I purchased two Frigoboat Units (K50-SSC) at the Miami boat show
in 2005 (March or so) from Veco N.A. I paid arround $3500 for the options I installed. One unit was for the refrigerator
the other for the freezer
. I received both units a week or so later.
I installed the the refrigerator
unit a couple months later (June 2005). The installation
was okay to do. The lines I from the compressor
to the evaporator inside the box were too shoort. No worries, Veco has extensions. Well $300 and a week later I had my extension. I wanted my Smart Speed controls in one part of the boat, the thermostat I wanted on the refrigerator, and the compressor
I wanted to put in the engine
compartment. A lot of wiring
, but nothing I wasn't used to. When I fired it up for the first time, no problems. Evaporator plates brought the temp in the box down handily. The unit cycled properly and the energy consumption
was VERY low. I was happy! A day or two latter, I noticed the temperture starting to creep up. I put my hand on the compressor, it would start, then stop. I called Veco, spoke to a VERY helpful tech, Rob. We diagnosed the problem as low refrigerant. Rob said it happens sometimes the seals
get pinched. Well, I took all the connections apart, checked the seals
. I couldn't find any issue, so, I bought a leak detector. This has all kinds of dies and tools for injecting the dies into the system. But, the fittings on this equipment
are not compatible with the fittings on the Danfoss compressors, I had to get the adapters for the newer 134a refrigerant. After searching SEVERAL autoparts stores, I finally found the right fittings (couple days latter). At this point Veco said I should top of the system (the fittings are necessary to put in refrigerant). Now, the major thing that attracted me to the Frigoboat was that I really didn't have to learn about refrigerants and topping up and such. Well, I am now well versed in the subject. Knowledge is great hey?
Well, asside from some compressor stalls every once and awhile and the fact if you turn off the power to the refrigerator while the thermostat is below its set point the compressor will not turn off, not too many problems.
So, come about October, I am ready to install the freezer
. No major problems, I don't think. Only issue is everyonce and a while I'd get a low voltage cutoff on the freezer. Hmmm... Must have used to small a gauge (12 AWG) I switch to 10AWG for both units, should fix it. It appears to, the compressor runs constantly, but I figure it is the large freezer I have. I add additional insulation
, over a foot thick on the top and bottom, combination of aluminum
foil, extruded polystyrene, expanding foam, and some buble rap stuff I got from Lowes. It doesn't seem to help very much. I vowed to pull the whole box and redo it. A major bit of surgery I reserve for later. I live with what I got.
In February of this year, we headed off shore. Just as we are getting to Nassau
, I notice the freezer temp is high. I look at the controller, it says the compressor is running. I touch the compressor, it is not going. Rob, is at the boat show
, so it is VERY difficult to get ahold of him. Phoning from the Bahamas
is VERY expensive. I use email
. Well a week later, we find it is not the compressor, there is a controller board on the compressor. I take this off. It is all corroded. I tell Veco there is corrosion
on it. They say send it back and if it is a board defect, it is covered under warrenty. If not, it will cost $200. So, since we have been a week without the freezer, I tell them to ship me one now. Oh, did I mention that we had just spent over $800 provisioning
, the freezer was full, my wife was stressed? We actually swapped the stuff in the freezer with the refrigerator, cranked down the refrigerator. It saved the great majority of the stuff. Ends up, with the refrigerator full, heat doesn't get removed from the bottom of the refrigerator very well. The stuff in the freezer kept for two days or so, then what we didn't eat we tossed. Ends up it cost $120 to have the board shipped to the bahamas
, it cost me $60 to ship the board back to the states. What the heck $180 to ship all of 8 ounces, life in the islands.
So Veco has my board, they say, I caused the damage. I say, I didn't do any thing. I appeal to them. They say tough cookies, it's your fault. Well I am the first to own up to my mistakes
. I am unaware of anything I did wrong in the installation
. The two compressors are side by side. I would think that if I got one damaged, I would have damaged the other. I pulled the other compressor, just to make sure. No problems. It has even been running for longer than the freezer compressor. I end up coating the board with a conformal spray, theirs is missing it in spots. This may void some warrenty, but, the warrenty is not worth much apparently. So, all in all, this cost me another $600 or so, and Veco is telling me to get the old board back I have to pay for shipping
. I'll get them a credit card and get my old board back.
Conclussions. I am not happy with that level of customer service
. I believe they should have covered the cost of the board under warrenty. Shipping
is my problem. I don't think their product is very good for the marine environment
. I KNOW I have not soaked to compressor, it should be able to take incidental spraying. It has drain holes in the bottom of the cover for goodness sakes. Danfoss compressors are the same ccompressors they use in the small refrigerators that cost $120. If you're going to charge such a premium for "marine" make it "marine" or at least stand behind normal "marine" environmental issues.
Well, that's my story. If I had it all over to do again. I'd not select Frigoboat, the story looks good, but .....