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  1. #1
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    Question Aquarium Chiller Questions

    Hello! Let me preface by saying I'm no refrigeration tech but I do have my Universal AC certification. I understand the basics of refrigeration only. I may be making my problem more complicated than it needs to be.

    I have an aquarium chiller that has a custom made heat exchanger. The company that made the unit has gone out of business. There is no documentation. The main chassis and compressor are still made. See the specs below:
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Copeland M2FH-0026-IAA-102

    Compressor: AR27CIE-IAA-100

    DT Code 19A00

    Max Evap Temp = 45 degrees F

    It's single capillary tube metering.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The model number translates to: M series, R-134a, Air-Cooled, High Temp, Revision 0, 1/4 HP, 115 volt, 1 phase, 60 Hz, no valves

    The compressor model number has changed, the specs haven't. I have a new compressor in the box.

    The problem is that this unit was designed to be an air to air unit versus and air to water unit. The custom exchanger is an 8" long, 3" PVC pipe shell with a 3/8" diameter titanium coil of some sort inside. Length and configuration are not known. 575 gallons per hour of 1.027 salinity sea water flows though 1" connections. In the past, there was a 1 degree F drop across the exchanger (at 575 gph).

    The Copeland spec sheets have no information regarding minimum system charge to keep the compressor cooled. Any kind of exchanger should be "add X amount of charge per foot of tubing". I have spec sheets for both the air M2FH and water M2WH systems. Both say:

    BTU Capacity at 60 Hz with 5 degree F subcooling.
    HT Models are rated at 65 degree F return gas temperature.

    The system was working fine per the customer with the exception of the compressor making a huge rattly noise on shut down. It was very wobbly like a spring support broke. I weighed the recovery cylinder before and after the evac process and found only 5.8 oz of refrigerant had been removed. It doesn't sound like enough but I have no frame of reference.

    Should I ignore any presuppositions I have and charge based upon the spec sheets even though there is a non-standard heat exchanger installed? My concern is that there may not be enough charge to properly carry oil through the system. Temperature shouldn't be any problem. Then whatever comes out the chilled side "is what it is" right?

    I will be adding service valves to the system. Would it be OK to add a small filter drier on the compressor outlet? Does someone have an actual working phone number for Emerson/Copeland Tech Support? I registered for the Emerson site but it pukes when I try to log in.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC_Marc View Post
    Hello! Let me preface by saying I'm no refrigeration tech but I do have my Universal AC certification. I understand the basics of refrigeration only....
    i am a big fan of the tv drama 'House'...does that qualify me to perform surgery? having a 1/2 hour class to get a piece of paper is not the same as being qualified to work in this industry.


    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC_Marc View Post
    ...The system was working fine per the customer with the exception of the compressor making a huge rattly noise on shut down. It was very wobbly like a spring support broke...

    sounds to me like one of support springs (internal to the compressor) broke...but why? install your new compressor and it may happen again because you are not qualified to understand the intricacies of how it really works...not just understanding the basics.


    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC_Marc View Post
    ...I will be adding service valves to the system. Would it be OK to add a small filter drier on the compressor outlet? Does someone have an actual working phone number for Emerson/Copeland Tech Support? I registered for the Emerson site but it pukes when I try to log in.
    adding service valves and filters changes the game a whole lot. this doesn't mean that it can't be done and still work, but how much extra refrigerant are you going to add VERSUS how much should you add? if you got in touch with Copeland tech support, they will not talk to you about your SYSTEM, they would only tell you about the model number of the compressor (which you seem to already know) and what capacitor it takes, etc. wherever you bought the compressor is who you need to talk to about technical support, however, i suspect they don't know jack about it anyway. the companies that represent and sell Copeland products (properly) in the Midwest wouldn't have sold it to you anyway....well, except for 1 very large and nationally known company. they would sell it to you, but they don't know jack about anything in this industry except how to take money from anyone.

    you need to call a reputable company in your area. it will be faster and cheaper...i know you think that it won't be cheaper, but in the long run, it will be.

    good luck.
    "Mother" is the name for God on the lips and hearts of children....The Crow

  3. #3
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    "I'm not an HVAC expert" I'm not going to dwell on that as Jayguy has already done this. While we are mentioning TV shows, how about contacting the guys at "Tanked" on the Animal Planet channel. As they have unique solutions to aquarium related problems. Do you know what tank temperature you are supposed maintain. You are trying to move a lot of water through a relatively small heat exchanger. You did not mention the length of your 3/8 diam. tubing, but 9.6 gpm sounds a bit on the high side your velocity of flow is way to fast, about 20' per second. That doesn't give you a lot of time to cool the water, salinity or plain water.-GEO
    Once in a while everything falls into place and I am able to move forward, most of the time it just falls all over the place and I can't go anywhere-GEO

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ga1279 View Post
    You are trying to move a lot of water through a relatively small heat exchanger. You did not mention the length of your 3/8 diam. tubing, but 9.6 gpm sounds a bit on the high side your velocity of flow is way to fast, about 20' per second. That doesn't give you a lot of time to cool the water, salinity or plain water.-GEO
    I was thinking the exact same thing. Could be why his delta T is so low. The OP has got enough water flow for almost 4 tons of cooling.
    "There is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals."

