Waeco Adler/Barbour Refrigeration Problem - Fridge 101

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Dave DeAre

My boat was launched this week and the refrigeration is not working. It seems that the fan runs continuously but not the compressor. It has worked flawlessly for 10 years so am uncertain why it would fail now. Any thoughts or experience on this? I could use the advice/help.
2002 34, roller main, tall rig
Burnham Harbor, Chicago



I had a similar problem with my original unit last fall, unfortunately after extensive troubleshooting, I had to replace the entire system
Check with www.kollmann-marine.com  , he is an expert, and provides complete checkout procedures that you then can use in trying to find the problem source. Check out his forum and more than likely you will see your problem and advise detailed for you.


Bernd, 1990- Hull 1012, Gulfport, FL

Stu Jackson

I found this in my files:

Adler/Barbour Troubleshooting (and Waeco 50, 80, and 90 series)
By: Jacob

These units are simple to troubleshoot, but if for some reason you don't feel comfortable, or you don't have the proper equipment, we have a large distributor/dealer network to handle issues in the field. Go to Cruisair.com and find a dealer. Choose your state/location. WHAT IS ON THE WEBSITE IS THE DISTRIBUTORS. THEY MAY BE IN ANOTHER STATE OR A COUPLE HUNDRED MILES AWAY. HOWEVER, IF YOU CONTACT THEM, THEY CAN REFER YOU TO A DEALER LOCATED NEAR YOUR BOAT.
This is a simple troubleshooting guide I've made up myself to help when your system is not performing correctly. These are just some scenarios I encounter everyday, and figured I'd put them in this simple, layman's terms troubleshooting guide. Before you start, there are a couple things you may need to identify. The Coldmachines produced now contain two PC boards on the actual unit. The front one (the one including the LED troubleshooting) will be referred to as just the PC BOARD. The electronic board mounted to the compressor itself is called the DANFOSS MODULE. If your unit only has one board, and no board w/ the LED light, then all you have is the DANFOSS MODULE. Please note, that there is no way to bypass this board to jump the compressor, and DANFOSS HAS NEVER RELEASED ANY INFORMATION TO DOMETIC ON HOW TO TROUBLESHOOT THIS MODULE, OR A SCHEMATIC FOR THE BOARD INSIDE. The compressor is actually a 3 phase AC compressor. If you try and bypass the module, and run 12VDC directly to the compressor IT WILL RUIN THE COMPRESSOR.
If your unit does not have the two PC boards, then there will be a portion at the end of this for your unit.

Nothing will Start and no LED blinks
1.)   Make sure you are getting the proper voltage at the input of the unit. AT THE INPUT OF THE UNIT, NOT THE BATTERIES OR THE BREAKER. Be sure that your connections are good, free of corrosion, and are not loose or have fallen out.
2.)   If so, check to see if you're getting voltage through the front PC Board to the top two terminals on your Danfoss module (Skip this step, if your unit does not have the front PC Board). If so, go to next step. If not check all the fuses on your front PC Board. The 15a is the main fuse for everything, and the five amp is for the fan/pump circuit. There should be another ½a fuse on the back side of that PC board, that's in line with the thermostat circuit. Older units did not have this.
3.)   If you are getting the same voltage through the PC Board to the module, the next thing to do is to bypass the thermostat circuit. To do this, you will need to remove two wires from your Danfoss module, T and C. It will be a brown and black wire. Once these two wires are removed, you will need to make a jumper wire, with two female push on terminals. Put the jumper wire on terminals T and C to bridge the two (you can also use a pair of needle nose pliers or what ever you have laying around to make a connection, there is no voltage present to hurt anything). If the unit still does not start or try to start, then you will need to replace the Danfoss module. If so, proceed to next step.
4.)   If the compressor does start, then it may be the phone cord end on the tstat, the phone cord connection on the board, or the speed resistor on the inside of the actual tstat housing. To test the speed resistor, unplug it, and ohm out across the pins on it. There are three different ones we use, and it should read across either 270, 680, or 1500. These are there to make the compressor run at the proper speed for whatever plate you have.
5.)   If that checks okay, there is really no way to test the phone cord connections with out fancy equipment. Save yourself time and money and just bypass it. Cut the phone cord off the end of the wire coming from the tstat, install some female push ons, and plug them onto terminals C and T. The tstat will work the exact same as it did before.

Now I'll just go over the different series of blinks you may get if an electronic problem arises. The module has built in troubleshooting capabilities, that you can use a 10ma LED bulb to determine what the module thinks is wrong. The light will blink a series of times, and pause, then continue. This makes these units very simple to troubleshoot. On the newer units, we incorporated this into the front PC board. IF YOUR UNIT DOES NOT HAVE THIS BUILT IN FEATURE, YOU CAN INSTALL YOUR OWN LED ONTO THE MODULE. One end of the LED goes to terminal "D" on the module, and the other will need to be piggy backed onto the positive fan terminal on the module.

