Author Topic: Beier 318L 12/24v DC Chest Fridge/Freezer - Not Cooling  (Read 133 times)

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Offline OTG

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Beier 318L 12/24v DC Chest Fridge/Freezer - Not Cooling
« on: July 12, 2020, 10:41:34 pm »
Hey y'all, hope everybody's doing well!

It's been a long while since I last dropped by (almost 2 years since I fixed my blown caps issue) - but I thought I'd ping the anotherpower brains trust again for my latest woes - before I begrudgingly called a refrigeration guy.

One of my two DC Chest Fridge/Freezer's has stopped cooling (luckily it's the one I use for a fridge - the other ones got a couple of steers in it!).

The thing still runs normal (seemingly), but inside it's nowhere near as cold as it should be - running the whole day, it'll drop about 1 to 2°C (so it's floating around 7-9°C presently - instead of 4°C).

 - It's running, so the thermostats not an issue,
 - I've tested/swapped controllers and they're all working fine,
 - I gave the Condenser a blow out with the compressor and the fans running fine (it's a relatively new ball-baring fan) - that's made no difference,
 - I checked all accessible brazed/soldered points for refrigerant leaks, but nothing (I haven't noticed any smells either),
 - And finally, I did all the usual DMM tests on the Compressor (Open/Shorted Windings), and they all came back fine too...

The only odd things I've noticed are:
1. As pictured, there is one, very cold/frosted point inside the unit, around the top/middle section on the right side... obviously the evaporator coil is in behind there doing something. What this symptom might be telling me I don't know (maybe a blockage of some sort)? I've had the unit off overnight the past couple of nights, so if the evap coil was frozen, it should have defrosted by now.
2. The in/out pipes on the compressor are nowhere near as cold/hot as they should be, and
3. The compressor itself is not as hot as it should be, and it's vibrating noticeably less than the other working unit (it's definitely running - but almost feels like it's being held back/constricted somehow from running at full-pelt).

If you guys can give me any pointers as to what this all might mean, that would be greatly appreciated.

Offline bj

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Re: Beier 318L 12/24v DC Chest Fridge/Freezer - Not Cooling
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2020, 05:09:40 am »
   No expert, but from the various troubles over the years, sounds like low on refrigerant.  Amps check on the
compressor will show a lot less than claimed draw.
   Good luck
BJ
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bj

Offline Wolvenar

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Re: Beier 318L 12/24v DC Chest Fridge/Freezer - Not Cooling
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2020, 09:36:16 pm »
BJ is spot on, these are all the signs of low refrigerant.
There are other much less possible problems, but low refrigerant is the most common, and best fitting for the symptoms.
If this is a newer refrigerant there may be a fix /patch up to get it by a bit longer.
Does it have the type listed on it?
If it's older it is likely the typical R22.

Edit: it appears from the link in earlier posts about this cooler that it is R-134

Now, this is not as strait forward as it may seem if you want to do it right, so let me know what you want to do.
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Offline noneyabussiness

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Re: Beier 318L 12/24v DC Chest Fridge/Freezer - Not Cooling
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2020, 05:06:55 pm »
Replace the refrigerant with LPG, less problematic...

Offline OTG

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Re: Beier 318L 12/24v DC Chest Fridge/Freezer - Not Cooling
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2020, 06:00:26 pm »
Thanks guys,

Yes the refrigerant is a 115g charge of R134a. And the unit pulls around 4A@24V when running.

Thanks for the tip BJ - I'll Amp check the compressor.
And Wolvenar - I'd be interested to hear of any fix/patch you might know. I'm very keen to keep the unit in service!
Noneya - How is LGP less problematic? If it's a leak, surely the type of gas wouldn't matter any?

If it is loosing refrigerant, and the leak can't be found from accessible pipework, that must mean it's coming from inaccessible pipework (i.e. the evap coil running through the back of the units insulation), that effectively makes it an irreparable issue... right?

Offline noneyabussiness

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Re: Beier 318L 12/24v DC Chest Fridge/Freezer - Not Cooling
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2020, 04:09:06 pm »
Lpg has a larger molecule,  so generally doesn't leak as quickly...
Also LPG is not hydroscopic like r134a so water is not as much a big deal... look up r600, similar specs... ive got a small car with a leaky compressor seal, bout 500 odd bucks to replace it, so i bought a $22 lpg tank and i top it up once a  month, been like that for about a year and still have at least a half full tank, lol used it to actually cook a couple of times too... its a 5 min job so not a huge deal, the wife usually reminds me because the air con starts getting " warm " ..

Do have you access to a vacuum pump and gauge?? A good way to check for a leak is vacuum it down to -30 ish and seal it... leave it for a few hours with gauge still attached.. if the pressure slowly drifts back to 0 then there is a leak..

