MemberDecember 19, 2019 at 11:23 pm
Good day gentlemen. I have been on the cold side of Light Commercial Refrigeration for 12 years.
I opened my company up last April and have been doing pretty good. Naturally, working in kitchens and with facility management, the question of do we service the hot side comes up.
I have decided to go for it. I’m decently familiar with cooking equipment, most common sense rules apply. But as a owner, it’s important for me that the job is done the first time.
I have about $2500 to spend on each truck for stuck, and wanted to get some info on typical parts you see fail often so I can set my truck stock accordingly.
AdministratorDecember 20, 2019 at 11:02 am
This is a really interesting topic – I’m sure some of our members will be able to chime in, and I’ll also try and do some research.
Thanks for being part of techtown!
MemberDecember 20, 2019 at 11:42 am
A lot of things you carry for the cold side are also used on the hot side. Mostly electrical like crimp connectors and fittings. But you will want to expand on some wrenches and socket sets. Stainless screws and nuts come in handy. High temp wire is a must. As well as high temp connectors and a suitable crimper with proper dies. Most repair parts are priority and have to be ordered for the unit your working on. Gas pilot’s commonly get plugged orifices and need cleaning, So torch cleaners work to some degree, but one has to be very careful to not distort or damage the orifice. Range burners tend to get boil overs in them that carbons up and have to be drilled out so a complete set of drill bits, both letter and number let alone fractional should be available. 1/4, 5/16, and 3/8 aluminum tubing and related compression fitting are helpful when you find a burner line that has been mishandled. I also carried a box of Molnex plug’s and terminals of 3 sizes and up to 12 position. You will also need terminal pin release tools for the Molnex plug’s. You may have to upgrade your DVOM’s to be able to read micro-amps on gas control flame sensors. Last a good manometer for gas pressure and related fittings. Often the test port plugs are allen head and difficult to get loose. So a good set or two of Allen wrenches are necessary.
Good luck with this and have fun. Observation time in a kitchen is a must to know what the real problem is. You’ll find that what is relayed to you verbally doesn’t always match what you see happening.
MemberDecember 20, 2019 at 12:27 pm
I should add that I started in the Hot side the same way. I was at a service club kitchen when a chemical installer installed his system on a Moyer Dieble dish machine. I was working on their ice make. The chemical guy finished and left before me. When the kitchen manager tried to run the machine it wouldn’t run. So I of course was asked to at least take a look. Fortunately all equipment has to have a wiring diagram The chemical installer had removed the previous system and installed a reed switch on the main motor to trigger his system, but forgot or didn’t know he had to place a jumper where he removed the old hard wired trigger. Nothing to it. Made the jumper and installed it. Then washed a couple of loads of dishes for them. “Hey, have you time to take a quick look at a convection oven” Always trying to keep a customer a customer happy I said “Sure” . He tells me it won’t run and that $500 dollar Manny (a nickname they had given him cause every bill was) had worked on it and said to replace it. With a Vulcan Snorkel, If you accidentally wire it wrong it will not run. Traced out the wires, swapped 2 on there terminals, and away it goes. They were happy and I was happy to find that I could find a problem quickly and efficiently even though I hadn’t done any work in the field. Come to find out that many of the service company’s in this area have a lot of recalls. And charge a ridiculous amount of money to cover those recalls. From that point on I started doing hot side work. The local service companies tend to want to pay minimum wage and have one good tech that tries to talk their field techs through a job.
MemberDecember 20, 2019 at 11:50 pm
Thanks man. I appreciate the in depth explanation.
One thing I have noticed (atleast in Arizona) is the lack of local parts suppliers.
With Refrigeration, a defrost clock, compressor, ice thickness probe or Termination switch are only a few miles away in each direction.
It appears, most Hot side parts are to be ordered and shipped next day.
MemberDecember 21, 2019 at 8:25 am
Ryan, look around for service company’s that service the brands you see in your area. Often they will provide parts with a discount to service tech’s in the field. Every area has strong sales personnel with a certain brand that owns the local market. The other brand rep’s. tend to be trying , but not making sales. So watch what you see in the local kitchens and you can easily check with the manufacturers on line for their representative. Then when you get time, visit them and talk to the owner. Build a relationship before you need parts or support. They are often flooded with demanding work for State and educational entities and are more than willing to support someone doing the smaller accounts.
