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Old 06-07-2014, 12:22   #1
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Fridoboat Won't Start

I've just returned to my boat after a week away and tried to turn the fridge on. The compressor starts for about 1 second and then immediately turns off again. After about a minute or two, it tries to restart again, but turns off almost immediately.

Any ideas about where to start looking for the problem would be greatly appreciated.

It is a keel cooled Frigoboat system.

Thank you.
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Old 06-07-2014, 13:04   #2
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Re: Fridoboat Won't Start

Here's a troubleshooting guide (attached Word Doc file) and a link to the Veco North America tech website: Veco North America, LLC

Do you have the SSC controller unit? The LEDs will give you a clue as to what's wrong--see the guide. If not, the first thing I would do is check the supply voltage at the compressor. If it's too low, it won't run. Also, turn off the unit and leave it off for five minutes, then try to re-start.
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File Type: doc Troubleshooting_guide_-_BD35-50.doc (31.0 KB, 38 views)
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Old 06-07-2014, 13:07   #3
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Re: Fridoboat Won't Start

Bad ground?
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Old 06-07-2014, 13:31   #4
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Re: Fridoboat Won't Start

First thing to do is check the voltage at the module and all power connections. A loose wire can cause this. The volts should read 12.75 or greater. If the volts drop when it tries to start it's either low battery condition or a loose wire.
Second thing is place a bag of ice on the evap plate and give it an hour or so. This will lower the starting load. If the system was gassed for cooler climes and you are in hot tropical waters then it will have a hard time trying to start.

Third possibility is the module is bad from loose wiring, a lightning strike maybe?

These units are best wired directly to the batteries with a fuse at the battery. Wiring through the main panel is not advisable as there can be fluctuating voltage which can damage the module.

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Old 06-07-2014, 13:46   #5
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Re: Fridoboat Won't Start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stingo View Post
I've just returned to my boat after a week away and tried to turn the fridge on. The compressor starts for about 1 second and then immediately turns off again. After about a minute or two, it tries to restart again, but turns off almost immediately.

Any ideas about where to start looking for the problem would be greatly appreciated.

It is a keel cooled Frigoboat system.

Thank you.
Has anyone tampered with refrigerant reasently if not

90% of the time problem is in the boats wiring so follow #5 to the letter No matter what the LED code indicates or any other advice you get. If this does not work try another module.

Three and Four pin Danfoss BD troubleshooting

If your refrigeration unit is over 10 years old and has a Danfoss BD 2 or BD2.5 or BD3 compressor then it has the older discontinued electronic 4 pin module.
Troubleshooting Danfoss compressors with 4 pin modules will consists of the following steps:

1. All of these compressors have a 4 pin module connector and their modules contain an external fuse. If this fuse is blown there are two reasons why either power wires to module are reversed or module has an internal failure.

2. Check to see that there is actually power at the refrigerator control module.

3. Place jumper wire across thermostat terminals on electronic module, Compressor still does not run go next step.

4. Disconnect black fan wire from electronic module, Compressor runs, replace fan. Compressor still does not run after fan ground wire is disconnected, go to next step.

5. Run correct size and correct polarity jumper wires direct from a fully charged battery in order to bypass all boat’s wiring. Volt meter readings are of no value when looking for voltage spikes. Compressor still does not run electronic module needs to be removed and tested on another unit. If there are no other units available to test your module on I will test all 12 volt Danfoss control modules free except for BD80 compressor modules. Small 12/24 volt boat refrigeration using Danfoss compressors manufactured after 1996 will have a BD 35 or BD 50 variable speed compressor with a troubleshooting computer chip built into their control module. This circuit makes them easier to find troubled area if compressor fails to run. If your unit does not have this $2 LED install one, as it could save you a lot of money later. Without the LED on these new units troubleshooting will be the same as earlier 4 pin Danfoss BD compressors.

Unfortunately trouble shooting LEDs are not installed on most units. I offer a kit that can be easily installed on the module.
There are installation instruction information at Danfoss and my web site as well as in my 12/24 volt refrigeration manual on Troubleshooting LEDs. If you would like the kit and step by step instructions with pictures, send $8 plus $4 shipping to me and I will mail you a complete kit. This simple device can save you refrigeration down time and hopefully large repair costs. If you understand LED applications and do not need the kit I still provide free refrigeration help on my forum or by email. I can also help with free 3 and 4 pin Control module testing..



