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Old 01-04-2019, 13:43   #31
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Re: 18 year old refrigeration -- fix it or ditch it?

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The Danfoss compressors are extremely reliable but after 15 years, mine make a very different sound. We have three BD50 compressors from 2004 and a couple of years ago I swapped the one that ran most with the one that almost never runs and the difference was significant. Much quieter as well.

That doesn't mean that the other one won't run for another 50 years... I would believe that as well

Not so for condensers, evaporators and especially not for keel coolers. They all go bad. That said, my spare evaporator and condenser are still new in their boxes after 15 years
Have you ever seen a Frigoboat keel cooler failure or know of anyone who has. I only know of two of these failures one on a fresh water lake eaten away by corrosion from the picture and the other one was sent to me from Ecuador with a pin size hole inside brass weld on interior of boat, this one was an isolated case. All water cooled units expose compressors to excessive temperatures but that does not cause keel coolers to fail.
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Old 01-04-2019, 13:44   #32
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Re: 18 year old refrigeration -- fix it or ditch it?

This is a German built Danfoss I cut open to see why it wouldn't run. Found the shorting link was not making contact properly. After removing it & refiting it it ran. Now use it as for testing controlers. That said I still recon they are a good compressor as this is the only faulty one ive come across but have several faulty Engel compressors.
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Old 01-04-2019, 15:11   #33
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Re: 18 year old refrigeration -- fix it or ditch it?

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Have you ever seen a Frigoboat keel cooler failure or know of anyone who has. I only know of two of these failures one on a fresh water lake eaten away by corrosion from the picture and the other one was sent to me from Ecuador with a pin size hole inside brass weld on interior of boat, this one was an isolated case. All water cooled units expose compressors to excessive temperatures but that does not cause keel coolers to fail.
Not all Richard! All Ozefridge air / water cooled system have air over the compressor / motor driver module regardless of whether it is operating as an air cooled or as a water cooled unit. Also has high temperature warning and cut out, like most others.

Also our condensers are made with CU-Ni (Copper-Nickel) not just copper.

Wiki quote: "Cupronickel is highly resistant to corrosion in seawater. For this reason, it is used for piping, heat exchangers and condensers in seawater systems, marine hardware, and sometimes for the propellers, propeller shafts, and hulls of premium tugboats, fishing boats and other working boats.

Cheers OzePete
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Old 01-04-2019, 16:11   #34
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Re: 18 year old refrigeration -- fix it or ditch it?

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Originally Posted by Richard Kollmann View Post
Have you ever seen a Frigoboat keel cooler failure or know of anyone who has. I only know of two of these failures one on a fresh water lake eaten away by corrosion from the picture and the other one was sent to me from Ecuador with a pin size hole inside brass weld on interior of boat, this one was an isolated case. All water cooled units expose compressors to excessive temperatures but that does not cause keel coolers to fail.
I have 3 Frigoboat keel coolers: one is 100% bad (don't know where/what), one is 100% good and one is suspect. I had a lot of trouble with that a while ago and already ordered an air-cooled condenser but I decided to vacuum the system once more, this time love-tapping everything in the circuit with a plastic mallet. While tapping at/around the keel cooler, I heard the pump start sputtering again. It started working normal again. That was a year ago and it's still running today. I think there was a drop of solder or some corrosion blocking the keel cooler, which is now stuck somewhere else where it doesn't block the circuit.

The keel cooler that is 100% bad causes freezing of the expansion tube within a week. Tried evacuating 3 times with same result, then swapped keel cooler and problem has stayed away for 4 years now. That keel cooler went bad at 10/11 years. All are from 2014
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Old 01-04-2019, 17:45   #35
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Re: 18 year old refrigeration -- fix it or ditch it?

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I have 3 Frigoboat keel coolers: one is 100% bad (don't know where/what), one is 100% good and one is suspect. I had a lot of trouble with that a while ago and already ordered an air-cooled condenser but I decided to vacuum the system once more, this time love-tapping everything in the circuit with a plastic mallet. While tapping at/around the keel cooler, I heard the pump start sputtering again. It started working normal again. That was a year ago and it's still running today. I think there was a drop of solder or some corrosion blocking the keel cooler, which is now stuck somewhere else where it doesn't block the circuit.

