Refrigeration Upgrade

We spent the last three days replacing our two previous refrigeration systems with a new one. We used to have an AC compressor and an engine-driven compressor, both of which still ran on Freon.

Engine-driven system We now have a Keel cooled Frigoboat system (K50-SSC) that runs off the 12V house batteries and uses R134a. We bought the system from River Marine at the Vancouver Boat Show.

Since we needed to have a technician to remove the refrigerant from our old systems, we had him help us remove the two previous systems, so that job took only an afternoon. The next day, we set to installing the new system.

The installation was not very complex, however installing the new evaporator plate was extremely awkward as it just fit in the refrigerator box and we were concerned about damaging the copper tubing as we were running it through the wall between the engine room and the refrigerator box.

Running Copper Tubing
Since we had removed all the previous components from the engine room, there was a lot of space available to mount the much smaller Frigoboat compressor. We chose to mount it near the interior leads from the keel cooler, which we had previous had installed when we hauled the boat out.
Connecting the leads was a straight-forward as the instructions claimed, as each lead was colour-coded and attached to the other lead of the same colour. In our keel-cooled system, this meant that each of the three components had two leads, one of which was connected each of the other two components, forming a large loop.
Quick Connections
We encountered some difficulty with one set of the connections, as we mis-threaded the fittings, but it was easily corrected with no problems. However, we decided to be lazy and re-use some wiring from the previous systems, which turned out to be not well connected for our purposes. Luckily, the system has a fault indicator, which altered us to the reasons why the compressor kept failing to start.
We quit for the day, and then today rewired the system through a fuse and switch, and happily marveled at the almost silent hum of the compressor starting up and running. To add the final touches to the system, Steven tied the copper lines and electrical wires down and out of the way while I sprayed foam insulation into the holes we’d made in the refrigerator box. Now we are just waiting to see how cold it can get in there. Maybe ice cream isn’t such a crazy idea after all!
The Box

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