How to Install Your Cooling System

Installation Tips

When you buy a new compressor / cooling system in a vintage drink machine from us, we will do our best to support you on the install.  It is best to email or text images with your questions for clarity.    Below are some steps and tips to guide you in the installation.   Please contact us for additional assistance if needed

Do it yourself or hire a local handyman?

  • To install it, some basic mechanical ability is needed.  For example, you will need to drill new holes in the steel frame of your machine to secure it, and obtain the correct bolts.   You will need to be able to use self-tapping screws to secure the evaporator to the tub, attach the thermostat in the tub, attach the thermostat sensor wire up to the back of the liner in the tub, etc.
  • NO refrigeration knowledge is needed, there is no soldering or charging with freon.  The system comes charged and ready to go. 
  • If you are not comfortable with these, it is best to hire someone locally.   If you need help finding someone local to you, please contact us.  We can usually give you the name of someone that can assist you.
  • If you live near our shop in SC or FL, you can bring it by and we can install it for you.  We are not responsible for damage caused to a system during installation.
  • The systems come prewired, so no wiring knowledge is needed, the units come ready to plug in and cool.
  • If your machine has lights or an electric coin mechanism that needs power, we will provide a hot wire you can use to connect the lights or electric coin mechanism.  But you will need to be able to attach the wires.
  • No refrigeration or knowledge nor freon charging is needed, the units come precharged, have been tested and the lines are sealed.
  • Need Help?  Our friends at Soda City Restorations offer a paid service to walk you through the installation by video chat 

Steps to Install your new cooling system

  • A few supplies you will need to have
    • 1.   Quantity of 4 – 5/16″ bolts, nuts lock washers and flat washers,  1 1/2″ -2″ long.   We get them from Tractor Supply, but any hardware store will carry them.
    • 2.   3/8″ Drill bit for the bolts above.   We use a step drill bit like this 
    • 3. Self-tapping metal screws,  like these  
    • 4. Wire nuts and zip ties to clean up the wires.
  • A few tools you will need to have
    • Rachet set and Sockets to remove the bolts at the bottom that attach the compressor deck to the frame of the machine. 
    • Marker for marking holes.
    • Screwdrivers.   And extensions like these 
    • Power drill to drill holes.
    • Wire Cutters and wire strippers.  
  • Step 1 Taking out the old system and cleaning up.
    • Unplug your machine before you do anything. Sometimes old drink machines have damaged or cracked wires and these can be very dangerous.
    • Take pictures!  These can help you install the new unit.  At min, take images of the light wire, or the electric coin mechanism and other wire connections.  Then disconnect the wires.  NOTE: There is typically one power wire that runs from the compressor to the door side.  
    • Remove the cover over the refrigeration lines between the upper tub (where the drinks are ) and the compressor if your machine has this cover.  See the image below for an example.  Some machines, like the Vendo 110, run the line under the breaker strip and gasket, so you will need to remove these to free the line.
    • Next, unscrew the evaporator from the liner tub in the drink area.  Sometimes these are rusted in.   If that is the case you may have to grind them off to get the evaporator out of the drink area. 
    • Unscrew or unbolt the old compressor deck from the frame of your machine.    This is easier if the machine is lifted a little on wood blocks, like a 4 x 4 block of wood, to elevate it, so you get the bottom side of the bolts.
    • Everything should be free now.  It is time to remove the old compressor and evaporator. unit.   Carefully slide it out.
    • Now is a good time to clean up.  50 years of grime is likely accumulated in the bottom of the liner, and in the compressor area.   It is also a good time to reseal the condensation drain hole with a waterproof silicon or chaulking if needed
  • Step 2 Unboxing your new system
    • Open the box from the top and remove all the extra free packing.,
    • Next, be careful. Get the system free in the box, before you pull it out.  Never turn the box over and dump it out.  Your system was tested before it was shipped and was carefully packed.
    • It can be helpful to carefully cut one side of the box out to slide the unit out.
    • You will need 2 people to unbox. One for the evaporator and one for the compressor.
    • Never twist, stretch, or pinch the copper tubing. Be careful to not stress the joints.
    • Once you have lifted it out of the box, you can set it down and place the evaporator on the compressor gently, using an extra packing material to space between them.

