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Old 11-10-2016, 09:59   #31
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Re: Friggin' Frigoboat Fridge Fairly Frigid, Far From Freezing

I just love these, OH mine did that too, just throw money at it and it's go away. HA HA HA. Rich folk are spoiled.
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:16   #32
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Re: Friggin' Frigoboat Fridge Fairly Frigid, Far From Freezing

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
My final recommendation to the OP:

Go to a large marina office or shipyard and get a recommendation from the manager for a quality refrigeration technician who services the long term customers. You'll then get your issue properly diagnosed and sorted out in just a couple of hours and for probably less than $150. The tech will have the proper diagnostic equipment and supplies to make the minor repair. You'll end up wasting more time and money the more you fool around trying to do it on the cheap.
Even I think this bad advice at this early stage.

1. Defrost the system.
2. Repack the fridge (preferably with pre-chilled/frozen goods and let it run for 24 hours.

These are not frost free fridges like in your home (that are energy hogs due to the HEATING cycle) and require manual defrosting when they frost up.

If there thermostat is set to coldest, gurgling is heard, the evapourator plate is frosting, the compressor is cycling off (50% or so) and it IS now cold enough, the issue was the heavy frost accumulation.

You may wish to check the door gaskets as rapidly occurring frost may be due to this.

If there thermostat is set to coldest, gurgling is heard, the evapourator plate is frosting, the compressor is cycling off (50% or so) and it is NOT cold enough, the issue is not the heavy frost accumulation (though removal by letting thaw and not stabbing the evapourator plate with an ice pick, can never hurt).

Two possibilities:

1. Compressor stopping due to thermal overload. Ensure the temp in the compressor compartment is no more than 10C above ambient, and certainly not above 45C. (If it is provide better circulation).

2. Compressor stopping due to thermostat being satisfied. If the thermostat indicated cold enough, and the infrared indicated not cold enough, one is wrong. Use an alternate technology thermometer to verify the infrared.

a) If new thermometer indicates cold enough, problem is infra red or operator error.
b) If new thermometer confirms infrared, try a new thermostat. ($25 and easy to replace.)

If these normal and reasonable steps fail, call in a "certified" marine HVAC tech.

DO NOT FRIG WITH AUTOMOTIVE AIR CONDITIONER RECHARGE SYSTEMS, YOU WILL LIKELY BUGGER IT UP.
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:25   #33
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Re: Friggin' Frigoboat Fridge Fairly Frigid, Far From Freezing

The ice buildup on the evaporator is insulating it, and defrosting it will make the compressor run more and lower the refrigerator temperatures. Plan on doing this every month or two in the tropics, as the ice will build up every time you open the fridge.

If the newly defrosted evaporator shows an even layer of frost after an hour of running, the refrigeration system is doing its job, and will NOT LIKELY make things cooler with servicing.

If you want colder food, buy a couple of cheap styrofoam ice chests, cut them up and install the foam inside the box. Seal the joints with duct tape.
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:27   #34
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Re: Friggin' Frigoboat Fridge Fairly Frigid, Far From Freezing

Since this problem is new, I doubt it is caused by the construction of the box. More likely a refrigeration leak. A properly charged system should make a metallic "tinkling" sound. I had much the same problem and spent a fortune on poorly educated fridge repair men. I ended up removing the whole system and taking it to Peterson Marine Services in the Tampa area. He assembled the system on his bench and tested it. Turns out that the keel cooler had a tiny leak.
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:28   #35
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Re: Friggin' Frigoboat Fridge Fairly Frigid, Far From Freezing

OY!

An air-cooled Frigoboat? My first exposure to one. Keel coolers work awesomely, IMExperience. But...

If you've got an inch of ice, you're not getting much cold.

I've found that, if you have access to one, a plain old bullet fan aimed at the evaporator (you have a freezer box acting as your reefer cooler, if I understand properly) will defrost it quickly and without trauma from chipping at it. Take all the frozen stuff, and as much of the refrigerated stuff as will fit into whatever cooler you have, or merely put it in the sink, while you defrost.

If what you have is an icebox conversion, the drains are also a cold drain. Plug those drains. With your system, a small computer fan (2") strategically placed will do wonders for your ability to have even temps in the cold box, while your freezer does whatever it will do.

If you're still making frost, you don't have the other Frigoboat problem of capillary tube contamination. Your quick connectors MIGHT be leaking; if they are, you can feel a slight oily residue on them. New O-rings will cure that problem, and you don't lose refrigerant to open and service them. Careful not to overtighten on restoration if that's what you do. If you were local, I'd send you some left over from my various attempts at saving ours (long story available elsewhere on CF).

Adding (or removing if too much) gas is pretty simple, and involves VERY little in these systems. Get familiar with how to not contaminate it, defrost and confirm your frost location. If it goes to the exit point, it's perfect. Less, and you need a bit more gas. If you slightly overfill it, the ice will go beyond the box; if there is any outside the box, vent by very short bursts (depress the schrader valve you used to fill/add for a second or two at most) and wait for a while (several hours) to confirm whether you need to do it again. Ditto with adding, though it sounds from what you've said you have enough gas.

