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  #1  
Old 02-11-2011
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Referigerator Issues...

We have an ancient Adler-Barbour Cold machine, water cooled, aboard Jo Beth. And I'm at my wit's end with it.

When we can get water to it, it works fine. The difficulty we have lies in getting water to it. Jo Beth is an '84 34. The compressor is installed directly beneath the trash bin and it's an icebox conversion. The seawater intake is a through hull/seacock positioned beside the galley sink drain through hull. It uses a little electric magnetic centrifugal March pump for seawater delivery.

The problem lies in keeping the system primed. Sitting at the dock, running the unit constantly is fine. If we're off the boat more than a few days, we have to re-prime. If we go sailing and heel more than 5 degrees, we have to re-prime. If we turn the refer off while sailing and then back on when we return to the dock, it's 50/50 that we have to re-prime. If we have a diver scrub the bottom while the unit's running, and he/she blocks off the intake, we have to you-know-what. Oddly enough, if we motor and don't get wake-rocked too often, we're ok.

When we arrived at the boat this afternoon and started our priming ritual, the nipple from the pump broke off. We have now are back to an icebox for the foreseeable future. We've had enough. I think it's time to start shopping for a replacement.

We like the idea of a keel-cooled unit. We're open to an air-cooled unit, but really don't know where we could exhaust the heated air. I'd like to hear what others have on their boats, their pros and cons, and what you guys would suggest.

For the record, I'm good with keeping it an honest icebox. The admiral, however, isn't!

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: I will add that if anyone has a suggestion for resolving the priming issue, I'm all ears. Replacement of the system is still planned for the future, but if we can coax this along just a little longer, that would be a good thing.
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S/V Jo Beth
1984 Pacific Seacraft Crealock 34, Hull #16

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"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain

Last edited by svjobeth; 02-11-2011 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 02-11-2011
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I have a Technautics, its a air cooled 12V holding plate system that burns 20amps/day, its in one of my cockpit lockers, which has a vent installed in the coaming box, probably more for the batteries than the reefer.
Tom
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Old 02-12-2011
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I replaced my Cold machine last October with Frigoboat and posted some pics here in the forum. You could probably just swap with a Frigoboat water cooled but I went with air-cooled because my understanding isinthe tropics the air cooled is just as efficient.

I've been very happy with their product and am fully balanced energy wise with a single solar panel (as long as it stays sunny).
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Old 02-12-2011
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I have Kollmann Marine Products engine drive refrigeration system backed up with a Kollmann 125v system. They both share the same cold plate in the ice box which has been divided into a freezer and a cooler compartment. I belive that they were installed early in the boat's history.
The 125v system air cooled condensing unit is installed on a shelf at the extreme aft end of the port locker and vented through a 4" removable deck plate under the aft cockpit seat. The system was working when I bought the boat, but I have had to add R12 to it one time.
The engine drive system is composed of an automotive air conditioning compressor, a water cooled condenser inserted into the engine cooling water supply, some controls, a receiver, control valve, and cold plate. This system was in shambles when I bought the boat. Although Kollmann is out of business, the owner (Richard Kollmann) maintains a web site (kollmann-marine.com) where he sells his books on boat refrigeration and dispenses advice. With his help I rebuilt the engine drive system which was easy to do as all the parts were available from NAPA or a refrigeration supply house. This system is now R134A.
If the 125v system were to fail, I would replace it with a 12v R134A condensing unit using a Danfoss DB50 compressor. Other than that there is nothing that I would change.

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Old 02-12-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svjobeth View Post
We have an ancient Adler-Barbour Cold machine, water cooled, aboard Jo Beth. And I'm at my wit's end with it.

The problem lies in keeping the system primed. .
If it needs be re-primed, water is draining down below the level of the pump. One alternative is to add a duck-bill check valve (like a joker valve) to the discharge side of the line to prevent drain-down. A second, albeit less convenient, alternative, is to lower the pump so that it always remains below the water line.

FWIW...
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Old 02-12-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
If it needs be re-primed, water is draining down below the level of the pump. One alternative is to add a duck-bill check valve (like a joker valve) to the discharge side of the line to prevent drain-down. A second, albeit less convenient, alternative, is to lower the pump so that it always remains below the water line.

FWIW...
Thanks for the replies everyone!

HyLyte: One step ahead of you there...in that the pump is below the waterline. However, it may be that it's not far enough below the waterline. With that in mind, one alternative I thought of last night is to install the replacement pump immediately above the through-hull. We have reasonable access through the compartment, but from the perspective of maintenance, I actually like the pump where it is and don't want to move it.

I have considered the check valve alternative, but instead of putting a joker type in-line, I was thinking of putting a petcock or ball-valve in line. With either of those, I can at least see what the valve is doing, which I can't with a duckbill type. A simple check valve would be easiest, no doubt. And of course, I'd know if the duckbill isn't working in that I'll be back to endless re-priming!

Thanks again!
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Old 02-12-2011
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Bill--

Is the pump always below the water line? We have a similar March Pump that feeds our A/C unit and had similar problems with it until I moved it lower in the hull. Also, do you have a raw water strainer on the system; and, if so, are you certain the strainer seal is fair and the base undamaged? Even a tiny air-leak will cause a system to drain-down.

The unit you have is a pretty good one and I'd not replace it for the sake of a cooling water issue, eh?
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Old 02-12-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Bill--

Is the pump always below the water line? We have a similar March Pump that feeds our A/C unit and had similar problems with it until I moved it lower in the hull. Also, do you have a raw water strainer on the system; and, if so, are you certain the strainer seal is fair and the base undamaged? Even a tiny air-leak will cause a system to drain-down.

The unit you have is a pretty good one and I'd not replace it for the sake of a cooling water issue, eh?
There is a strainer on the system, but as it's never leaked, I've not ever considered it as a possible suspect. But, in between my last post and your reply, I did some quick calculations and now know that when sailing on port tack, the pump is most definitely above the waterline. Seems as if the check-valve may be the best present solution.

And just as a FWIW comment, we're more eager to replace it as it's power hungry when compared to modern units.

Thanks again -
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"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain
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Old 02-12-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svjobeth View Post
...And just as a FWIW comment, we're more eager to replace it as it's power hungry when compared to modern units.

Thanks again -
Last Spring I had to replace our 1986 era FrigoBoat air cooled unit with a new one. It was costly ($1,600) but it has proven to be an excellant machine and very efficient. Had I been able to use a different configuration, I would have preferred a SeaFrost which would have been less costly and no-less efficient. For some good information on the subject, check out Richard Kollman's site kollmann-marine.com :: Index

FWIW...
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Old 02-12-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Last Spring I had to replace our 1986 era FrigoBoat air cooled unit with a new one. It was costly ($1,600) but it has proven to be an excellant machine and very efficient. Had I been able to use a different configuration, I would have preferred a SeaFrost which would have been less costly and no-less efficient. For some good information on the subject, check out Richard Kollman's site kollmann-marine.com :: Index

FWIW...
Pretty much, our shopping has been limited to perusing manufacturer's websites or booths at boat shows, or just talking to other owners. However, this system works fine as long as it stays primed, and as we're not on board full time (yet) power consumption is a minor issue.

It's funny you mention Kollman's site, as we've only just discovered it ourselves.

Thanks again -
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"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain
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