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Old 29-06-2019, 11:16   #1
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Frigoboat freezer coolant leak

I have tried looking up earlier threads but been defeated by the nature of the search in CF.

Boat: Jeanneau 49DS with Frigoboat fridge/freezer (switchable from one to the other). There is also a separate fridge adjacent.

Problem: for three years running now at the beginning of each season the freezer has not worked at all: until sucked out and refilled. It then works fine.

Issue: how can I fix this? I am getting more than a bit fed up with shelling out about €200 each season.

There must be a leak somewhere but the technician, having searched with his bit of kit and found nothing, just shrugs about that and starts to mutter about large denomination notes.
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Old 30-06-2019, 07:20   #2
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Re: Frigoboat freezer coolant leak

put some 134a in it, then back it up with 175psi of dry nitrogen, then use an electronic leak detector and big blue leak soulution to locate the leak. If it is on the dry evaporator plate itself then you will most likely need a new plate. If its on a fitting, it might be repairable.

One more thing, does your tech install a new filter/drier? I would try a new 052 or even a spun bullet drier and see if that fixes it. old cap tube 134a systems are notorious for blocking up from moisture and oil degradation.
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Old 30-06-2019, 09:47   #3
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Re: Frigoboat freezer coolant leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alita49DS View Post
I have tried looking up earlier threads but been defeated by the nature of the search in CF.

Boat: Jeanneau 49DS with Frigoboat fridge/freezer (switchable from one to the other). There is also a separate fridge adjacent.

Problem: for three years running now at the beginning of each season the freezer has not worked at all: until sucked out and refilled. It then works fine.

Issue: how can I fix this? I am getting more than a bit fed up with shelling out about €200 each season.

There must be a leak somewhere but the technician, having searched with his bit of kit and found nothing, just shrugs about that and starts to mutter about large denomination notes.
You always need to provide detailed information on the actual design of your refrigeration unit. Frigoboat has several different designs with each requiring a different protocol for troubleshooting a leak. Knowledge of refrigerant loss rate weeks or months over time also helps. If this is an air cooled unit all exposed surfaces are available for leak testing. If this is a water pump cooling system in addition to exterior surfaces water condenser internally is tested by placing deflated balloons on inlet and outlet water pipes. If this is a keel cooler condenser unit do not forget to check keel cooler lines attached to it inside the hull around the black potting material.

It sounds like this may be a leak as small as !/2 an ounce a year on a unit that may hold less than 3 ounces when fully charged or as much as 6 ounces.
With a leak this small it is difficult even with the best equipment to detect leaks in normal static air movement. I recommend on my web site to a process of 50/50% liquid dishwater soap and water applied with a one inch paint brush. The key to this process is to stab the location of suspected leak with brush tips until shaving cream foam is created that breaks down the natural tension resisting very small leaks. This test does require refrigerant in unit and minutes spent at each questioned area.

If you know fore sure that refrigerant leaks out faster when refrigeration is left to operate normally on thermostat for long periods the leak is in the high pressure side of system. If refrigerant leaks out faster when not running the pressure in low pressure side of system will be at its highest pressure far above cold evaporator temperatures of 3 to 10 psi..
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Old 30-06-2019, 12:13   #4
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Re: Frigoboat freezer coolant leak

The Frigoboat connectors have an O-ring in them that is easily replaced. I'd start there. Changing the O-ring fixed the leak in my system.
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Old 30-06-2019, 12:36   #5
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Re: Frigoboat freezer coolant leak

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Originally Posted by jt11791 View Post
The Frigoboat connectors have an O-ring in them that is easily replaced. I'd start there. Changing the O-ring fixed the leak in my system.
It is always a good practice to find and correct the leak first. If you must replace the line connector actual travel sliding O rings be sure to use the up to date shelf life seals approved by Frigoboat as a replacement. Torque on these connectors is also important.
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Old 30-06-2019, 12:54   #6
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Re: Frigoboat freezer coolant leak

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Originally Posted by Richard Kollmann View Post
It is always a good practice to find and correct the leak first. If you must replace the line connector actual travel sliding O rings be sure to use the up to date shelf life seals approved by Frigoboat as a replacement. Torque on these connectors is also important.
If you find oily fittings then that is where the gas is leaking. The oil in the refrigerant comes out with the gas and leaves a film.
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Old 30-06-2019, 16:09   #7
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Re: Frigoboat freezer coolant leak

Thank you very much for the detailed replies.

When I am next on the boat, just returned yesterday from Genoa, will have a look for the identification of the compressor unit. It is pretty well buried so I hope that the label is visible.

I do know that there are two units. Two compressors. One is the fridge. Which at the moment works!

The other is the freezer. Which also has a switch to convert it to a second fridge.

One of them, I am not sure which, I believe has a keel cooler.

I have made an attempt to understand all the technical terms and how the system is laid out. The Veco website is but a modicum of help.