The keel cooler that is 100% bad causes freezing of the expansion tube within a week. Tried evacuating 3 times with same result, then swapped keel cooler and problem has stayed away for 4 years now. That keel cooler went bad at 10/11 years. All are from 2014

I have been following keel cooler systems failures after 2002 till now. It seems like I am always dealing with one or two of these systems continuously through the years. I talked twice to their chief engineer about compressor temperatures and causes of refrigerant flow restrictions. I tried to get an answer to why there was no filter screen protecting cap tube inlet as the filter dryer was located on suction tube at compressor. The answer I got was there is a screen just ahead of cap tube. One of the people on this forum who was having flow restriction problems replaced the evaporator per Frigoboat standard practice and sent cap tube and all tubing to me. I found no protective screen and cap tube filled with very small crystals. I know believe the crystals are a result of many hours of operating compressor at temperatures far above the safe level for Ester oil.
The pattern of these total system failures occur after several years operating in tropical climates without compressor exterior fan cooling. In some cases Frigoboat contributes these total system wipe outs to running refrigeration while boat is out of the water.
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:08   #36
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Re: 18 year old refrigeration -- fix it or ditch it?

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I have been following keel cooler systems failures after 2002 till now. It seems like I am always dealing with one or two of these systems continuously through the years. I talked twice to their chief engineer about compressor temperatures and causes of refrigerant flow restrictions. I tried to get an answer to why there was no filter screen protecting cap tube inlet as the filter dryer was located on suction tube at compressor. The answer I got was there is a screen just ahead of cap tube. One of the people on this forum who was having flow restriction problems replaced the evaporator per Frigoboat standard practice and sent cap tube and all tubing to me. I found no protective screen and cap tube filled with very small crystals. I know believe the crystals are a result of many hours of operating compressor at temperatures far above the safe level for Ester oil.
The pattern of these total system failures occur after several years operating in tropical climates without compressor exterior fan cooling. In some cases Frigoboat contributes these total system wipe outs to running refrigeration while boat is out of the water.
Okay that may explain why others had more failures: even though I have keel coolers, I have replaced the silly little fans on the oil coolers of the BD50's with a 4" diameter computer housing cooling fan, which fans the air all around the compressor housing as well as the electronics module. The fans are mounted separately and connected to the electronics module just like the mini fans or condenser fans are. This worked great for us. I replaced the fans once when their bearings were worn down. I believe I paid $1 or $2 a piece incl. pretty colored LED lights so we can see which one is running

About blockage: yes I'm sure it's particles in the circuit that clog things up. I believe it's junk left there in the manufacturing process, or spurs etc. that come loose a little while later.
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:36   #37
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Re: 18 year old refrigeration -- fix it or ditch it?

Here in the UK Frigoboat keel coolers were fitted to almost all Oyster yachts for some time. They they have a reputation here for being troublesome, according to what I've heard. Specifically for pinhole leaks, and clogs. I believe Oyster later switched to Isotherm as used by Discovery and Moody.


Interesting that water cooled condensors are so widespread here, whereas in Florida where I used to cruise everyone was going to air cooled. I guess it's logical that water cooled condensors don't perform nearly as well in the very warm water down there.
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:15   #38
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Re: 18 year old refrigeration -- fix it or ditch it?

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Okay that may explain why others had more failures: even though I have keel coolers, I have replaced the silly little fans on the oil coolers of the BD50's with a 4" diameter computer housing cooling fan, which fans the air all around the compressor housing as well as the electronics module. The fans are mounted separately and connected to the electronics module just like the mini fans or condenser fans are. This worked great for us. I replaced the fans once when their bearings were worn down. I believe I paid $1 or $2 a piece incl. pretty colored LED lights so we can see which one is running

About blockage: yes I'm sure it's particles in the circuit that clog things up. I believe it's junk left there in the manufacturing process, or spurs etc. that come loose a little while later.
The large fans are an excellent solution when operating in warm seawater temperatures. Hermetically sealed compressors without fan exterior cooling must rely on cool returning refrigerant from evaporator of 60 Degree F would be nice but with not being able to control seawater temperatures adding fans is the answer. The problems of the same warm seawater temperature night and day and lower refrigerant Btu output from compressors compounds the problem of higher compressor temperatures.
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Old 02-04-2019, 11:47   #39
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Re: 18 year old refrigeration -- fix it or ditch it?

