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Old 11-03-2018, 08:26   #1
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Fridge Failure - Danfoss BD35F motor start failure

My Vitrifrigo CX130 had been working fine until it wasn't. I had had some trouble with the thermostat calibration so I bypassed the thermostat just to rule it out. By shorting the two thermostat leads I was able to signal for the compressor full time.

At first I thought the compressor was running all the time but not cooling but it was actually just the fan running. Every minute or so the fan would stop and the compressor would shudder just a bit, then stop and the fan would then run for about another minute before starting the cycle all over again.

This seemed like symptoms of inadequate voltage but I measured it at the connector to the compressor and it was 13.3, same as the house bank (LiFePO4 batteries are normally just above 13.2). Just to be sure I cranked up the generator and showed 13.74 at both the source and the connector for the compressor.

Next, I disconnected the power to the fan to rule out a problem of the fan drawing too much current and had no change in the symptoms - the fan was obviously not running, but the compressor would try to start about every minute plus maybe 10 secs.

Finally I was able to connect an LED to the back terminals (tough to reach) and got the 3 flashes indicating a motor start failure.

So my question, what should I be trying next? I'm currently cruising in the Bahamas so I can order spare parts but it will take a while to get here. What parts should I order? Is there anything else I can try?

Thanks in advance!

- Art
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Old 11-03-2018, 09:12   #2
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Re: Fridge Failure - Danfoss BD35F motor start failure

My guess is your controller bit the dust.

Frigoboat web site has a trouble shooting diagram and I’ve found them very helpful.
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Old 11-03-2018, 10:09   #3
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Re: Fridge Failure - Danfoss BD35F motor start failure

You placed a jumper across C and T terminals on module, correct?
Volt meter readings are of no value.
Is there a fuse in refrigerator wiring if so see if it is warm and holder heat discolored.
To test power and boat wiring run a new fused power jumper wire from module direct to fully charged battery.
If trouble is in the module try to barrow another module. I will loan you a module but I do not ship to the Bahamas any more.
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Old 11-03-2018, 13:01   #4
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Re: Fridge Failure - Danfoss BD35F motor start failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
Frigoboat web site has a trouble shooting diagram and Iíve found them very helpful.
Very helpful indeed! Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Kollmann View Post
You placed a jumper across C and T terminals on module, correct?
Correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Kollmann View Post
Is there a fuse in refrigerator wiring if so see if it is warm and holder heat discolored. To test power and boat wiring run a new fused power jumper wire from module direct to fully charged battery.
There is a breaker and it has not tripped. The power is routed through a relay that is enabled by a switch on the electrical panel. Will try to run an alternate source of power, may take a while. Thanks for the response!
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Old 11-03-2018, 13:37   #5
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Re: Fridge Failure - Danfoss BD35F motor start failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Kollmann View Post
To test power and boat wiring run a new fused power jumper wire from module direct to fully charged battery.
I used a bench DC supply instead. Ran power from there to the connector pigtail on the compressor. Set voltage at 13.0, watched a steady draw of ~200ma for the fan and, after about a minute saw it drop to 0 as the fan shut off then saw it jump up to about 1A as the compressor tried to start then back to 200ma as the fan kicked in. Each cycle like this took about 65-70 seconds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Kollmann View Post
If trouble is in the module try to barrow another module. I will loan you a module but I do not ship to the Bahamas any more.
If, based on these symptoms, you think that it's the module, I'm happy to buy it from you and have it shipped to my next inbound visitor.

Thanks for the help!

- Art
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Old 11-03-2018, 14:15   #6
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Re: Fridge Failure - Danfoss BD35F motor start failure

Connecting power to compressor direct can destroy compressor. Module can only be tested
By installing it on another unit.

Follow the instructions I gave you as they are nondestructive. Many boaters carry a spare module try the local Bahamas Net.
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Old 11-03-2018, 14:33   #7
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Re: Fridge Failure - Danfoss BD35F motor start failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Kollmann View Post
Connecting power to compressor direct can destroy compressor. Module can only be tested
By installing it on another unit.

Follow the instructions I gave you as they are nondestructive.
Sorry, but I guess I don't understand. There is a connector that comes from the power leads on the module (which is attached to the compressor). This is where ships power connects to the module and this is where I attached my bench supply instead of a battery. Was I supposed to attach it somewhere else?
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Old 11-03-2018, 15:24   #8
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Re: Fridge Failure - Danfoss BD35F motor start failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anjin View Post
I used a bench DC supply instead. Ran power from there to the connector pigtail on the compressor. Set voltage at 13.0, watched a steady draw of ~200ma for the fan and, after about a minute saw it drop to 0 as the fan shut off then saw it jump up to about 1A as the compressor tried to start then back to 200ma as the fan kicked in. Each cycle like this took about 65-70 seconds.



If, based on these symptoms, you think that it's the module, I'm happy to buy it from you and have it shipped to my next inbound visitor.

Thanks for the help!

