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Old 10-07-2018, 03:40   #1
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SeaFrost Fridge issue

I have the SeaFrost 5000 system in my boat. Generally, it works fine. My problem is that I cannot get the freezer below 25 F without running it continually. The fridge is just fine kept at a low setting. It is plenty cold, sometimes too cold. But the freezer, which has 2 plates in it, just doesn't seem to want to get really freezing. There is enough refrigerant in the system.

I am currently in Spain. When it turns on, it runs and the return pipe to the compressor starts frosting over within 2 minutes. I have a friend who is a refrigeration specialist here who has looked at the system (but he didn't have his tools with him at present). He believes the expansion valve may be stuck too far open. There is no sign of gas leakage from the system. He is not familiar with that type of expansion valve- he hasn't seen a plastic encased expansion valve in Europe. He did manage to unstick the expansion valve a little by lightly tapping it (the hammer fix-it-all method).

Is there any way of closing the valve or of adjusting the temperature of the evaporator?
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Old 10-07-2018, 04:42   #2
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Re: SeaFrost Fridge issue

I would give SeaFrost a call. Cleave and co. are really great at helping out. We switched our BDXP to a BDXPX unit because the freezer wouldn't get cold enough with 134A refrigerant. About the lowest I could get was 19 degrees with it running 24/7 in hot weather. The XPX is a lot better with the 404a refrigerant.


Anyway, the expansion valve is easy to adjust, but you have to find someone with gauges to be able to do it.


Again, give Cleave a call and I'm sure he'll be able to help you get it sorted out.
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Old 10-07-2018, 04:43   #3
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Re: SeaFrost Fridge issue

We're also in Spain by the way, whereabouts are you?
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Old 10-07-2018, 05:21   #4
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Re: SeaFrost Fridge issue

I have sent Cleave 2 emails, weeks apart, no response. I am in Cartagena. What is the XPX unit? Which part are you referring to? I am having the same problem that you had. Running 24/7 might get it below 20 F, but that's about it.
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Old 10-07-2018, 06:01   #5
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Re: SeaFrost Fridge issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailing_gal View Post
I have sent Cleave 2 emails, weeks apart, no response. I am in Cartagena. What is the XPX unit? Which part are you referring to? I am having the same problem that you had. Running 24/7 might get it below 20 F, but that's about it.

Hi, I've always had good luck calling. I think he's an older guy, so he might not really be on board with emailing.


I was really frustrated with my SeaFrost freezer. It replaced a Glacier Bay unit, and I was pretty bummed to spend all the money for a new install, and wind up having to drink my ice cream out of a glass.


A call to Cleave revealed that SeaFrost intends for their freezers to be very warm. He told me that the FDA only requires frozen food to be 29 degrees, so that's sort of what they're building to. I wish I had known this prior to purchasing the system!


After a couple of years of this, my freezer's control module died and I replaced it the the BDXPX. This is essentially the same thing/footprint as the BDXP, but with a different refrigerator and a slightly bigger compressor.



I believe that your unit is the big compressor, so you should have lots of power. The adjustment of the valve (if that's what's needed) is simple with a gauge.



Anyway, call Cleave. We should be in Cartagena within the next week, perhaps we'll see you there.


You can see the product line on SeaFrost's website.
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Old 10-07-2018, 06:23   #6
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Re: SeaFrost Fridge issue

Thank you! I will call Cleave and see what he says I would need to do the conversion.

I may not be here when you arrive- I may head for Smir for my "get out of the EU" trip in a couple of days. But, perhaps I will see you.

Have a good trip.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:20   #7
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Re: SeaFrost Fridge issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailing_gal View Post
I have the SeaFrost 5000 system in my boat. Generally, it works fine. My problem is that I cannot get the freezer below 25 F without running it continually. The fridge is just fine kept at a low setting. It is plenty cold, sometimes too cold. But the freezer, which has 2 plates in it, just doesn't seem to want to get really freezing. There is enough refrigerant in the system.

I am currently in Spain. When it turns on, it runs and the return pipe to the compressor starts frosting over within 2 minutes. I have a friend who is a refrigeration specialist here who has looked at the system (but he didn't have his tools with him at present). He believes the expansion valve may be stuck too far open. There is no sign of gas leakage from the system. He is not familiar with that type of expansion valve- he hasn't seen a plastic encased expansion valve in Europe. He did manage to unstick the expansion valve a little by lightly tapping it (the hammer fix-it-all method).



Is there any way of closing the valve or of adjusting the temperature of the evaporator?
The refrigerant control (the small box with 4 refrigerant lines) is sealed and not adjustable.
The best advice you will get is going to be from Cleave at SeaFrost.

