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  #1  
Old 06-12-2007
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Adler-Barbour Refrigeration one blinking light

Hi,
I have Adler-Barbour Refrigeration on my 1983 Catalina 30 sail boat. It was new about four years ago. It have never worked correctly since I have owned the boat. That has been three years. It works fine at the dock. Before it took about four hours after I went off shore power it to start flashing. Just recently I replaced my house batteries with two type 31 deep cell marine batteries. The have a combined (set in series to act as one battery) 260 amp hours. Now my Adler-Barbour Refrigeration show a light about every four seconds when off shore power for an hour. This error code means “Low Voltage”. How could this be?
I have a multimeter and if I put it on the batteries what should the meter read? 12-13 volts for full charge. Would 6 volts mean they are half charged 130 amps?
What should the meter read if I put it on the Adler-Barbour Refrigeration line in from the batteries or where ever it is coming from. Any other ideas why this is happening? The batteries and Adler-Barbour Refrigeration where both installed by professionals. The Adler-Barbour Refrigeration was just recently charged.
Thanks,
Chip
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Old 06-12-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanDiegoChip
Hi,
I have Adler-Barbour Refrigeration on my 1983 Catalina 30 sail boat. It was new about four years ago. It have never worked correctly since I have owned the boat. That has been three years. It works fine at the dock. Before it took about four hours after I went off shore power it to start flashing. Just recently I replaced my house batteries with two type 31 deep cell marine batteries. The have a combined (set in series to act as one battery) 260 amp hours. Now my Adler-Barbour Refrigeration show a light about every four seconds when off shore power for an hour. This error code means “Low Voltage”. How could this be?
Those two Type 31 deep cycle batteries best be combined in parallel, if you're running a 12VDC system. Combining them in series would give you 24 VDC, rather than 12, and only give you 130 Amp-hours @ 24 volts.

Quote:
I have a multimeter and if I put it on the batteries what should the meter read? 12-13 volts for full charge. Would 6 volts mean they are half charged 130 amps?
Fully charged 12 VDC batteries should read about 12.7 VDC. See the table here.
Quote:
What should the meter read if I put it on the Adler-Barbour Refrigeration line in from the batteries or where ever it is coming from. Any other ideas why this is happening? The batteries and Adler-Barbour Refrigeration where both installed by professionals. The Adler-Barbour Refrigeration was just recently charged.
Thanks,
Chip
The input lines to the refrigeration system should read about the same as what the voltmeter reads directly across the battery terminals... since it should be connected using wiring that will keep the voltage drop to less than 5%.

Just remember that someone can be both a professional and completely incompetent. Being a professional does not in any way mean they are qualified or any good at what they do—all it means is that the IRS knows they charge money and get paid to do it.
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Old 06-12-2007
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Chip,

The Adler Barbour Cold Machine is a VERY reliable machine....one of the most reliable pieces of equipment on a boat.

If you're getting a low voltage indication, you need to find out why. First, check the voltage at the batteries, using a good digital multimeter. As SD said, a fully charged battery should read 12.6-12.7 volts. With the 6A load on it occasioned by the A-B compressor, you might see 12.5 or so for the first couple of hours.

Then, check the voltage at the frig, if you can.

Depending on the quality of insulation in your refrigerator, and the ambient temperature around the compressor, you'll find the unit will draw somewhere between about 50AH and 80AH over a 24-hour period.

Only about 50% of the rated capacity of deep cycle batteries should be used on a routine basis. Thus if you have 260AH total, only about 130AH should be used, drawing your batteries down to 50% charge or about 12.2 volts.

IMO, 260AH is really not enough to run electric refrigeration...certainly not for very long. And, presumably, there are other drains on the batteries as well -- lights, stereo, navigation equipment, computer, etc.

Bill
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Great suggestions

I will hard wire larger wires directly to the batteries. Also I will put an amp gauge in to monitor the amps.
The batteries are mounted in such a way as to be one battery. So the amp hours are combined. The 260 number should give my wife and I enough amp hours to run the fridge for two full days without a charge. I will be lookin for the 12.6-12.7 volts on the batteries.
We do have high output alternator with a smart regulator so we can run the engine say an hour or so each day for amps. We normally do not use much amps, however things change and we are starting to use the laptop for DVD movies. Now we want to charge the laptop batteries\run laptop off house batteries maybe also a flat screen monitor! I even bought a 350 watt inverter from Radio Shack. What has it all come too. Used to be we read and played the guitar.
Thanks
Chip
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I'd have to agree, depending on how big the refrigerator is, that the house bank you've got sounds like it is really undersized, especially if you want to use the refrigerator for two days without re-charging.
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Old 06-12-2007
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A recent vintage AB should draw not more than 6 amps when running so an hour of run time will NOT deplete anything.
Ummmm...your batteries are dead and either won't hold a charge OR are not getting a charge correctly is my guess. The other possibility is corroded connections. I know you just got your batteries...but if they are not charged correctly or filled with fluid they can be destroyed pretty quickly. Here's how to tell their status....
1. Charge the batteries fully using your dockside power & battery charger. (You do have a marine battery charger right?And it IS 3 stage right? And it is more than a trickle charger right?)
2. Disconnect shore power and turn EVERYTHING OFF for at least 1 hour.
3. Take a reading with your voltmeter...it should be 12.7 or 12.8.
4. Run your fridge for 1 hour. Then turn it off and wait an hour.
5. Take another reading...it should be at least 12.5

Never let your voltage (at no load for an hour) drop below 12.2V as this is HALF charge.

If your batteries are flooded you can use a hydrometer to test each cell. (Looks like a turkey baster. )


To see if voltage is making it to your fridge...compare the voltage reading you took at your battery with the voltage you get at the +/- terminals on the AB compressor with the unit on. There should be no more than a .1V difference.

Last edited by camaraderie; 06-12-2007 at 10:49 PM.
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Cam-

Think the problem is elsewhere as I believe the OP said the batteries are new. However, would still want him to check the water level in the batteries and charge them up properly.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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Old 06-12-2007
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Could these be a pair of 6 Volt batteries, hence the 6 volt reading that Chip implied in his first post?
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Old 06-13-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapadeCaliber40LRC
Could these be a pair of 6 Volt batteries, hence the 6 volt reading that Chip implied in his first post?
I doubt it, since he clearly wrote that they were Group 31 batteries, and I don't believe that there are any Group 31 batteries that are 6 VDC. If they were Golf cart batteries, he'd have more like 220 Amp-hours, since that about what they run in terms of storage.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 06-13-2007
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DeepFrz is an unknown quantity at this point
Chip, I would recommend that you get Nigel Calder's book "Boat owner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual" and do some study.

If (as you implied) you got a 6 volt reading on your batteries then they have been very deeply discharged and may not be recoverable. However there are threads on this and the "Cruiser's Forum" that should help you determine whether or not the batteries have been damaged beyond recovery. Batteries can be damaged very quickly by deeply discharging them or by overcharging.

2 group 31 batteries are marginal for refrigeration even if that is all you are using them for, but you are now trying to use that power for other things and are having trouble. What is the current draw for your 350 watt inverter when you are running your laptop? What else do you use your batteries for? Lights? What kind and how much power do they use? Do you anchor out? What is the power requirement for your anchor light?

You can not recharge a 50% discharged battery bank in 1 hour of engine running. There are other threads here and the Cruiser's forum that will help you understand the nature of battery charging.

What type of shore power battery charger do you have and what is it's capacity? Is it a 3 stage charger?

Lots to learn. Good luck.
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