Recharging refrigerant - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 4 Old 03-14-2012 Thread Starter
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Recharging refrigerant

Hi, I have an older (nevr used and never installed) Adler Barbour DCM-12 ColdMachine unit that is running but is not cooling as I believe it needs recharging refrigerant.
I know that new unnits come precharged from the factory but do both parts e.g. Compressor unit and Frezer unit come charged or it is only the Compressor unit that is charged and when couplings are connected and unit started the refrigerant migrates into the freezer unit as well.
The reason for asking is because I'd like to have ir recharged and then test run in my garage before installing on the boat so when I disconnect the couplings and comnnect them again I will I guess lose a bit of refrigerant, and may need toppong up the refrigerant again.
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post #2 of 4 Old 03-14-2012
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Re: Recharging refrigerant

I am not sure about how the unit is set up but unless it is compatable with how car refrigerant systems are carged I don't think you will be able to get your hands on the refrigerant you need. Might have to call someone licensed to work on HVAC systems.

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post #3 of 4 Old 03-14-2012
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Re: Recharging refrigerant

Petar, If you don't know how to use refrigeration tools, gauges, and how systems work. You most likely will not get it right even if you can find the R-12 to charge it. Most of the systems only hold around 5 ozs. Just putting gauges on an off once will loose 3-4 oz in the hoses alone.

You really really need a strong and steady power source also to make sure the compressor works. the "module' is hyper sensitive to low amps and voltage. If it drops under 5 amps it will shut down.

The connections on most Marine unit lines are designed for connect/disconnect but are known to leak if refrigerant oil isn't used to lube the threads.

How to know if it needs refrigerant without guages; Turn it on... listen for hissing/gurgling in the evaporator after about 5-10 mins. if the Evap gets cold, good.. if only part of it gets cold, give it more time. After a half hour or so, if the Evap is still "starved" you may need refrigerant. Warning! Almost all DIYers overcharge units. An overcharged 12volt compressor will shut down also.
Hope this helps!

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post #4 of 4 Old 03-14-2012
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Re: Recharging refrigerant

Petar, i don't know what refrigerant your system uses but it will be stamped on a plate on the compressor. They are all available, although many techs have simply stopped dealing with R-12. With a street price around $50 per pound, even if your system took a full pound of it that would not be a stopper as long as you find a tech who deals with it.

More problematic is the "presealed" approach. IIRC the company evacuates both halves, prefills them, and then applies piercing seals in the connectors. A local tech will probably NOT have the tools to replace those, so it is a question of installing the system, assembling it, and THEN having it tested, evacuated, and refilled if necessary. Or of course you could take it into their shop and have them check it there.

This is not a DIY job, simply because the one-time purchase of a vacuum pump, gauges and pressure manifold set, all will quickly add up to the price of a technician, before you even ask about the legalities and buying the gas and possibly compressor oil.

The simplest way to test for leaks is to buy some bubblesoap. Swab it liberally over all the tubing and connections, see if the system blows bubbles anyplace when you are running it. If it does--that's the leak. There are more sophisticated ways to leak check, but that one is free, reliable, and simple.
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