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Old 12-02-2011, 10:17 PM   #1
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Vintage Refrigerator: help with electrical wiring


Story:
I have an antique refrigerator that has been healthy and with me for 15 years. It's slightly modified to keep larger steel barrels of refreshment cool whilst dispensing from the magical spout! Anyway, I moved the fridge a couple feet while plugged in; in doing so, the old wires were somehow compromised causing a quick zap to the wall socket. The wire was fried, brittle and cracking open in many spots upon investigation. Whether that was before or after the zap doesn't really matter… So, I discovered what I think is a very odd wiring system under the fridge. There was one wire coming from the compressor being plugged into another wire with a dark-brown dense-plastic little plug/socket/box. So the compressor stills works and if I plug that wire into the wall socket, all power is a go and the unit fires right up and starts cooling.

Issue:
The other wire is somewhat of a mystery because it disappears into the unit wall of the fridge. I assume that this wire powers the light, light switch and thermostat. What I don't know is what wire is hot and not. There is no ground wire visible. The wiring at hand has no color coding; i.e. black and white.

Questions:
How do I rewire this power line so that thermostat, light and light switch work again? I'm not looking to rewire the entire unit, just the visible pieces on the underside of the fridge. As the wires get a couple inches off the floor and closer to their internal opening point, they begin to get softer/more pliable/meaning far, far less brittle. So I just want to splice into them at that point with new wiring. I can't understand which wire is supposed to be hot or not and connect to what.

Please feel free to ask any questions. I will post a picture too.

I really appreciate any assistance with this urgent, thirsty matter!
Thank you,

Not "shocked" yet
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Old 12-03-2011, 12:56 AM   #2
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Vintage Refrigerator: help with electrical wiring


You'll need a multi-meter. On Ohms, continuity, resistance setting.

Take out light bulb in refrigerator.

The center contact inside light socket is the hot one.

Remember the door switch when testing.
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Old 12-03-2011, 10:42 AM   #3
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Vintage Refrigerator: help with electrical wiring


Thanks for your reply.
From your answer, it sounds like I might need to add one small piece of information; there is no longer a power cord for this second set of electrical needs. It was fried. Brittle, broken, cracked, exposed internal wiring. Fried. I cut it off to reveal that there is no colored sheathing inside this power cord to determine what wire is what. Make sense?

So I can't test anything. I have a new power cord ready to splice into these exposed wires, but I don't know which wires are hot or not.
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:27 PM   #4
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Vintage Refrigerator: help with electrical wiring


Thats what I just told you. With a meter, put one test lead on the center contact of the light socket, the other test lead to the wires under the refer. Whichever wire shows continuity with the center contact is the hot wire.
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