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Old 06-02-2014, 20:51   #16
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Re: Danfoss BD35/Frigoboat problem

I appreciate the well intentioned suggestions Jedi. We've been out cruising for 4.5 years. Over 30,000 miles from US east coast to Asia. Presently in Malaysia. And if there is one thing I've learned about myself over those years and miles--I don't want to do all the work on our boat! Its not a matter of difficulty, complexity, getting hands dirty, tools or deep pockets. I just don't want to do all of our projects! I am fast approaching the point where I'll have a pro take care of the rest--but to manage that help, I'll want to be reasonably educated. Richard's fantastic help is getting me right where I want to be! I also like his philosophy about not opening up the refrigerant circuit more than you have to. Especially on a frigoboat system.

All the best,
Arthur
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Old 07-02-2014, 05:18   #17
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Re: Danfoss BD35/Frigoboat problem

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Originally Posted by hoaga View Post
I appreciate the well intentioned suggestions Jedi. We've been out cruising for 4.5 years. Over 30,000 miles from US east coast to Asia. Presently in Malaysia. And if there is one thing I've learned about myself over those years and miles--I don't want to do all the work on our boat! Its not a matter of difficulty, complexity, getting hands dirty, tools or deep pockets. I just don't want to do all of our projects! I am fast approaching the point where I'll have a pro take care of the rest--but to manage that help, I'll want to be reasonably educated. Richard's fantastic help is getting me right where I want to be! I also like his philosophy about not opening up the refrigerant circuit more than you have to. Especially on a frigoboat system.

All the best,
Arthur
Hi Arthur,

We too have been out cruising a bit. Our experience is that of all the things that need to be done on a boat, maintenance and repair of the refrigeration is the hardest to find qualified and skilled help for. 99% of the people that offer this service are unskilled people that make things worse. This is why it'll be the last thing we keep doing ourselves. People like Richard are a rarity; none of them around in the tropical cruising grounds I think.

The opening up of the refrigerant circuit by the repairman you hired, might well be the cause of the problem: a bit late to now not wanting to open up the circuit anymore. You just tried to do it by opening the valve with a hand tool... it's like trying to drive a nail in using a rock. You need the tool or don't touch it at all. Sorry for the bluntness, I can't talk political correct :-s
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Old 07-02-2014, 06:22   #18
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Re: Danfoss BD35/Frigoboat problem

Arthur, All electrical tests are complete and refrigerant problem must be addressed someway. I can not explain why you can not let out some refrigerant. With system at an ambient temperature of say 75 degree F the refrigerant in this system will have a static pressure of 50 to 60 Psi. Depressing the refrigerant valve core should vent out a small stream of refrigerant. Remember how you used to check your bicycle valve to see if it was leaking by placing some saliva on it? Try this then depress valve core. Sometimes the opening is so small you do not hear refrigerant coming out. For the last 20 years my hearing is not so good so I connect servicing hose to valve and place other end of hose next to my face to feel the venting gas. If there is any exiting flow try 10 seconds at a time till compressor will run.

Jedi, if you are still following this remember the three months that Skip went through with frigoboat on this problem and costs before defining an uncorrectable cause. I believe adding refrigerant to system increased compressor heat and pressure. Final solution was he had to replace complete system.
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Old 07-02-2014, 17:58   #19
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Re: Danfoss BD35/Frigoboat problem

Thanks once again Richard. I still can't detect any refrigerant coming out.

I'm done with what I'll be doing on this for now.

Thanks so much for your valuable input!

All the best,
Arthur
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Old 22-02-2014, 02:26   #20
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Re: Danfoss BD35/Frigoboat problem

In case anyone is curious how this resolved....

It was a failed keel cooler that let salt water into the system.
There was in fact no refrigerant left in the system, which explains why I couldn't detect any coming out when I pressed the valve core.
The technician suspected this was the cause because he couldn't detect any running of the compressor, which he though suggested a physical blockage. In this guys experience, he thought that if there were a refrigerant pressure problem it would run for a moment or two before stopping. The initial "bump" that I was feeling was probably just the motor trying to run and failing due to the blockage. I'm not sure I'd have been able to describe the difference between my situation, and a situation where the compressor ran a moment then quit on this forum, without having first "felt" both situations.

In any event, when he disconnected the keel cooler there was water at the couplings. He then attached compressed air and you could hear the bubbles coming out beneath the boat--insert appropriate expletive here!

We'll be hauling the boat, removing the keel cooler, filling the hole, and installing an air cooled system.

Thanks again for everyone's help.
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Old 22-02-2014, 02:29   #21
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Re: Danfoss BD35/Frigoboat problem

In case anyone is curious how this resolved....

It was a failed keel cooler that let salt water into the system.
There was in fact no refrigerant left in the system, which explains why I couldn't detect any coming out when I pressed the valve core.
The technician suspected this was the cause because he couldn't detect any running of the compressor, which he though suggested a physical blockage. In this guys experience, he thought that if there were a refrigerant pressure problem it would run for a moment or two before stopping. The initial "bump" that I was feeling was probably just the motor trying to run and failing due to the blockage. I'm not sure I'd be able to describe on this forum the difference in "feel" between my situation, and a situation where the compressor ran a moment then quit, without having first "felt" both situations.

