Refrigeration Equipment Frozen, Seized or Toast?

Yes, the term “frozen” in quotes, if a reefer compressor “freezes up” be sure to use the term “seized up”. otherwise you might get advice from the port engineer that makes you realize he thinks you’re an idiot.

re ‘‘frozen’’ … ha ha … your’re right steamer, not the best choice of words.

If that happened I’d think the port engineer is not too bright. Reefer compressors may seize due inadequate lubrication, bad bearings etc but they don’t freeze as in get too cold to run. They may show frost due to low refrigerant charge or a malfunctioning control though. Most engineers know when a refrigeration compressor freezes it is “toast”.

That’s what I was thinking at the time. But “not too bright” is too kind.

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In my experience port engineers are great at ordering parts and passing on advice received from manufacturer reps. Some are good at that plus coordinating in port tasks with contractors, ship crew etc., I have worked with many like that. Others are good at those things plus they come on in port and assist with the work. Those types are rare in my experience. All three port engineers of the rare group remain friends of mine to this day.

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I wonder what percentage of port engineers spent time at sea … ? I never saw a lot of any of them but those I had seen seemed they’d been crewmen before.

Not many in my experience had lengthy time at sea. Oddly enough the best I ran across was a KP grad who got deathly seasick whenever at sea. He got a job as port engineer and when in port he would take over the work that needed doing, he’d send me and the other engineers ashore saying, “I got this, go relax, enjoy town.”. I told him that was unusual and he said,“It’s the least I can do. Once I found out I could not sail I needed to do something. When I’m working down here in the ER I feel like an engineer, not so much when I’m in the office.” I wish the other 95% I dealt with were the same.

wow, that’s about all i can say to that… i bet 95% ships import want that guy

He became ship superintendent, rightfully so.

We are often asked the question, why is my air conditioner freezing up?

I did have this happen. The ship’s AC was getting worse and worse as we made our way up the coast from JAX. Bad chief said that the oil pressure was dropping and the reason was the compressor was worn out, like a car engine with bad rings. Crew was putting in for accommodation pay as the ship was getting uncomfortable.

So we order a new compressor and arranged to have it shipped by air to JAX as we planned to turn around in Boston and head back down the coast loading.

The port engineer (the good one) had already arranged to meet the ship in Baltimore so when he came to the ship I asked him if he minded having a look. The explanation I was getting from bad chief seemed a little shaky. The PE told me he loved troubleshooting refrigeration.

This was after almost a week with no AC in the summer, PE walks into the AC room, flips the breaker and AC starts running and cold air started blowing out the vents.

Turns out it was just ice build-up. I had good chief explain to me about the oil pressure, didn’t really understand but evidently oil pressure in a AC system is not like a car engine if I got the story right.

yea, you’ll get a couple replies on that one on our engineering thread … the command usually just shrugs their shoulders and moves on but after a week with no ac … no secrets aboard… did that cme continue to sail the same ship? ha ha … or did the ‘guests’ move on? I really thot you were going to say it was something ‘obvious’ but a tripped breaker? c’mon, who wouldn’t see that?

I believe he meant that when they shut it off for a day or two the ice in the evaporators melted and it all worked again.

Bad Chief, bad chief couldn’t see it. Bad chief opened the breaker to shut the system down.

I was busy at the time managing the two coast-wise trips, one north-bound, one south-bound with crew changes, eNOAD, crew lists, pay-offs and throw in a hot, sweaty disgruntled crew…

From what bad chief told me there was an issue with the oil pressure. That’s why he shut it down. The system was in perfect working order, when good PE flipped the breaker it fired right up and starting pumping out ice cold air.

On a later trip with the same chief one of the reefer compressors seized up and the breaker flipped. Bad chief ordered a new breaker. At crew change good chief showed up, replaced the breaker only to have the new breaker flip because the compressor was seized up.

So good chief emails bad PE that we need a new compressor which results in my getting a phone call from the PE demanding to know what we mean by “frozen”.

Bad day. Lesser men would have smoked reefer and got toasted, forcing you to freeze their pay.


That’s cold, man.

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I think frozen / seized / toast is in order of least to most serious.

I am from the insurance company.
Once you have explained frozen/seized/toast to me, please point me in the direction of the person responsible for me being here.

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Now that’s good question and future analysis answers to solving the problem. Glad I had a ten year warranty parts and labor on my latest installation on my 4 ton unit. Scroll compressor replaced and upper unit variable speed fan motor replaced. 1 year left, wish me luck. They already fixed the meat of the system, and it is hot as fuck outside. But not inside.

vfd is showing up everywnere … i guess i’ll have to adapt but for why i don’t know i just am not a big fan of vfd … i guess ‘growing up’ with dc spoiled it for me?

TOAST … or ‘‘baked’’ … should be the one word answer and instead of heading for the victim you head for the spares.
man have i seen some fried karap out there. ! i still remember a E/R vent fan that died in the tropics. no spares but the one on the stbd. side still ran but whew! the bigger the ship the more krap you gotta get through to work on something, why is that.