The wine cooler it at home. Now to tackle why it doesn't work.
The skepticism about purchasing the fridge comes from the fact that if the problem resides with the compressor then I'm screwed. A new compressor is going to cost upwards of $200 and require a licensed repairman to take care of. So I've got my fingers crossed.
Plugged in, the compressor and condenser fan don't come on. Only the interior light works. This is a good thing. It means the problem is likely a very easy one to fix.
Shown here is me testing the thermostat's circuit with my handy multimeter. This thermostat sits right behind the temperature setting knob at the bottom of the appliance. A capillary tube runs out the back and into the fridge to measure the temperature inside. The thermostat can fail in one of two ways - 1) Closed, meaning it will never allow power through and the compressors and fan will never turn on regardless of the temperature or 2) Open, meaning the compressor and fan will always be running regardless of the temperature. It's very simple to test whether a circuit has shorted. Set your multimeter to ohms (measure of electrical resistance) and place each probe on one of the thermostat's power nodes. In a functional circuit, you'll get some number (should be 0 since the distance of the circuit here is very short so there should be very little resistance to the current). But as you can see, my multimeter is giving me the error code meaning the circuit is broken. Awesome!
Back when Vinotemp still supported this model, they apparently charged $35 + $10 S&H for a replacement thermostat. I call that highway robbery considering I was able to find a suitable replacement part via Amazon for $6 total.
Two weeks later and the part arrives. Here I am testing the circuit and it gives us a reading. Hooray!
It takes about 45 minutes to replace the part. The hardest part is getting the new part's capillary tube back into the fridge section, but I eventually do. Everything gets screwed back together and the moment of truth arrives.
Plug in the cooler and twist the temp knob. I hear the buzz of the compressor firing up and the condenser fan whirring. Success! Within 10 minutes, the temp in the fridge is down to 65F (ambient temp 75ish). Not bad, eh? $25 off CL plus $6 for the part.
So that's where I stand as of now. Next up: shelving.