- Art
Hi Art, as others suggest you either have a bad power supply from your battery or a faulty Danfoss / Secop motor driver.
It is unlikely that the bench DC power supply you tried would start and run it as that model Danfoss / Secop motor driver is direct on line start. DOL start involves an initial rush of current which that power supply may not provide so you may have only replicated the same results as a poor power supply from your battery system. Best as suggested, to try your motor driver on another similar compressor if that is possible, otherwise:
Use a multi-meter to read the voltage at the two top terminals on the motor driver both before and while attempting to start. If the battery power supply is defective you will see a drop of more than a volt when trying to start. If this occurs connect direct close by to a good battery to test.

Note, the motor drivers previously supplied with Danfoss / Secop compressors are very unreliable due to not having soft start or adequate spike voltage protection. Thankfully it appears that Secop has now finally addressed that problem.

Cheers OzePete Ozefridge | 12 Volt Refrigeration Systems
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Old 11-03-2018, 16:01   #9
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Re: Fridge Failure - Danfoss BD35F motor start failure

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Originally Posted by OzePete View Post
Use a multi-meter to read the voltage at the two top terminals on the motor driver both before and while attempting to start. If the battery power supply is defective you will see a drop of more than a volt when trying to start. If this occurs connect direct close by to a good battery to test. Ozefridge | 12 Volt Refrigeration Systems
Pete, thanks for jumping in here. Did as you suggested and saw 13.54 volts with everything off, 13.52 with the fan running, and a momentary drop to 13.20 when the compressor tried to start. I reran that part of the test with an old simpson analog meter and saw a similar drop in the voltage during the starting surge that may have reached 13.15. These numbers all seem pretty reasonable], enough that I'm leaning toward replacing the controller. BTW, I have the old style fin heat sink controller - visible in the photo above.

Your thoughts?
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Old 11-03-2018, 16:04   #10
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Re: Fridge Failure - Danfoss BD35F motor start failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anjin View Post
Sorry, but I guess I don't understand. There is a connector that comes from the power leads on the module (which is attached to the compressor). This is where ships power connects to the module and this is where I attached my bench supply instead of a battery. Was I supposed to attach it somewhere else?
What you did is correct Art. Looking at your picture you have connected the test power supply to the top two terminals on the motor driver module, the same two terminals that the battery supply connects to.. correct!
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Old 11-03-2018, 16:51   #11
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Re: Fridge Failure - Danfoss BD35F motor start failure

Anjin, I no longer sell my non Danfoss replacement electronic modules as I only have a few left,out of 200 and use them to loan out. You are not going to find your problem with a voltmeter.
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Old 11-03-2018, 18:03   #12
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Re: Fridge Failure - Danfoss BD35F motor start failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anjin View Post
Pete, thanks for jumping in here. Did as you suggested and saw 13.54 volts with everything off, 13.52 with the fan running, and a momentary drop to 13.20 when the compressor tried to start. I reran that part of the test with an old simpson analog meter and saw a similar drop in the voltage during the starting surge that may have reached 13.15. These numbers all seem pretty reasonable], enough that I'm leaning toward replacing the controller. BTW, I have the old style fin heat sink controller - visible in the photo above.

Your thoughts?
Good, that test with a multi-meter looking for supply voltage drop, confirms that your power supply, battery etc is not the problem. If the voltage had dropped considerably when attempting to start then most likely the motor driver is ok and the supply lines or a connector or battery are the problem.
Suggest you replace the motor driver module. (And get a *spare!)

* We are currently trialling our soft start motor drivers with spike arrester, on a range of Danfoss / Secop compressors and so far 100% success. Once proven we will market these widely. These will eliminate much of the failures, now far too common.
Cheers OzePete Ozefridge | 12 Volt Refrigeration Systems
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Old 12-03-2018, 04:27   #13
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Re: Fridge Failure - Danfoss BD35F motor start failure

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Originally Posted by OzePete View Post
Suggest you replace the motor driver module. (And get a *spare!)
Pete, thanks again for your help and advice. Will get a quick replacement and will be watching your website for availability of the new soft-start version.

- Art
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:05   #14
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Re: Fridge Failure - Danfoss BD35F motor start failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Kollmann View Post
Anjin, I no longer sell my non Danfoss replacement electronic modules as I only have a few left,out of 200 and use them to loan out. You are not going to find your problem with a voltmeter.

I agree with Richard , you will not see a voltage drop on your voltmeter at startup . You need an oscilloscope to see it , it only last a micro second , but it may be enough to trip the low voltage shut down . Did you use a properly sized wire connected directly to your batteries ? Your power supply may not have enough peak current and could give you a false result.

Also if it is your controller that has died. Install a fan in there around the new one over the controller fins and compressor body , I don't see any fan in there . The unit may have been running on the hot side . Heat kills electronics and the compressor needs air cooling as well. This may help prevent this from happening again.

Regards John.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:23   #15
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Re: Fridge Failure - Danfoss BD35F motor start failure

Interesting comment on start up voltage.

Why produce controllers that are so sensitive?

I wonder if a sufficiently large capacitor across the supply near the compressor would help?
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