Re: Galley fridge intermittently cooling

Nick Newington

Hi Ruedi,

This is my email from 2019.

 So the chest fridge that is accessed from the counter top, I have the big one. Did die on me in the Canary Islands. I diagnosed it to be a complete loss of R134A. 
I checked the evaporator plate in the fridge  itself and decided that was fine. Then looking underneath where the compressor is located I could see a crack on the soldered joint to the compressor itself. Removing the access grill panel was easy but I could see that there would be no way of removing the compressor without taking out the wood bar below which I neatly cut.
It then unscrewed. Allowing the whole compressor to come out.
Then with the compressor out on the floor of the little bilge there I managed to get a fridge technician  
to re solder the joint. Vacuum the system, and I paid him extra to leave the vacuum pump running a whole hour,  before recharging with gas. It is important to get the right amount of charge, so just enough gas so that the evaporator frosts up but only to the top not back to the compressor. Then I repositioned the compressor in its old location back on its rubber mounts.
All is well. We have had no further problems, touch wood.


On 25 Jan 2022, at 14:29, Rudolf Waldispuehl <Rudolf@...> wrote:

Hi Ulrich, 
Hope you are well doing?
Thanks for the advice and links…  Cheers 
Von: "" <> im Auftrag von Ulrich Michael Dangelmeyer <ulrich.dangelmeyer@...>
Antworten an: "" <>
Datum: Dienstag, 25. Januar 2022 um 12:24
An: "" <>
Betreff: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Galley fridge intermittently cooling
Hi Ruedi,
from my point of view on your issue, I recommend to get in touch directly with VECO, the OEM of the fridge and cooling systems on our boats. The company is located in Italy and are well known by their outstanding and very helpful after sales and service support.
Email or better: by phone directly. My own experience and from another 54er Amelien too.
My thought: all these A/C and fridge devices are nothing for DIY.
End of each season I flush all my A/C lines and systems overnight with a solution from citric acid. Next day all the sludge and salt clogs will leave the system as white sauce, and everything is clear.
Under the season, every 2 month I flush the Systems in the same way with 5 liters of white vinegar, regular service. Simple and easy.
Our frigos and freezers are water-cooled with fresh water, expensive but reliable.
Our entire freshwater system will be cleaned end of the season with a solution of citric acid too: 1kg solved in a bucket, poured into 200 liters in the (freshwater) tank, then flush all taps, showers outlets, all frigos and freezers on for short time. If it smells strong as lemon juice.
Let it rest for half a day and after, empty all lines in the same way. Then flush them all with fresh water. May by, your fresh water smells at the beginning a little bit like limonade. No harm! Top up your tank to full.
But all your lines and outlets are free and clean.
Next step: From these season up, we´ll start to fill dock water first thru an double water filter and then thru a water-softener. Hope we will never get residues and calcification on board.
Hope the best for you and stay safe!
S/Y „Soleil Bleu“
/Am 25.01.2022 um 11:51 schrieb Rudolf Waldispuehl <Rudolf@...>:

