A54 Refrigeration Water Pump - Brushless Motor Update


Jamie Wendell
 

I just wanted to let the Amel group know that I have been successful in installing a fully operational brushless motor to power my A54 refrigeration system. I understand there were previous discussions on this subject that went on and on without any final resolution or workable solution - more or less shrouded in mystery and frustration - so I will not dwell on any of the issues raised and discussed in those threads. Suffice to say that I was having enormous problems with the standard Flowjet pumps used in the system and was determined to adapt a brushless motor to the original pump body - ditching the regular motor provided.

Simply put, I would be happy to share my solution with anyone interested, either in this group or by private off-line email. I can provide a list of parts needed, etc.

I will, however, offer the caveat that installing a brushless DC motor for the refrigeration system is not for the faint of heart, and it is a bit expensive (although part of my expense was essentially research and development if you will). But compared to the countless Frigoboat pumps I have chewed through over the years and lost food in the freezer, it was worth it to me. I have a display that shows runtime and the number of pump starts, and I can adjust the speed of the pump at any time. So far it has performed flawlessly.

Unfortunately, I did have to replace the original Frigoboat Pump Interface. The one I had was giving me erratic pump output voltages, the plastic case was falling apart, and corrosion was getting into the circuit board. I used the relay approach that Coastal Climate Controls recommended.

Again, if anyone would like to hear what I did and perhaps attempt a similar installation, I will be more than happy to help,
Thanks,
Jamie
Phantom, A54 #44


 

Jamie,

I see no issue in you posting it here. Those that want the information will read it now or later. Those that do not need the information can simply pass on it. I for one, have a lot of respect for your knowledge. I think we all know the issue with the previous thread was that there never was a clear description that could be duplicated by most Amel 54 owners. I am betting that you have it.

Bill
CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School
Address: 720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 
View My Training Calendar


On Sun, Jul 4, 2021 at 11:09 AM Jamie Wendell <mysticshadow54@...> wrote:
I just wanted to let the Amel group know that I have been successful in installing a fully operational brushless motor to power my A54 refrigeration system. I understand there were previous discussions on this subject that went on and on without any final resolution or workable solution - more or less shrouded in mystery and frustration - so I will not dwell on any of the issues raised and discussed in those threads. Suffice to say that I was having enormous problems with the standard Flowjet pumps used in the system and was determined to adapt a brushless motor to the original pump body - ditching the regular motor provided.

Simply put, I would be happy to share my solution with anyone interested, either in this group or by private off-line email. I can provide a list of parts needed, etc.

I will, however, offer the caveat that installing a brushless DC motor for the refrigeration system is not for the faint of heart, and it is a bit expensive (although part of my expense was essentially research and development if you will). But compared to the countless Frigoboat pumps I have chewed through over the years and lost food in the freezer, it was worth it to me. I have a display that shows runtime and the number of pump starts, and I can adjust the speed of the pump at any time. So far it has performed flawlessly.

Unfortunately, I did have to replace the original Frigoboat Pump Interface. The one I had was giving me erratic pump output voltages, the plastic case was falling apart, and corrosion was getting into the circuit board. I used the relay approach that Coastal Climate Controls recommended.

Again, if anyone would like to hear what I did and perhaps attempt a similar installation, I will be more than happy to help,
Thanks,
Jamie
Phantom, A54 #44


Alain Durante
 

Bonjour Jamie,

 

I was also thinking to change the pump of the refrigeration system on my 54.

 

You will be so kind to send information on what you did.

 

You can contact me at infor@...

 

Wishing you a beautiful day.

 

Cordialement,

 

Alain Durante

SY Meige – A54#21

 

 

De : main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io <main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io> De la part de Jamie Wendell via groups.io
Envoyé : dimanche 4 juillet 2021 18:09
À : main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io
Objet : [AmelYachtOwners] A54 Refrigeration Water Pump - Brushless Motor Update

 

I just wanted to let the Amel group know that I have been successful in installing a fully operational brushless motor to power my A54 refrigeration system. I understand there were previous discussions on this subject that went on and on without any final resolution or workable solution - more or less shrouded in mystery and frustration - so I will not dwell on any of the issues raised and discussed in those threads. Suffice to say that I was having enormous problems with the standard Flowjet pumps used in the system and was determined to adapt a brushless motor to the original pump body - ditching the regular motor provided.

