Sunday December 9, 2012

Fridge Door Alert

Our refrigerator (an Amana model with the freezer on the bottom) is very well made, in general, but the upper door doesn't always seal properly without a solid push. As a result, we have found it hanging slightly open more than once.

We decided that we needed some sort of alarm that would notify us of a problem, before the problem became warm spoiled milk and ruined food!

photo We initially tried a commercially available "open door" alarm, but it was designed to work if the door was fully open for too long (e.g. when you stand there, staring at the contents, thinking, "What should I have for lunch?".

That wasn't what we needed. We needed something that would alert us if the door was almost closed, so near that the interior light was off, but the seal wasn't sealed. Also, we didn't want something that would make noise because we open the door regularly and alarm noises bother me (and also the cats).

Rich decided to build something with a visual alert.

Digging around in assorted part bins, he found a nifty microswitch, some scrap plastic, and assorted hardware. He put all of this together and mounted it to the unused bolt holes (for a right-hand door hinge) located on the top of the refrigerator. He then wired the switch to a modified LED flashlight (from Phil the Pool Guy :-).

A magnet and mounting plate scavenged from a 3.5" disk drive acts as the strike plate for the microswitch's sensor arm. It holds tightly onto the top of the door, while allowing the position to be adjusted to taste.

If the door is even slightly ajar (long before the inner refrigerator light comes on), two bright LEDs light up. This is quite noticeable, but not as annoying as an audio alert (eg, a buzzer) would be.

In summary, we now have a well-tuned solution, crafted entirely from materials Rich found around the house. Rah!

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Fridge Door Alert ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Sun, 09 Dec, 21:14 Pacific | «e»

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