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4 Steps in 12v Refrigeration Troubleshooting

women preparing meal on boatWe’re living in a DIY world with the internet and answers close at hand. When your boat’s refrigeration isn’t working correctly, how many of you go to the internet, forums, manufacturer’s web site to find solutions? We’ve all learned, too often the hard way, that not all web pages are trustworthy sources of information; some information should be taken with a grain of salt; others with a truck load.

Our business is to sell, among other things, Frigoboat and Vitrifrigo refrigeration to boat owners, boat builders, dealers, service companies, RV owners, etc. Since our beginnings in 1992, we’ve wanted to ensure you, the owner/purchaser, know how to get the most out of your new equipment, not only after the initial set up, but over years and years of use. Quality equipment with clear instructions and support, sold to happy customers makes for good trust building, both in product performance and product support.

To that end, we are always fine-tuning our web page with answers to questions asked by our customers. The leading one, and theme to this blog, is troubleshooting a 12v/24v refrigeration system. We recently updated our “Frigoboat Compressor Trouble Shooting Guide” with video links and downloadable print-outs. It starts with the basic questions:

1. Is your compressor running?
Don’t assume that because the fan is running, so is the compressor: the fan takes very little energy to run. Even the start-up sequence or the lack of a sound is not an indicator that your compressor is running or not running.

2. Is your compressor not running?
The best way to answer the question is to feel the compressor itself – is it vibrating or warm to the touch? If all is still, then continue on the path this takes you through our guide.

3. Do you have a diagnostic LED installed?
This LED will blink one to five times if your compressor should stop for a fault reason. The new Danfoss control module, 101N0212 (distinctive by its lack of cooling fins on the backside), has an LED installed on the internal board, you simply have to remove the module from its bracket to see the LED by looking at the circuit board through the exit hole for the three wires. Of course, you must leave the module still plugged into the compressor. Or you can install a simple LED indicator yourself on the “D” and “+” terminals.

4. How is your power supply?
This is not only about your power source, but the supply components of that power to your control module. For this a volt meter is handy – what is the volt reading before your compressor tries to start, and the reading at the instant a compressor start is attempted? Did it drop below 10.4 volts? Run a wire directly from the control module to your power source to verify the wiring, if necessary.

This is the beginning of what is available on our web page. It’s our customers, and their questions, that help us keep our site current, and like all technology, it is evolving.

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Contact Info

Phone: (301) 352-5738
Office | Warehouse:
4831 Tesla Dr., Suite H
Bowie, Maryland 20715
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Coastal Climate Control
Cooling, Monitoring & Solar Solutions


Office | Warehouse:
Coastal Climate Control
4831 Tesla Drive
Suite H
Bowie, Maryland 20715
Phone: (301) 352-5738

Request Information
Click here for directions.