One blink – Low Voltage

1.)   99% OF TIME WHEN THE MODULE BLINKS THIS, IT IS DEFINITELY LOW VOLTAGE. I have never seen a scenario where this is not the case.
2.)   If you're getting this code, then most likely your unit is trying to start, there will be a slight shutter, then it will stop, and continue to do this.
3.)   Watch the voltage AT THE INPUT OF THE UNIT AS IT'S STARTING AND STOPPING. You will see a significant drop in voltage. The low voltage cut off is 10.4VDC, but you will probably never see it get this low on your meter because of buffers etc installed in the meter. If you see a drop of over .5VDC you have a problem. You will need to track down the boats wiring, find your loose connection/corrosion that's causing the high resistance. You may even have a weak cell in the battery.
4.)   If you feel the voltage is sufficient, then the only other problem may be the Danfoss module. However, I have never seen the module fail like this, and it's an expensive part to replace, for it continue to do the same thing.

Two blinks – Fan overcurrent Protection Cut Out

1.)   The module has a feature that if the fan draws more than (1a older modules, .5a newer modules) it will cut everything out. This is simple to troubleshoot.
2.)   Disconnect the fan terminal from the PC Board (newer) or from terminal F on the Danfoss module. If the unit still blinks, replace the module. If not replace the fan.

Three blinks – Motor Start Error

1.)   If the compressor cannot achieve a certain RPM in a given time, the module will kick it out.
2.)   Three things will cause this: pressures have not equalized yet, unit has been overcharged, or the Danfoss module is defective.
3.)   One, leave the unit off for fifteen minutes, if it starts, then your unit had short cycled for some reason. No need to worry unless it does it all the time.
4.)   Two, unit was charged recently, and has been overcharged. If the unit is overcharged, the compressor will not be able to get up to speed because it has been overloaded. Get somebody on board who is EPA CERTIFIED, to recover refrigerant according by law and EPA standards.
5.)   If none of this is the case, then replace the Danfoss module, please remember, there is no way to determine whether it's the module or the compressor, other than replacing. However, with all the Danfoss compressors I work with every day, I've only seen a couple fail.

Four and Five blinks –

1.)   I hardly ever see these. ... Four blinks you'll have to replace the module.
2.)   5 blinks mean lack of ventilation. If the unit runs for a while then flashes this, then it's a lack of ventilation. Unit needs at least 100 sq inches of air space to operate correctly. It also will not work above 115 degrees without the water cooled option.
3.)   If the unit flashes 5 times immediately, replace the module.

Everything runs, but my unit is not cooling, or there is minimal cooling...

1.)   First, check your condenser coil (radiator beside the compressor), and make sure that it's clean and free of any kind of debris.
2.)   If all that checks okay, call a technician on board. There is most likely a leak in the system. The leak needs to be found, fixed, and recharged. Once again, MUST BE EPA CERTIFIED.

Danfoss Compressors

Waeco and Adler/Barbour have always used Danfoss compressors, however, they have changed over the years. Rather than get all technical and confusing, there were pretty much two different types of compressors, 3 pin and 4 pin, with 3 being the newest, and 4 the oldest. You will need to remove the module to see how many pins your compressor has. There really is no way to bypass the module, to hard start the compressor. However, you can ohm the compressor pins out, to see if you may have an open or shorted winding. The three pin compressors, you should have 2.3-2.5 ohms between all three pins, and no continuity to ground. On the four pin compressors, ohm readings should be .2-.4, .2-.4, and 2.5-4.5 and no shorts to ground.

Unit drawing high amps

Typically, depending on the conditions, your unit will run anywhere from 4-6 amps. That depends on how much you have in the fridge, how hot it is that day, ventilation, clean coils, insulation etc. If your unit starts drawing higher amperage it could be a few different things. First, check the voltage at the input of the unit. The lower voltage gets, the higher the amp draw. Second, check your condenser coil to be sure it's clean. If it's dirty, and has poor airflow, it cannot condense and disperse the heat like it's designed to do. Another is the unit has recently been overcharged. GET A TECH ON BOARD. Last, it may indicate your compressor is going bad, but like I said before, it's very rare I see these things fail.

Unit blows fuses constantly

If your unit is blowing fuses as soon as it tries to start, it's usually the compressor or the Danfoss module. Disconnect the module plug from the compressor, leaving everything else wired like normal and try to restart. If it does not blow the fuse, then the compressor is bad. If so, then the module is bad. (Note, This is not from Danfoss, it's just what makes sense, and I've told people to do this on numerous occasions and it seems to work).

