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Fridge keeps cycling: battery13V

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S&J View Drop Down
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    Posted: 13 June 2020 at 21:32
I have a problem with my fridge (Isotherm BI135).
The fridge is chilling food and freezing ice cubes at the lowest setting so is performing as I wish from a cooling point of view.
The issue is that the compressor continually cycles.  I can hear the compressor start and after it does so my battery monitor increases from approx 1 amp to 7 or 8 amps.  As soon as it reaches this peak (taking spprox 15 seconds) the reading drops back down to approx 1.5 amps.  I can still hear the compressor/fan running and it continues for a minute or  more before stopping  then the cycle starts again almost immediately.
I have not noticed this behaviour when on shore power however having tested the cables to the fridge (the the connector under the cooker) with a multimeter they show over 13V so I don't think this is caused by low voltage.  The negative cable to the fridge did look black rather than normal shiny copper colour and I cut this back a few cm to the point where it was shiny again.

Any ideas?  Should I be looking at the thermostat or the electronic control unit?
Are there any other diagnostics I can carry out?


Edited by S&J - 13 June 2020 at 21:33
H385 #351 Ningaloo UK south coast; Scotland 2020?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 350Bob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 June 2020 at 19:30
Do you have the manual for the fridge, in mine there is a section on troubleshooting which which gives you the decoding of the error message denoted by a flashing led. It is easy to test the thermostat by shorting it out - terminals C & T if I remember correctly (I am afraid my manual is on the boat) that should give you continuos running. If it still displays the same symptoms then I am afraid it will require further investigation.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Cook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 June 2020 at 23:56
Freya Hanse400 #27 from 2006, 40HP Yanmar 3JH4E, Teak deck, 3-blade Flexofold, Aries LiftUp Windvane, Exturn 300, Jefa DD1,Simrad NX40,Icom M802(SSB)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote S&J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 June 2020 at 19:46
Thanks for the feedback.  I now think my issue is likely to be in the power supply.  The control unit is awkwardly situated.  By removing the door to the cupboard below the cooker I can reach my had around and touch it but it is too to tight to get my head in to see it.  
I plan to try removing the panel inside the cupboard that has the gas pipes attached to it.  Although I can use a camera to get a view I'm not sure I can actually rig up the diagnostics like this.  My first thoughts are that I can simply rig some fat cables direct from a battery to the control unit, bypassing the cables from the Hanse switchboard.  This is easy to do and may show the issue to be in the cables.

I wasn't able to make any progress today as I had run the engine getting back into the marina so the batteries were well charged.  My fault only occurs when the batteries ate below 13V (measured at the connection to the fridge).

I'll update this thread once I have made progress.
H385 #351 Ningaloo UK south coast; Scotland 2020?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fendant Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 June 2020 at 05:00
Hi Stuart,

I just finished the job upgrading the ventilation in the compressor compartment. I have installed a fan to blow the hot air into the cupboard. The door to the cupboard has received some milled slots. And I installed a hour counter, both receive the power from the conection for the compressor fan.

In order to get decent access, I completely removed the front door, then the panel with the gas pipes.
Then you can stick your head partially into the cupboard.

BR
Frank
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toholthe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 June 2020 at 12:55
Are you sure its not only the soft start/end you are hearing. Mine also starts and stops a few times before it runs continuously. Same when it stops. I have always thought it should be like this.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote S&J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 June 2020 at 19:45
After further investigation this turned out to be poor cables.  
I measured the voltage at the fridge using the original cables and found that when the thermostat triggered the fridge, the voltage dropped to 10V over approximately 20 seconds at which point the (fridge) batter protector kicked in and the voltage returned to 13V.  After a minute, the cycle repeated.
I then took new 2.5mm2 cables direct from the Wurth panel to the fridge.  There was still a voltage drop as the compressor kicked in, but only to 11.7V which was sufficient to keep the fridge running.
I have no idea how to re-run cables as they do not appear to be in a conduit and from the Wurth panel then go into a huge mass of cables.

As a short term fix I have made up a set of new short cables to connect to the fridge terminals to a connector block and cut as much of the old cable from the Wurth panel as possible.  The ends of the negative cable were black, presumably some sort of oxidation.
This has given me a better voltage at the fridge, but I fear it is only an interim fix.  The total cable run will need to be replaced at some point.
H385 #351 Ningaloo UK south coast; Scotland 2020?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pdc78 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 June 2020 at 20:43
Stuart: Be warned, I found that the gauge of the cable used by Hanse was a very tight fit in the Wago 761 connectors used on the back of the Wurth panel.  You need either slightly smaller gauge - higher conductivity cable, or a crimp end termination which presents a solid core rod into the Wago. 

Edited by pdc78 - 24 June 2020 at 03:12
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Cook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 June 2020 at 22:41
2,5 mm2 is not enough. The original cables to the fridge in my boat is 6 mm2, and at that gauge they had a voltage drop of 0,9 V at the compressor. I used the old 6 mm2 cables to trigger a relay, which I fed with 25 mm2 cables. See photo.
The fuse for the fridge is 15A, and 15A*12V is 180W. You can find multiple pages on the internet, where cable dimensions are calculated. This page tells that you need 9,84 mm2 if the cable is 5 meters. https://solcelle.dk/kabel_dimensionering_for_12v.htm
Isotherm/Danfoss compressors do not work well with voltages below 12V.
https://www.myhanse.com/isotherm-fridge-failure_topic4779_page2.html


Edited by Captain Cook - 23 June 2020 at 22:55
Freya Hanse400 #27 from 2006, 40HP Yanmar 3JH4E, Teak deck, 3-blade Flexofold, Aries LiftUp Windvane, Exturn 300, Jefa DD1,Simrad NX40,Icom M802(SSB)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toholthe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 June 2020 at 23:54
There is a pipe under the cover under the sink in the galley. This leads to the instrument panel. I pulled a cable trough for some led lights. 2x25mm will be difficult I think. Can you not use the old cables. I assume it is bad connection, not bad cables that cause the problem. The original cables work for most of us. 
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