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Old 02-11-2016, 14:28   #1
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Help with frozen AC condenser.

I have a Cruisair Turbo 16k BTU AC and the condenser is freezing up when running in cool mode. At this point only room temp air is being pushed out. Local Cruisair guy is most unreliable so reaching out to the community.

Any ideas?

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Old 02-11-2016, 14:38   #2
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Re: Help with frozen AC condenser.

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Originally Posted by EvilRabbit View Post
I have a Cruisair Turbo 16k BTU AC and the condenser is freezing up when running in cool mode. At this point only room temp air is being pushed out. Local Cruisair guy is most unreliable so reaching out too the community.
===

That is frequently a symptom of low gas pressure. You'll need to find someone with a gauge set and recharging capability. If your condenser fins are dust clogged that could cause the problem also due to restricted air flow.
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Old 02-11-2016, 14:41   #3
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Re: Help with frozen AC condenser.

First check air flow, your condenser is water cooled, but your evaporator fins could be clogged, or a clogged filter.
Most of the time it's a lack of airflow that causes the evaporator to freeze up, when that happens all you can do is turn it off and wait for it to thaw.
It could be low refrigerant, but I would make sure there is plenty or air moving over the evaporator first.
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Old 02-11-2016, 14:43   #4
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Re: Help with frozen AC condenser.

If it's a dirty evaporator there is cleaner just for that you spray it on the coils and just wait. You can buy this at any HVAC supply house, sometimes called evaporator boil as some do boil like the bathtub scrubbing bubbles stuff
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Old 02-11-2016, 18:18   #5
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Re: Help with frozen AC condenser.

When I worked in HVAC and we cleaned coils it was only with a very mild soap and a soft bristled toothbrush. I've heard the spray on stuff is pretty good too, but it wasn't around back then. Like other's before have said CFM over the coil is important. If it is indeed low on coolant, there is a leak somewhere. Likely at a fill valve. If you just charge it sooner or later you will be right back where you are. You're going to want to find and repair the leak first.

Just a side note: If it uses 401A it can be found at automotive stores pretty cheap. Overcharging is worse than undercharging, so keep that in mind. If you do the repair yourself, make sure you use safety precautions and have an evacuation route cleared out should you need to wait for the area to vent.

If it uses any other form of freon you're going to need someone with the right tools and a freon card to fix it. If it's leaking gas it's probably leaking oil too.
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Old 02-11-2016, 22:00   #6
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Re: Help with frozen AC condenser.

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Just a side note: If it uses 401A it can be found at automotive stores pretty cheap.
===

The only coolant that I've seen in automotive stores is 134A, and as far as I know, it is the only coolant that can be purchased without a permit/license.
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Old 03-11-2016, 06:20   #7
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Re: Help with frozen AC condenser.

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Originally Posted by wayne.b View Post
===

The only coolant that I've seen in automotive stores is 134A, and as far as I know, it is the only coolant that can be purchased without a permit/license.


You're right. Had a brain freeze.
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Old 03-11-2016, 07:05   #8
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Re: Help with frozen AC condenser.

If its like the three that I have had, none have service ports.
I guess you have to break into the system and add them, of course that means pulling a hard vacuum for an extended time too.


Now that I think about it for a second, My Cruiseair had a speed control for the fan, a rheostat that you could turn fan speed down, of course if you turned it down more than just a tiny bit it would freeze up, does your have the fan speed control, and are you running it slower than wide open, cause its noisy at high speed?
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Old 03-11-2016, 07:11   #9
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Re: Help with frozen AC condenser.

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If its like the three that I have had, none have service ports.
I guess you have to break into the system and add them, of course that means pulling a hard vacuum for an extended time too.

That also means it is likely a low pressure system that uses refrigerant that you can't buy off the shelf in most countries. The pierce type fittings will also likely leak over time. If this is the case, it's worth the bucks to call a licensed contractor who will do it right the first time and can check for the leaks with a leak detector. Systems without a fitting usually hold less than 5lbs of freon and are typically portable.

I still don't know why I said 401A last night? I must have been very tired. 401 is used in commercial freezers, the walk in type. I don't think it is still in production anymore.
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Old 03-11-2016, 07:39   #10
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Re: Help with frozen AC condenser.

According the the manufacturer the turbo series uses 410A. It says that these are portable units so taking it to an appliance repair or AC repair shop is reasonably possible. It also means that in most countries you need a license to obtain the freon.

Here is the guide

Your model may differ depending on the year it was manufactured.