My Adler Barber compressor is probably original so 31 years old, but it is noisy and sucks up a lot of power.. If there are more efficient ones than the one you're currently using, than that might also be a consideration.
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Old 02-04-2019, 14:13   #40
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Re: 18 year old refrigeration -- fix it or ditch it?

The old (OLD) Robinair and similar electronic (hot diode) leak detectors all would sniff leaks that were under 1 oz. per year, when properly used in still air. Soapwater has nothing on them. The new Robinair uses IR sensing and claims:
Sensitivity levels
HIGH – 0.15 oz./year and higher
MEDIUM – 0.25 oz./year and higher
LOW – 0.5 oz./year and higher

So they certainly can "sniff" as well as anything else. The problem being, whether you use soap bubbles, IR, diodes, or ultrasonic sniffers, you need still someone with the patience to go over every inch of the system and that can mean some inaccessible places. And ensuring "still air" so the gas isn't being blown away isn't always easy.

Dockhead, the *age* of your compressors doesn't matter, the number of hours they have run is what counts. If you can find that number and compare it to what Danfoss says is expectable, then you have better reason to vote on fixing versus replacing.

If you replace the system, you have the advantage that, in theory, a factory assembled and sealed it. If you try to fix it...Yeah, in theory that's a simple DIY job. You start with a sniffer of your choice (don't cheap out) and then LOT of patience and chasing around the system. You may need to run the system to find leaks, or add gas to build pressure and find the leaks, but you can do that yourself as expertly and patiently as anyone else can.

The trick comes to the repairing side. If you decide to repair it, the plumbing is't hard. The filling isn't hard (even if that may all require licensing to be legal) and even if you do vacuum out the system to make sure that the new fill will be all clean dry gas...That's just another $2-300 for a vacuum pump, every boat should have one.(G)

If you DO decide on fixing it, keep asking about warranty. Odds are you can't get more than 30-90 days, six months on the outside, and while that may be reasonable...it hardly inspires faith.

Your choice is pretty much to either throw time or money at it, leaving mainly the question of which one can you most afford to throw?
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Old 02-04-2019, 14:13   #41
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Re: 18 year old refrigeration -- fix it or ditch it?

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My Adler Barber compressor is probably original so 31 years old, but it is noisy and sucks up a lot of power.. If there are more efficient ones than the one you're currently using, than that might also be a consideration.
Gamayun, if it's sucking up too much power, look to increasing your insulation, and make sure the gasket's in good shape. Especially do this if the insulation was never increased before. Old boat fridges were sadly lacking in insulation, and you could do a lot of good by adding modern, better quality.

Ann
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Old 02-04-2019, 14:19   #42
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Re: 18 year old refrigeration -- fix it or ditch it?

Thanks, Ann! These are definitely some things I'd been thinking about. Just need to get motivated and bring in some mo'money. I'm watching threads like this very closely for ideas and for which brand might be best.
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Old 02-04-2019, 15:01   #43
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Re: 18 year old refrigeration -- fix it or ditch it?

Yesterday I thought my 18 year old AB system was maybe biting the dust.



Turned out all it needed was to defrost the freezer. :-)
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:57   #44
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Re: 18 year old refrigeration -- fix it or ditch it?

I also have a very old reefer that amazingly, still works, but I'm thinking that improvements in refrigeration systems might provide a smaller and more efficient unit. With the new technology in electric motors that might be true. Is it?
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:43   #45
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Re: 18 year old refrigeration -- fix it or ditch it?

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My system was built by me in 2004 and is on it's last legs today. My recommendation is what I have decided to do: rip it all out and replace with large drawers that hold the portable Engel/Dometic fridge/freezer boxes.

I have had a Dometic box in the basement of my motorhome for a couple of years now and it's terrific. You can buy a drawer-style tray for them but I would custom-build to fit into the galley. There is still enough room above it for a nice storage drawer. I planned two drawers next to each other each holding one, plus a 3rd unit in the pantry
===========================================
Hi Jedi
If I understand what you did,was to accommodate the box into a space,not just the cooling unit from the Dometic.
My fridge space (30 ft boat) is not large enough to fit the whole box,is there a way to disassemble the cooling system and install it inside the fridge existing space?
Otherwise will have to find room for a free standing box somewhere in the cabin/vberth/pilot berth.
thank you
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