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Old 15-06-2016, 01:11   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: On board
Boat: Tom Colvin Gazelle 42ft
Posts: 58
fridge failure in Rodriguez

Hi All

We are currently in Rodriguez after a rough passage from Indonesia during which several things failed including our refrigerator.

We would like to limp home to the Caribbean with what we have in the way of refrigeration and upgrade there. I have tried to contact Richard Kollmann having witnessed how often he has helped people on this forum but am not sure if he still operates his website on which my registration has so far been unsuccessful.

I will add the email I have sent him here hoping that someone can give me some advice and also hoping that I am not simply being too impatient. I hope he is still around as I would like to buy his books and have a suggestion from him as to what kind of controller I should get to replace the one we have as it is no longer available as far as I know.

Hi Richard

We have over the years marveled at the help you have given so many via the Cruisers Forum and now suddenly find ourselves needing your advice.

We are in Rodriguez in the Indian Ocean and had a rough 23 day passage from Indonesia. Winds were 30/35 kts gusting fourty and it was rough with several breakages. We lost the use of our autopilot, our engine and to add insult to injury our refrigeration.

The refrigeration is with an old EZ Kold unit from 1993 with a four pin compressor and Danfoss BD 102N3016 controller. The compressor is marked D-25A-30 / 502E-12A7.

The unit has been operated manually for some time due to the failure of its thermostat I.e it has been bypassed by a jumper. During some of our difficulties under way the compressor was inadvertently left on for about 12 hours. It stopped operating either during that time or shortly after.

When we turn it on with the fan connected the fan comes on and it feels like the compressor is running but there is only a small current draw less than one amp and the voltage stays at 12.85 v. It may be vibration from the fan I feel. Then after 24 seconds the voltage drops to 12.56, the current measured with a clamp on meter jumps to 6 amps and the unit including the fan shuts off after about two seconds. The cycle is then repeated with the fan coming on again after those seconds.

When I do the same thing without the fan in the circuit the result is much the same but with no vibration from the compressor. A small voltage drop and five to six amp current draw for a very short time.

I measured the resistances between the four pins on the compressor and measure 3.6 ohms between the uppermost pin and the other three. On all other possible combinations I measure essentially 0 ohms.

The unit is powered with #6 tinned marine wire directly from the house bank with eight batteries via its own dedicated breaker. All connections are tight and sound with no corrosion.

I hope I only need a control unit as it would be difficult at this point to install a completely new compressor. Nor do I know if I need a new compressor. Having an operating refrigerator would also promote harmony on board (-: We are on our way back to the Caribbean and hope to upgrade there.

I know you only ship inside the US but we deal with a friend operating Jahaya Marine in Ft Myers. He will be sending us items for our engine and autopilot etc shortly and a new controller should that be the solution could be sent to us via him.

We have a very slow and sometimes non-existent internet connection which has hampered my searching.

Sure hope you can help us on the path to harmony on board (-: Looking fwd to your comments.

Jim and Helen on board sv GAIA in Rodriguez
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Old 15-06-2016, 04:16   #2
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ft. Lauderdale
Posts: 932
Re: fridge failure in Rodriguez

Jim, sorry for the delay in getting back to you and many other boaters I am in the process of relocating up to central Florida. Twenty six years ago when I retired I had no idea my hobby would grow to demand so many hours of my time a day. I still answer all my mail but with dozens of emails a week I fall behind sometimes.

With the bastardizing of what was simple standard reliable refrigeration troubleshooting procedures for each system are now different. E Z Kold like many other companies had problems with their refrigeration units. Failure of seawater condensers allowed water to mix with refrigerant destroying complete systems. The 3016 module like all of Danfoss 4 pin modules has an external fuse where contacts can overheat and need cleaning. The electrical compressor boot up circuit in Danfoss 3016 modules will prevent compressor from running if 12 volt power is disturbed for any reason, or fan draws more than one amp, or complete units starting amperage is too high.

Bypassing thermostat to operate unit continuously for 12 hours should not damage compressor but could cause module to fail do to overheating.

You indicated compressor still will not run with fan disconnected this would indicate fan is not the problem.

The voltage safety circuit inside module is sensitive to low voltage spikes so quick a volt meter can not detect a voltage spike that will stop compressor from running.

High starting amperage generally indicates someone has tampered with refrigerant or on water cooled units like E Z Kold seawater has interred refrigerant cycle.

For years Danfoss has suggested measuring resistance of the three wiring coils inside BD compressors. I found this to be a wasted test do to the reliability of good ohm reading at less than four ohms. It anyone of the 4 compressor pins show a connection to ground then and only then do I suspect an electrical problem inside compressor.

Before replacing module I always recommend as a test to wire refrigeration module direct to a fully charged battery bypassing all of the boats positive and negative wiring.
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Old 16-06-2016, 01:44   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: On board
Boat: Tom Colvin Gazelle 42ft
Posts: 58
Re: fridge failure in Rodriguez

Hi Richard

Many thanks for the detailed reply.

I did what you suggested, connecting the engine starting battery directly to the control unit with 4 foot # 8 wire. The voltage of the battery was 13.3 v as it was being charged while I worked. The behaviour was exactly the same as before, a drop in voltage to 12.8 as measured at the control during the two seconds or so that there was a 5.5 amp draw. Then nothing for about 25 seconds and a repeat of the cycle. The fan was disconnected during this test.

Is it possible for me to buy a suitable control from you? If so please advise preferred method of payment and include in the total both of your books. The control and books should be sent to Jahaya Marine:

ship to:
1901 Balsey Road
Alva Fl 33920

If that is possible, and I fervently hope it is, i will inform my friend Marc and we can go from there.

Drinking warm beer in Rodriguez (-:

Jim and Helen sv GAIA
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