The OP who posted about airflow made a very valid point. If it doesn't have enough CFM across the coil it is going to rapidly freeze up. Having a high humidity makes this even worse. I'm unsure why they would even put such a control on the unit. It's efficiency changes rapidly when you change the CFM away from it's optimal settings. Too fast and the air doesn't have time to exchange heat to the coil and too slow the coil freezes. As ice builds on the coil it reduces CFM even more. Keeping the coil clean and free of dust, hair, or any debris is imperative to optimal operation.

When HEPA filters started getting popular we got thousands of calls to go service units that were freezing up. The new filters were so thick that as soon as they began to accumulate any dust they would stop airflow. We had to explain to the client that the old units they had were just not capable of producing enough CFM with the greater restriction of the new filters and to go back to using the cheaper filter. Those new filters were several times more expensive costing close to $30 as compared to $2 for the original filters. The homeowners were not amused. $30 filters ended up costing them a $200 service bill. It was a hard lesson learned for many of them.

I'm curious to know how much water the drain pans hold for your unit and how you go about getting rid of the water. I had a portable AC unit that would produce about 15 gallons of water a day here in Florida. I would put the unit on the counter in my kitchen and let it drain into the sink. If I let the self contained holding tank try to do the job it would shut down in about two hours until it was emptied. Do you let it drain into the bilge?
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Old 03-11-2016, 07:57   #11
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Re: Help with frozen AC condenser.

All boat AC's that I have been around drain the condensate to either the bilge, or in my case to the shower drain, then it's pumped overboard.
However there is a neat venturi that will suck the condensate out of the drain pan and it goes overboard with the water that the system uses to cool the condenser. Way too expensive and it like everything has possible downsides so I stick with draining to to my shower drain
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Old 03-11-2016, 09:58   #12
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Re: Help with frozen AC condenser.

my cruisaire decided to shut down when I wanted to run the heater today... starts the pump and fan, then clicks 3 times and shuts off and shuts off the controller display. after a few seconds the display comes back on.

the main pump is working because my aft unit works fine and both units are fed by the same pump. also uses the same dockside 120VAC supply.
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Old 03-11-2016, 10:33   #13
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Re: Help with frozen AC condenser.

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Originally Posted by Symphony View Post
my cruisaire decided to shut down when I wanted to run the heater today... starts the pump and fan, then clicks 3 times and shuts off and shuts off the controller display. after a few seconds the display comes back on.

the main pump is working because my aft unit works fine and both units are fed by the same pump. also uses the same dockside 120VAC supply.
There is a similar thread on another board I was reading that stated this was caused by a failure in the pump relay board. The failure ultimately led to burnt components on the main control board. They symptoms are identical to those you are having.

Here is the exchange that they had with one of the dealers. Looks like their repair was expensive. I would say that replacing components would be much cheaper and yield the same results. Initially they felt it was a power issue with a bad connection. I would follow the same elimination process that they did.

Do you have any error codes or is the display dimmed out?
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Old 03-11-2016, 11:11   #14
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Re: Help with frozen AC condenser.

Thanks, Solace.
Good link to air conditioning forum. That will give me some ideas to try.

My display goes totally dark, buttons and numbers, then returns fully on after 3 or 4 secs. No error code.
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Old 03-11-2016, 11:18   #15
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Re: Help with frozen AC condenser.

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Thanks, Solace.
Good link to air conditioning forum. That will give me some ideas to try.

My display goes totally dark, buttons and numbers, then returns fully on after 3 or 4 secs. No error code.
That's pretty much the same condition the other OP had with his. Hope the information is useful to resolve your problem. The company seems to be pretty helpful too, so you may try to give them a call too. They may be able to supply a schematic of the boards so if you have charred components you can order them and make a very economical repair that is right up there with replacement at a huge savings. Don't be afraid to heat up the soldering iron. It's hard to break an already broken board. I use Jameco or Mouser when I'm ordering electrical components. They both have a huge selection. After you've made your repair you may consider spraying with a hydrophobic solution that will waterproof it.

It's not rocket science by any stretch and you don't even have to understand the circuit to repair it. They offer both surface mount and through hole components at both places. I will caution that surface mount is a huge pain to work on and without the right equipment and a very good magnifier impossible for shaking hands. Through hole parts are much easier. A good piston driven solder sucker will save you hours of frustration and is usually under $10.

Hope you get it fixed before winter sets in where you are so you'll have a nice toasty cabin.
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