My boat has a 22 year old Frigoboat refrigeration
setup. Separate fridge and freezer
boxes with separate raw water
cooled compressors and evaporator plates for each. I confirmed this unfortunately is an R-12 system manufactured right before the changeover to R134a in the early 90s. Physically the system components don’t look their age – there’s not a spec of rust or corrosion
– but they’re certainly beyond their life expectancy. Until I de-winterized the boat, everything had been working OK upon decommissioning last fall, although it did struggle to keep a 4 cu ft box below 40 degrees on hot days when its twin will freeze water
solid in a few hours.
When I turned the fridge unit back on for the first time after a cold winter, the compressor
pump both ran and raw water
was flowing but the unit wasn’t cooling
. Luckily the freezer
unit was working fine. In reading some of Richard Kollmann’s and other previous posts it sounds like I have either a refrigerant leak or a blockage of refrigerant flow. I turned the system on and off several times and also tried tapping the accessible portions of the refrigerant lines in the hope it would knock any blockage loose. Didn't work. It looks like the next troubleshooting tactic is taking a heat gun to the lines – but my optimism that this issue can be resolved without professional help is fading. Should I make a service
call, a technician will probably either tell me the system is obsolete and not worth repairing or will want 3-400 dollars for a repair.
If it comes to replacement, as much as there are disadvantages to the dual box/dual compressor
setup, I’d want to keep it and perhaps even keep the existing freezer unit as long as it continues to work. For replacement of the fridge, I’d like to go to air-cooled, with something like an Isotherm
2501. We plan to move aboard in a few months, so dependable refrigeration
is a must!
Thoughts? What would you do if you were in my situation?