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Old 11-08-2015, 04:08   #1
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Waeco portable freezer

Hello everyone,

I have a never ending problem with my freezer.

My 6 years old Waeco CF-25 CoolFreeze is having troubles since few months and no technician seems to solve them. I really believe that the experienced sailors here might come with a solution.

As I have a built-in fridge in imy boat, I use my portable Waeco unit as a freezer (about -12'C). Since 6 years, it has been working non stop as I'm a liveaboard in my 34ft sailing boat, in Western coast of Turkey.

Last month, I have noticed that the unit is working for very very long periods of time (like 6 hours for example) to reach the desired temperature, in my case from -10'C to -12'C. Then it stops and rests for about 45 minutes then the temperature drops back to -10'C and starts again for at least 6 hours.

First thing I did, I replaced the cooling fan. Nothing changed.

Secondly, I took it to technical service and they replaced the refrigerant. After that, I came back and left the unit to work empty to test it (put the frozen food in a neigbour's freezer) and it reached -12'C from +3'C within an hour.
I thought it was okay, problem solved and put the things back in.
However, same thing happened again and it started to work continuously for very long periods of time. Obviously draining the batteries.

No red error light is shown on the unit.

I cleaned the compressor, condenser coils, etc.
Moreover, there's very fast ice building on the inner walls of the unit (near the top).
-
And interestingly, there's excessive condensation on the outer walls of the unit where the dark grey part meets the pale grey part. The amount of water is so much that under the unit is always wet. I had to put layers of newspapers underneath; and I replace them frequently. Also, those water drops on the sides of the unit are cold although the ambient temperature in the boat these days is about 32'C. I try to wipe the water but it's back again very quickly in few minutes as if I haven't wipe it.

As you see, I am really helpless. I'm out of solutions and I don't know where to look, what to check, what to replace next...

I don't if anyone here has faced a similar problem.

- Anything you could say or suggest will be deeply appreciated.

- Thank you very very much.
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Old 11-08-2015, 04:40   #2
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Re: waeco portable freezer

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Gelin.

Failed/failing insulation?
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:24   #3
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Re: waeco portable freezer

Thank you for the warm welcome GordMay.

I'm also thinking about an insulation failure. If this will be the case, I suppose I will have to take the thing apart to check the insulation.

On the other hand, when I touch it all around, it's room temperature. Every bit of the plastic feels just fine but I don't understand how the condensation water on that joint is cold.

I can't think of a possibility of a leak from inside the fridge. There's no visual sign of a crack or a similar damage. And also, condensation is equal from both sides of the unit.
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Old 11-08-2015, 09:35   #4
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Re: waeco portable freezer

The problem with mine is it would not turn off and would freeze everything. I talked to the USA service and he wanted the numbers off the circuit board. He felt it was either a failed thermostat probe that would be almost impossible to replace without distroying the case or a bad circuit board. I ordered the circuit board $55 looks to be an easy swap but I have not had a chance to replace it yet. So not the answer you need. But hopefully this helps.
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Old 11-08-2015, 10:03   #5
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Re: waeco portable freezer

Not sure if it's related, but my home fridge (almost brand new) had exactly the same issue. Finally they replaced the circuit board and all has been fine. Another wonderful thing about modern technology I guess. I've had 30 year old fridges in my life that never failed. The Maytag did in a few months.
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Old 12-08-2015, 02:01   #6
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Re: waeco portable freezer

I've just received a response from a Waeco technician.
I quote:

"It sounds like the insulation is wet, causing it to run hard to maintain the temperature. It will still work, but will use a lot of power to do so. On a boat with a finite power source I would say it is best to be looking for a new fridge unfortunately.
Please keep an eye out on our website for the latest products as there is a possibility that a CFX model similar to the size you are after being released soon but can't really say when this will be sorry."
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:17   #7
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Re: waeco portable freezer

Quote:
Originally Posted by gelin;1888104

Last month, I have noticed that the unit is working for very very long periods of time (like 6 hours for example) to reach the desired temperature, in my case from -10'C to -12'C. [B
Then it stops and rests for about 45 minutes then the temperature drops back to -10'C and starts again for at least 6 hours.[/B]
That's an insulation type issue. Nothing else in the rest of the system would cause the interior to heat up quickly.
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Old 13-08-2015, 07:50   #8
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Re: waeco portable freezer

If the insulation has failed, I'm afraid it's not something repairable. As the Waeco technician said, I should buy another unit. However, having a top of the range brand for a lot of money and throwing it away after only six years doesn't make me feel comfortable to be honest.

And another question to be asked is that how would the insulation fail? It is enclosed in the plastic case, it doesn't have any contact with anything, no punctures, no damage... I don't understand.
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Old 13-08-2015, 09:13   #9
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Re: waeco portable freezer

Sounds like it may be as simple as a door seal, I say this as something is letting moisture and air in the box, that's your excess frost and of course leaking cold air would cause both the condensation and the excess running
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Old 13-08-2015, 09:29   #10
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Re: waeco portable freezer

I use a Waco/Dometic freezer CF 25 and when the fan failed it became obvious that its a tiny, teeny, weeny little fan designed to fit in the tiny space. I replaced it with a large computer fan cable tied to the outside. I cut away the vent sections to get a better air flow. See photo below.
It now works much better.

Other things to note:
Turkey in summer is hot so -12 maybe too cold to expect. Mine is set at -9
The thermostat is near the top on one side, you can see its imprint. Keep it clear of ice.
Dont put anything against the thermostat.
Putting paper under the unit may hold moisture agaunst the bottom where draining it away may be better.
I have a sheet of dense foam 1 cm thick that i put on top of the frizen section.
A block of foam is inserted above food to reduce the space.

6 years on a boat may be "life".


I hope this helps.
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Old 13-08-2015, 09:49   #11
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Re: waeco portable freezer

I have a Indel-B, less expensive than a Waeco. I like it fine. Keeps good temperatures. I haven't had it for 6 years so don't know that part.
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Old 13-08-2015, 10:50   #12
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Re: waeco portable freezer

Retrofit it into a larger plastic cooler with a bunch more insulation!
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Old 13-08-2015, 10:55   #13
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Re: waeco portable freezer

I have a Waeco and have found that I needed to place extra fans near the compressor. It made a big difference in the ability of the freezer to freeze. When tinkgs got up to 38*C I turned on the fan and the temp dropped rather quickly. I think that adding a fan to this type of freezer is essential.
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Old 13-08-2015, 11:48   #14
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Re: waeco portable freezer

Charlie, did you wire the new fan to the compressor or just power it from another source for ease of installation?

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Old 13-08-2015, 11:55   #15
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Re: waeco portable freezer

Had way too much to do this season so I just used a different source because it was easier. Also my unit has a USB charger on it so I plug a fan into that as well.
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