    -Thomas Jefferson

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech Rob View Post
    I was thinking the exact same thing. Could be why his delta T is so low. The OP has got enough water flow for almost 4 tons of cooling.
    We have to remember here, too, that livestock is involved that is not used to a flush of cold water. The Delta T needs to be low... cooling has to be gradual.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ga1279 View Post
    "I'm not an HVAC expert" I'm not going to dwell on that as Jayguy has already done this. While we are mentioning TV shows, how about contacting the guys at "Tanked" on the Animal Planet channel. As they have unique solutions to aquarium related problems. Do you know what tank temperature you are supposed maintain. You are trying to move a lot of water through a relatively small heat exchanger. You did not mention the length of your 3/8 diam. tubing, but 9.6 gpm sounds a bit on the high side your velocity of flow is way to fast, about 20' per second. That doesn't give you a lot of time to cool the water, salinity or plain water.-GEO
    No, I'm not a *refrigeration* expert. There's a huge difference. I'm not asking anyone to teach me so I can expand my business. I really don't want to do commercial refrigeration. So why do I do this one? It's for family.

    Tank temperature to be maintained is 76 degrees. I don't know the length of the titanium exchanger as the PVC enclosure cannot be opened.

    It's very similar to this 1/4 HP unit:

    http://www.marineandreef.com/1_4_hp_...ller_s/201.htm

    Pump size is 290-660 gallons per hour.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayguy View Post
    i am a big fan of the tv drama 'House'...does that qualify me to perform surgery? having a 1/2 hour class to get a piece of paper is not the same as being qualified to work in this industry.
    My class was a week long out of town course. I took it in 2000 and have been doing residential AC and light commercial up to now. I have little experience in refrigeration applications.




    sounds to me like one of support springs (internal to the compressor) broke...but why? install your new compressor and it may happen again because you are not qualified to understand the intricacies of how it really works...not just understanding the basics.
    that's why i'm asking.


    adding service valves and filters changes the game a whole lot. this doesn't mean that it can't be done and still work, but how much extra refrigerant are you going to add VERSUS how much should you add? if you got in touch with Copeland tech support, they will not talk to you about your SYSTEM, they would only tell you about the model number of the compressor (which you seem to already know) and what capacitor it takes, etc. wherever you bought the compressor is who you need to talk to about technical support, however, i suspect they don't know jack about it anyway. the companies that represent and sell Copeland products (properly) in the Midwest wouldn't have sold it to you anyway....well, except for 1 very large and nationally known company. they would sell it to you, but they don't know jack about anything in this industry except how to take money from anyone.
    Copeland made the system, not just the compressor. It's their model number on it, as I listed it above. The entire package was rebranded by a now defunct company. The filter has a chart for additional refrigerant to be added.

    you need to call a reputable company in your area. it will be faster and cheaper...i know you think that it won't be cheaper, but in the long run, it will be.

    good luck.
    I *AM* the reputable company. I am incorporated, licensed, and insured. I cannot apply here as a professional until my post count reaches 15 or so.

    Are all the people here like you? Abrasive and insulting with no provocation? I understand that you have to try to weed out the DIY, hacks, and other non-pros but I am not one of those.

  8. #8
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    If you had started out with this little piece of information and your hat in your hand, you would have more success here.
    Calling out some of the most informed and helpful people is not going to help you get information you are looking for.
    Just my 2 cents



    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC_Marc View Post

    I *AM* the reputable company. I am incorporated, licensed, and insured. I cannot apply here as a professional until my post count reaches 15 or so.

    Are all the people here like you? Abrasive and insulting with no provocation? I understand that you have to try to weed out the DIY, hacks, and other non-pros but I am not one of those.

  9. #9
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    Since I managed to PO the OP I will back off and refrain from any further assistance, good luck to all and be safe. -GEO
    Once in a while everything falls into place and I am able to move forward, most of the time it just falls all over the place and I can't go anywhere-GEO

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC_Marc View Post
    No, I'm not a *refrigeration* expert. There's a huge difference...
    there isn't a huge difference...maybe a very small difference...maybe not even that big. in our industry, we use the properties of refrigerant (vapor compression) exactly the same in 'high temp' applications as we do in 'chillers' as we do in 'low temp' applications.


    Quote Originally Posted by ga1279 View Post
    Since I managed to PO the OP I will back off and refrain from any further assistance, good luck to all and be safe. -GEO
    good advice.
    "Mother" is the name for God on the lips and hearts of children....The Crow

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfdog View Post
    If you had started out with this little piece of information and your hat in your hand, you would have more success here.
    Calling out some of the most informed and helpful people is not going to help you get information you are looking for.
    Just my 2 cents
    I did what the forum instructions told me to do. Put it in my profile. Also per the instructions I cannot post in the pro's forum until the post count is above 15 and it may take weeks for approval even with the proper submitted documentation.

  12. #12
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    I wouldn't want to disillusion you, but few people read the profile right away.

    Back up, make peace, and try again. You got off on the wrong foot....maybe. Or you tripped and broke your ankle.
    It's up to you.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC_Marc View Post
    ...Are all the people here like you? Abrasive and insulting with no provocation?...
    oh, i forgot to mention this gem...

    no. not all people here are like me. some are worse. some are better.
    "Mother" is the name for God on the lips and hearts of children....The Crow

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