Adlour Barbour Refrigeration on Hoyt F32

Batteries, Generators, Solar, Wind and Electronics

Adlour Barbour Refrigeration on Hoyt F32

Postby sward » Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:15 am

I need to do something. My batteries with solar can not keep up with the refrigeration system. I know I need more insulation and probably a more updated unit since the original of 1985 is no doubt obsolete. What products have people updated their boats with? What type are you happy with?

Thanks for your anticpated help and suggestions,

Sward
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Re: Refrigeration

Postby GeoffSchultz » Sat Jan 03, 2009 8:39 am

As always, this is an equation which needs to be balanced and there are lots of variables which can be adjusted. I personally don't find that I get a very good "bang for the buck" using solar. I am much happier using a combination of solar, wind and an inverter/charger with a generator. I don't know where you sail, but I spend a lot of time in the Caribbean where you get pretty steady trade winds.

Now for the start of 20+ questions:

  • Have you measured how many amp-hours your system is using?
  • How big are your panels?
  • Who makes your current refrig system?
  • Is this a cold-plate system or evaporator plate system?
  • How much insulation do you have?
  • Are there any obvious problems such as water in the insulation or cold spots on external surfaces?
  • Have you had the gas levels checked?
  • How are your batteries doing?
  • Is this a new problem or something that has recently developed?
  • Where do you sail?
  • What's your typical utilization like? i.e. Is this weekends only or for weeks at a time?

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Re: Refrigeration

Postby THATBOATGUY » Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:29 am

I'll wait for answers too. :) And welcome aboard!

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Re: Refrigeration

Postby Robert » Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:26 am

Hello Sward,

If I recall correctly you have a Hoyt F32 like me. I recently replaced my refrigeration and checked the insulation of the existing icebox. As I recall there is at least 3" in the walls, which is OK but could be better, unfortunately I could not check the base insulation as it was inaccessible, but I assume it has to be similar to the side walls. As you are in Florida this may be an issue, but a difficult one to overcome without rebuilding your ice box.

One thing that may be a problem is that your insulation has become waterlogged, this can really only be checked by destructive measures and drilling small holes and checking for moisture. If waterlogged then a rebuild could be in order and you could then increase your insulation, but not without reducing the ice box capacity.

If your system has been working well and only recently become a 'power hog' then you might also check the seal on your lid and also making sure that the drain hole on the base of the ice box is plugged to prevent the cold air falling out of the bottom of your unit.

Other questions are adequately covered by Geoff.

In my case, when I bought 'Magic' it had a Sea Frost engine driven refrigeration system with a large holding plate. Unfortunately, during the pre-purchase sea-trial when the refrigeration was tested it was found that the R12 Freon had leaked and the compressor 'locked-up'. Replacement of the compressor was not an option as the whole system would pretty much need replacement to upgrade to a more environmentally friendly refrigerant. I decided to rip the whole system out and replace it with a 12 volt system.

I chose to stay with Sea Frost and chose their 'BD' system with a custom built icebox to fit the F32's ice box. The BD system I chose is rated well for the 6 to 7 cu ft ice box and I have been pleased with the results. The compressor used in these systems is a Danfoss BD50 that is a quite power efficient and can be made more efficient by fitting a speed control. I have calculated that in 'tropical' use it will consume 55 to 50 amp/hours per day.

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Re: Refrigeration

Postby sward » Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:04 pm

Thanks Geoff,

*I have 3 solar panels 85W each
*I am usually in warmer climates-in Vero Beach, FL right now-headed to the Bahama's
*I live aboard
*When I was away for Christmas the batteries were fine using solar with the fridge turned off
*When the water and temp's are cooler the fridge works fine
*My batteries are golfcart-T105's. There are 4 total and are relatively new and have been tested and are in good shape
*It is the original AdlourBarbour system
*I called a refrigerator repair man and he said that if there is frost on the evaporator and not on the condensor it is working fine and that these systems run all the time.
*I understand these systems take 5 amps/hour and the solar panels can't keep that up.
*I don't have room on my rail for a wind generator

All this leads me to believe that the insulation around the box is bad. I have looked at possibilities to get to it and spray insulation in (I know about expansion with this stuff). There isn't any room beside the box to put anything. The only thing I can see (with confering with a friend) is to take the box out and take out all the old insulation which i'm sure is bad and replacing it with newer rigid foam insulation with a higher R rating, to resolve that issue. And while I'm at it, install a new refrigeration system. After all, when in a house we have to replace these things every 25 years too.

This has been a problem for a long time, however, a new situation has arrisen that has proved to be another issue here. My battery charger died so I've had to run the engine to charge the batteries. Well, I've been fighting a loosing battle since the engine is right next to the fridge, and there isn't any insulation in the engine compartment, I have been thawing the fridge while trying to charge the batteries to keep it cool!! (I'm at a mooring and when the solar isn't enough, I run my Honda generator to charge the batteries.)

I think I have answered all your questions and spoken to all issues.

Sward
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Re: Refrigeration (Insulation Tip!!)