The only controls you have over this system is keeping water system clean with good flow,Making sure compressor runs long enough and Refrigerant level is adequate.

I can only suggest looking at small refrigerant sight glass in top of refrigerant reciever tank after freezer get below 36 degrees F. At this cold temperature there should be no bubbles present.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:24   #8
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Re: SeaFrost Fridge issue

Thank you, Richard. I know water flow is good and clean. The system cools well. It just won't, like said before, freeze ice cream or go much below 27 F. It freezes stuff, but not really solidly. The fridge is cold enough on the lightest setting. I am here in southern Spain where temps are quite warm right now. I suspect that changing a valve and refrigerant may be the solution. Waiting for it to get a little later in the US to call Cleave.
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Old 10-07-2018, 12:34   #9
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Re: SeaFrost Fridge issue

Have you checked the level of the eutectic in the holding plates? THe gland nuts through which the refrigerant flows in/out of the plates can loosen over time and allow the eutectic to leak out. If the plates show a frost line, that is the level of the eutectic. If no frost, the plates are either full or empty. Loosen a gland nut. If no eutectic leaks, then the plate is empty and needs to be refilled.

Each plate has a fill plug. If accessible, fill from there. If not, you can (very carefully) drill and tap a new hole (a 1/4 bolt hole works fine). Locate the hole about 1/2 inch from the sides and back/front, close to the walls. Be careful to "just" drill through. This will avoid drilling into the copper refrigerant lines inside.

The eutectic fluid is simply a mix of Glycol (old style prestone ) antifreeze and water. Clive at Sea Frost says that 1 part PG to 4 parts water gives a 0 degree plate.
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Old 10-07-2018, 12:46   #10
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Re: SeaFrost Fridge issue

I did get hold of Cleave, he mentioned the antifreeze levels as well. However, 100% of the plates are freezing and frosting. So, there is no apparent leak. He asked me to check the temp of all the plates- and I cannot seem to locate my temp gun- so need to go buy another one- so that the old one I have on board will suddenly show up.
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Old 10-07-2018, 14:07   #11
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Re: SeaFrost Fridge issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailing_gal View Post
Thank you, Richard. I know water flow is good and clean. The system cools well. It just won't, like said before, freeze ice cream or go much below 27 F. It freezes stuff, but not really solidly. The fridge is cold enough on the lightest setting. I am here in southern Spain where temps are quite warm right now. I suspect that changing a valve and refrigerant may be the solution. Waiting for it to get a little later in the US to call Cleave.
Even though the water flow is good and clear that does not confirm insulating grout like sea grass is not acting as an insulation. Easy check can be done of heat transfer conductive of water cooled condensers by touching copper refrigerant tube, not water tube, going in condenser and again touching copper refrigerant tube coming out. When system is working hard the inlet tube is too hot to hold your hand on and the out let refrigerant line is around 115 Degree F Luke warm for best performance in warm weather.
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Old 10-07-2018, 17:48   #12
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Re: SeaFrost Fridge issue

Is this a new issue or a long standing problem. My Seafrost cools my freezer to +10F with a single evaporator plate (looks like a holding plate given it is encased in a stainless enclosure, but it is really an evaporator). I recently changed my mechanical thermostat, new one supplied by Seafrost, and was not able to get to my normal +10F ... determined that the "setpoint range" controlled by knob position was too warm (consistent with statement above about Seafrost's target temperature, which if true, many would feel is too warm). There is a little adjustment screw inside the mechanical thermostat that allows adjustment of the "setpoint range". See instructions on the Seafrost website. Now all is good at +10F, including my ice cream (barely since zero F is the best temperature for ice cream)
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Old 10-07-2018, 19:45   #13
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Re: SeaFrost Fridge issue

Jeanneau 45.2, The Seafrost unit in this thread is ten times larger than your system I believe. Your system's refrigerant flow controls evaporator super heat by a manually operated low pressure regulator. These large Seafrost 5,000 systems have a standard TXV flow control valve sealed inside a epoxy filled box with no access into box to make adjustments.
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:22   #14
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Re: SeaFrost Fridge issue

I did loosen one of the screws on the plate that is icing up, and got fluid bubbling out. So it is full. I am also now communicating with Cleave, trying to fix this, I will keep everyone posted.
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:05   #15
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Re: SeaFrost Fridge issue

Apparently, there is nothing wrong with my system. Perhaps with my box. Cleave has recommended I use a grate on the bottom, which I am doing, and I fill the back of the box with styrofoam- which is a good idea since I cannot reach the very back anyway without getting on a stool and putting half my body in the fridge.

And, he wanted me to let you all know that he is not too old for email!!!!! He had been responding to an old email address of mine.
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