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Old 10-09-2010
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Frigoboat Installation

My old cold machine runs all the time when it's hot and we're headed south (currently in Annapolis) and I bought a Frigoboat air-cooled unit at the boat show. But when I started looking into pulling the old tubing and installing new it looks to be a bigger job than I anticipated as I'm not sure how to get at the tubing behind the refrigerator. Has anyone replaced theirs with any insight they could help me out with?

After looking at the job I now think it might be easier to run new tubing toward the bow and install a keel cooler compressor in the starboard settee locker. (John, an old thread said you had one. I tried sending a PM but your box won't accept any more). Has anyone done this and do you think it might be a better plan (although I'd have to have the boat hauled). If so, where did you install the keel cooler (pics would be nice).

I buy these things then it seems it's over my head on how to install.
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Old 10-09-2010
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Steve--

We just installed an AV35F and 130H evaporator plate this past week (roughly equal to the "Capri" unit). It went very smoothly and easily and the unit seems to work very well. It was a replacement for our 1986 era stock system that finally gave up the ghost earlier this summer The most difficult part was getting the old unit out and the box ready for the new unit. Next was threading the new couplings/tubing. Patience was the watchword. Please provide a bit more information about your current installation together with some snap shots if you can and I will offer what I can to help.

Regards,

svHyLyte
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Old 10-09-2010
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Most any unit will run nearly all the time when it's hot out.. and in a boat.. even hotter.. plus engine heat.. what are you doing with the old condenser Steve? (ok if it was R-12 too)
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West Marine sells the teak drawer pulls that we use to cover vent holes.
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Old 10-12-2010
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We're cruising from Wisconsin to the Bahamas and bought the Capri 35 at the boat show for a 20% discount. Rob from Frigoboat lives just a few blocks from our marina and delivered it to us.

The replacement job wasn't as bad as I anticipated. Tearing out the non-functioning Cold Machine and installing a Frigoboat Capri 35 took about six hours. The new refrigerant capturing connectors take a 1 1/2" hole and I was worried they wouldn't fit where I couldn't see behind the closet and icebox. But when PSC built the boat they nicely installed a 1 1/2" PVC trace before spraying the interior fiberglass.

The original tubing was over ten feet and Frigoboat only supplies nine feet although you can buy 3, 6 or 10 foot extensions at an increased cost of over $200. We bought the larger size bin to have a larger freezer section which added another six inches of tubing distance.

The evaporator bin had the tubing coming out the opposite direction of what we needed but I was able to carefully bend it back to direction. Ideally you'd like to make a sweeping 180° turn but I was determined to try and make the nine foot tubing work and successfully bent a sharp reverse turn.

It was slow going but pretty easy to pull the tubing through with a fish tape and stretched it as tight as we could but still needed about six inches to reach the compressor shelf. I examined the compressor and noticed we could also bend the connections the opposite direction. We were able to sit it on the battery shelf for connection and it just fit when moving it to the refrigerator shelf.

Connecting the electrical supply was more tedious than necessary. The supply is 8ga but the Frigoboat spade connectors are 16ga. (It always confounds me that manufacturers expect you to use an 8 or 10 gauge supply but provide you with a 16 gauge connecting point!)

The PSC has an exhaust grill in the top of the combing box. This never worked well for the Cold Machine as the air would re-circulate and the lazerette locker would reach temperatures well over a hundred. The Frigoboat fan has a ducted shroud and you can adjust it for intake or exhaust. I set it for intake so I can run a short duct to the stern locker which will allow it bring in cooler supply air and force the exhaust out the combing box outlet.

I bought the digital thermostat but haven't connected it yet as my old Adler Barbour mechanical thermostat works fine and the wires were re-useable.

The photo shows how the tubing fit with nothing extra to spare. The Capri 35 is significantly smaller and lighter.

First impressions are good. We filled up the icebox and within four hours the temp went from 70° to 45° and was at 38° the next morning (twelve hours) and only used about 14 amp hours. I bought the AEO (Adaptive Energy Optimization) which adjusts speed automatically to achieve a 30 minute compressor run time. The current was maximum of about 4.2 amps but generally around 3 amps in the first few hours.

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Old 10-12-2010
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Steve,

Sorry about my in-box -- I've been away for 3-4 days and I get barraged with PMs -- it's hard to keep up sometimes.

I wrote the below, before I saw your second post. I guess you got it all squared away -- that's good. One advantge to the air-cooled is that it will work even when you're hauled out. Our keel-cooler has to be shut down when we're out of the water. Anyway, I'll just leave the note below in case anyone else is thinking about options.

----

We have a Frigoboat fridge, keel-cooler version. We like it a lot, and it is VERY efficient from a energy consumption standpoint. The one caveat is that ours is just a fridge -- not a freezer.

Our compressor is in the aft-most compartment under the starboard settee. I.e., immediately forward of the icebox. It is very handy here -- readily accessible. Although, I've never had to do anything to/with it, I imagine it was fairly easy to install (a prior owner had it professionally installed in Annapolis). It makes for short runs of everything -- wiring, coolant lines, etc.

The keel-cooler penetration is in the same compartment under the settee as the compressor. So, on the outside of the hull, there is a bronze shoe that looks a bit like a grounding plate. It is about 1" thick, 3" wide, and maybe 8" long. It is tapered on the ends, to make it a bit more streamlined.

I have not looked at it closely for a while, but what I remember is: The two lines that penetrate the hull and feed into the keel-cooler are very small, maybe 3/16" in dimeter. There is also a third hole-penetration, for a bolt that holds the keel-cooler against the hull. It's about the same size. So, I think what you end up with is 3 pretty small holes drilled through the hull, with the keel cooler covering them on the exterior.

You want the keel-cooler to be mounted fairly low down in that compartment, to make sure it is always submerged even when heeled over while pressing to windward.

One thing I might add is a vent to the compartment where the compressor is mounted. The heat from the fridge is being dumped outside the hull through the keel cooler, but the compressor itself generates some of its own heat. It never gets hot, but it the compartment can get warm.
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"But when PSC built the boat they nicely installed a 1 1/2" PVC trace before spraying the interior fiberglass."

Steve,
Where is this pvc? Is it between the hull and hanging locker? I put my compressor in the hanging locker and now I want to move it to get my hanging locker back.

Adam
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On my boat it's shown clearly as the fiberglassed cylinder in this picture.


We never used the hanging closet and considered it a waste of space until I made shelves after getting the idea from Casey.


Now we can put a lot of clothes and linens in the closet and still have room for storage below the bottom shelf. I imagine your compressor would fit below the shelf.
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Steve,

Our boat doesn't have that "PVC trace". Very cool. I had to add something similar when I ran the propane line for our cabin heater. Yours is much cleaner.

Nice shelves, by the way. I agree, that space makes for better shelving than hanging. You get more storage benefit, too, by being able to use the outboard part of the locker.... One more project for the upgrade wishlist.
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Steve,
I don't have the pvc either. Must have been part of a factory refrigeration install which my boat didn't have.
Second the nice shelves comment. Another to do list item for me too.

Adam
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