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Old 04-05-2012, 04:40   #1
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Is Your Refrigerator Running ...? Well, No. And That's No Joke.

I have a Frigaboat system that I installed myself a few years ago.

The system stopped cooling about a week ago and that followed my doing some plumbing under the galley. I assume the two events are related and that I either a) punctured the refrigerant tube (though for the life of me I don't remember doing that or b) pinched the tube somehow (don't really see any evidence of that either.

In any case, it seems way too coincidental for it not to be a cause and effect relationship.

So, the question is, what can I do next. I have a week to go before heading off on a two-week sailing trip - mostly offshore. I'd be nice (but not absolutely necessary) if refrigeration was working. If the tube is punctured, can it be fixed and recharged with refrigerant that comes in a bottle at the local auto parts place?
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:01   #2
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Re: is your refrigerator running ...? well, no. And that's no joke.

Any chance you damaged/disconnected the wire lead from the thermostat? I had that happen. Spent a week looking for a fault only to have a refrigeration mechanic look at the system and point out that the thermostat lead had been pull out of the junction at the controller. That was a $75 USD screw-up on my part.

FWIW...
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:31   #3
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Re: is your refrigerator running ...? well, no. And that's no joke.

Not really a reefer expert but in my experience start with the simple things first. Visual and physical inspection all over, look at and feel every component. Be though and use a light/mirror as required (be aware of shape edges and live electrical). Especially check connections or any spots where lines or wires go through bulkheads/grommets for wear. Any sign of oil on a reefer line/connection may indicate a leak . Then electrical, circuit breakers on, correct power to switches, motors, sensors etc. Then your getting into pressure testing system and you need a set of gauges and know how to read them, probably time to call a pro. But I find I can eliminate most of the easy things in just a few minutes or more.

As for the Auto Store stuff it depends on what you have to start with R12, R 22, R134, etc most of the stuff you can buy without a licence may not be very effective.
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:14   #4
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Re: is your refrigerator running ...? well, no. And that's no joke.

The power is on and the compressor runs - in fact, it runs too much, but still no cooling. I would assume that would eliminate thermostat and anything else electrical.

It's R134.
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:22   #5
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Re: is your refrigerator running ...? well, no. And that's no joke.

The Danfoss compressors used by Frigoboat have the ability to tell you what fault they are experiencing by utilizing a flashing LED. If you have the SSC controllers, they should be flashing an error code. Alternately, you can connect an LED directly to the compressor and get the code. I'd normally recommend Richard Kollmann's site for comprehensive explainations on Danfoss based systems, but it appears to be down at the moment. You should be able to do a search to find other instructions on how to get the LED codes.

Yes, Autoparts stores can be a source for refrigerant. Mine uses R134a, it is marked on the compressor. You have to get an adapter for the fill, as I think the fittings are for r12. A very simple affair that just screws on the old fitting, then you can connect the standard hoses.
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:26   #6
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Re: is your refrigerator running ...? well, no. And that's no joke.

Well then I think a pressure test is in order, time to call someone. Mostly I hate to do this and try to fix/build everything myself but there comes a time when you have to bite the bullet and pay for someone. Sometimes it's even cheaper than spending hours trying to figure out how to do it yourself.
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:03   #7
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Re: is your refrigerator running ...? well, no. And that's no joke.

Would spraying soapy water in the manner used to detect gas leaks on CNG plumbing be a bad idea for some reason?
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:24   #8
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Re: is your refrigerator running ...? well, no. And that's no joke.

Soapy water is a great way to test for gas leaks of any kind.

Scott, as long as you're making an inventory of possible causes of your problem, here's one that happened to me. My Frigoboat system stopped cooling. The compressor would run, but made no frost on the expansion tubes. It turned out that a little bit of "crud" had lodged itself in the capillary tube. The unit had been sitting unused for a number of months, which may have contributed to the crud formation.

If I turned the unit off and waited five minutes, then tapped the capillary tube (inside the box) with a wrench or the like "gently but firmly", it would cool again when I started it up. Unfortunately, it would plug up after a day or two and I'd go through the routine again.
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:24   #9
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Re: is your refrigerator running ...? well, no. And that's no joke.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarafina View Post
Would spraying soapy water in the manner used to detect gas leaks on CNG plumbing be a bad idea for some reason?
I think that would make sense, but I am pretty sure the coolant must be all gone by now. If I repressurized it as a test though, that would be the thing, I think.
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Old 08-09-2016, 18:59   #10
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Re: is your refrigerator running ...? well, no. And that's no joke.

It all depends on how dry the gas in those cans. They usually are for auto AC and operate above freezing so they don't care ho dry it is. But If it contains a little moisture,like 100th of 1 drop , it'll shut down your system if its a capillary tube style. If your real good you could solder a puncture with plumbing solder. I do mine with silver solder. I've had success with epoxy putty but theres a process on how to do it. The kicker is you'll definitely need to vacuum it with a pump. Or you can gamble with just purging the contamination with refrigerant. BTW Propane makes the best replacement refrigerant for those type of systems Ive read that in trade magazines and tried it out my self. For some reason it works much better and colder. Sure i risk getting called down about these things but the way I see it is "ANY port in a STORM"
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Old 08-09-2016, 19:27   #11
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Re: Is Your Refrigerator Running ...? Well, No. And That's No Joke.

If the compressor is running and it's not getting cold...that sure sounds like a "simple" refrigerant leak to me. A controller or thermostat problem wouldn't exhibit that symptom, so at least you can rule those out. How to find and fix leak, well that's a question of how far the rabbit hole do you want to go. Do you want to pressurize with r134a and do a bubble test for leaks, fix it, and then vacuum down and recharge? Or you can call in an "expert" that will charge you like he's a cardiac surgeon and may or may not know anymore about what he's doing than some guy posting advice in an internet chat room. Good marine refrigeration tech are almost as rare as an honest politician these days unfortunately.

Good luck Amigo...warm beer sucks.
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Old 08-09-2016, 19:30   #12
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Re: Is Your Refrigerator Running ...? Well, No. And That's No Joke.

Hey! Only 4 years for a reply!
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Old 08-09-2016, 19:35   #13
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Re: Is Your Refrigerator Running ...? Well, No. And That's No Joke.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Strygaldwir View Post
Hey! Only 4 years for a reply!

Ha ha ha...that's halarious...I didn't even bother looking at the OPs original post date. He either fixed the problem by now, sold the boat, or scuttled it on account of warm beer!
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Old 07-10-2016, 18:07   #14
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Re: Is Your Refrigerator Running ...? Well, No. And That's No Joke.

Check that cooling fan
• FAN on Danfoss and other compressor units
• If the fan is not running, remove the terminals from the control box (F and +) apply 12 volts. If the fan still does not run replace it with a 120cm computer style fan from an electronics supply shop (Jaycar or Solex in Australia, for about $22.00.)
• Cut the old fan power, leads, crimp on the appropriate terminals to the fan fly leads and attach the new fan to the compressor unit, (On the outside of the radiator) with cable ties. If you’re into real fiddling about you can try cutting the cable ties from the old fan and removing it from the compressor unit and getting the new one to fit in there (good luck on that and how much time and patience do you have?)
• When you restart the compressor and the fan does not start, DON’T PANIC because the there is a built in start delay, it will kick in after about 30 seconds.
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Old 07-10-2016, 18:13   #15
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Re: Is Your Refrigerator Running ...? Well, No. And That's No Joke.

THIS THREAD IS FOUR YEARS OLD!
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