If your unit is older, and doesn't have the PC Board

Basically, everything is still the same, you just don't have the convenience of having the LED already there. Won't start, bypass tstat like above. Trying to start, monitor voltage, unplug fan, then replace module.... Follow the same steps as above to find out what's going on.



THIS IS RICHARD KOLLMANN'S VERSION with links to his website and electronic module checkout service

See If there are any wires connected to F terminal on module, If so disconnect them then see if compressor will run with a jumper wire across thermostat module terminals C and T. Use meter again to see amperage. The fan terminals Small + and F are limited to 1/5 amp. A bad fan bearing can cause current above 500 milliamps stopping compressor.

If you connect 12 volts direct to compressor field coils the compressor is then junk as one or more of the three field coils will be damaged.
A 13.3 volts reading is not a guarantee that a micro second voltage spike is not happening at compressor startup.

Three and Four pin Danfoss BD troubleshooting

If your refrigeration unit is over 10 years old and has a Danfoss BD 2 or BD2.5 or BD3 compressor then it has the older discontinued electronic 4 pin module.
Troubleshooting Danfoss compressors with 4 pin modules will consists of the following steps:

1. All of these compressors have a 4 pin module connector and their modules contain an external fuse. If this fuse is blown there are two reasons why either power wires to module are reversed or module has an internal failure.

2. Check to see that there is actually power at the refrigerator control module.

3. Place jumper wire across thermostat terminals on electronic module, Compressor still does not run go next step.

4. Disconnect black fan wire from electronic module, Compressor runs, replace fan. Compressor still does not run after fan ground wire is disconnected, go to next step.

5. Run correct size and correct polarity jumper wires direct from a fully charged battery in order to bypass all boat's wiring. Volt meter readings are of no value when looking for voltage spikes. Compressor still does not run electronic module needs to be removed and tested on another unit. If there are no other units available to test your module on I will test all 12 volt Danfoss control modules free except for BD80 compressor modules. Small 12/24 volt boat refrigeration using Danfoss compressors manufactured after 1996 will have a BD 35 or BD 50 variable speed compressor with a troubleshooting computer chip built into their control module. This circuit makes them easier to find troubled area if compressor fails to run. If your unit does not have this $2 LED install one, as it could save you a lot of money later. Without the LED on these new units troubleshooting will be the same as earlier 4 pin Danfoss BD compressors.

Unfortunately trouble shooting LEDs are not installed on most units. I offer a kit that can be easily installed on the module.
There are installation instruction information at Danfoss and my web site as well as in my 12/24 volt refrigeration manual on Troubleshooting LEDs. If you would like the kit and step by step instructions with pictures, send $8 plus $4 shipping to me and I will mail you a complete kit. This simple device can save you refrigeration down time and hopefully large repair costs. If you understand LED applications and do not need the kit I still provide free refrigeration help on my forum or by email. I can also help with free 3 and 4 pin Control module testing..

If installed trouble shooting LED will only flash if electronic module sees a compressor problem. In each case problems of compressor's failures to run are identified by Counting number of flashes of LED:
·   No LED flashes would indicate either thermostat is open or no power to module.
·   One LED flash and a 4 second pause indicates a boat wiring electrical resistance problem or low batteries. Because of modules sensitive to milliseconds of a voltage spick they cannot be detected by a voltmeter. Solution is to bypass boat's wiring till problem is located. To isolate trouble follow instructions above in item number 5.
· Two LED flashes indicates fan over current cutout. If fan circuit on these variable speed compressors exceeds ½ amp compressor start up will be aborted. This condition can be confirmed by disconnecting Black fan wire at module if fan runs replace fan.
·   Three LED flashes indicate excessive torque is required to start compressor. This is commonly caused by turning compressor off and back on too quickly or too much refrigerant or poor condenser cooling. Most people jump to the conclusion that there is a mechanical rotor lock up inside compressor and this is a mistake on Danfoss BD compressors.
·   Four LED flashes indicate compressor motor not reaching sustained controlling speed above 1,850 rpm quick enough.
I closed my shop but after seeing what is being charged by boat refrigeration companies who will test modules charging $50 and charging as high as $385 for new 4 pin modules, I decided to test and sell modules for a fraction of what is currently being charged.

If your shipping address is in the US I will test your module on my Danfoss compressor refrigeration test stand. This test stand will run at max compressor load for a one hour. I will then return your module to you for a shipping and handling charge of $20.

Four pin modules for BD2.5 and BD3 twelve volt compressors only:
Three pin modules for BD35 and BD50 non Danfoss are also $150 plus $15 shipping

New module non Danfoss $150 plus $15 insured shipping. Modules will only be shipped to addresses in the US.

Because your unit is old and if it needs a new electronic module there is a risk that something is wrong that caused module to fail so most companies will refuse warranty of these modules. This is my electronic module warranty:

If any used module I sell fails to operate your unit it can be returned within 30 days for a full refund.
Any new non Dandoss module I sell 3 or 4 pin can be returned for full credit within 30 days. Because of my own risk involved for the next 11 months I will return only 50% of the new units purchase price if module is returned within the first year.