Documentation - frigoboat

The separate troubleshooting page basically says get a dealer in if the cause if not obvious!

Otherwise, the information is so sparse that they do not even give a phone number for the authorised service agent in Genoa. Impressive or what.

The chap who came on board had an electronic leak detector and was not able to find anything.

@Richard Kollmann, I have had a look at your site, Kollmann Marine and it is very helpful - as well as being depressing to someone like me who finds pressurised systems frightening!
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Old 30-06-2019, 19:57   #8
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Re: Frigoboat freezer coolant leak

The electronic leak detectors won’t find tiny leaks, they will just be background noise. It takes the old fashioned soap trick.
I have never beaten it into a foam though, I always just dribbled the mix from an eye dropper bottle. I guess the foam works better?

You can even buy leak detector solution in a plastic bottle, but it’s just soap and water
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:58   #9
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Re: Frigoboat freezer coolant leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alita49DS View Post
Thank you very much for the detailed replies.

When I am next on the boat, just returned yesterday from Genoa, will have a look for the identification of the compressor unit. It is pretty well buried so I hope that the label is visible.

I do know that there are two units. Two compressors. One is the fridge. Which at the moment works!

The other is the freezer. Which also has a switch to convert it to a second fridge.

One of them, I am not sure which, I believe has a keel cooler.

I have made an attempt to understand all the technical terms and how the system is laid out. The Veco website is but a modicum of help.

Documentation - frigoboat

The separate troubleshooting page basically says get a dealer in if the cause if not obvious!

Otherwise, the information is so sparse that they do not even give a phone number for the authorised service agent in Genoa. Impressive or what.

The chap who came on board had an electronic leak detector and was not able to find anything.

@Richard Kollmann, I have had a look at your site, Kollmann Marine and it is very helpful - as well as being depressing to someone like me who finds pressurised systems frightening!
Finding a few ounces of refrigerant loss a year is not a talked about game of spraying or dripping a leak detector solution on every possible leak area. Refrigerant detectors now have built in vacuum pumps to draw in and detect normal small leaks. The leak rate you have requires pressure in system and determination to locate and correct. Frigoboat O ring line connecters instead of metal to metal final sealing are aggravated by excessive heat do to keel cooler condenser location and seawater temperatures above 75 degrees F.

Normally with a boater’s mechanical aptitude to maintain his or her boat, DIY repairs to boat’s 12 volt refrigeration are limited. Leaks of refrigerant and oil can be detected by wiping a small piece of paper towel across bottom of line connections. If oil is detected on paper towel replace O ring seals and recharge system with refrigerant. Once there is refrigerant in unit anyone can use the leak test method I gave earlier. Many times these small leaks are caused be the lack of a good refrigerant servicing cap seal.
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:34   #10
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Re: Frigoboat freezer coolant leak

I had a small leak that defied being located. When found it was within the reefer box wall. The copper pipe passes from inside the box to outside. The copper had abraded within the wall. Bugger all to find.
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:23   #11
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Re: Frigoboat freezer coolant leak

We have a fridgoboat keel cooler working for several years now and have noticed performance changes with the seasonal changes. Somewhat anecdotal, but need to adjust the mechanical thermostat slightly higher when in cooler water to maintain the proper box temp. When it gets warmer we can lower the thermostat.

With the decreased performance noted, assumed we had a small leak, but could never find one and never saw any oil traces around the o-rings. Due to the low amount of refrigerant in the capillary system, gauges to assess the system we not that helpful. One thing that was helpful was to put in an inline amp meter full time to monitor the motor draw. When settled in and running "normal" we see ~3 amp draw, but w/too much refrigerant the amp draw can be near 6.
With the amp meter assessment, we feel we are not losing refrigerant, but the performance changes/adjusting the thermostat is due to the highly sensitive nature of the internal pressure changes in the capillary system. Maybe I'm wrong here as it seems counter intuitive to have to increase/turn up thermostat in colder temps and lower it when the water warms up.



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Old 01-07-2019, 14:48   #12
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Re: Frigoboat freezer coolant leak

The leak detector I have is good for 1/10th of an ounce a year.

When it sings out, I use the leak solution (nothing more than expensive soapy water that's blue to show the white bubbles more easily) to confirm what the detector is telling me..
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Old 01-07-2019, 15:41   #13
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Re: Frigoboat freezer coolant leak

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The leak detector I have is good for 1/10th of an ounce a year.


Link to this detector? Ones I have used were Handhled and no where near that sensitive, I mean not even close at all.
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Old 01-07-2019, 19:49   #14
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Re: Frigoboat freezer coolant leak

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Link to this detector? Ones I have used were Handhled and no where near that sensitive, I mean not even close at all.


https://is.alliedrefrigeration.com/a...LASS_filt=O04&



Any one of the detectors shown will point the way.
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