How can I troubleshoot a problem with my thermoelectric wine cooler?

A thermoelectric refrigeration appliance operates much differently than a compressor based refrigeration appliance.  A compressor based system uses a series of components and moving parts along with a refrigerant to generate cooled air.  In contrast, a thermoelectric refrigerator uses one or more circulating fans and a component known as a ‘cooling node’.  The cooling node has two sides and when electricity is passed through the node it transfers heat from one side to the other resulting in a cold side and a hot side.  The cool side is positioned towards the interior cabinet of the refrigerator and a fan is used to circulate cool air which allows content to be cooled.  On the exterior side, a fan is used to dissipate heat away from the appliance in the room in which it is operating.  

For more information: What are the differences between compressor and thermoelectric based refrigerators?

Understanding this basic principle will assist in troubleshooting any problems you may be experiencing with your EdgeStar or Koldfront Thermoelectric Wine Cooler as they typically are issues associated with either the cooling node, circulation fan or the circuit board.

Diagnostic Steps:

  • If the circulation fans ARE NOT running then check the fan(s) for proper voltage
    • The fan should be receiving approximately 12 volts.  If the power supply to the fan(s) is 12 volts but the fan is not operating, the fan will need to be replaced as it is likely a failed fan motor.
    • If the fan is not receiving 12 volts, it is most likely an issue with a failing circuit board.  The circuit board will need to be replaced.
  • If the circulation fan ARE running then check Cooling Nodes(s) for proper voltage
    • The cooling nodes should be receiving approximately 12 volts.  If the power supply to the node(s) is 12 volts but not cooling on the interior side, the node will need to be replaced.
    • If the node(s) is not receiving 12 volts, it is most likely an issue with a failing circuit board.  The circuit board will need to be replaced.

IMPORTANT:  If you have recently replaced a cooling node(s) and your unit is not cooling as expected, it is important that you check your work to verify that the cooling node was installed properly.  Installing the cooling node in reverse will result in heat being generated / circulated on the inside of the refrigerator cabinet while cool air is being dissipated out the back of the unit.  

Troubleshooting Flowchart:

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