Refrigerator troubles in Japan. (SANYO Aqua AQR-261b)


Not super exciting but if you fancy a video tour from a 2nd hand shop.

Break down:

New Years Holiday my SANYO Aqua AQR-261b decided to stop cooling. What better timing…

On the bright side, the leaning house seems to seek and find equilibrium with outside temperature rather quickly. Which means in 0c weather it’s pretty close to 0c indoors (3-4c) and so the food doesn’t go bad right away.

As the temp indoors is cold. I only noticed with the freezer ice sweets melting away and the soft “frozen” pizza.

Trouble shooting and researching:

Being completely out of my depth with refrigeration I studied how they work and common issues to try.

First thing: empty the fridge unplug and let it thaw if there was an ice build up. 3 days later a tiny bit of water had collected. Not a lot.

Fridge plugged in and nothing. Just a click then a motor starting and failing sound. “Like a car engine in winter”. 

Next step with this info check possible symptoms.

Seems most likely it’s the starter relay assembly. In my case more specifically the overload relay. It’s a separate piece that provides extra starting power at first to the compressor then cuts out.

Taking it out I shook it and that was, according to the net, the telltale sign it was broken a
according to many videos such as the one below that I had seen.

The plan is to call the official after sales care hotline so I placed all back exactly the way it was.


Official contact centre.

Calling on a Saturday firstly the lines were too busy so the official support line lead us to the official voice mail.

When calling back later that day they told us as it’s a weekend they couldn’t arrange a date and time for a repair person to come by, and they’d call us back again Monday.

Monday they told us Tuesday would be possible.


The technician came at 5:30


  • At first he checked the cooling behind the back panels of the freezer. All seemed well. So he put it all back.
  • Then it was the controller board. It seemed on. But fridge didn’t turn on.
  • Starter relay checked. Seemed to electrically checkout. Okay.
  • Overload relay checked and swapped out. Fridge still not working.
  • Controller board replaced and…


After watching so many videos of people getting scammed in the UK and other western countries,  I watched the repair technician closely, just in case. I was more curious about what he would be checking, he was logical and thorough about his ways.

He explained it’s rather unusual that the board is the issue and usually it’s the compressor. I’m thinking he went by most probable cause. It’s been cold so it was straight for the coils, then the back lastly the board.

In any case I’m happy things worked out and the guy was honest. However as a generalization people here are rather honest for the most part. Needless to say keeping vigilant is never a bad thing.

In the end we expected a minimum the cost of a house call which was 5500¥. And from there we’d discuss if the fridge could/should be repaired or not.

Having the parts on hand and after a quick swap out of the faulty board and issue fixed the technician presented us the bill of about 9000¥. (82USD in 2019.01) (Which includes the house call). Very reasonable.

The future of this fridge may be in IoT. At the very least I want to put sensors on the doors and relay open door status to a notification system, similar to Dr ZZs but without alexa style notifications. A few simple reed switches and it should all work fine attached to a ESP8266 and LED for notification, maybe a speaker too. (the main door has a beeping function but the drawers don’t)

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