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Old 25-08-2015, 05:02   #106
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Re: Frigoboat Horror (True) Story

I have to say that I had the opposite experience with Coastal Climate Control. Rob Warren was very responsive in helping me correct problems caused by the installers, way beyond my expectations.

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Old 25-08-2015, 06:35   #107
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Re: Frigoboat Horror (True) Story

I have read through the entire thread and have noticed one possible issue that has not been addressed. There seems to be an assumption on the op's part and others that just because it was connected to the engine block that the cooler was at batterynnegative potential. II would submit that unless it was measured, it wasn't necessarily so. I had a problem with my starter on one of my engines. The solenoid would click, but the starter would not turn. I measured the voltage from the starter. positive terminal to the grounding bolt and it was a solid 12.6 volts. I could not understand why this thing was acting like it had low voltage. After beating my head against the wall for a while I put the voltmeter negative lead on the engine block instead of the bolt and got only 5 volts. I took the grounding bolt off and cleaned the block and all the connectors with a wire brush. When I put it back together everything worked perfectly. Just because something electrical is attached to something doesn't mean there is a good electrical connection. The second installation may simply be working because there is a good. ground connection. The original installation may have had potential of several volts between the cooler and the battery negative simply because of. poor connection.

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Old 16-11-2015, 12:06   #108
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Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
So what's a full time live aboard cruiser to do when they haul out and live on the hard in a Mexican boat yard for 3 weeks? Not have a refrigerator or freezer while on the hard? Then add the price of a hotel room to the haul out because my wife would be off the boat for sure.

OR, you could buy and install Frigoboat's Add-on Air Cooled Condenser. It retails for US $325, is pre-charged with R134a, has the Frigoboat self-sealing couplings and is easily installed in series with the keel cooler.

When hauled out, connect the 12 volt fan (included) and your system will now be air cooled. Disconnect the fan when the boat goes back into the water.

No technician required...
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Old 16-11-2015, 13:16   #109
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Cool Re: Frigoboat Horror (True) Story

Originally Posted by konakoma View Post
Nearly three weeks since new equipment supplied by Veco NA re-installed on yacht, and working perfectly. Here are latest emails from distributor's rep. and my response (cut and pasted).
"Mr Blackwell
I am pleased to hear that the replacement system we supplied is working satisfactorily.
There has been much discussion between Veco S.p.A., Veco-NA, and the fabricator of the Keel Cooler, and the general consensus is that at this point in time there is no evidence to suggest that there has been any type of mechanical failure of the Keel Cooler, but that it was almost certainly the result of a stray current of some magnitude being impressed on the Keel Cooler from an outside source. Veco NA is currently waiting for the original equipment to arrive here for further analysis, as unfortunately it was not shipped to us before Peterson Marine closed for their holiday break.
I note that you have had several parties make tests on your electrical systems, but I have seen no mention of whether or not you have any form of galvanic isolator or "Zinc Saver" installed on your incoming shore power ground wire. When I mentioned this fact during our phone conversation you stated that you were not aware of these devices or if one is installed on your vessel. These items are required by ABYC to be installed on all new boats, and are designed to prevent harmful DC stray currents, such as that which most probably destroyed your Keel Cooler, from entering a vessel via the AC shore power ground. A "Zinc Saver" is designed to block these harmful DC currents while still providing the required safety protection to occupants from potentially lethal AC wiring faults on board. As a condition of Veco NA having provided a complete replacement Keel Cooler system to you free of charge, we require that, if a galvanic isolator device is not already installed, that one be installed at the earliest possible opportunity to lessen the possibility of repeated failures of the Keel Cooler and/or other thru-hull fittings, zincs, propeller, etc.
It must be understood that any survey of the electrical system on a vessel is only relevant to the time that was performed. It can in no way be taken as a definitive bill of clean health, as there are so many possible outside anomalies that may not have been present at the time of the survey, and this is especially true if the vessel is connected to shore power and no galvanic isolator installed."

My response
"Mr Warren

Two weeks after new equipment installed and system continues working per specs. I can confirm that the boat is equipped with a galvanic isolator and a combiner, which prevent stray current from leaving the system.
Accordingly, I believe this was not the problem. Further, I have had input from two parties who suggest the following may have been the cause;

1. "where this would come from is via the compressor and the copper compressor vapor discharge line to the keel cooler (condenser)."

This seems related to the following suggestion:

2. "Electrolysis cannot occur on an isolated piece of metal in salt water. It is all at the same voltage but if it is isolated no current can flow so there is no electrolysis.
When it is connected to another piece of metal, ESPECIALLY if the other piece is a different metal, you just created a shorted battery and electrolysis will start.
By following the wrong advise and bonding everything in the boat you are creating batteries where it is unnecessary and making electrolysis problems worse."
I don't know myself. What I do know is that the other thru hull equipment on the boat, which include two A/C units, watermaker, genset and the Yanmar auxiliary have never experienced a problem.
Ditto for the previously installed AB refrigeration system , SSB and all the other electronics. The boat and equipment have performed beautifully

With respect to your "general consensus", I am not surprised to hear that the manufacturer, supplier and NA distributor claim that " there is no evidence to suggest that there has been any type of mechanical failure of the Keel Cooler "
while acknowledging that the failed equipment has never been inspected because it hasn't been received. What else would they say publicly.
To me, as a professional pilot, this is akin to the NTSB releasing a statement that the aircraft lying in pieces on the ground could not have been the cause of the crash, without inspecting the wreckage. But that's just me.

I'm still happy that the equipment continues to function properly, despite my spouse asking me if it's still working every time I come home from the boat.

T Blackwell
ABYC has no "requirements", they only publish recommendations and suggested standards. They have no enforcement, therefore no requirements. The standards they recommend are based on best available knowledge, but are incomplete and ever changing. Having said that, they are a great organization, and ignore their standards at your peril.

The battery combiner has nothing to do with the subject. The galvanic isolator is only for AC stray currents, it does nothing for DC devices that may be polarity reversed, or shorted to something in contact with the water on your boat or nearby boats. Mr. Warren's description isn't completely accurate, but close. It does minimize the stray currents coming from neighboring boats that have wiring problems with their AC systems, as well from possible AC issues on your boat.

Your two other suggestions are full of holes and half-truths. 1. has some credibility if some of the copper tubing came into contact with a positive 12 volt source. Changing the keel cooler could easily have broken that connection so the problem has not recurred. 2. Simply doesn't address the bigger picture, and includes major factual errors. That source doesn't have much understanding of the issue and certainly doesn't know much about bonding or electrolytic and galvanic corrosion. I'd throw that info out.

I think the NTSB might agree that gravity was a contributing factor to an airplane wreck, without even seeing the wreckage. And, a picture is worth a thousand words. The pink metal is a very good indication that it is caused by galvanic or electrolytic corrosion. Both of which are accelerated by stray currents.

I am a 25 years full time boat systems expert, with 21 years in Marine Refrigeration. It certainly looks like stray current corrosion to me! Probably from your boat, but it could easily be from another boat, or something as simple as a live telephone cable in the water near your boat. Believe me, the phone cable can easily cause this type of damage in a very short period of time.

So, I concur with the general consensus of stray current corrosion. And I don't work for any of the parties involved.

Here's a link to some more info on Stray Current Corrosion, from a reliable source...

Galvanic Corrosion - Seaworthy - BoatUS

(at the bottom of that link)


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