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  #1  
Old 10-17-2007
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Catalina 309 Owners...Fridge

I took delivery on my new Catalina 309 this Spring from the Sail Place in Michigan. The fridge is advertised as an AC/DC unit, but I realized back in May that mine's a DC unit. I told my dealer about this right away, but they insisted it's an AC/DC unit.

I pointed out to the dealer that with the shore power connected, and the DC power turned off, the fridge does not run. The dealer said that for the fridge to run in AC mode, the DC must be on (both the main switch AND the refrigerator switch on the DC distrubution panel). I said that makes no sense but they stuck by their story.

I called Waeco, the maker, and they said my fridge model number indicates it's a DC unit, NOT AC/DC. Told the dealer but they weren't convinced. I also told the dealer there's no obvious AC power running to the fridge. They agreed to remove the fridge and find out for sure but couldn't figure out how to remove it. The said they'd get back to me.

The dealer called me back today (been a couple months) and said that they just learned from Catalina that it's NOT an AC/DC fridge...Catalina changed the fridge on hull numbers in the 20's (but their website still says AC/DC). The dealer said that they and Catalina don't intend to remedy it, but suggested that they and I could write letters to Frank Butler.

I think the AC/DC is the better unit, as I can leave my boat at the slip with the DC turned off and the AC on. If somebody kicks my power cord, etc., my fridge will stop running, but it won't run my batteries down.

So.
1. Is this just a substitution of equipment on Catalina's part or an elimination of advertised equipment? Dealer says substitution.
2. Is the AC/DC the better unit?
3. Does YOUR 309 really have AC/DC and do you care?
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2007
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I own 309 #14, and my fridge is definately AC/DC (Waeco/Dometic). Had a lot of problems with it this season, but the dealer finally got it right by having the AC-DC power supply replaced by the Dometic service people. The unit is difficult to remove, requiring the cutting of a piece of teak trim. According to the C309 Owners Forum, there have been a lot of problems with these units, so that may be why they changed them. Now that it works, I agree it's a lot nicer to be able to leave the fridge running on AC in the slip and turn the batteries off.

John Salley
C309 #14, "Nancy Ann"
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  #3  
Old 10-25-2007
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While I don't have a Catalina... I do have an AC/DC refrigerator and would recommend them highly. The Engels seem to work quite well and not use too much power.
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Old 10-25-2007
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C309 #110 here. My fridge is definitely DC. I am on a mooring can so it makes no difference, but when I am on transient docks I have noticed it does not run on AC alone. If someone kicks out your shore power, you're going to have rotten food in lieu of a drained battery. At least the battery gives you a fighting chance to get back to the boat in time. Perhaps the solution is to use the boat more often so you are never in that situation?

How do you like the boat otherwise? Lot of weather helm to get used to but I think it'll get fixed with a decent rig tune next season.
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Old 10-25-2007
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I've owned boats with refers for over 20 years

I don't think it matters. I had a boat with an AC/DC version for 12 years and now a DC only for 8 years

If you have a DC version you just plug in your 12 Volt Charger to feed your batteries and they source the power for the refregerator. No big deal.

You won't run your batteries down if you have your 110 VAC plugged in and it wont hurt the batteries as the 5-6 Amps you are feeding the refregerator is just going in and out your batteries. If anything keeping your batteries connected to a good 3 stage marine charge all the time is good for them.

If you were really worried that someone knocked out the 110 VAC cable to your boat & it might drain your battery, then I wouldn't have the battery on both batteries. Just an FYI most DC refregerators will stop working at 10.5 or 11 VDC. so while your battery will be essentially empty it should recover fine (I have done it a few times)

Also to the last post mentioning that If someone kicks out your shore power, you're going to have rotten food in lieu of a drained battery is only necessarily true if you disconnect your batteries completely from the house circuit whe n you plug into 110 VAC. Most AC/DC refregerators will kick in and start using DC battery power if you lose your 11o VAC

I wouldn't worry about it and just go sailing
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Old 10-25-2007
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Siam,
Pardon my harshness.... But.. Aren't you the Least bit ANGRY? It seems to me that you got mildly screwed! Gad! For $$$$ you must be laying out for a new boat? They (Dealer and or Catalina) should do something to make you happy! Tell you one thing.. wait.. then tell you somthing else.. typical.. they just want you to go away now they sold you a boat (imo) On the other hand.. I'm willing to bet some clause in your sales agreement gave them an "out" so they don't have to change things the "factory" did. One can only wonder what help they will be on something major were to go wrong on your new boat.
Again please pardon my harshness
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Old 10-25-2007
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I would have to agree with Denise...you should be getting something as compensation, since you were told you were getting X and got Y instead.
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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
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 10-25-2007
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Thanks for the useful replies.

1. It's interesting to note that perhaps they had a few problems with the AC/DC version...I kinda hope that's the case.

2. I'll take spoiled food over a sulfated battery. Power outage on Tuesday means next weekend my batteries are dead dead dead.

3. And to Denise and Sailingdog, yeah I'm kinda PO'd, but primarily because I brought this up to the dealer in May and they argued and stalled 'til October. And it does seem analogous to an am/fm radio that's really just am...in other words, this isn't just a substitution on Catalina's part, it's a deletion.

The list of minor fixes the dealer hasn't addressed is long...no engine manual, bad tachometer, scratched woodwork, cracked instrument plate on helm, ding in fridge door. The $950 bottom paint they applied is blistered and spotty and will have to be removed (I wanna put a barrier coat on anyway so I'll just do it). Waitin' to hear from them about some tiny gel blisters on the rudder, too.

Great boat from Catalina. We love the thing. There is some weather helm, but not to the extent that it bothers me. Only irritation is from dealer.
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Old 10-25-2007
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Write a letter to Catalina naming the dealer and include your long list of problems. Mention posting your issues with the dealer on sailnet. I bet you get a fast response.
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Old 10-25-2007
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Sail Place is the oldest dealer in the Catalina network. Chances are they will respond if you make a stink. Or just email Gerry Douglas. I like the boat too. The weather helm is my only issue -- wish there was better balance. And, if you de-rake the mast it turns into a slug in light air.
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