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post #1 of 8 Old 09-07-2003 Thread Starter
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Refrigeration Help

The Adler/Barbour Super Cold Machine on my recently purchased boat is circa 1985 vintage. The original installation appears to have been professionally done, there are no restrictions in the air or water cooling, the compressor operates, but the evaporator is barely cool to the touch. It has no audible hiss, only a faint gurgling sound.

Anyone have experience with recharging the refrigerant in this vintage? Is it even possible with more recent EPA restrictions?

I welcome any/all comments. Mike
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-07-2003
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Refrigeration Help

Sounds like your out of refrigerant. What refrigerant is it? If it is R-12, you''ll have a problem (in the U.S.) getting hold of it for recharging. If it is R-134a, you won''t have any problems, as it is available at any auto parts store.

I had a 1984 R-12 system that was empty. I pulled a vacuum and installed Enviro-Safe with great success. It is enviromentally friendly, available, and works great. There are other products, like Hot Shot out there, so you are not out of business.

First, determine which refrigerant and how much it uses and if it has any ports for recharging. Then, go to an auto parts store and buy yourself a manifold gauge set to fit it. Get your hands on some refrigerant and set to recharging.

It is not that difficult. Getting intimate with your system now will provide you with less frustration and more cold drinks down the road.
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-08-2003
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Refrigeration Help

rparts has a really great technical forum that might also help, and a good source for hard-to-find parts. www.rparts.com.


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post #4 of 8 Old 09-08-2003
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Refrigeration Help

I have an IslandPacket 27 and I would like to add a refrig.where the icebox sits. I saw a unit by Technautics that was 12V or diesel and used the same electricity as one light bulb. It is expensive. Does any have any experience with this unit?? Margarete
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-11-2003
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Refrigeration Help

I had the larger Tecnautics unit which was engine driven--compressor and it worked well once the box was cold. I used the freezer unit and then had a spill over into the refrigerator box. I ran it twice a day for approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hrs and had no problem keeping things frozen. The key is to have a well insulated box, keep the freezer compartment full (I always started with frozen food and ice)and to limit the number of times you access the box. Randy at Tecnautics is very helpful and wants his units to be well thought of by cruisers.
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-15-2003
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Refrigeration Help

I just went through a re-do of my boat''s refrig and freezer. For a 12V unit, I would be cautious about "uses the same electricity as a light bulb". There are basic needs for energy to power compressors for refrigeration. Glacier Bay has one of the best technical sections on their web site, and you can estimate your needs, in BTU''s, from that site. Typical for, say, a 5cu ft refrig and 3-4 cu ft freezer, with 4" foam in the refrig and 6" in the freezer is 1800 BTU for the refrig and 3000 for the freezer. This is 4800 total BTU. (Obviously this is just an example--your needs will vary).
The small 12V compressors are virtually all Danfoss, and the daily AH load ranges from 80 to 120, depending on details of lid design, etc. (Again, could be much higher, if insulation or box design is not optimum).

Larger 12V units can do the same job in a shorter time, with higher amp loads, but net out to similar AH daily load. Engine driven units let the main engine provide the power. Both of these drive holding plates that store the cold until the next time the compressors are run--hopefully once a day, or twice a day.
The only unit that may beat the numbers is the newest Glacier Bay unit, which purports to be more efficient than current models, and certainly very powerful. It is described on their web site. I have chatted with them about it, and it seems to be revolutionary. But it is brand new and unproven on boats.
Whatever else, the main determinant of refrig and freezer performance is the quality and thickness of the insulation in the boxes. Good insulation solves a multitude of ills. Poor insulation can kill the best design.
Practical Sailor did a survey of systems a while ago, and most manufacturers were thought of highly by the people using them. Technautics, Sea Frost, Glacier Bay, Adler Barbour, etc.
In my own case, I made my decisions before the newest Glacier Bay unit came out. Also I had plenty of DC power (900 AH battery Bank and multiple charging methods). So I used separate Adler Barbour Danfoss 12V systems for the refrig and freezer, with evaporator plates. I am pleased with the results.
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-16-2003
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Refrigeration Help

Hi, Keeping the box full seems to be very important,as mentioned earlier. Adding permanent insulation is very difficult & expensive in most cases. I''ve tried something very simple with excellent results.
I filled zip-lock bags with foam shipping peanuts. I fill in empty areas of the box with these bags.I have cold plates & I get a minimum of 24 hours between charges,with 30-36 hours not uncommon. This is in hot weather too. A little inconvenient,but very effective & cheap
Marc
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-23-2003
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Refrigeration Help

If you have a set of gauges, you can check the charge. If the low side pressure drops below about 25 psi and no cooling, then you are possibly low on charge.(I said possibly) If the unit is R-12, you can recharge with Hot Shot or R-409a,which works well. The unit may have a sight glass that will show when the unit is fully charged. When there are no more bubbles in the glass, it is charged.
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