If installed trouble shooting LED will only flash if electronic module sees a compressor problem. In each case problems of compressor’s failures to run are identified by Counting number of flashes of LED:
  • No LED flashes would indicate either thermostat is open or no power to module.
  • One LED flash and a 4 second pause indicates a boat wiring electrical resistance problem or low batteries. Because of modules sensitive to milliseconds of a voltage spick they cannot be detected by a voltmeter. Solution is to bypass boat’s wiring till problem is located. To isolate trouble follow instructions above in item number 5.
· Two LED flashes indicates fan over current cutout. If fan circuit on these variable speed compressors exceeds ˝ amp compressor start up will be aborted. This condition can be confirmed by disconnecting Black fan wire at module if fan runs replace fan.
  • Three LED flashes indicate excessive torque is required to start compressor. This is commonly caused by turning compressor off and back on too quickly or too much refrigerant or poor condenser cooling. Most people jump to the conclusion that there is a mechanical rotor lock up inside compressor and this is a mistake on Danfoss BD compressors.
  • Four LED flashes indicate compressor motor not reaching sustained controlling speed above 1,850 rpm quick enough.
I closed my shop but after seeing what is being charged by boat refrigeration companies who will test modules charging $50 and charging as high as $385 for new 4 pin modules, I decided to test and sell modules for a fraction of what is currently being charged.

If your shipping address is in the US I will test your module on my Danfoss compressor refrigeration test stand. This test stand will run at max compressor load for a one hour. I will then return your module to you for a shipping and handling charge of $20.


Four pin modules for BD2.5 and BD3 twelve volt compressors only:
Three pin modules for BD35 and BD50 non Danfoss are also $150 plus $15 shipping

New module non Danfoss $150 plus $15 insured shipping. Modules will only be shipped to addresses in the US.

Because your unit is old and if it needs a new electronic module there is a risk that something is wrong that caused module to fail so most companies will refuse warranty of these modules. This is my electronic module warranty:

If any used module I sell fails to operate your unit it can be returned within 30 days for a full refund.
Any new non Dandoss module I sell 3 or 4 pin can be returned for full credit within 30 days. Because of my own risk involved for the next 11 months I will return only 50% of the new units purchase price if module is returned within the first year.

To have module tested or purchase a new three or four pin module send check to:

Richard Kollmann
2430 Sugarloaf LN
Ft. Lauderdale FL, 33312

Richard Kollmann
http://www.kollmann-marine.com
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Old 06-07-2014, 14:02   #6
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Re: Fridoboat Won't Start

@Stingo,
mine was doing that recently with a dodgy fuse in line that was acting as a resistor. Clean voltage is critical for these units it seems.


& Thanks Richard,
my old aussie trailblazer fridge that has the 4 pin module suddenly began popping the fuse last week.
The price for new modules in Aus is ,umm, a little over profitable in vendor return. Would you ship modules to Australia if money arrives before the module parts your company?
Cheers
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Old 06-07-2014, 14:32   #7
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Re: Fridoboat Won't Start

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Originally Posted by Outwest34au View Post
@Stingo,
mine was doing that recently with a dodgy fuse in line that was acting as a resistor. Clean voltage is critical for these units it seems.


& Thanks Richard,
my old aussie trailblazer fridge that has the 4 pin module suddenly began popping the fuse last week.
The price for new modules in Aus is ,umm, a little over profitable in vendor return. Would you ship modules to Australia if money arrives before the module parts your company?
Cheers
No, Stingo I am not in the refrigerator business so I do not ship outside the US. I have replacement modules and basically loan them or rent them out. Yes replacements hear are also way over priced. I have been retired from business now for 25 years and sell only my boat refrigeration books. I maintain my web site only to provide revision information for my books.
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Old 06-07-2014, 14:37   #8
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Re: Fridoboat Won't Start

OK Richard,
I'll find a module around here.
But let me please say, the best info I found online regards troubleshooting and testing the windings on my unit was from an old post you had elsewhere.

I for one appreciate you sharing your knowledge.

Cheers
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Old 06-07-2014, 15:21   #9
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Re: Fridoboat Won't Start

UPDATE:
Turned it off for 30 minutes and then fired it up again. It started and has kept running for about two hours. Only the first 1/4 of then evaporator plate has got frost on it. I think this means that the gas is low.

I'll let it run overnight and if the situation hasn't changed, I'll add some gas in the morning.

Thanks for all the replies so far.
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:15   #10
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Re: Fridoboat Won't Start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stingo View Post
UPDATE:
Turned it off for 30 minutes and then fired it up again. It started and has kept running for about two hours. Only the first 1/4 of then evaporator plate has got frost on it. I think this means that the gas is low.

I'll let it run overnight and if the situation hasn't changed, I'll add some gas in the morning.

Thanks for all the replies so far.

It is an electrical problem stopping compressor from running as it can not be low on refrigerant. This compressor will run when refrigerant is low or with no refrigerant. If you add refrigerant compressor will not run as module will detect high amperage.

The condition you are reporting 1/4 of evaporator has frost and compressor at times will run indicates there may be two problem. Refrigerant flow trouble or someone has contaminated refrigerant possibly air in refrigerant. What is history of this unit? Has anyone tampered with refrigerant?
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Old 07-07-2014, 07:50   #11
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Re: Fridoboat Won't Start

The unit is seven years old and was last re-gassed about two years ago. It has been running perfectly since then and not been turned off until a week ago, when I left my boat to do a delivery. On my return, I turned it back on and that is when the problem arose.

