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Old 24-12-2015, 11:29   #1
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Vitrifigo Fridge Compressor Stopped

Acquired this 8 year old catamaran earlier this year. Until early December had been docked at a marina in Florida on shore power getting to know the boat and learning the systems. Since December 2nd we've been off shore power most of the time and have been on a mooring ball in Dinner Key waiting for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas since December 10, so first time we've really been testing our systems without shore power.

We have 1050 watts of solar panels through an Outback Flexmax80 charge controller and a Xantrex inverter system control panel. The fridge first stopped 3 weeks ago and it was suggested by the contractor who worked on the boat right after we purchased to replace the control box, which I did. Seemed to work for a while but now compressor sounds like it's trying to start but quits.

I hear and feel the fan running and after a few seconds the compressor comes on for only a couple of seconds and then shuts down. It seemed to be trying to cycle a few times but now does nothing. Tried switching it off for awhile and back on but does the same thing. Tries to start but then quits. We have a freezer that shares the same control panel switch and it's running fine. I have a bd35 compressor on the fridge unit. I've read through other strings on this forum and Richard Kollman's site but honestly being a complete novice to all things electrical not sure what to try next. I think the compressor is fine and suspect something electrical. All suggestions welcome and please keep it simple.

Happy holidays and thanks for your help.

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Old 24-12-2015, 14:12   #2
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Re: Vitrifigo Fridge Compressor Stopped

You might check to see if the compressor is getting enough power, while I wouldn't expect issues at 8 years, if there wasn't enough power I would expect it might cycle off to prevent damage.


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Old 24-12-2015, 14:36   #3
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Re: Vitrifigo Fridge Compressor Stopped

Voltage, the compressor is very voltage sensitive, read your manual for specifics. Check all of the connections, and the voltage at the compressor when it starts.


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Old 24-12-2015, 15:03   #4
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Re: Vitrifigo Fridge Compressor Stopped

Run fresh wires direct from the battery to the compressor 99% of the problems with marine refer systems are power related and you won't be able to measure the microsecond power drop that is preventing the unit from starting. Have you jumped the stat'to'check it for proper operation
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Old 24-12-2015, 15:38   #5
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Re: Vitrifigo Fridge Compressor Stopped

Thanks for your replies. Makes sense that voltage drop could be the issue. The house batteries are under the berth in the starboard hull quite a distance from the fridge in the main cabin. Freezer is fine and actually further away from the batteries but no issues. I checked and rechecked the connections at the control box and they seem fine. I have an a.c. fridge and icemaker in the cockpit which have to run off the inverter. I do notice a significant drop in the voltage to less than 12 after the sun is too low for the solar panels to keep charging and the draw on the Link pro reads -30 amps.

Funny thing is the compressor is running again and seems to be going fine for the last hour and cooling the fridge. Our own little Christmas eve miracle? Will keep an eye on things and make note of loads if it quits again and will conduct the tests suggested. Thanks again and have a merry Christmas.

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Old 24-12-2015, 15:43   #6
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Re: Vitrifigo Fridge Compressor Stopped

Newhaul. Sorry to sound ignorant but sad fact is I am. How do I jump the thermostat?

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Old 24-12-2015, 15:53   #7
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Re: Vitrifigo Fridge Compressor Stopped

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Newhaul. Sorry to sound ignorant but sad fact is I am. How do I jump the thermostat?

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No problem we have all been there that's how we learn. OK there are 2 wires that connect the stat to the control module disconnect those wires and place a small jumper wire between the contacts/ wires in place of the thermostat. However if the refer worked on shore power I would look at the electrical between the battery and the fridge as suspect.
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Old 24-12-2015, 16:08   #8
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Re: Vitrifigo Fridge Compressor Stopped

You can run them on lower voltage by connections a resistor between two of the terminals, they detail this in the manual.


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Old 24-12-2015, 16:09   #9
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Re: Vitrifigo Fridge Compressor Stopped

If your seeing your batteries drop down to 12v when this is occurring, its likely voltage is even lower at the refrigerator. My guess is the compressor would cut off at least around 11v to protect itself and your batteries, you could probably email Vitrifigo to get the exact cutoff point. If you do decide to replace the wires, you might want to go with a heavier gauge as you should see less of a drop off.
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Old 24-12-2015, 16:23   #10
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Re: Vitrifigo Fridge Compressor Stopped

This is the original system installed by Lagoon the boat builder. I would hope (perhaps naively) they know what wiring is required for the systems they install. Not dismissing the suggestion. Question: I see only one switch on the control panel and one fuse that controls both the fridge and freezer. Why would the fridge compressor shut off and the freezer be fine? Could there be an issue at a relay switch (which unfortunately are not labeled)?

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Old 24-12-2015, 19:34   #11
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Re: Vitrifigo Fridge Compressor Stopped

Is the fridge still running like it should?
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Old 24-12-2015, 20:42   #12
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Re: Vitrifigo Fridge Compressor Stopped

So far still running. Battery reading is at 11.84 with the Fsw3000 inverter enabled. Drawing 16.7 amps on the Link pro Battery monitor and showing batteries at 90.5%. We'll see what happens overnight.

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Old 24-12-2015, 20:50   #13
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Re: Vitrifigo Fridge Compressor Stopped

Well that's good news and if it is still coin good in am then I would remove clean and reinstall all electrical connections at the compressor just to ensure it keeps running good. Rob
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Old 24-12-2015, 21:02   #14
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Re: Vitrifigo Fridge Compressor Stopped

That is borderline voltage. Startup instantaneous voltage probably drops low enough to trigger shutdown.
How old are the batteries?
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Old 25-12-2015, 05:44   #15
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Re: Vitrifigo Fridge Compressor Stopped

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Originally Posted by trosenthal20 View Post
So far still running. Battery reading is at 11.84 with the Fsw3000 inverter enabled. Drawing 16.7 amps on the Link pro Battery monitor and showing batteries at 90.5%. We'll see what happens overnight.

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That (low) voltage reading seems inconsistent with the (low) reported % state of charge. Working assumption should be that the State of Charge reading is wrong because the battery monitor is incorrectly calibrated. Maine Sail explains this very well in his site. Ignore this at your own peril.

IMHO the logical next step is to test the fridge while keeping voltage AT THE FRIDGE TERMINALS above 12.5 volts by running engine, etc. That will exclude voltage-related root causes. That said, keep an eye on brief drop of voltage when the compressor starts.

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