DEFINING and LOCATING DATA PLATES
What is a data plate?
The data plate contains detailed and critical information about the piece of equipment including:
(1) Type of Refrigeration used
(2) Weight (in ounces) of charge the unit requires
(3) The make and model number of the unit
(4) The electrical requirements of the unit
(5) The designed "high" and "low" side pressures allowable
(6) Typically this is where the UL insignia and NSF stickers can be found
(7) Often times the manufacturer will place the serial number here too.
Let's look at the data plate above and answer 1-7 as itemized on the data plate:
1 Type of refrigerant is 404a
2 Weight (in ounces) / charge of this unit is 72 oz
3 The make and model #is: Master Bilt and BLG48HD
4 Electrical: 115 volt - single phase and 208-230 volt single phase
5 The high and low pressures are: 340 H.S. and 230 L.S.
6 The UL listed and NSF decals are shown here
7 Serial#: NW518888 and in this case, this unit was manufactured 7/06
Does the data plate tell how old a unit is?
Above I have a picture of a TRUE brand data plate. This data plate reveals a "serial cabinet number" of 1-2382822. The nice thing about the TRUE brand is anyone can easily tell the "manufacture date" of any piece of equipment TRUE has built simply by calling the factory or checking the website.
The URL for serial number inquiry is: SERIAL NUMBER INQUIRY
Simply type in the serial number found on the data plate and we can easily reveal this particular unit was shipped 6/29/2000. If you call the factory, often times the factor is willing to reveal who the unit was originally shipped to (purchaser). This is extremely important to me in particular as I do not wish to purchase or receive any equipment owned by a bottling company.
Often times I get a call to see if I would like to purchase a cooler or freezer from someone going out of business, relocating, or up grading. Or, I get asked if I will take a piece in on trade. In everyone of these scenarios, I check the serial number first. You see, often times, the bottling company will "give" a customer a cooler to use providing they exclusively use and stock it with their product. The common mistake made is when the individual thinks he/she owns that cooler when in fact they do not.
CAUTION: I warn people in the market shopping to be very, very careful when purchasing a cooler off of Craigslist. In particular, the ones that that have the bottling companies logo's across the top or sides. Odds are, the bottling company does not know where their cooler "disappeared to" and would not be happy to learn it was sold.
I also get the guy who tells me the unit is only a year or two old....here I can tell exactly how old the unit is.
You see, a simple serial number inquiry can answer many questions and be very helpful.
....above is an example of a Beverage Air data plate. This unit has a factory serial number of: 6125467. Unfortunately, as far as I know, Beverage Air does not have a hidden date code in their serial number or a simple website to search the information. Again, typically the factory is happy to help out with this information of you call them.
The Master Bilt data plate has the date right in their serial number. Take for example the data plate above. The serial number is: NW518888. All units prior to 2010 model year have serial numbers similar to the one above.
In the serial number "lettering" is the month and year the unit was manufactured (not shipped). In this case the "N" stand for July and the "W" stands for 2006. Master Bilt starts the month with the letter "H" - therefore "H" stand for January, "I" stands for February, "J" stands for March, etc, etc.
Consequentially, the year actually would have started with the letter "A" which is equivalent to 1984, "B" is 1985, "C" is 1986, "D" is 1987, etc, etc. This ends with "Z" which is 2009.
After 2009 the factory started with "AA" which is 2010, "BB" which will is 2011, and "CC" will be 2012.