MemberDecember 27, 2019 at 10:51 am
For hot side, It’s difficult unless you know what the customer has. I use Parts Town and I can overnight for like $30.00 so for me, it’s a no brainer and I just overnigth most of the time.
I have certain equipment across multiple buildings and they use similar parts so we keep those on hand, igniters, potentiometers, high limits, pilots, you know, common stuff.
Pilots are sold universal so those are good, some common gas valves would be good, otherwise it’s tricky unless you’ve been there already and know what they have,
MemberJanuary 16, 2020 at 10:25 pm
Hatco makes infinite switches for 120, 208 and 240 volt. All three a must and it doesn’t have to be used on just Hatco products either, Wells hot wells, etc.
Thermocouples come in a wide variety of lengths, we do 18, 24, 36 and 48 and thats good. Ovens, grills, hot water heaters, etc.
Thermopiles are a must as well, The stainless braided ones are the best.
MemberJanuary 17, 2020 at 6:21 am
Load of spdt, dpdt etc…. it very common I’m replacing a switch. High temp solderless terminals. Heat resistant wire.
Surface probe thermometer, orifice bit kit, manometer(digital)
List can really keep going.
MemberJanuary 17, 2020 at 7:11 am
Suggest an oven probe thermometer, has metal sheath, the normal probes melt and damage easily in the heat.
Hot Shot if you’ll be doing any cleaning.
Gas regulators, I like LP and Natural separate, rather than the interchangeable. (And tech tip, always check valves, QDs and regulator vent plugs)
Dormant 1/2” and 3/4” hose kits, comes with QD, ball valve, elbow, 48” hose, and restraint cable for rolling equipment.
Bundle of range pilots, aluminum tubing and brass compression fittings, flex tubing.
Couple different brand gas conversion kits.
Cooling fans, 120-230v
Universal; thermocouple and thermopile(two types, coax/dual lead) Pilot assembly, hot surface igniter, spark igniter, and flame sensor. All of this is good to get by till OEM comes in.
Hotwell thermostats, inf switches, and I’ve used jb weld to get a leaky well to hold till replaced. Most are designed to be dry fired also. I keep an assortment of sharkbites for drain repairs, or isolating leaking wells.
MemberFebruary 6, 2020 at 4:48 am
This one might sound silly but, keep a stock of open top gas valve knobs on the trucks.
The savage wrath of a chef can always be soothed by replacing the missing knob on one of his burners that he is always grabbing a pair of pliers in the middle of service to use.
At least if he has to wait for a part for a day or two for one of his pieces of equipment, this little trick will serve as a little bit of a pressure relief every time he uses the burner and doesn’t have to grab his pliers
MemberFebruary 6, 2020 at 8:22 am
I agree whole hardily with this one. A unsolicited offer to replace a knob is one of the best tricks there is to soften even the most difficult of Chef’s
MemberFebruary 6, 2020 at 1:26 pm
If you don’t have them, I would get gauges for gas. When working with gas powered items checking to ensure you are getting the right amount of gas out of a valve is important.
Also, if I were you I would get a list of equipment you will be servicing. Look up the manuals for them and see in the trouble shooting section the recommended repairs per their trouble shooting and get those parts as that is what the company finds to be the most common issues with the machines. Obviously the more expensive parts I would skip over with your budget, but the seals, switches, etc. I would pick up.
PartsTown likely will have all the manuals for the equipment and like olivero was saying you could get them overnight shipped.
I have most of the items covered in the trouble shooting section of my manuals and I rarely need to pick up parts to resolve issues, unless I forget to reorder those items or they are pricey and not something I would keep on hand (*cough* rational PCB *cough*).
MemberFebruary 6, 2020 at 4:17 pm
If you don’t have them, I would get gauges for gas.