To have module tested or purchase a new three or four pin module send check to:

Richard Kollmann
2430 Sugarloaf LN
Ft. Lauderdale FL, 33312

Richard Kollmann

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."


Hello All,
Newbie to the 34org here.  I'm one of the few ac-dc boaters having gone from sail to sail to power to sail to power, now back to sailing, my first love.
First boat, build a 26' Lugar, then went to a 27' Catalina.  Next was a 30' Sea Ray Sedan Bridge, then back to sailing with a 31' Allmand.  Then back to power with a 32' MotorYacht and now back to sailing with a 1989 34 Catalina.
I'm considering adding Adler/Barbour system to my 1989 34.  I've only seen one other 34 with refridg unit and it was located directly below the oven.  Is this the prime location for the unit to install?
I'm also considering reverse cycle A/C, any suggestions on where they are typically installed?
Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in Advance
visit us at www.ocontoyachtclub.com

Stu Jackson

Quote from: stevewitt1 on June 16, 2012, 12:36:49 PM
\'ve only seen one other 34 with refridg unit and it was located directly below the oven.  Is this the prime location for the unit to install?[/url]

Steve, welcome.

Fridge units were generally installed under the forward seat in the saloon or way aft in the starboard side of the lazarette.  Under the oven sounds like a very strange location, since there's not much space there with a fully gimballed stove/oven.

Others will help with AC, we don't generally need it here.

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."

Ron Hill

Steve : As Stu mentioned there are 2 places that the fridge compressor could be installed on your year C34.  The factory installed it down in the starboard side of the aft lazerette.  
The only practical place that most add ons are installed, is under the seats in the main salon.

As I pointed out in a long ago Mainsheet tech note article; if you get an Adler Barbour authorized repairman, he probably will have the repair parts in his truck and he might solve the fridge problem in one trip.   A thought
Ron, Apache #788

Ken Juul

Dave, hope others have helped...I can't add anything more.

Steve, I think I've had some odd ball POs (Previous Owners) I've got a two AC units and my Norcold refrig unit is in the hanging locker aft of the Navsta.  Think about how you want to use your boat.  Lot of options on where to place things.

Welcome aboard!
Ken & Vicki Juul
Luna Loca #1090
Chesapeake Bay
Past Commodore C34IA


Quote from: stevewitt1 on June 16, 2012, 12:36:49 PM

I'm considering adding Adler/Barbour system to my 1989 34.  I've only seen one other 34 with refridg unit and it was located directly below the oven.  Is this the prime location for the unit to install?

Hi Steve,

I also just bought a 89 C34, and the compressor is located under the oven.
Not shure if it's the place I would have installed it, but I will leave it there for now.
1989 MKI #970
   _/)  Free Spirit

Stu Jackson

Could you post a photo?  I'd love to see that. 
Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."

Kevin Henderson

For what its worth department... :razz:

When I bought my boat, the PO had the reefer compressor installed in the hanging locker forward STBD side.  It seems a bit of an odd location but I've grown to love it.   :abd:
The sail, the play of its pulse so like our own lives: so thin and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labors hardest, so noisy and impatient when least effective.
~Henry David Thoreau



Will be at the boat this w-e, and could take one to post.
1989 MKI #970
   _/)  Free Spirit

Rod Caines

Compressors for both refrigeration and AC are in the nav station locker in my boat.   Don't ask me if I miss the storage or not.   They were there when I got her.
Rodney Caines
1987 C-34 Sail La Vie
S/N 352



As said, here is a picture of the compressor installed under oven.
Compressor is from Danfoss.
1989 MKI #970
   _/)  Free Spirit

Dave DeAre

  After careful testing and telephone discussion with Dometic CS (now owns A/B) I replaced the electronic module on my 2002 refrigeration system with no change. Fan ran, no flashing LED and still no cooling.

After reading the Kollman Marine site, I disconnected the fan and found that the Danfoss compressor was actually running. It was virtually silent and vibration free. So I changed my diagnosis, went to AutoZone and bought an inexpensive R34a charging kit with a guage. My A/B came from the factory with R134a refrigerant but the fittings were for R12 (Freon) and an inexpensive adapter was needed.

I charged the low side to 10 lbs; the system immediately started working and after 10 days is still working well even though it has been over 100 degrees for 3 days here in Chicago.  :clap
2002 34, roller main, tall rig
Burnham Harbor, Chicago


What ever happened to ship shape wiring practices.

Got extra wire?  

Just throw it in there and hope it behaves itself?

...and while I'm ranting.  I will bet Patrice"s unit is not fastened down, No, just sort of floating around under there.

I'm done now.


Ciao tutti