Offline Wolvenar

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Re: Beier 318L 12/24v DC Chest Fridge/Freezer - Not Cooling
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2020, 11:41:20 pm »
LPG is EXACTLY OPPOSITE OF LARGER!

LPG, IE propane is a much smaller molecule.
Among other problems I'll get to later..
If you have a leak with r134a, its going to be MUCH worse with propane

R-134a Tetrafluoroethane,  molecular mass   102.03
R-290    Propane,               molecular mass    44.097

Sourced here
https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/refrigerants-d_902.html

Also, your line pressures, head pressure, and head temperatures are going to be much higher.
The higher pressures alone can cause things to get worse since system was not designed for it,
Also when the compressor was not designed for it, or the system was not designed for it, the head temperatures will destroy the pump.
Now if that was not enough, since it was not designed for this, the evap to condenser ratio may cause other immediate troubles because of the boiling and liquid temperature points plus the difference in how much heat energy each can carry. The two refrigerants have a lot of differences. 

Theoretically... (Now I cannot legally tell you to do this) there are propane-butane mixes.
Some sold as HC-12a that can normally work as a replacement as long as you find and fix the problem. It should be 100% compatible with any oil.
Though like I alluded to, many countries restrict this stuff/modification to the extreme!
However, HC-12a can work better, and be more efficient. Just it introduces a fire risk.
So, in this case, if it was designed for r134a, and you can still get it, replace it with the same.
Further interesting read. https://www.vasa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Oct2012vasa_HCwhite_paper.pdf
 
Most sealed systems like this won't have a UV tracer from the factory, so adding that may help find the problem.
Keep in mind if you add a tracer UV dye with oil, it takes up space the freon would have.
This will reduce cooling capacity slightly and reduce efficiency once you add more of anything not freon past the original design spec. 
But, if it helps to repair the problem, so be it.
To draw down and recharge a system without having to solder you can buy a piercing valve
https://www.amazon.com/Supco-BPV31-Bullet-Piercing-Valve/dp/B00DM8J3MI
It's not the absolute best option of course but it tends to get the job done much easier.

Best of luck.
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Offline Wolvenar

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Re: Beier 318L 12/24v DC Chest Fridge/Freezer - Not Cooling
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2020, 11:56:36 pm »

Do have you access to a vacuum pump and gauge?? A good way to check for a leak is vacuum it down to -30 ish and seal it... leave it for a few hours with gauge still attached.. if the pressure slowly drifts back to 0 then there is a leak..

For future reference though it doesn't apply here..
While this generally works, especially in a fully sealed pump with no mechanical parts outside of the sealed system, it doesn't always hold up.

Automotive and similar designed pumps have shaft seals that can work while the shaft not turning but not when in use,
This is generally because any bearing wear may cause the shaft to vibrate around and a hardened seal can leak when moving, but not leak otherwise.

Also, the shaft seal design is designed to hold higher pressures, at approx a single atmosphere of a vacuum you may not always get a leak.
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Offline noneyabussiness

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Re: Beier 318L 12/24v DC Chest Fridge/Freezer - Not Cooling
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2020, 05:17:27 am »
https://www.es-refrigerants.com/resources/docs/PERFORMANCE%20AND%20SAFETY%20OF%20LPG%20REFRIGERANTS.pdf

i stand corrected re molecule size... i was told by a trusted friend otherwise  ???


Do have you access to a vacuum pump and gauge?? A good way to check for a leak is vacuum it down to -30 ish and seal it... leave it for a few hours with gauge still attached.. if the pressure slowly drifts back to 0 then there is a leak..

For future reference though it doesn't apply here..
While this generally works, especially in a fully sealed pump with no mechanical parts outside of the sealed system, it doesn't always hold up.

Automotive and similar designed pumps have shaft seals that can work while the shaft not turning but not when in use,
This is generally because any bearing wear may cause the shaft to vibrate around and a hardened seal can leak when moving, but not leak otherwise.

Also, the shaft seal design is designed to hold higher pressures, at approx a single atmosphere of a vacuum you may not always get a leak.


what is actually funny with the situation i described, its completely different to your description of the shaft seal. if we use the car everyday, the system stays charged for almost the entire month, however if the car is parked for more than 4-5 days it needs to be recharged before it will work again. Also i have found it runs at a LOWER head pressure than the original r134a ... go figure

anyhoo... back to the world of dreams...

Offline RFburns

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Re: Beier 318L 12/24v DC Chest Fridge/Freezer - Not Cooling
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2020, 04:16:08 pm »
Maybe something in this post may help https://www.anotherpower.com/board/index.php?topic=1373.0
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