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Old 09-09-2019, 19:31   #1
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Looking for help troubleshooting Danfoss BD35 on Norcold DE-0041R

This fridge is driving me nuts!
It's a 2012 NorCold DE-0041R. 12/24DC and also runs on 120VAC when connected to shore power or generator.
Symptoms:
-not cooling. When turned on (either AC or DC), fan runs, can hear compressor humming, but doesn't cool. It will run continuously for hours with no change.
Diagnostic LED for problem codes: no flashes.
Replaced the thermostat: No change.
Bypassed relay: No change
Checked power at both 120VAC & 12V. Both are good
Fridge has never been serviced, so not over-charged (no valves anyway)
Replaced control module w/ new Danfoss 101N0510.....It did seem to cool a bit, but next day was warm again.

Don't know what else to do but replace the whole unit, which is going to be a PITA because it won't fit through the door without some dis-assembly.

Is it possible that the new controller is bad? Thought that would fix it for sure.

Anything I'm missing?
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Old 09-09-2019, 20:03   #2
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Re: Looking for help troubleshooting Danfoss BD35 on Norcold DE-0041R

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Rover View Post
This fridge is driving me nuts!
It's a 2012 NorCold DE-0041R. 12/24DC and also runs on 120VAC when connected to shore power or generator.
Symptoms:
-not cooling. When turned on (either AC or DC), fan runs, can hear compressor humming, but doesn't cool. It will run continuously for hours with no change.
Diagnostic LED for problem codes: no flashes.
Replaced the thermostat: No change.
Bypassed relay: No change
Checked power at both 120VAC & 12V. Both are good
Fridge has never been serviced, so not over-charged (no valves anyway)
Replaced control module w/ new Danfoss 101N0510.....It did seem to cool a bit, but next day was warm again.

Don't know what else to do but replace the whole unit, which is going to be a PITA because it won't fit through the door without some dis-assembly.

Is it possible that the new controller is bad? Thought that would fix it for sure.

Anything I'm missing?
The problem can be either electrical or loss of refrigerant. First you must confirm compressor is running after it is running for more than 30 minutes is compressor warm? Are you able to read amperage? If amperage is less than 3 amps refrigerant in unit is gone. With no cooling and amperage of more than 4 amps I would run a new temporary ground wire from module direct to battery ground. A poor ground on the BD35 compressor will allow compressor to run but at a very low speed.
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Old 09-09-2019, 20:15   #3
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Re: Looking for help troubleshooting Danfoss BD35 on Norcold DE-0041R

Quote:
The problem can be either electrical or loss of refrigerant. First you must confirm compressor is running after it is running for more than 30 minutes is compressor warm? Are you able to read amperage? If amperage is less than 3 amps refrigerant in unit is gone. With no cooling and amperage of more than 4 amps I would run a new temporary ground wire from module direct to battery ground. A poor ground on the BD35 compressor will allow compressor to run but at a very low speed.
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After the compressor is on for 30 minutes it is warm to touch.

I don't see any evidence of refrigerant leak. Can the refrigerant leak out without leaving any oily residue, etc.?

How can I check the amperage when compressor is running?

I'm not terribly electrical savvy, so not sure how to read amperage. There is an Amp meter on the breaker panel on the boat. Would Amperage be displayed there?

It does seem to be running at a slow speed. The fan is louder than the compressor, which is making a low humming sound.

I can try the wire direct from battery to controller tomorrow. Do I just connect it right to the "-" terminal on the controller?


Thank you for your help!!
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:18   #4
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Re: Looking for help troubleshooting Danfoss BD35 on Norcold DE-0041R

Many times the panel meter is for AC and not DC. If it is a DC meter the scale would need to show the difference between 2 and 3 amps and 4 and 5 amps. Loss of refrigerant below 3 amps and no cooling would be indicated on a BD35 compressors and normal amperage of 4 to 5 amps with no cooling might be caused by a poor ground connection.

Amperage is measured with a amp meter connected in series to the units power wiring or with a clamp on meter over power wire.

The most likely loss of cooling with compressor running is going to be loss of almost all refrigerant do to a leak. And no, small leaks of refrigerant are rarely visible.

I believe your best solution would be to get help from a refrigeration technician that has experience with small compressor systems. The odds of a poor ground is one in one hundred as it has only shown up on a few of these variable speed compressors.

You may be better off contacting a local RV repair shop for assistance sense that unit is designed for use in RVs.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:11   #5
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Re: Looking for help troubleshooting Danfoss BD35 on Norcold DE-0041R

Just a thought---- your compressor has a motor, which has brushes. Have you checked the brushes? I have a Seafrost system with a large compressor and have replaced brushes when performance dropped.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:26   #6
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Re: Looking for help troubleshooting Danfoss BD35 on Norcold DE-0041R

Hi, I agree with Richard, it sounds like loss of refrigerant gas, there is not a lot of gas in a small system and a slow loss over time would not be noticed and may not leave much evidence. Throwing new parts at it is a mistake, just get a qualified refrigeration technician to fault find and fix it. He will check for gas, if no gas, pressure rest to find the leak, then hopefully fix it. Sometimes the compressors are not serviceable so it may require a new unit. However, once he is done you will have a fully functioning fridge. Good luck, Colin
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:33   #7
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Re: Looking for help troubleshooting Danfoss BD35 on Norcold DE-0041R

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Originally Posted by sailing_gal View Post
Just a thought---- your compressor has a motor, which has brushes. Have you checked the brushes? I have a Seafrost system with a large compressor and have replaced brushes when performance dropped.
The compressor in this unit is brush less and condenser fan motor is also brush less.
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Old 10-09-2019, 16:49   #8
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Re: Looking for help troubleshooting Danfoss BD35 on Norcold DE-0041R

Are you sure the compressor runs and stays running?
Disconnect the fan and observe for a few minutes to be sure.
When you do confirm it stays running, can you hear anything at the evaporator plate? Like hissing/gurgling?
How old is it?
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:20   #9
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Re: Looking for help troubleshooting Danfoss BD35 on Norcold DE-0041R

Are you sure the compressor runs and stays running?
Disconnect the fan and observe for a few minutes to be sure.
When you do confirm it stays running, can you hear anything at the evaporator plate? Like hissing/gurgling?
How old is it?

When I disconnect the fan, I can definitely hear the compressor run, but it seems to be running slow. It gets warm after 15-20mins. I have heard a faint hissing/gurgling sound doming from the evaporator plate on occasion. The fridge runs on AC or DC. Last night I ran an extension cord from outside the boat to the fridge and it behaved the same as when connected to AC or DC on the boat, so I don't think the ground is my problem.

I have found a technician who will find leak, install valve & re-charge system for $4-500. I think I can buy a new fridge for about $1100, so may just do that, rather than take the chance that this one will operate correctly after re-charge.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:09   #10
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Re: Looking for help troubleshooting Danfoss BD35 on Norcold DE-0041R

Are you sure that your unit does not have a refrigerant service fitting? The BD 35 compressor system's sold after the 1996 clean air act regulations went into affect requiring all refrigerators to be equipped with service fittings.

Before you buy a new refrigerator try replacing the ground wire as I suggested. New jumper wire ground would go from battery ground post direct to Danfoss 500 module negative terminal bypassing voltage converter.

If you confirm that the grounding circuit is not your problem and want to add service valve and refrigerant yourself let me know.
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Old 11-09-2019, 13:19   #11
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Re: Looking for help troubleshooting Danfoss BD35 on Norcold DE-0041R

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Kollmann View Post
Are you sure that your unit does not have a refrigerant service fitting? The BD 35 compressor system's sold after the 1996 clean air act regulations went into affect requiring all refrigerators to be equipped with service fittings.

Before you buy a new refrigerator try replacing the ground wire as I suggested. New jumper wire ground would go from battery ground post direct to Danfoss 500 module negative terminal bypassing voltage converter.

If you confirm that the grounding circuit is not your problem and want to add service valve and refrigerant yourself let me know.
/Users/kenfinnegan/Library/Containers/com.apple.Preview/Data/Downloads/compressor.jpg


I assume that the top left copper tube would be where a refrigerant service valve could be added?

I'll try the ground wire now and report back shortly.
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Old 11-09-2019, 14:07   #12
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Re: Looking for help troubleshooting Danfoss BD35 on Norcold DE-0041R

Connected ground wire directly from battery (13.4v) negative terminal to Negative "-" DC terminal on Danfoss control box. Turned on fridge. Can hear compressor running, but no cooling. Left on for 15mins with no change.
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Old 11-09-2019, 15:03   #13
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Re: Looking for help troubleshooting Danfoss BD35 on Norcold DE-0041R

I just checked the fridge again. It's been on probably 30-40mins. There was some minimal cooling in the freezer and the compressor was warm to touch.

I would like to try charging the system myself and definitely need some guidance.

-Is using 134A w/ UV a logical way to attempt to find a leak?

-If I can find a leak, how do I fix it?

-What type of valve do I need to install on the copper suction pipe? Is there a compression fitting to accomplish this?

-I have a 3 hose set from home HVAC units. Will that work for this application?
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Old 11-09-2019, 15:34   #14
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Re: Looking for help troubleshooting Danfoss BD35 on Norcold DE-0041R

Now you have confirmed that refrigerant is the problem The picture shows an excellent spot for a self piercing refrigerant service port above compressor. https://www.google.com/search?ei=-29...iz.vVapEWQlabE

Adding the cost of $30 for refrigerant and necessary fittings to add refrigerant you might get unit to cool but finding and repairing leak is the real problem.
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Old 11-09-2019, 16:15   #15
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Re: Looking for help troubleshooting Danfoss BD35 on Norcold DE-0041R

Thanks Richard!!

I've ordered the bullet piercing valve. Does that get installed on the left side suction pipe between the 90degree bend and the crimp? I found your step by step directions on how to re-charge a BD35, so I can follow that easily enough.

-Hope to have cold beer again without lugging the Yeti down to the boat!

I'll try to find the leak with either the UV 134A or brush & soap method. Maybe its so small that it took years to leak out? Is there a preferred method to repair leak, if I can locate it?
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