In any event, when he disconnected the keel cooler there was salt water at the couplings. He then attached compressed air and you could hear the bubbles coming out beneath the boat--insert appropriate expletive here!

We'll be hauling the boat, removing the keel cooler, filling the hole, and installing an air cooled system.

Thanks again for everyone's help.
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Old 22-02-2014, 02:53   #22
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Re: Danfoss BD35/Frigoboat problem

Saltwater in a refrigeration system- that's not gonna be good.

Ensure the system is flushed correctly, multi stage evacuation, and a good refrigerant drier is installed. If this is not done correctly you will just be replacing the compressor later and be back at the workshop.

Possibly also consider the suction line drier with shutoff valves as well as a shrader valve installed so it can be easily replaced and evacuated at a later date.

BTW, venting refrigerant gas is highly illegal in Australia and most other countries. Advice to vent the gas to lower the pressure is totally illegal, and in the case of r134a causes other issues anyway.
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Old 22-02-2014, 03:52   #23
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Re: Danfoss BD35/Frigoboat problem

What a hassle.

What is your reasoning for abandoning the Frigoboat keel cooler? Obviously you need to replace much or all of the system. I ask because we use the Figoboat system and like it for 2 reasons: It is very quiet and the heat removed from the refrigerator is rejected to the sea rather than into the cabin (which is a bit counter productive.)

I would suspect that there is an electrolysis problem that caused the keel cooler to fail(?) Do you know what happened?

Have others had their Frigoboat keel cooler fail?

Good luck with the new system.
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Old 22-02-2014, 05:44   #24
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Re: Danfoss BD35/Frigoboat problem

I think the failure in the tropics is pretty well documented for these type systems. Probably work good in fresh water like most other things.
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Old 22-02-2014, 15:23   #25
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Re: Danfoss BD35/Frigoboat problem

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I think the failure in the tropics is pretty well documented for these type systems. Probably work good in fresh water like most other things.
No it isn't. Mine and those of many others have been running for a long time in the tropics without trouble. Since Feb 2005 for me.
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Old 22-02-2014, 19:47   #26
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Re: Danfoss BD35/Frigoboat problem

I agree with Jedi.

Way too many boaters have no idea how little it takes to damage underwater metals.
It works great when you know what you're doing, but is a giant hole in the wallet when you don't.
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Old 22-02-2014, 19:53   #27
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Re: Danfoss BD35/Frigoboat problem

Well whatever, more than enough have failed. Likely due to marina stray current, but their are a bunch of boats in marina out there.
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Old 23-02-2014, 00:59   #28
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Re: Danfoss BD35/Frigoboat problem

I'm abandoning the keel coolerbecause it is more expensive to get another one here than I'd like. And I'll have to wait longer for shipping/custom etc. I can get an air cooled system with no shipping.

Plus I have very reasonable ventilation options for an air cooled system.

The only thing I'm debating is whether to buy a combo air and water cooled system, so I could hook up the water cooling circuit if I find that the air cooled version isn't working well enough. But the water temp is really high here in southeast asia too.

I personally like the keel cooled system, and it has performed very very well over the last 5 years. Power is not a big issue for us, as I have installed a kilowatt of solar and all the other goodies I'd want electrically. So the new system doesn't have to be as efficient as the keel cooler. But, again, I'd prefer a keel cooler system.

FYI, in my view it is not likely that the keel cooler failed due to stray current in marinas. We spend very little time in marinas. We have spent a grand total of 5 days in a marina in the last 2 years. Three of those days were AFTER the failure. The other two days were the day before and the day after a haul out--and we don't every hook up to marina power. While stray current may still be possible, I doubt that was the cause. I think its more likely a flaw somewhere in the boat's own wiring relating to frigoboat's requirement that you connect a ground wire to the keel cooler. The failed system is in our starboard hull. We have a virtually identical system in our Port hull that runs our freezer. That system has been working flawlessly for more than 6 years--I'm a big fan of the frigoboat system -- though I've probably just jinxed myself into a problem

In any event, for me personally, the cause of failure of the keel cooler is moot. I'm filling in the hole in the hull, and buying a new system without a keel cooler do to the reasons describe above. I'll keep the control module as a spare, and give away the evaporator plate and the compressor to someone who might enjoy fiddling with them.

Thanks again for everyone's thoughts on this. I love the resource that this forum is!!
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Old 23-02-2014, 02:09   #29
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Re: Danfoss BD35/Frigoboat problem

Have a look at my website http://www.neptunes-gear.com/collect...zers-for-boats there is a link there that tells of our experience with water cooled units. I'd absolutely recommend freshwater cooled, ours has been magnificent! Perhaps I can help you with a replacement.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 23-02-2014, 03:05   #30
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Re: Danfoss BD35/Frigoboat problem

Sorry for the thread hijack.

Matt,

What would be the minimum amount of fresh water required in the tank for a small fridge freezer?

Would it be practical to have the heat exchanger also salt water rated as a backup in case sufficient fresh water is not available?

Do you do water cooled only condensing units to save space when air cooled isn't required?
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