How to Recharge a Coca-Cola Cooler

by Daniel Pearson
Not all vending machine cooling systems can be recharged.

Not all vending machine cooling systems can be recharged.

Coca-Cola was introduced at Atlanta's Jacob's Pharmacy in 1886 as a soda fountain drink that sold for 5 cents a glass. By the end of the 1920s bottled Coca-Cola surpassed sales of soda fountain drinks, prompting the company to begin using an open-top metal cooler -- the first soda vending machine -- that held six bottles at one time. Older Coca-Cola vending machines are considered collector's items by pop icon aficionados. In fact, antique Coca-Cola vending machines routinely fetch prices of more than $2,000, as of the date of publication. The cooling systems on these machines falter over time and there are a couple of approaches to take if you're trying to learn whether or not you can recharge the cooler in your Coca-Cola vending machine.

Unplug the Coca-Cola vending machine to prevent electrical shock.

Remove the plate that covers the vending machine's compressor. Typically, these are located on the back of the machine at the bottom, and easily pull right off.

Grab hold of the compressor and slide it out of the vending machine.

Inspect the compressor's vents to make sure they are not covered with dust or other debris. If corrosion is present on the compressor it should be replaced with a new one.

Use an electrical connector to check the vending machine's compressor by placing one of the connector's probes on one of the terminals and touching a second terminal with the remaining cord, just like you would use jumper cables to check a car battery. Do this with each terminal. If the motor does not stimulate the electrical connector it has to be replaced.

Contact a licensed Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) technician, if the compressor works, to have your Coca-Cola cooler recharged with Freon -- the brand name for chlorofluorocarbon. Freon is illegal to purchase or sell in the U.S. and only a licensed HVAC professional can recharge a cooling system with Freon. You can find a website to help you locate an HVAC technician in the resources section.

Items you will need

  • Electrical connector
  • Electrical wall socket or power strip

About the Author

Daniel Pearson is a freelance writer with more than 17 years of experience. He most recently received an award from the Oregon Society of Professional Journalists for Best Business Writing in 2009, his ninth award from the organization. He holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism and communication and a Master of Business Administration in marketing.

Photo Credits

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