a small box to keep it steady while I got everything else ready.

Find the U-shaped fuse in the upper left hand corner of the circuit board. I forgot to take a picture of this step, sorry about that. It’s pretty easy to find though. Look for the black heat shrink wrapped fuse. It’s soldered to the board in a U shape.

Fuse - already removed
Fuse - already removed

Next, you’ll need to figure out which posts need to be de-soldered. It is not as difficult as it sounds, really. On mine, there was an empty space next to one of the posts, so it was easy to find. Once you’ve identified the posts, use the hot soldering iron to re-heat the existing solder and pull out the fuse.

The new fuse holder will have a number of strands of wire under the protective sleeve. You’ll need to cut it down a bit, I took off about an inch and a half from each end. Then just peel back the casing to expose the wires. I exposed about 3/4 of an inch of the wires. Given that you’ll be putting the wires into a very small hole, you’ll need to prepare the fuse holder wires a bit.

I separated about a third of the wires and twisted them together to get a tight point. The other two thirds, I carefully wrapped around the base of the tightly wound strand. (I really should have taken a picture of this, to make it more clear.) Once you have that done, slide one part of the fuse holder wire into the one of the original holes on the circuit board. I bent the wires that were sticking through so they would stay in place.

Next, just use the hot soldering iron and solder to connect the wire to the board. This part is really that simple.

You’ll need to repeat the process with the other half of the fuse holder. Once that’s done, you will have an open fuse holder that is well connected to the circuit board.

Next step is to insert the 7 amp fuse into the holder and close it up. That’s pretty easy, in that you just have to push the ends together and twist until they lock.

Now just mount the circuit board back on the plastic holding frame, being careful not to touch the solder points, as that might still be a bit warm. Mount the board holder to the back of the refrigerator unit using the same three screws you removed earlier.

Make sure that you plug the power wire back into the circuit board and then close up the protective cover on the back. That’s it… It really was that simple.

Plug the refrigerator back into the wall, and you’re good to go. You should now have a functional front panel and you should hear the fans running.

I’ve included some pictures, to help explain the process some… Enjoy and good luck!

Other awsome works, possibly related: