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Refrigerator

RitSim

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Jan 29, 2018
76
Beneteau 411 Irish Ayes II Branford
I had and older (20 yr) Adler Barbour unit on board that failed. The older compressors have 4 pins for connection, the newer ones have three pins. This website has good troubleshooting info ( Old Adler Barbour Trouble ) but I contacted him and he doesn't have any more 4-pin controllers. There is a site in England? Frigo? that has replacement 4-pin controllers (approx $250 plug export and shipping) US controllers are much more. In the end, it was my decision to replace the compressor and controller. I didn't want to spend $250-300 only to find that my compressor was aging and need to replace the compressor and the module in a few years. I bought a compressor, dryer, and dual voltage module on-line. Had someone silver braze them in place. As was mentioned above, the R134A is readily available at auto parts stores. Gauges for fill- $25 on E bay, Dual voltage controller (12VDC and 120 VAC) $235 on E bay, Dryer $10 on E bay or Amazon, Compressor- $223 on Amazon. So none of this works if you have a gross system leak. If you hire a refer tech for an initial vacuum check, brazing and final vacuum and fill, you should be way ahead cost wise.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,325
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
The thermostat will turn the compressor on and off.
The setting on the thermostat, low or high, doesn't seem to change anything
The compressor appears to turn on. I've been unable to hear any fan activity, but the marina is not a quiet environment
Try putting your hand on the top of the compressor. You should be able to feel it shake when it turns on. Does it stay on?

Above you got some good advice on the heatsink, fan and dust. Also the fuse. How are you with a multimeter? This is heavily involved in the next few things.

With the refer off at the breaker, remove both fuses and check for continuity with the multimeter. If all is good, put them back. If one is bad then replace and see if that fixed the issue.

I've tried a mirror. I've not detected any LED light, either on, or off.
In the picture of the compressor, the LED is next to the fuses. If you zoom in on the pic it has an arrow and the description of what the light tells you. The LED is not very bright.

The next test i would do is to check the voltage at the green strip below the fuses. The top two wires are the positive and negative from the electrical panel. What is the voltage with the refer off? What does it drop to when you turn it on?

Evaporator picture: It only gets cold on the side adjacent to the wires/pipes. The rest of it stays room temp
How do you defrost the fridge?

You have gotten some good advice if you need to change out the compressor and evaporator plate. Recently we went through this on a friends boat. Because you can buy precharged equipment now it was the same cost to buy the new unit as it was to have a tech come out and fix it. But i dont think you are there yet.
 

KZW

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May 17, 2014
683
Catalina 310 #307 Bluewater Bay, FL
Thanks for the info on the lines being pre-charged.

Just got back from the boat.
Checked the compressor.
-- LED off
-- Compressor running

Turned off refrigerator at the power panel. Admiral turned it on while I stuck my head in the hatch and held a mirror to look at the LED.
-- Compressor turned on immediately
-- Approx 0.5 to 1.0 sec later the fan turned on. Compressor continued to run
-- Waited more than 5 minutes. LED never illuminated
-- The coils looked reasonably clean. Difficult to determine in the dark (I dropped the flashlight twice - rather difficult to recover it).

So, either the LED is inoperative (unlikely) or the Compressor is working OK
One then assumes a problem with the Evaporator or control unit. It is only getting cold on one of the four surfaces with channels in it.

Does one need to remove the Evaporator from the wall to look at the input lines?
 

KZW

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May 17, 2014
683
Catalina 310 #307 Bluewater Bay, FL
"How do you defrost the fridge?"

- That has not been an issue for the past few months.
- Previously, when significant frost built up, I'd turn the refrigerator off, wait for the fronts/ice to melt away (overnight), wipe down the refrigerator, then pump the water out with the shower pump
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,325
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
Thanks for the info on the lines being pre-charged.

Just got back from the boat.
Checked the compressor.
-- LED off
-- Compressor running

Turned off refrigerator at the power panel. Admiral turned it on while I stuck my head in the hatch and held a mirror to look at the LED.
-- Compressor turned on immediately
-- Approx 0.5 to 1.0 sec later the fan turned on. Compressor continued to run
-- Waited more than 5 minutes. LED never illuminated
-- The coils looked reasonably clean. Difficult to determine in the dark (I dropped the flashlight twice - rather difficult to recover it).

So, either the LED is inoperative (unlikely) or the Compressor is working OK
One then assumes a problem with the Evaporator or control unit. It is only getting cold on one of the four surfaces with channels in it.

Does one need to remove the Evaporator from the wall to look at the input lines?
I would move to the multimeter testing next. You need to see what the voltage drop is when the compressor turns on.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,325
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
"How do you defrost the fridge?"

- That has not been an issue for the past few months.
- Previously, when significant frost built up, I'd turn the refrigerator off, wait for the fronts/ice to melt away (overnight), wipe down the refrigerator, then pump the water out with the shower pump
Good. That is the correct way. Using anything to break up the ice can put a hole in the compressor and you would loose refrigerant.

Removing the evaporator would be last on my list. I wouldn't want to risk damaging the tubes. I would check with an inspection mirror or even better, go grab a cheap Bluetooth scope camera. Wish I had one.
 
Mar 20, 2016
310
Beneteau 351 WYC Whitby
If your getting lots of ice build up make sure the seals around the door are good and like I tell my wife ,don't stand there with the door open humid air causes the ice build up get in and get out
 
Jun 15, 2012
515
Hunter 50 AC Greenport, NY
Had a similar problem with freezer factory installed on Hunter 41. All that was needed was a small charge of R-134a. You will need a line tap,
such as Supco BPV3, a gauge such as Aupoko R134A AC Refrigerant Charge Hose Kit and some R-134a, all available at Amazon. Easy to follow instructions are available on Youtube.
Line tap installs with 3 screws, 5 minute job.
 

KZW

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May 17, 2014
683
Catalina 310 #307 Bluewater Bay, FL
I would move to the multimeter testing next. You need to see what the voltage drop is when the compressor turns on.
Turn the charger off (dock power). Then put a meter across the terminals of the refrigerator switch, or watch the digital volt meter on the battery bank when the compressor turns on. How much drop should there be?
 

KZW

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May 17, 2014
683
Catalina 310 #307 Bluewater Bay, FL
Had a similar problem with freezer factory installed on Hunter 41. All that was needed was a small charge of R-134a. You will need a line tap,
such as Supco BPV3, a gauge such as Aupoko R134A AC Refrigerant Charge Hose Kit and some R-134a, all available at Amazon. Easy to follow instructions are available on Youtube.
Line tap installs with 3 screws, 5 minute job.
R134a
Amazon.com: FJC 685 Refrigerant - 13 oz.: Gateway

BPV31
Amazon.com: SUPCO BPV31 OR TJ90BPV31 GENUINE FACTORY OEM ORIGINAL BULLET PIERCING VALVE FOR 1/4â€, 5/16†AND 3/8†TUBING: Home Improvement
Is this what connects the hose (below) to the compressor service point (It would be nice where the compressor service point is located)
(or, does this pierce the copper line and then become a permanent part of the system?)

Hose / Gauge
Amazon.com: Aupoko R134A AC Refrigerant Charge Hose Kit, 1/2’’ Acme Can Opener Tap Dispensing Valve, and Recharge Hose with Pressure Gauge, Fits for Car AC Air Conditioning Refrigerant: Automotive

When I touch a tool, there is no such thing as a five-minute job. There is the job I started to do, the job I need to do because I broke something, and the job I noticed that needed doing when I started the first one.

From the Cold Machine Manual:
Slowly open the service manifold valve and allow refrigerant vapor to enter the refrigerant circuit. Allow the pressure to equalize through the gauge set. Close the gauge set valve.
(Where is the “manifold valve? I’m presuming this is a valve in the refrigerant line. The question is where does this line connect to the compressor and is there a valve on the compressor)

Turn the thermostat knob to its middle position, about “3” or “4”. The fan should come on and a few seconds later the compressor should start. When the compressor starts, the suction pressure gauge reading will go down. 
(I assume this is the gauge on the hose). When the gauge reading approaches zero, open the service manifold valve briefly to allow more refrigerant vapor to enter the system.

Keep regulating the valve to try to maintain about 10 psig on the gauge. Add refrigerant slowly (a few seconds at a time) and allow the pressure to stabilize before adding more. Only add refrigerant when the pressure is below 10 psig.

Check the evaporator near where the tubing enters it to see if there is frost forming. At some point, frost will begin to form and slowly spread around the evaporator.

Keep adding refrigerant slowly until about 1/4 of the evaporator is frosted. The low-pressure reading should be about 8 to 10 psig when the evaporator is 1/4 frosted.

Allow the system to run until the thermostat turns it off. The evaporator should be fully frosted, and the suction pressure reading should be around 4 to 6 psig.

Close the refrigerant cylinder valve, back seat the condensing unit suction base valve and remove the hoses from the refrigerant cylinder and base valve. Install the base valve stem covers (plastic) on the base valves and tighten with an appropriate wrench. Install the caps (brass) on the upper ports of the condensing unit base valves and tighten with
a wrench.
 
Jul 23, 2009
296
Beneteau 88 First 285 Grand Lake, Oklahoma
Your unit my already have a service port for adding freon. The picture you posted has one, the service port almost dead center of the photo.
Check the battery voltage at the BATT + - terminals with the unit running.
 
Jun 15, 2012
515
Hunter 50 AC Greenport, NY
KZW, if you unit already has a service port, you will not need the bullet piercing valve. YES, the bullet valve (or the service port) will act as the attaching point for the charging hose. It can be left on as a permanent part of the system.

I suggest you watch this video and others on youtube, How to Add Freon To Your Refrigerator 134a
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,325
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
Turn the charger off (dock power). Then put a meter across the terminals of the refrigerator switch, or watch the digital volt meter on the battery bank when the compressor turns on. How much drop should there be?
You need to do the reading at the compressor. If you have a bad wire or connection then you can't tell by looking at the digital volt meter/battery monitor.

Turning off the shore power charger shouldn't matter much. You are comparing the reading before the compressor is turned on to when the compressor is running. If you see 13.9 volts before turning on the compressor and 13.1 after, not too much of an issue. But if it goes to 10-11 then you have a problem.
 
Jun 15, 2012
515
Hunter 50 AC Greenport, NY
My guess is that this is not an electrical problem, but checking the voltage as JK suggests is a good idea. 80 percent of refrigeration issues are electrical, but if the unit only partially cools I bet it's r-134.
 
Feb 26, 2004
20,927
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
The older compressors have 4 pins for connection, the newer ones have three pins. This website has good troubleshooting info ( Old Adler Barbour Trouble ) but I contacted him and he doesn't have any more 4-pin controllers. There is a site in England? Frigo? that has replacement 4-pin controllers (approx $250 plug export and shipping) US controllers are much more.
I bought a 4 pin connector from rParts in Santa Cruz, CA in August of 2016 for less than $250 including s/h. It's still working on my 32 year old fridge. I posted about rParts on this forum, search would find it.
Know you finished your work, but this is for others.
 
Dec 28, 2015
694
Laser, Hunter H30 Standard Tacoma
If your getting lots of ice build up make sure the seals around the door are good and like I tell my wife ,don't stand there with the door open humid air causes the ice build up get in and get out
I left the plug out of my drain and it really lets the cold air out while drawing warm moist air in from the top. Everything was frosted over.
 

rukidn

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Apr 23, 2012
98
Catalina 310 Sandusky, OH
Does one need to remove the Evaporator from the wall to look at the input lines?
Yes. Shortie Phillips. You can cut off the black foam insulation to expose tubes. You are likely so low that soap wouldn’t show leak. Any leak that would bubble is huge anyway. You can run compressor and see where cold if any.
 

KZW

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May 17, 2014
683
Catalina 310 #307 Bluewater Bay, FL
I left the plug out of my drain and it really lets the cold air out while drawing warm moist air in from the top. Everything was frosted over.
There is a plug for the drain hole? I've had the boat for 5 years. No plug, just and open hole!!! How big in diameter (I can feel the drain hole, but cannot see it.
 

KZW

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May 17, 2014
683
Catalina 310 #307 Bluewater Bay, FL
On battery power, voltage drop the refrigerator switched on is 0.2 - 0.3 VDC.
Per the post above, I cannot see where the coolant line enters the evaporator as that is between the evaporator and the wall of the refrigerator.
My compressor has what appears to be a coolant fill line. It has a dust cap and a hexagonal fixture, which I presume is a valve. Does anyone know which way to turn it to open the valve?

It appears the best way forward is to add a bit of coolant and see if things start to work.
Sorry about the fuzzy picture. It is dark back there and difficult to hold the camera steady through the hatch
 

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Last edited:
Dec 28, 2015
694
Laser, Hunter H30 Standard Tacoma
There is a plug for the drain hole? I've had the boat for 5 years. No plug, just and open hole!!! How big in diameter (I can feel the drain hole, but cannot see it.
I got a plug like you would use for a bilge drain and put it in it. My drain is visible and out in the open.