I thawed my 16 cu. ft. Frigidaire upright freezer yesterday. When I fired it up, the surface temperature was 121 F. all over the sides and top. I watched it closely, and frost started to form on the shelves where the wire is and the refrigerant runs through. Today, it's running fine, and the exterior is cooled.
After you defrosted the unit, the evaporator coils would be at room temperature, so when you turned the compressor on, it had a very large heat load to remove from the interior coils and inside surface. I believe that the condenser is the exterior of the freezer cabinet, where this coil is serpentine attached to this. That's why it got hot. Once this heat load had been removed, the exterior returned to room temperature. Either the condenser is this design, or it's rear mounted vertical external coil natural convection, or mounted next to the compressor under the unit, either natural or fan forced convection. As for seeing the frost form on the wire shelving before the evaporator coil, I would guess that the surface roughness of the wires at the microscopic view has condensation loci points.
The frozen specks on the shelves could have come from the water left inside after thawing, and all that dripping water, and the humidity here has been horrendous lately, up around 20%. The frozen wires I can grok, I was just wondering about the outside surface temperature.
The outer shell of the freezer is the heat radiator for the refrigeration system. The condenser coils are welded or at least attached to the inside of the sheet metal outer shell. You won't find any air-cooled heat exchanger core on these units.
The hardest for a freezer to do is chill down an empty freezer. It is actually hard on the compressor - running so much of the time.
The internal shell is the only chilled item and it doesn't hold much heat. (or cold). I have a 5 gallon - with 4 in it - in the freezer. It gives a constant mass if volume drops - and if the lights go out - a nice block of ice that lasts a long time.
Mart> >> I thawed my 16 cu. ft. Frigidaire upright freezer yesterday. When I fired
I don't know about your particular freezer. But on the one that we've had for the last 24 years, the external heat exchanger is actually the sides of the freezer. Since it's built in rather tightly in our small kitchen, I have the fan tray out of an old Sun server blowing cool air from under the floor past it in the summer, controlled by a thermostat, to stop it going into thermal runaway.