Postby katorpus » Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:36 pm

A quick-fix for inadequate insulation follows:

Get a roll of "Reflectix" (called something else at Lowe's & Home Depot, but the same thing). This is the foil-faced bubble pack insulation.

Plan & cut the minimum number of pieces needed to cover the interior of your box. You will have to (temporarily) unfasten your evaporators, cold plates, or whatever in order to effect the installation. Don't disconnect the refrigeration lines!

Carefully cut the pieces so that they fit tightly against the adjacent wall with a "press fit". Use one piece for the front, bottom & "back" (hull side) of the box.

"Cut out" the piece that will be "behind" whatever refrigeration equipment you unfastened and seal those edges. That way you can easily remove "the rest of" that wall (or top) insulation.

Wrap all edges with foil tape. If you want, you can get even more insulation value from doubling the thickness of the insulation. If you do this, I'd suggest NOT joining the layers with foil tape around the edges, but instead, tape the edges of each layer and put one on top of the other.

Don't worry about cutting out for the drain hole in the bottom.

Depending on your installation (this won't work if your evaporator is attached to the horizontal top of your box), the following step is optional, but very effective...

Cut a single piece of the insulation that will "float" on top of all your goodies above the level of the evaporator or holding plate. If the box is less-full than this level, you will have effectively reduced the volume of air space which it is necessary to keep cold. If it's more-full, then it will "self-adjust" as necessary. It also makes it less-important to quickly close the main lid of the box when retrieving items from within. If you have a "spill-over" between the freezer box and the refrigerator box, this "floating lid" must remain higher than that spillover (fan/hole/vent)

You'll possibly have to adjust your thermostat higher in order to prevent freezing the things that you were formerly merely refrigerating. (or decrease the volume of spillover air into the reefer box from the freezer box).

If you have a spill, or are turning off the box, just pull out the insulation (except for the small pieces which you've trapped behind the re-fastened refrigeration equipment) and rinse them off and let them dry. Clean the rest of the box as usual. If you go off and leave the stuff in the box (dirty) with the box turned off, you could get a mold situation going there.

I put this in years ago as a stop-gap in my non-refrigerated ice box & freezer box in order to make the bagged ice work longer... I'm still astounded at how LONG that ice holds up, and the "need" for refrigeration for my weekend-to-five-day excursions has basically been eliminated (I'm still using just ice or ice & dry ice).

The weight of the cans, bottles, ice etc hasn't "popped" any noticeable percentage of the bubbles. The items in the box don't make near as much noise rolling around, and there's less of a chance of breaking any glass bottles that may be in there (if you keep the gin cold, the ice in the glass lasts longer).

The stuff's not very expensive, and it would be a good way of determining whether merely augmenting your box insulation would be enough to permit you to operate your (existing) refrigeration on your solar panels.

My favorite outdoor bar (now gone) in Rockport, Texas was unable to keep the margaritas in the machine frozen due to the warm air that blew over the clear plastic "bucket" (on top of the machine) that contained the mix. I suggested this to them, and it worked like a champ. They just wrapped the machine in the foil faced bubble pack...voila...frozen margaritas.

You can do the same for your "igloo" type cooler, particularly if it's used on deck.

I made up hatch covers for the interior of my main hatches out of the stuff. Makes a huge difference. If they get ratty looking, just toss them and make up some more for a few bucks.

There's no reason you couldn't "quilt" this into exterior canvas hatch covers/companionway covers either.
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Re: Refrigeration (insulation tip)

Postby katorpus » Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:41 pm

re: my post below

The "floating" piece must also not be below the sensor bulb for the refrigeration system, otherwise it will "fool" the system into thinking that more cold is needed, as the air above the floating piece will be warmer.
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Re: Refrigeration

Postby THATBOATGUY » Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:56 pm

OK...

Two things you can do with an older adler barbour system to improve performance.

1. Ditch the old permanent magnet fan on the evaporator and replace it with a computer style pancake fan.

2. Replace the old controller with a modern controller.

The difference is huge! The older those clunky fan units get the worse they draw. The modern controllers sense head pressure and adjust the work load on the compressor accordingly instead of working either wide open or off.

George
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Re: Refrigeration

Postby sward » Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:28 pm

I did add 2 pancake fans a couple of years ago-not replaced the existing one-should I do that and how? And the contoller is the dial to adjust the setting's? I have thought might be a problem. How do I replace that? I think it has attached the piece of wire that goes into the box that's probably a sensor/temp guage, the other wire must go back to the compressor-would that wiring need to be replaced as well?
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Re: Refrigeration

Postby THATBOATGUY » Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:40 pm

You can take this chance to modernize your old unit. The new controller essentially replaces all the old electronics and needs not dial controller as it is completely automatic. There will be a thermostat to set the temperature point in the box. Get rid of that old energy hog fan. If all this does not work, or the unit wears out otherwise, you can still keep that controller to use with your replacement unit.

http://www.rparts.com/ These guys should have everything you need.

It is the AEO module that you are looking for.

George
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