The o-rings on the quick-fit connectors are original and from vague memory, someone at some point suggested that these should be changed every five years?
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Old 07-07-2014, 07:58   #12
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Re: Fridoboat Won't Start

By the way, the markings on the compressor say Frigoboat K 35 F.
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:42   #13
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Re: Fridoboat Won't Start

I had a similar problem installing a new Frigoboat. The compressor would start intermittently then shutdown or sometimes not start at all. The batteries were fully charged and I checked voltage at the compressor and thought it was good. But after advice from Mr Kollmann I installed new wiring from the DC panel and problem solved.

Apparently even if the voltage looks good, on compressor startup the initial draw can knock down the supply voltage low enough to cause a problem. Since the drop happens so quickly it may not be apparent on a standard digital volt meter. Could be just a little corrosion or a loose connection in the existing wiring.

Before doing anything more expensive I would try running a temporary, large gauge wire direct a fully charged battery to see if that solves the problem.
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Old 07-07-2014, 10:49   #14
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Re: Fridoboat Won't Start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stingo View Post
The unit is seven years old and was last re-gassed about two years ago. It has been running perfectly since then and not been turned off until a week ago, when I left my boat to do a delivery. On my return, I turned it back on and that is when the problem arose.

The o-rings on the quick-fit connectors are original and from vague memory, someone at some point suggested that these should be changed every five years?
Replacing line connector O rings at a given time I think is a Tinkerers story. O rings should be replaced when there is a confirmed leak or when connector is opened and reconnected. Oil Dampness in itself is not a confirmed leak. If O rings are ever replaced use only the correct replacement recommended by Frigoboat this is important.

First you must determine if there is a problem with compressor start up before determining why there seems to also be a problem with refrigerant volume or flow. If you work this troubleshooting in reverse you will dig a deeper hole that will be hard to get out of. See the beginning of Flying Pigs Frigoboat refrigeration story.

The BD35 and BD50 are the same compressor with a single piston and cylinder. The BD50 cylinder Cubic displacement is 0.50 cm larger than BD35 cylinder. Both compressors use the same control module and will operate at the same speeds. The BD35 may be better suited in tropical climates when using the same Keel Cooler to lower compressor’s high temperatures.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:16   #15
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Re: Fridoboat Won't Start

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Apparently even if the voltage looks good, on compressor startup the initial draw can knock down the supply voltage low enough to cause a problem. Since the drop happens so quickly it may not be apparent on a standard digital volt meter. Could be just a little corrosion or a loose connection in the existing wiring.

Before doing anything more expensive I would try running a temporary, large gauge wire direct a fully charged battery to see if that solves the problem.
If I had a dollar for every time I danced this dance...it goes something like this during a phone call:

Client: Hi Rich, the unit tries to start but trips off and I get 3 error lights so I need to buy a new controller.

Rich: Hold on a bit, what tests have you done to know the controller need to be replaced?

Client: A friend came by and looked at the unit and told me the controller is dead.

Rich: Did your friend do any tests or does he have any refrigeration experience?

Client: No, but he stayed at a Holiday Inn last night…

Rich: Ok, well before we throw money at the problem in a WAG (Wild Ass Guess) approach, let’s do a few easy tests to make sure you really need a new controller. Run a temporary Positive and Negative wire directly to the refrigeration unit to the positive and negative battery terminals and tell me what happens.

Client: That’s hard for me to do and besides I’ve checked the voltage with my harbor freight volt meter and I have 12.5v at the refrigeration unit so voltage can’t be the problem.

Rich: The electronic controller is more sensitive than your volt meter and voltage issues that don’t appear on your meter can still cause the controller to trip off and go into the famous 3-flash error mode.

Client: Are just BS-ing me Rich and trying to blame the problem on my boat rather than your system? This boat’s electrical system passed the survey and is Cherry, I mean like eat out of the Bilge Cherry. I can’t believe there is a voltage problem on my boat.

Rich: Well I can sell you a new controller and ship it out today, but until we do some simple tests you could be wasting your money and it may not solve the problem, so what do you want to do?

Client: Well it sounds crazy to me but I’ll try it and get back to you.

Rich: Just give me a call with the test results and we can take it from there.

Client the next day: Hey Rich, I can’t believe it. I ran the wires and it worked and pulled down the ice box last night. I now have ice cold beer, thanks for you help.

I go through this dance almost weekly and no one wants to believe the voltage issue/problem but iit is FAR MORE common for the 3 flash light error signal to be a voltage problem rather than a dead controller. While working with a boat in Spain that was recovering from a lightning strike the system would run from their starting bank but NOT from their house bank. After some testing the client determined that one of his batteries had a damaged cell and once that battery was taken out of the bank the system ran great. The only way we figured this out is that he had two complete systems (fridge and freezer) and they were wired to the different battery bank one was working and one wasn't. Lose grounds, corrosion, we have seen it all. With a 5 year warranty on the system we have pretty darn good records on the controllers going back years and years and there are plenty of good controllers tossed in the trash every year by people and “refrigeration tech” playing part-swap out troubleshooting with the clients money.
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