New fridge and freezer installation day
26 November 2020 | 12 02'N:61 45'W, Spice Island Marina, Prickly Bay, Grenada
12 02 N
61 45 W
Weather; mostly sunny, wind n/a, waves n/a
Today was the day that our new fridge and freezer system was going to be installed, not a moment too soon as we have struggled to keep the few things that had to be refrigerated cold enough to ensure that that didn't go off or poison us. Although we were keeping the stuff in an insulated bag and were topping it off with ice we were having trouble keeping up with replacing melted ice as our ice maker doesn't produce enough ice in one go to replace what was melting. We had already lost 2 half cartons of milk (Gerry - "does this smell OK to you Nick?", me gagging and wondering why he can't tell that it's not OK), all of our Pillsbury dough stuff though we just cooked them up as they exploded so they weren't entirely wasted, half a bag of mushrooms which had turned to liquid - I couldn't think of anything to do with that and the smell was off putting anyway and a head of broccoli which only survived for a day before turning a disgusting shade of yellow/brown - to have a working fridge once more would be awesome!
Gerry took the dinghy into the dock to pick the guys up at the arranged time of 9am, he returned within minutes but no extra bodies accompanied him - he had phoned to find out where they were and apparently they were running 45 mins late but as the phones only work in one direction (sarcasm at its best!) they couldn't possibly have let him know and saved him a wasted trip! He just about had time to cool his jets before the 45 mins was up and he had to make the second trip of the day into the dock, this time they were waiting for him and loaded our dinghy down with the boxes containing the new system and several tool boxes and cases - there was no room for the guys. Back out at our boat I helped Gerry to unload the dinghy before he set off back to the dock for the third time to collect the 2 guys who were going to do the installing. My job for the day was to keep well out of the way and type emails and the blog. Gerry showed the guys what he had done in clearing the old stuff out and then stood over them whilst they prepared to install the new system. The first job of the day was to make a hole in both the fridge and freezer to allow the pipework to pass from the plates to the compressors. Gerry helped out with the Dremel until he had made the fridge hole and then broke 3 cutting disks trying to do the hole in the freezer, the guys had to complete the second hole with a hole cutting saw - luckily the stainless steel liner wasn't too thick and the saw got the job done. The compressors fitted into the floor space easily on the supported shelf that Gerry had fashioned out of bits of sticky tape, paper, lollypop sticks and bull dog clips (one Blue Peter badge coming up!) - whoops I mean Plascore, epoxy and thickener, anyway it does the job. The next move was to fit the new plates into the fridge and freezer holes. They began with the most difficult to reach - that being the freezer, but as it was also the smaller plate maybe it would be the easiest. Because of the size of the plate they had to bend it so that it wraps around two sides inside the freezer box without destroying the integrity of the plate, the guys had obviously done this before as after measuring where the bend need to occur they were very quickly ready to put the plate in place. The pipe work which goes to the compressor comes attached to the plate with a quick start end (essentially a plug and play). This pipe work was coiled up so they had to unwind and straighten it out before putting the plate in place as they needed to feed the pipework through the newly drilled hole as they went. It was a 2 person job to get it into place and feed the pipework through at the same time and the guys looked like they were practicing for the ballet with the moves they had to make to get it in place but it worked, they had the first plate in place and proceeded to secure it in its new home. For the moment they left hooking the pipework up to the compressor, they would do that once the fridge plate and pipework was in situ. So they were now on to the bigger plate which was in the easier place to get to. Following the same procedure of measuring the sides of the compartment they bent the second plate to fit around 2 sides of it and then uncoiled and even longer lot of pipework and once more did their ballet routine as they maneuvered the plate and pipework into the fridge compartment and secured it in place. We now had everything on place, it just needed joining together and wiring up. This is where the job began to fall apart, the pipework was connected up OK then they wired the compressors up to the power supply and the thermostats. The compressors began running but the thermostat didn't control them, a relay had to be removed and the thermostat was then wired directly to the compressor which then gave us correct control. This sounds like a quickly fixed job as I type but in reality it took forever to get right, reviewing of the wiring diagrams for the thermostats, reviewing of the wiring system as it currently stood, comparison of what we had and what we needed, a video call to the boss of the company, further discussions and explanations of how the old system was wired and worked compared to how the new system needed to be wired to work off the thermostats, all this ended with the removal of the relay and the need to run 2 separate new cables from the thermostats to the compressors. By this time it was nearly 4pm and time for the guys to leave for the day, Gerry didn't have enough new cable to run the lines straightaway so the arrangement was for him to return the guys to the dock and at the same time go to Budget Marine and buy the cable which he would attempt to run (it had to pass through 3 cupboards, down through a counter top, through the cupboard under the sink , down through the floorboard, over a ledge and into the compressor compartment) which wasn't going to be an easy job the guys would then return tomorrow and wire it up so it was fully installed and qualified for warranty cover. For the fourth time today Gerry did the trip into the dock, it was quicker and easier than bringing all of the stuff out to the boat in the first place as there were no bulky boxes with fridge components in them.
Gerry returned with the reel of cable and then set about looking at how to get the 2 cables through the aforementioned spaces. He thought he could do it (in 2 goes) and proceeded to push, poke and thread the first cable through a series of small holes and spaces already where he intended the cables to run. With a bit of sailor speak thrown in for good measure the first cable was forced into place, the second one was more difficult as the holes and gaps were a cable width narrower now but with a whole lot more sailor speak he eventually got the second cable in place too. Not content to leave it for the guys in the morning he wired up the thermostats to the compressors and flicked the switches, no puff of smoke Ð thank goodness, just the gentle humming of the compressors running then switching off as directed by the thermostats . Job done for the night, it just needed the guys to check it tomorrow and we are cooking with gas once more. Hopefully just one more night of the ice maker running and trying to keep stuff cool, tomorrow we will be cleaning out the inside of the fridge and freezer, reinstalling the shelf and loading the stuff back into the cold space once again as long as all goes to plan. With the cables run it was time for us to retire to the cockpit, watch the sunset, drink an adult beverage then get some dinner underway. A productive day even if we haven't quite got to the ending that we had hoped for - tomorrow is the day!