Simply put, I would be happy to share my solution with anyone interested, either in this group or by private off-line email. I can provide a list of parts needed, etc.

I will, however, offer the caveat that installing a brushless DC motor for the refrigeration system is not for the faint of heart, and it is a bit expensive (although part of my expense was essentially research and development if you will). But compared to the countless Frigoboat pumps I have chewed through over the years and lost food in the freezer, it was worth it to me. I have a display that shows runtime and the number of pump starts, and I can adjust the speed of the pump at any time. So far it has performed flawlessly.

Unfortunately, I did have to replace the original Frigoboat Pump Interface. The one I had was giving me erratic pump output voltages, the plastic case was falling apart, and corrosion was getting into the circuit board. I used the relay approach that Coastal Climate Controls recommended.

Again, if anyone would like to hear what I did and perhaps attempt a similar installation, I will be more than happy to help,
Thanks,
Jamie
Phantom, A54 #44


Jamie Wendell
 

OK, backed by some nice encouragement from Bill I am providing the details needed for those willing to embark on a brushless motor (BLDC) solution for the A54 refrigeration water pump. I am attaching to this thread some installation photos of my system, a schematic showing how it is wired (and the necessary parts), as well as the software code that will allow the system to operate. Please recognize that my system is more complicated than the one others would be installing, as I have a display and some extra features that are not necessary for a basic functional install. Also, the photos show that I have replaced the original Frigoboat pump interface with a set of 3 relays (consistent with the latest solutions provided by Coastal Climate Controls). The Frigoboat E51385 is no longer manufactured, and my unit was acting erratically.

Anyone embarking on this "journey" will need to do the following:
  1. Acquire the parts I show on the schematic, including the VESC, the Flipsky BLDC motor, an Arduino controller w/screw shield to allow strong physical connections, the Elk relay, a 10K ohm potentiometer, and the Tobsun voltage converter.
  2. You will also need a fuse holder w/fuse, a disconnect switch, and some wire etc.
  3. I would recommend that all the components be installed in a plastic box big enough to accommodate everything (at least the VESC and the Arduino controller, which are the "brains" in the system). Since my system is more complicated and has additional parts, I elected to house some items in separate distributed boxes. I may encase the exposed relays at some point in the future to address the potential for corrosion in the engine room, but for now I am good to go. One option I considered was to mount everything in the cabinet above the galley sink, but again my installation would not accommodate all the components. Your installation may allow for that, which would provide the ability to adjust the pump speed in the galley. I do that in the engine room, which is obviously not quite as convenient. Once set, there is no reason to adjust, but I have found it helpful to speed up the pump when I am running the AC pump, given the competition for water in the sea strainer intake.
  4. Wire up everything per my schematic.
  5. Download the Arduino software and load up the attached code.
  6. Download the VESC software (tools) and program the VESC (via the install wizard). This one can be a bit tricky. One important note is that the VESC must be set for "Duty Cycle" control. It will default to "Current" which will NOT work.
  7. Fabricate an aluminum interface plate to mate the BLDC motor to the Frigoboat pump head. This is quite a project, and I had a local machine shop do this work. There are a number of holes required to interface the pump head with the new motor, and I wanted it to be a clean install. This proved to be very expensive, so please consider doing it yourself if you can.
  8. Install the new "pump" adjacent to the standard system to allow for backup if needed - so far the original 12V pump is gathering dust and I hope it continues to do so.
Anyway, enough said for now. I remain available to help anyone adventurous enough to do this project. I found it very satisfying to solve all of the problems on my own and am happy to share that knowledge if I can. And, if anyone is really interested in my extra "bells and whistles" I can show you what I did - only for those willing to do soldering and a lot of extra wiring on the Arduino.

Good luck, but please be advised that there is some "work" involved here.
Jamie
Phantom, A54 #44


Jamie Wendell
 

Oh, by the way, I want to thank Scott on Tengah for his help and encouragement in doing this project. We did collaborate, and I understand he did a similar install based on another solution, but evidently successful in his endeavours.
For those sending me personal emails, I have tried to point back to these postings, rather than duplicating the details.
Again, I am available to help as needed.
Jamie
Phantom, A54 #44