Thursday, February 20, 2014

Drippy : 1, Mike : 0

Well, I did successfully get the refrigerator valve (a.k.a Drippy) to stop sweating and dripping.  Unfortunately I also got it to stop cooling as well.  Sigh.  I went back to the manuals I found on the Sea Frost refrigeration system and they do say that if this valve is mounted outside of the "cold box", that it needs to be insulated.  They, of course, recommend the cork tape stuff I was unable to ever find, but this foam tape should have been an acceptable, and probably better insulating, option.  So it sure seemed like what I did would not have caused this response in the refrigerator.

But, what is step one in trouble shooting any problem: "Did you mess with it when the problem started -> If yes, put it back the way you found it".  So, I ripped some of the insulation back off of the valve.  When I did, I discovered what might be the problem.  Since the vapor line, liquid line, and thermostat probe are bundled together and all run through the same 1 + inch hole into the cold box, I wrapped the lines together.  After all, without the wrapping, this was exactly how the system was configured.

The problem is that bundling the lines together actually leaves a small amount of air space in the middle of the bundle.  I apparently wasn't able to get the tape to produce an air tight seal for this air space, so the result is that ice then formed in the airspace between the pipes.  Now that there is a nice amount of insulation around this airspace, I created what was probably a permanent ice cube.  My current theory is that this ice was causing false readings for the thermostat and that caused the temperature to rise in the refrigerator but the rising temperature in the box didn't make it to the thermostat because of the ice.

To test the theory, I used a heat gun on low to melt the ice and I tried to separate the thermostat control wire from the liquid and vapor lines as best I could.  The refrigerator is now cooling better...but ice is once again forming on the valve and condensing when the refrigerator cycles off.  Since there is still some insulation in place, the cooling isn't completely back to where it was.  Guess I will need to dig more of it out and try to re-route the thermostat wire.

Some days, far too many it seems recently, have been of the fixing either not working or the process of fixing results in finding a bunch of other issues.  I have to say it is wearing on me more than just a little.  The fun to suck ratio seems to be spiraling out of control in the wrong direction during this last push to get things ready to leave Florida.

8 comments:

  1. Hey Mike,

    I'm a Colorado native that had been following your journey! Love all the stories so far. As far as the work goes, take it one day at a time and remember, it is probably still better than sitting in a cubicle for 9 hours working on your TPS REPORTS! Keep on keepin on! Matt and Courtney - http://svyolo.com

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    1. Hi Matt and Courtney,

      Thanks for the encouragement. Right now I do still sit in my cubicle...it just floats and needs a lot of work that I slowly attend to after the day job is complete. Still waiting for the "I did nothing and it was everything I thought it could be" day (yes, I'm a fan of Office Space too...worked too many tech jobs just like that movie).

      I'm trying to portray this lifestyle as accurately as I can and some days it certainly can get to you and this was one of those days. It happens sometimes. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. As you said, one day at a time. And, hey, at least I'm not shoveling snow!

      Just took a quick peek at your blog...acquired a boat in Mexico eh? That must be fun. Hope you are staying clear of the fiasco going on down there with impounding boats. Good luck with your list...hope it grows slower than mine.

      Cheers,
      -Mike

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  2. Mike, there were many times I would have packed it in, boat list too long, life list too short, but we were in too deep to quit. Now we sit in Dinner Key getting ready to hope over to the islands for a few weeks. The work never ends but it did get better.

    Tj

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    1. Thanks TJ! Means a lot to hear that, knowing you've gone through a lot of the same trials and tribulations (and, btw, I now call my motors the WesterBeasts too). I do look forward to catching up with you two down island sometime.

      I'm not ready to pack it in...today was just one of those days that happens where many things just don't go right. Tomorrow is a new day.

      Take lots of pictures (and post them) while you are in the islands...helps keep the goal in focus for those of us following in your footsteps. ;-)

      -Mike

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  3. Though the fun to suck ratio isn't good right now, keep your eye on the target. You are making progress!

    Greg
    www.knottidedown.blogspot.com

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    1. I will, thanks for the encouragement.

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  4. Just remember, it is early in the game and Drippy is only ahead by 1…..you have plenty of time for a comeback and ultimately the victory! LOL

    Where are you headed to in GA?

    Greg

    www.knottidedown.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh, I hope I'm on my way to a comeback with Drippy...will know in a couple days (seems to take a while for a cold plate system to show changes.

      Thinking about Brunswick and the area. Still have work to do and they have a marina that appears to be closer to hardware and marine stores than my current location so that will be a plus. Not really playing tourist yet...just boat mechanic.

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