Checking seals, adding panels of styrofoam insulation (reducing box interior, unfortunately), and diligent attention to defrosting will go a LONG way toward making you happy.

FWIW, 0C/32F in the cold box is very cold (albeit essentially where we keep our spillover system, at 32-34F); you can control that temp via the freezer control, and, once you have it balanced again, using a small computer fan near the freezer box will not only keep your cold box more even, it will accelerate the defrost during not-running cycles - though the frozen stuff in the box will make that more difficult. If you're not needing a freezer, mounting your fan IN that box - with the door open - will not only disperse your cold more quickly, it will accelerate the defrost cycle. You probably will want to rig some form of pan under it to catch the water, and empty it as needed.

Hope that helps!
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Old 11-10-2016, 12:20   #36
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Re: Friggin' Frigoboat Fridge Fairly Frigid, Far From Freezing

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Originally Posted by BlackAdder View Post

I switched off the fridge now to allow the evaporator to de-ice. It has a solid inch of ice/frost on all sides except the flappy face plate. I do get an awful lot of water build up in it so I do suspect the seals might be part of the issue.
In tests I've ran once you get over 1/4" of frost on the evaporator you start to lose efficiency on the heat transfer between the box and evaporator. The No1 symptom of this is that the box then starts rising in temperature. The compressor still happily cycles on and off because the thermostat is measuring evaporator temp inside your igloo rather than box temp. So the solution is to keep the evaporator as frost free as possible.

If you are frosting up excessively (more than a 1/4" per week) then you have poor hatch seals that are letting warm moist air get sucked into your box. You can buy some soft D style insulation strips at Ace Hardware for a cheap and easy fix.

Once you get the frost monster under control, then you can reassess and see if you have a charge issue. A classic symptom of a unit low on charge is that it runs more and won't get cold enough.

The truth is, you don't really need a refrigeration tech for that just a simple gauge set can do the job. Besides finding a good refrigeration tech is about as hard as finding an honest politician these days. So the more you can lean and do yourself, the better off you will be.
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Old 11-10-2016, 15:38   #37
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Re: Friggin' Frigoboat Fridge Fairly Frigid, Far From Freezing

Black Adder,
I'm not Richard Kollmann (nor Rich Boren, either), but I've been sailing/cruising since a kid in the 1960's, and dealing with marine refrigeration on/off for decades....
(And, my current Adler Barbour Cold Machine, a BD-50 system, is 17 years old....with air temps in upper 80's to 90*F, I turned it last week after sitting off/empty for two months, I have a ~ 5 cu ft freezer and ~ 5 cu ft spill-over frig, and I froze solid a one-gallon bottle of water in the freezer all alone, in about 12 hours....freezer temp was then about 6*F to 8*F and frig about 36*F to 38*F, with boxes empty except for gallon jug in freezer and a couple quarts of water in frig....only maintenance I've ever done is clean it and replace the condenser fan a few years ago...)


Here are a few bottom line recommendations/facts, that should help you out!!
1) Unless you've got some odd Frigoboat issue, what "typhoon" wrote is spot-on!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by typhoon View Post
Sounds like you have a typical marine refrigeration problem . Box to big , poor insulation , evaporator plate to small . So basically there is more heat getting in the box then you are taking out .
2) Do NOT allow some "refrigeration guy" to mess with your refrigerant level, unless and until you can verify that he knows what he is doing!!
These small Danfoss units use a VERY small amount of refrigerant (about 5 to 6 ounces???), and unless you find someone that KNOWS the exact amount (and how to evacuate/vacuum the system BEFORE putting refrigerant in), AND knows the expansion valve size needed for your evap in your climate, in your box, etc., then please do not let them on-board...
(not heeding this advice usually results in the boat owner being sold a new refrigeration system!)
3) Effective marine refrigeration is all about insulation!!!
4) There is a BIG difference between weekend sailing and full time cruising!!
But, even a BIGGER difference between those sailing the US west coast, and/or those sailing the Chesapeake, compared to what the refrigeration demands are in the tropics (or even summertime S. FL)!!!
5) Your evap (and compressor/condenser) needs to be matched to the size of the box you have and the refrigeration loads you have...
6) Defrost the evap, and since you're on shore power now, repack the frig and make some measurements and report back...


Hopefully Richard Kollmann will join the discussion, and then your troubles will be solved in short order!!



If you'd like to see what I did over 10 years ago, that makes my freezer / frig work great and not use too much power (40 - 80 A/H per day depending on temps inside boxes and outside)
Please read this....lots of pics too (including photos of the thermometers in the boxes)...
Frig/Freezer




EDIT:
I just saw the 2nd and 3rd pages of this thread!
Seems like most of what I wrote above has already been written!
Oppsss.



Fair winds...

John
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Old 11-10-2016, 21:15   #38
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Re: Friggin' Frigoboat Fridge Fairly Frigid, Far From Freezing

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Some of the recommendations being made on this thread are simply ridiculous. What do some of you do when your a/c in your car isn't keeping the car cool enough? Do you immediately run out and buy a new car or a/c unit, or do you stop by and have a local tech refill the coolant system with a recharge for maybe $100?

