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Old 06-06-2015, 12:32   #1
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Frigoboat BD35 suddenly "just cool"

Our Frigiboat fridge with BD35 has worked perfectly since new 5 years ago. Mid-Atlantic (it would have to be 13 days into a Transatlantic Passage SXM to the Azores) it suddenly stopped working - the evaporator coils cool/cold to the touch but not frozen. I tried leaving it off for a few hours and then switching it on again. Joy! It worked and froze the plate down again for a couple of days but then the problem recurred. Now it just quietly purrs and keeps the plate cool but not frozen.

Any thoughts? We are currently in Flores but leaving tomorrow for Horta where there might be a technician or at least access to a courier service to get parts. I am keen to learn and will try what I can to fix it!

Thanks all!

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Old 06-06-2015, 13:13   #2
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Re: Frigoboat BD35 suddenly "just cool"

I suggest you send a PM to Richard Kollmann before you hire someone to mess with your system. Also go to his website www.kollmann-marine.com
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Old 06-06-2015, 13:17   #3
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Re: Frigoboat BD35 suddenly "just cool"

We have the same problem. I purchased some kind of relay unit from the frigiboat rep at the boat show who insisted the $150 replacement part will fix the problem. I'll find out in five days when I get back in the water and turn it on. But I have my doubts. If the unit has officially pooped the bed, then I can always fall back on the icemaker until a new unit arrives.

Late last season, a very good technician in Mallorca spent quite a bit of time on it without sucess. His thoughts were that the unit was loosing refrigerant (freon or whatever is used today) in the water exchange coils that had corroded pin holes.
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Old 06-06-2015, 13:40   #4
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Re: Frigoboat BD35 suddenly "just cool"

is there a capillary tube clipped to the evaporator and going to the thermostat that has come adrift? IIRC there is also a separate electrical control unit on the frigoboat stuff, sometimes there is a fuse in one end of that which might have blown, but maybe not if the compressor still runs. Other than that it might have lost some gas.
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Old 06-06-2015, 14:47   #5
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Re: Frigoboat BD35 suddenly "just cool"

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
We have the same problem. I purchased some kind of relay unit from the frigiboat rep at the boat show who insisted the $150 replacement part will fix the problem. I'll find out in five days when I get back in the water and turn it on. But I have my doubts. If the unit has officially pooped the bed, then I can always fall back on the icemaker until a new unit arrives.

Late last season, a very good technician in Mallorca spent quite a bit of time on it without sucess. His thoughts were that the unit was loosing refrigerant (freon or whatever is used today) in the water exchange coils that had corroded pin holes.
Yes I am somewhat worried about the keel cooler having a problem...
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Old 06-06-2015, 14:53   #6
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Re: Frigoboat BD35 suddenly "just cool"

Mine will maintain 5-7 degrees below zero C on the one working compressor, which isn't cold enough. So at the end of last season, I resorted to quick freezing items in the icemaker then transferring them to the freezer, which got me through the final month.

I think I 'm going to end up ordering a new freezer compressor unit for around 800 pounds. I'm not wasting any more money on diagnostics on a 12 year old unit that's leaking coolant.
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Old 06-06-2015, 14:57   #7
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Re: Frigoboat BD35 suddenly "just cool"

Of course it could be many things but I had a similiar problem (ran but didn't freeze, then worked fine after being off a few hours). Mine was prone to this after a period of larger than normal heel angles.

Frigoboat diagnosed it as likely a piece of dirt trapped blocking the capillary tube (dirt that had been there since installation but had never previously made it to the tube). While I had low confidence it would work, their suggestion to bend the capillary tube to a different angle worked in my case.

http://www.veco-na.com/images/Cap_Tu...th_Diagram.pdf

Note that new Frigoboats now come with an extra filter to catch this stuff and a retrofit kit is available. Unfortunately, the new filter requires evacuating and replacing the refrigerant which seems risky by an unknown service person. If you can get it working again, I'd try to nurse the system along (even turning it off for a few hours when clogged) until you finish passage.
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Old 06-06-2015, 16:36   #8
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Re: Frigoboat BD35 suddenly "just cool"

I had very good luck for a number of years with a Frigoboat until the keel kooler killed the complete unit by letting seawater in to the kooler through pinholes . In those days they did not have zincs with the kooler. if you are replacing zincs your unit will sooner or later destroy itself. good luck
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Old 06-06-2015, 17:04   #9
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Re: Frigoboat BD35 suddenly "just cool"

Our 3-year-old keel cooler failed, alowing salt water into the refrigerant circuit. Compressor, keel cooler, and evaporator were all beyond repair. No more Frigoboat for me.
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Old 06-06-2015, 17:33   #10
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Re: Frigoboat BD35 suddenly "just cool"

Our unit actually has an air cooler option as well as the keel cooler. I wonder if I can convert to use that instead of the keel cooler. We also have a freezer with the same air cooler and perhaps it can be converted to save it before it dies too!?!
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Old 06-06-2015, 19:50   #11
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Re: Frigoboat BD35 suddenly "just cool"

I have a Vitrifrigio BD 35 with keel cooler.
It will occasionally do the same thing when loaded with warm stuff, and outside temps are hot.
I have a ducted fan in the box running whenever the box is being used (not just when the compressor is running).
I also have a good sized fan with a 140 f. snap disc switch mounted on top of the compressor to exhaust air when it gets hot.
That fan is supplied with A12 volts so it runs whenever needed.
I suspect the refrigerant charge might not be quite enough for those conditions.
With all the "energy saving" numbers manufacturers want to meet, I suspect they are missing the boat with actual real conditions "horsepower" needed to do the job.
In our case, shutting it off for an hour or two does the trick.
We have learned it's important when running a small compressor not to expect it to move mountains, but we CAN keep ice cream hard as a rock and have full batteries as well.
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Old 06-06-2015, 21:30   #12
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Re: Frigoboat BD35 suddenly "just cool"

We had similar problems. Fridge worked at dock and in calm weather, when it got rough or rolling at anchor it would stop working, so it appeared to only partially cool. At a first step I would get an led and put it across the two terminals for the diagnostic light. See the manual or online for which ones. we solved our problem by installing an in line filter. They come already charged with quick connect fittings so you can diy without needing to recharge. No problems for the last two years after a lot of frustration
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Old 07-06-2015, 01:07   #13
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Re: Frigoboat BD35 suddenly "just cool"

That does sound like my problem... it can't have lost coolant to a perforated seawater leak since it does still cool somewhat. When we get in to Horta I'll give the tests in the PDF link a try. Thanks CarlF
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Old 07-06-2015, 01:52   #14
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Re: Frigoboat BD35 suddenly "just cool"

It is low coolant levels, mine worked fine, but if heeled over for any length of time failed to work, went to just cool, topped up the coolant gas and problem solved.
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Old 07-06-2015, 01:52   #15
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Re: Frigoboat BD35 suddenly "just cool"

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That does sound like my problem... it can't have lost coolant to a perforated seawater leak since it does still cool somewhat. When we get in to Horta I'll give the tests in the PDF link a try. Thanks CarlF
The trouble we're having with ours is that only half the unit comes on, which is why it doesn't go all the way down to minus 10 degrees. One of the black things is hot, while the other one remains cool. I'll know more in a few days when I replace the relay module and fire the thing up. But I first need the water pump working, which necessitates the boat being in the water.

Our problem is the same as yours, the freezer gets very cool, but not cold enough to keep things frozen. Meanwhile the water pump works overtime trying to satisfy the one compressor that's working overtime trying to do the job of two compressors.

We've tried topping off the coolant gas. We also have the air cooler option fan.
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