Problem with fridge not turning on after interruption

A friend of mine who is not techincally ept has a problem with the fridge in his vacation colttage in the Laurentians. Up there they have frequent power interruptions, often for less than a second. In such a case it often happens that the fridge doesn’t go back on until a reset button is pushed. Needless to say, if this happens on a Monday after he has just come back to the city, the food will have spoiled by Friday, for want of someone to push the button.

I recall that you are warned (or used to be, anyway) in the case of air-conditioners not to turn it off and then back on immediately, at least when the compressor is running. He tried experimenting turning the breaker off and on very quickly while the compressor was running and it always went back on immediately, so that would appear not to be the problem. The only other possibility I can think of is that the power outage is preceded by a current surge and he might try a surge protector. He is willing, but the specs on surge protector are confusing. I told him he needs one that can pass at least 7 amps, since that is what the fridge uses, but they are rated in joules, which is, I assume, related to the largest surge it can protect against. What does this actually mean in terms of surge voltage? Another problem is that I recall from the early days of computing that once the surge protector trips, it should be replaced. Well, this happens regularly and he doesn’t want to buy a new one every month.

Incidentally, this only started after a relay was replaced in the fridge a year ago. Why does a fridge have a relay at all? And could that be defective. This is a Maytag, BTW, whose repairmen are no longer lonely.

Any other suggestions will be welcome.

I’d suggest trying this.

First off, he’s not using a surge protector now. So all the worries about Joule rating and surge protection are pretty much moot. If a surge is what is happening and it was going to hurt the fridge it would have by now, so using a surge protector that’s been popped is no worse than the current situation.

The hope is that the surge protector is less sensitive to having the relay pop than the unit inside the fridge and it regulates the power so that it’s just going on/off to the fridge as opposed to spiking. I don’t have enough understanding of how surges and surge protectors work to know if this will solve your issue, or if moving the popped relay from the fridge to the surge protector is any improvement if the surge protector needs to be manually reset too, but it’s worth a try.

An additional option might be to get a backup power supply. This should provide constant current to the fridge no matter what and I think they will simply resume normal operation when the power comes back on. They can be priecy, but are probably cheaper than refilling your fridge.

Short of getting the refrigerator repairmen or a electrician out to the cottage that is the first step I’d take in solving it myself.

Hook a 12 volt wall wart up to an outlet timer which is programmed to turn on for a minute or so a couple of times a day.
Hook the out put of the 12 volt wall wart up to a 12 volt solenoid.
Mount the solenoid on the fridge so that its actuator will push the reset button.
Plug the thing in, it’ll push the reset switch twice a day regardless of whether there’s been a power outage.