Electronic Initiated Defrost Systems: Stone Cold Technology

Blog, Green, Recommended Reading, Cooler Cooler Solutions – December 21 2016

Winter is here ~ have you thought about how you keep stuff cold lately?

If not, that’s OK; I’m here to walk you through some newer technology. Fortunately for all of us, this is a pretty simple topic.

Take a look at the photos below. These were taken at George Washington’s Mt. Vernon Estate. Back in the colonial period, the way you kept things cold was to build your own walk-in cooler called an ice house. This is our first President’s Ice House. Washington would cut ice out of the Potomac River when the river froze in winter and stored it here for distribution to other areas on the property where they used ice boxes keep things cold. I’m sure glad we don’t have to do th  at anymore.

George Washington's walk-in cooler

Explanation of George Washington's walk-in cooler

Nowadays, for refrigeration systems that we use in typical foodservice projects, the standard controls have consisted of mechanical parts for decades. In these conventional systems you have a mechanical time clock, TXV, solenoid, thermostat, defrost termination and fan delay relay.

Components for a refrigeration control system

While this has worked and will continue to work, we are now in the electronic age and all these parts can be replaced with a computer board and an electronic expansion valve (EEV).

  • Easier install – no control wiring required between evaporator and condensing unit
  • Fewer parts to fail
  • Easier troubleshooting
  • More precise temperature control
  • Electronic initiated defrosts*

As you’re aware based on my past articles, I try to stay brand neutral. However, on this topic I really can’t because there’s one manufacturer who has a 20-plus year history and 60,000 plus installations of electronic controls at some of the largest and well known chains and facilities in the country. The manufacturer of this particular technology is Heatcraft Refrigeration. If you’re not familiar with Heatcraft, they are the manufacturers of the Bohn, Larkin, Climate Control and Chandler refrigeration systems. The system that has been on the market for years is called Beacon II and recently, they upgraded the technology and call it the Quick Response Controller.

Refrigeration control board

There are other people out there who make electronic controllers and they sell them to companies who manufacture refrigeration, but the nice thing the QRC is that it’s not an outsourced component, it was developed, installed and tested by Heatcraft specifically for their systems. With over 3,000 wholesalers supporting the product around the country, this technology is rapidly becoming the go to for the refrigeration industry.

refrigeration control equipmentWhile electronic controls have been standard in the HVAC industry for years, the electronic age is just beginning for foodservice refrigeration. Even though it’s at a fairly young age, it’s not going away anytime soon. With the current and future regulations coming from the Dept of Energy and the EPA, electronics will play a bigger role in refrigeration systems.

*For more information on electronic initiated defrosts, see Cooler Cooler Solutions article from October 2015.

Rick Jones
Technical Services Manager

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