Hi Thomas  
Thank you for all the useful hints. I still get into more detail’s with your information. You are right with the Engineers changing expensive gas and drinking your coffee 😉
BTW: I searched but was not able to find Arnos treat “Access to the galley fridge/freezer compressor has been explained by Arno”. ??
It sounds like a blockage as you described. Either by Ice or the filter drier is blocked (the Engineer was pointing at this as well). But I don’t know where is this filter located and how can I change it. The “Engineer” said he need to remove the compressor, but it’s not possible to move it out under the fridge in the galley.
As soon as I knock on the evaporator with my fingers I hear a hissing sound and the evaporator will frost promptly but only for a very short time. After that noise stops again, compressor sound still there like normal, and if I wait for an hour or longer so the fridge goes up to 10 or more °C. The evaporator is cool (not cold) and sweaty. The compressor works normal to my impression; littles sound, between 35-40°C warm is cooled by seawater which is about 17°C. (I measured the compressor and the cooling circuit by a laser gun). At the moment the compressor runs with about 2500 rm and consumes ca. 55W.
Early this week before the local “Fridge-Engineer” changed the gas, same situation but the compressor started to increase rpm. Now the compressor works constantly but not cooling down? With my little knowledge I think the Compressor side works normal, but not on the gas/evaporator side.
I will make more homework and will let you know, any other hints where the filter is, or how to remover the compressor are welcome.
Ruedi Waldispuehl
AMEL54 #55
Von: "" <> im Auftrag von Sv Garulfo <svgarulfo@...>
Antworten an: "" <>
Datum: Samstag, 22. Januar 2022 um 20:36
An: "" <>
Betreff: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Galley fridge intermittently cooling
Hi Ruedi,
I got to learn a lot about refrigeration since my last post. 
Intermittent cooling can be caused by a blockage in the refrigerant circuit. I find that the best way to confirm that is to measure the power consumed by the compressor. Either with an amp meter or better with a wattmeter that will show voltage, amps, watts, max amps, max watts, total watts, total amphrs. They cost a handful of dollars on Amazon / AliExpress. 
A blocked circuit will show the compressor consuming lower power (only 20W instead of 60/100W, but constantly). The evaporator will be cool (not cold) and sweaty. Stop/Start of the unit may cause the compressor to stall (stops itself, waits 30s and tries again), emitting the corresponding error code on the diagnosis LED (if you have one plugged in). The fan runs continuously during that sequence, which can be mistaken for the compressor running. Learn to recognise the various sounds. 
The blockage can be due to ice crystals or corrosion sludge.  Usually the blockage is on the capillary, the hair-thin copper tube leading to the evaporator plate, but can also happen at the entry of the evaporator, where the refrigerant expands and the temp gets super cold. 
Ice crystals form because tiny amounts of humid air can be sucked in on the vacuum side of the compressor at the quick connector.
Aluminum sludge can form because of the corrosion of the evaporator plate by the refrigerant chemicals. 
The filter drier, located after the condenser (the u shaped water circulation tube sitting on top of the compressor on our units) is meant to catch such impurities but can/will saturate at some point. 
It’s difficult to differentiate between solid and ice blockage, but if the unit cools again after you let the evaporator warm up to room temp, you can hope it’s ice based. 
You can also gently knock on the evaporator around the thinnest section of the embedded evaporator tube, with a rubber tool or snapping your fingers and hope to dislodge the blockage. You’ll hear a hissing sound and the evaporator will frost promptly. 
Ice cristal issues may be resolved by changing the filter drier, vacuuming the system thoroughly and refilling with refrigerant.
Solid blockage types are trickier and usually need a change of evaporator/capillary, since they are located after the filter and before the capillary.
So there is a risk that changing just the filter drier may not solve the issue.  
While you have someone onboard working at welding/brazing a new filter drier, ask them to remove the quick connectors and weld the circuit.  Those quick connectors make it really easy to install the fridge initially but will fail and lead to refrigerant loss, humidity infiltration, and workhours of fridge engineers, some (many?) of them using the occasion to sell complete new fridges.
They are also an environmental nonsense because the will lead to people topping up with refrigerant again and again instead of addressing the issue. R134a refrigerant is better that freon but still an extremely potent greenhouse gaz.
A fully closed circuit instead of quick connectors vastly reduces risks of refrigerant leaks. 
Access to the galley fridge/freezer compressor has been explained by Arno.
Hope this helps navigating the interesting world of refrigeration/AC engineers, whose charging of 100$ per hour in Tahiti for drinking your coffee (before 10am, your beer afterward) while everybody waits hours for the system to settle/be vaccummed/refill slowly/settles/etc, strongly encourages you to google a thing or two about fridges and potentially invest in gauges (25$), a vacuum pump (more expensive), canisters of refrigerant (only available to license holders in eco friendly countries) and maybe even an 02/propane brazing kit.
Rapa, French Polynesia 

On 22 Jan 2022, at 05:11, Rudolf Waldispuehl <Rudolf@...> wrote:

Hi Amelia’s, (@ Arno & Mohammad)
The Galley fridge on my A54 is only intermittently cooling and sometimes it stops completely until I can restart it. A fridge-guy told me; - it is the filter blocked inside the unit and it is a common problem on boat fridges. He mentioned, he need to take out the compressor to change the filter (just a 2€ part). But to take out the compressor on my A54#55, it seems I need to dismantle a big parts of the galley because the “service opening” is too small for the compressor replacement.
Does anyone know where this filter is located by any chance?
@ Arno/Mohammad, I have found in older treats that you had similar problems and you both changed the compressor. How was it gone and how to change the compressor without too much hazzle? The opening is too small, even if I’m able to remove the big wood panel galley front.
How was it in your case?
Thanks and best regards
AMEL54 #55
Puerto Almerimar
Von: "" <> im Auftrag von Arno Luijten <arno.luijten@...>
Antworten an: "" <>
Datum: Freitag, 25. September 2020 um 05:13
An: "" <>
Betreff: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Galley fridge intermittently cooling
Hi Thomas,

Ice crystals would occur if the filling of the system was not done properly. There is a filter in the system that binds any moisture that may be left at filling time. Normally they replace this filter when refilling. Once a system is working properly there is no interference with the atmosphere so moisture cannot enter. If the system is leaking you may see moisture enter the system after so much gas has escaped that at run-time the low pressure side gets below atmospheric pressure (depending on where the leak is). If you still have the original compressors (you can see this by looking at the way the speed control works). The newer units use a rotary switch if I'm correct. If you still run the originals chances are you have a gas leakage, most probably at the quick-fittings. These are the screw connectors that connect the evaporator to the compressor.
In my case the problem was a leaking heat-exchanger (the tube on top of the compressor) that rotted away due to the salt water in the circuit. In the end I replaced all the compressors.


Arno Luijten
SV Luna,

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