Fridge compressor water intake location?

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Fridge compressor water intake location?

Postby Allie-May » Mon Feb 20, 2017 4:16 pm

Where is/was the raw water intake for the fridge compressor on the PDQ 36?

It's my understanding the Alder Barbour refrigeration unit can run on air or water; water being more efficient. Mine has a water control switch mounted by the refrigerator that connects to the compressor. Two water lines are also connected to the compressor. One runs under the galley sink to an overboard discharge above the water line. The other appears to run under the galley sole and discharges into the port forward cabin bilge. I assume this line once connected to a water intake but can't figure out where as its not near any seacock.

Is having/using the water cooled option worth it?

Thanks
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Re: Fridge compressor water intake location?

Postby Lady of the Lake » Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:52 am

We use the air cooled variety. We are not fond of raw water pumps (expensive and fail too often) nor the concept of bringing sea water into the vessel unless absolutely necessary. That pump will run a lot and if a hose malfunctions it could be disastrous. Although air cooled may not be as efficient, it is our choice.

One note...that extra hose may be a disconnected intake but you should be able to find the thru-hull. If you can't find it from inside the vessel, ask your diver that cleans the boat bottom to map your thru-hulls for you and then connect the dots, you will know what all of the other ones are. The only other possibility is that the previous owner had "shared" a thru-hull with something else to avoid putting another hole in the bottom of the vessel. I don't think it is a good idea to share intakes like that but you will get arguments on both sides on that one.

And lastly, if that hose is not either intake or discharge, it may be possible that it is condensate drain like on an A/C unit. If it is condensate, get that stuff off the boat, you don't want it in your bilge, it will grow all kinds of nasty stuff. In fact, you don't want anything discharging into your bilge including the fridge drain (I have seen some that way) nor the A/C condensate drain. On the 36s (other than the LRCs) your bilge should be dry ALL OF THE TIME. There is no reason to have any water in your vessel. It will make a huge difference in smells and mildew if you keep it dry.

Just my opinion, I could be wrong :-)
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Re: Fridge compressor water intake location?

Postby Allie-May » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:56 pm

To my knowledge there is no thru-hull on the port side of the boat. I can't find one via the inside of the boat, don't recall seeing one on the outside when she was on the hard, can't see one in any of the pictures I have, and the survey doesn't list one on the port side (only starboard). I'm convinced there is no thru-hull on the port side.

So if no port thru-hull then why would the compressor have intake and outtake lines and why would the water cooled switch be wired with power? The line that appears to be the intake and terminating into the bilge was dry. I'm going to stick some paper towels in there to see if it does get water at some point. I'm pretty sure neither line is a condensate drain as they connect on top of the compressor, snake through some copper and ultimately connect back to each other.

I'm not concerned about getting the water cooled option working as I'd probably never use it. I do want to figure out what all the extra plumbing is for so that I can get rid of it if its not needed. I'd also want to disconnect that switch so someone doesn't accidentally turn it on and break something. I'm starting to think this was a partial install by PDQ that was probably opted out of prior to completion which is why no thru-hull exists.

This investigation started when some mud daubers decided to plug up my fridge discharge line. The drain seal failed and the water drained into the bilge. The mud dauber nest has been cleared and drain seal replaced.
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Re: Fridge compressor water intake location?

Postby Lady of the Lake » Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:44 pm

Weird...would have to see it to get the full appreciation for the partial install :-)

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Re: Fridge compressor water intake location?

Postby thinwater » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:34 pm

"I'm starting to think this was a partial install by PDQ that was probably opted out of prior to completion which is why no thru-hull exists."

I think you nailed. it. The guy changed his mind. Now for the real guess work....

He never installed the pump or the through hull. The switch does not actually go anywhere. I'm assuming that one side goes to a fan and the other to the pump, and that switching to "water" turns the fan off. The only harm is the unit will run hot and even less efficient, perhaps doing some damage after many hours, depending on ventilation.

Where does the warm air go? If it goes into the cabin, that does not sound good to me, and I doubt he put in an external vent.

If I were to install the water side, I would tee it off the AC intake and put the pump there, even if it is some distance. That saves a strainer and a through hull. But only if the pump can be made self priming.

As for the water in the boat, I wouldn't want to leave the water running if I wasn't there either.
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Re: Fridge compressor water intake location?

Postby Lady of the Lake » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:56 pm

My thoughts...

Fridge runs all the time (with some duty cycle of course) so it will need to be left on while off the boat on long trips. Don't bring the water inside the vessel :-)

Also, I would be concerned about the demand on the shared intake if the fridge and A/C were both running simultaneously. The water version of trying to pull too much current through small wire...rather than heat and fire concerns, I would be concerned about hose compression, possible joint issues, and maybe most probably pump life issues...maybe even pumps drawing more current to pull the shared water supply...maybe higher compressor temperatures if the cooling water supply can't keep up???

Just thinking out loud...

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Re: Fridge compressor water intake location?

Postby SecondWind » Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:54 am

As far as I know, all of the original installations were Nova Kool refrigerators. An Adler Barber unit was probably installed by a previous owner. None of the originals used cooling water.
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Re: Fridge compressor water intake location?

Postby Allie-May » Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:52 pm

I'll play with the switch this weekend and see if it does anything other than light up.
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Re: Fridge compressor water intake location?

Postby thinwater » Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:01 am

^^ Please actually trace the wires. We've already established that some shaky things happened. While you are at it, check the quality of the wiring (good crimps, labels, well secured, proper fusing, proper wire sizes, etc.). Anything is possible.

Hopefully, the through hull and strainer for the AC are over sized (1-inch would serve both). The flows are so low they certainly should be. The actual risk is that the strainer is clogged, which is one reason they should always be over sized.

If you install a pump, do NOT go oversized. I worked with several AC manufactures on an installation article, and they all mentioned that oversize pumps are a leading cause of premature failure--the flow wears the tubes out.
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Re: Fridge compressor water intake location?

Postby Allie-May » Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:26 pm

We don't have AC nor does it appear the boat ever had AC. This will be something we will add at next haul-out.

From what I've found online the Alder Barbour seawater kit was sold separately for their air/water cooled units. As SecondWind previously mentioned, PDQ installed Nova Kool units. So this would mean a previous owner installed the Alder Barbour unit and seawater control kit. Perhaps this was done with the boat in the water and the intention was to install a thru-hull at a later time which never occurred.

I'll trace the wires next time I'm on the boat; hopefully Sunday. I'm also going to pull the model numbers to check the manuals online.
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Re: Fridge compressor water intake location?

Postby thinwater » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:41 pm

^^ A few years ago I was out of the water, doing a bottom job and modifying the keels, when I got a text from Anytom asking me about how the AC install was going. THAT's when I remembered that I wanted to pop in a through hull so that I could install the AC a few months later. I told the yard to delay lifting me back in the water, made up some parts, bonded a frp backing plate, drilled the hole through the hull, and then went to West Marine to get a few things. WM is on the property, so I was only gone 10 minutes, tops.

When I got back they had the boat in the slings and were headed to the water, hole in the bottom (no valve) and all. Apparently the word had not made it from the office to the yard.

Pretty funny at the time. 15 minutes later it would have been less funny.

----

So yeah, that might be exactly how it happened; he intended to get to it at the next haul, and didn't.

----

Before you ad the AC, ask around. There are a lot of little tips that can make the difference between a pro job and a non-functional job.
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Re: Fridge compressor water intake location?

Postby Allie-May » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:57 pm

So after tracing the power and water lines I'm pretty confident the water option was never connected. Looks like the install was never finished and that's how it'll stay.

Thanks for everyones input.
James & Allison
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