Step 3 Getting your new unit orientated and ready

  • It is important both the evaporator and the condenser are installed in the right direction, you can send us images and we will confirm you have it right b/f you screw it in.
  • In general, the evaporator in the drink area needs to have the air pulled across the fins and blow out the back wall and up the back wall.
  • The condenser fan and coils ( next to the compressor motor) should be oriented so that the coils are able to get a source of fresh air.    This means you want the coils to face either the back of the machine if it open, the louvers on the side of your machine has side vents/louvers, or in some cases the front of the machine if it has an open-air grid in the door.   What you don’t want is the coils facing a solid wall that has no vent louver or opening.   The air pulls across the coils and over the motor.  
  • Below are examples of the orientation of the evaporator and condenser.

Step 4 Installing the compressor on your frame

  • First, you should set both parts in your machine the way it will go.
  • After you have it set in, gently adjust bend the tubing to fit your machine’s orientation.   Do not overbend or allow the tubes to pinch or fold!
  • Once everything is set in place, find and mark the place where you will bolt the metal base plate to your machine’s bottom frame. Sometimes you have to adjust the base plate location to have a good area to bolt it down, noting where there is a space in the base plate for a bolt.
  • Find a place on the base away from wires and tubes to drill, so you easily drill without damaging the lines or compressor. Once you have figured this out, mark the location where you want holes on the base plate, remove the compressor and drill the holes out in the base plate. Most people will use 2-4 bolts to secure the base plate to the frame.  If you don’t make it tight, it will rattle.
  • Then put the compressor back into your machine, align it, and mark the drill locations by using your holes in the base plate to locate them on the frame.
  • Remove the compressor again, and drill the frame of your machine for bolts.
  • Put it back in and bolt it up.
  • Tips: use washers and lock washers, and be careful to not overtighten it and by doing so bending the base plate.
  • Images below of the bolting of the base plate to your frame – 4  – 5/16″ bolts about 2 inches long with lock washers bolts are recommended to keep it secure from rattling.
  • Step 5 Installing the evaporator in the upper tub
    • Once you are sure you have the evaporator turned correctly, it can be simply screwed into the tub using self-tapping screws
  • Step 6 Installing the thermostat and wiring the light or coin mech ( if applicable)
    • If you have lights or an electric coin mech, you would wire these to the extra hot provided. If you do not, you can skip this.
    • Next, you will screw the thermostat mount in. Some people like to attach to the metal case around the evaporator, we prefer to install it off to the side as shown below. The wire for the thermostat needs to run to the back wall of the tub about 1/3 to 1/2 way up the back wall and attach it with a screw and metal or rubber loop to hold it there. This will put it in the cold airflow.
    • IMPORTANT:   Install the thermostat so that the connections are on the right side, and the temperature sensor wire is on the left.    See image below 
    • TIP: if you put a strip of insulation around the thermostat, it will force it to use the wire to regulate the temp. We use the insulation strips that adhere. This is not required, but if your unit to the max cold and turns off before it gets as cold as you wish, this could be a solution
    •  Screw the thermostat to the tub, and run the wire to the back wall in the cold airflow. This is a Vendo 39 with a wheel, so we can not put up as high on the wall as we would for a Vendo 81 or 110.
Thermostat installation.
  • Step 7 Finish up
    • Carefully bend and mold the copper tubed to run from the top to the bottom through the correct place in the frame, along with the wires.
    • Reattach your trim molding and wire shield.
    • Zip tie up the wires to the copper tube to make it neat.
  • Step 8 Testing
    • Look everything over to be sure nothing is left in the area of the fan, run the power cord out the back, and plug it in.
    • After a few minutes, the coils in the upper tube ( evaporator) will get cold. They may frost over. Note, the coils will frost when the door is open, but not so much when the door is closed. This is normal.
    • Set the thermostat to somewhere mid-range and let it run for 3 hours. Then see if the drinks are cold enough or too cold and adjust.  If your machine is air-tight, the goal is to cool the machine between 36 to 40 degrees inside.
    • To save power and lengthen the list of your new system, you can put the plug on a timer and only run it during hours when you need it, such as daytime hours.

Additional notes and tips.

  • What you need to buy: Self-tapping metal screws, and 4 bolts, nuts, washers, zip ties, insulation strips (optional), and lock washers.
  • What you need: Drill, drill bits, screwdriver bits.
  • How long does it take? It takes about 1-2 hours
  • What’s the #1 thing to be aware of? By far it is to be careful that you do not twist the copper lines, pinch them, twist the joints, or of course, break them.  You can slowly bend them to fit, but you have to be careful and not rough.

See also Frequently Asked Questions

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