Oh god, Gauges? Seriously, My first manometer was a 3 ft board about 5 inches wide with a plastic tube fastened to it in a U shape and a ruler in the center. I also had a bottle of mercury to go with it. We could use water or mercury depending on the measurement. I had one that had a double (tape measure) ruler from the center. So you didn’t have to do the math. Today the digital ones are a lot easyier to carry and use. It amazes me that they can make a pressure sensor so sensitive to work as a manometer.
MemberFebruary 6, 2020 at 5:12 pm
I was late to the digital manometer party.
I always trusted my Yellow Jacket water manometer for reading gas pressures. It’s cheap, simple and accurate.
I think it was just about ten years ago when I was on a job & needed to measure & set the draft on a burner blower for a Vulcan steamer (a blower-induced metal mesh burner). I was trying to figure out how to get it to stop going…BOOM!
I stopped by a local Grainger and bought a Dwyer U-inclined manometer to read pressures below 1″WC. One requiring that red fluid.
That set didn’t travel very well in my service van. I was always having to stop back by to buy more of that red fluid.
I didn’t know at the time that if I’d have only spent $40 more (I paid $80 for that archaic Dwyer set), I coulda bought a digital manometer that did the exact same thing with no mess or fuss.
MemberFebruary 6, 2020 at 6:00 pm
My first use of one was a roll up magnet top vinal tube with a plastic U tube at the bottom and the back was the scale. Again, almost 3 ft long with 2 fluids.. USN supplied. Years later on my own time and money, I made one for a test project. Yea, I’m a long way out in the woods. But the digitals sure make it a lot easyier. Trouble is I still don’t trust the calibration over the water column. Never wrong if you know how to read the capillary wicking. Clean Glass tube is the best and most accurate. But for what we do it isn’t that critical.
MemberFebruary 7, 2020 at 8:39 am
That was the word I was looking for, manometer…. gas gauge, whatever.
Yes get a manometer.
MemberFebruary 7, 2020 at 11:44 am
There are also Bordon tube low pressure gauges, but they are not accurate enough for burner work and they require constant re-calibration with a dead weight tester.
MemberFebruary 12, 2020 at 8:06 am
There is one item I would be lost without. That’s a 14 inch Klein bag. With Nylon ties, heat shrink tubing, marker tablets, Number and letter strips, Nytie mounts, Cable clamps, and a Panduit tie crimper/cutter. I also have a Klien zipper pouch for the pens and tablets. How many times have you gone into a cabinet and found the wire markers falling off or unwrapping. A Bradley heat shrink label-er is also nice if you do a lot of wire repair. With that I used a lot of non insulated terminals and shrunk them over the terminal hub. Bit tricky keeping the label to the top when heating.
MemberFebruary 15, 2020 at 2:24 pm
Hello just scanned through and didn’t see any responses that asked if you checked the valve plate to see if the suction valves are pulling 10 in vac when you back seat the suction rotor lock. The system may be ok but you said this has been going on for some time . Just 1 more question how much refrigeration temperatures have you lots since having this issue. thank you Steven
MemberFebruary 15, 2020 at 3:06 pm
I scanned through the replies so if anything I say mirrors another reply, consider that double important! Haha
I do nothing but hotside and these are my must haves.
Wire guage/ oriface drill bits. The whole set.
Surface thermometer. Those fancy lazer ones can’t be trusted.
K type digital thermometer for the ovens
Robertshaw universal b.j. thermostats, one for griddles, one for ovens.
Pitco millivolt combo valve and a conversion kit for the same valve to cover both gases. It’s used in most cheap fryers
Same with the 24v ones. They’re in alot of convection ovens
120v/240v to 24v transformer
Universal cook top pilots with the hats
Universal 3/4 apliance regulator
Dormont 3/4 quick connect 48″ gas hose ki
Universal burner valves in both stem lengths
Thermopile 2 wire
good quality thermocouple from 18 in to 60 (deck ovens)
Handfull of ng and lp orifaces for pilots
Hand full of random electrical switches to get them by for the weekend.
120 and 240 coil 40a contractors
Theres a million other things but those are what I keep near my Van’s door. Leaving out things like pipe dope, tapes, sealants, electrical connectors lubes and most tools. Once you do a bunch you’ll know what to stock. I do alot of pitco, blodget and middleby so I have a ton of stuff for them.
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