This is the same issue.

Most likely, it's just one of the small 25 cent "O" rings holding in the coolant gas which has dried up over the years and is now leaking just a little and can no longer hold the pressure.
Both our cars with relatively low miles barely over 100K (2000 Chrysler 300M and 2001 Chevy Cavalier Z24) have bad A/C. Leaking evaps costing $$$$$$$$$ to replace. We're in the PNW, so we roll down the windows in the summer and deal with defrosting the windows in the winter by cracking a side window and cranking up the heat.
I WISH they just needed O rings !



Edit: An INCH of ice?? Holy cow, that's your problem ! We take out all the food, hit the plate with a 1650 watt hairdryer to defrost when it gets over 1/8" and can tell the difference in performance. We defrost the box about every week or ten days in the summer when we're on six weeks vacation. It takes less than ten minutes maximum from start to finish and saves amp hours overall.
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Old 12-10-2016, 06:55   #39
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Re: Friggin' Frigoboat Fridge Fairly Frigid, Far From Freezing



"Rich, my refrigerator is warmer than normal, your unit must be crap"

...ahhh...well....

The Frost Monster strikes again.
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Old 12-10-2016, 07:10   #40
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Re: Friggin' Frigoboat Fridge Fairly Frigid, Far From Freezing

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Originally Posted by chala View Post
It all depend what you call “iced over”. A good evaporator should not be covered with ice and if icing, the ice should melt off during the off cycle. Faulty seals are the main cause of icing.

But I am not Rich Boren or Richard Kollmann.
What temps are you seeing on the evaporator? If it's icing then you should below freezing.

We see anywhere between 6 to 26 F depending on how its cycling. We have identical frigoboat units for fridge and freezer.

Measuring the contents is of no value in terms of diagnosis.

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Old 12-10-2016, 07:15   #41
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Re: Friggin' Frigoboat Fridge Fairly Frigid, Far From Freezing

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What temps are you seeing on the evaporator? If it's icing then you should below freezing.

We see anywhere between 6 to 26 F depending on how its cycling. We have identical frigoboat units for fridge and freezer.

Measuring the contents is of no value in terms of diagnosis.

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That's kinda true...but knowing both the Box Temp (top, bottom, middle) along with the evaporator temp is actually handy in being able to diagnose a crap insulated box. If the evaporator temp is within specs but the box is too warm, then we know it's a box insulation and size problem rather than a refrigeration system problem. In this situation the unit runs continually, but if the evaporator has an insulating igloo around it, the unit can cycle off normally due to the poor heat transfer from box to evaporator. So it's a valuable troubleshooting data point. But if you have an inch of ice on the evaporator...forgetaboutit...
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Old 12-10-2016, 07:20   #42
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Re: Friggin' Frigoboat Fridge Fairly Frigid, Far From Freezing

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Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
That's kinda true...but knowing both the Box Temp (top, bottom, middle) along with the evaporator temp is actually handy in being able to diagnose a crap insulated box. If the evaporator temp is within specs but the box is too warm, then we know it's a box insulation and size problem rather than a refrigeration system problem. In this situation the unit runs continually, but if the evaporator has an insulating igloo around it, the unit can cycle off normally due to the poor heat transfer from box to evaporator. So it's a valuable troubleshooting data point. But if you have an inch of ice on the evaporator...forgetaboutit...
Same as having an inch of dust on your condenser .

All bad .

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Old 12-10-2016, 07:56   #43
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Re: Friggin' Frigoboat Fridge Fairly Frigid, Far From Freezing

Or barnacles on your keel cooler.
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Old 12-10-2016, 07:59   #44
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Re: Friggin' Frigoboat Fridge Fairly Frigid, Far From Freezing

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Same as having an inch of dust on your condenser .

All bad .

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A cruising boat stops by Morro Bay on their way South to Mexico knowing that I'm hiding out there until my triumphant return to Mexico myself. He bought a boat with a 18yr old CoolBlue on it and the compressor was running all the time had not cycled off in the year he had owned the boat. The boat has lived in the Stockton Delta area with lots of dust and poor air quality. So after arranging payment terms of a Taco lunch, I headed over to his boat for a look see. Holding plate looked good, and then I saw the biggest, hairyiest, fuzz ball of a condenser I've even seen in my life. The entire condensing unit was so jam packed with cat hair and boat dandruff that there wasn't a clear space showing on the condenser. I had to take it out of the locker and hose it off on the dock to clean it off it was so bad. (after removing the fan and control module of course). By the time we got back from the taco place for lunch, their unit was cycling on and off normally and off to Mexico they went.
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Old 12-10-2016, 08:03   #45
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Re: Friggin' Frigoboat Fridge Fairly Frigid, Far From Freezing

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Or barnacles on your keel cooler.
His is air cooled only. But IMExperience, barnacles didn't measurably alter cooling performance on a keel cooler - but then, too, a hot surface isn't what they like the best
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