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  1. #1
    I need a little help rebuilding a bait freezer on my boat. I don't know much about refrigeration. I do some work installing and charging new split unit A/C systems but not much in the way of trouble shooting.

    The box is small 23"L x 13 3/4" W x 14 1/2 D and the evaporator is a wrap aroud type about 8"W and surrounds the box.Insulation is unknown, maybe 2" and 20 years old. I wanted to keep the evaporator to save the expense of a complete new system.

    The existing condensing unit has gone south and is so rusted there is not much in the way of numbers. I do know however the compressor is an AE 120AT and it is a cap tube system. I was planing on replacing it with an AEA1360AXAXA unit which I believe the existing one may be. But,I'm not too sure of the condition of the cap tube nor the required charge. SO I got this half baked idea of getting a unit with a receiver and using a TXV. The only trouble is I can't seem to find a unit as small as the 1360. I did pick out an AEA2410AXAXC But not sure if it would be too large. The other problem I have is, if I do go to the TXV the connection where the cap tube enters the evaporator has maybe an 1 1/2" piece of 1/4" copper somehow sleeved to the aluminum pigtail (8-10") I could cut the end of the copper where the cap tube is attached and flare it but If it gets screwed up I'll be dealing with a copper to aluminum connection of which I don't have a clue as to the best way to connect it.

    I know this is a lot of crap and I never really did ask a question. I'm just looking for some thoughts about the best way to go about this.
    Does anyone have any input? And If you come up with the idea of scrapping the system, Any Ideas on where to obtain a new evaporator I can bend to fit? and a condensing unit to match. At that point I suppose I could even change refrigerants.
    All I want to do is keep 4-5 flats of shark and tuna bait rock solid.


  2. #2
    What do you do for a living? Fishing? Care to share some fishing tips with some non-professionals?

    We make our living doing what you are asking us to give away here.

    Wish to "contract" with one of us as a consultant, then fine. But site rules state we are NOT allowed to give away or give out info which could lead someone who isnt qualified .. into danger.
    Freon is dangerous to the untrained person.

    So .. unless I misunderstood your post ... sorry... cant help you.

  3. #3
    Must Have miss understood. I'm a plumbing contractor. Been in the business for 35 years. I have a 608 universal cert. and 609 mvac cert. Not too much in the way of Refrigeration and just do a/c when when I can't get out of it. Not my forte'

    If I can't find any help here so be it.

    Fishing rule #1 Never leave fish to find fish!


  4. #4
    Ok ... open mouth .. insert foot.. I guess I didnt get that part.

    oops. My apologies.

    Now ... how can I be of assistance? I love a good project.

    You say you need a tiny compressor? hmmm.... have you thought about remotting what you CAN get? Instead of trying to fit it into a small space?

    Just an idea.

  5. #5
    You say the coil is aluminimum ....hmmm... dont work well around salt water.

    Found a great site awhile back dealing with bait tanks.

    we were discussing building a live bait tank right here. We got pretty creative, really.

    There are coated coils which provide longevity.
    But if your old system has lasted any length of time, I guess all you really want to do now is duplicate the old system wth new parts.

    Cap tube is a good way to go. The advantage however, of using the TX is a faster pull down in temperature. And, you dont have a critical charge to line up.

    Your charge wont be any hassle once you got the system built. Although you may need to "adjust" the length of the cap tube and also "adjust" your freon charge.
    But this is no trouble really.

    First thing we want to do is to size you up for the load you want to support.

    You say you have an old evaporator coil? Tell us all about this coil. Can you match up any numbers for it?

    Have you a catalog showing a picture of this sucker?

    Maybe you can contact one or more of the manufacturers, online, and see what they have which looks like it.
    Then once we have a BTU rating on the coil, we can figure your condensing unit.

    It appears from your description that you may need to make yourself a whole new tank. Especially if the insulation is shot.

  6. #6
    Thanks for the reply. I'm going to take some photos tomorrow. once you see them you will know there is absolutly no reason to keep the condensing unit. The evaporator is aluminum but coated and really not exposed to the salt water.

    As far as the cap tube is concerned. I really have my doubts as to the condition of the existing. and the ambient range (40- 100) tells me It isn't too efficent. I'm almost positive the existing unit is a tecumseh AEA1336AXAXA since I know the compressor is and AT120AT-048. This would be the only unit they make with that compressor. It is very small. 450 btu @ -10

    If switching to a TXV and using a reciever type I will not only get over that pesky critical charge problem which I suppose I could just charge with the frost back method. I could gain more control over the ambient temp. The problem is the smallest unit I can come up with is a AEA2410AXAXC which is 1250 BTU @ -10.
    Much larger.

    However, Even though the insulation is old this is a built in box and I'm married to it. It is foam insulated and R something or other.

    Tell me do you think the larger condensing unit would be a problem?

    And also if I do go this way. I have the problem of the aluminum pigtail on the evaporator with the cap tube. How to connect. I did see a fitting...... lockring..... seal ring.... Something like that only I would have to buy the assembly tool for one fitting.

    I'll try to get to upload some photos tomorrow.

  7. #7
    Why couldnt you flare the aluminum pigtail?

    Talk with the supply house about a unit of lower btu's at the temp range your working in. Perhaps they can recomend something for your needs.

    If it were my project, and I owned it ... I might be willing to try using Laco heat stick to bond the two dis simular metals together.
    I wound never do this for a customer. But for my own project ... it might prove interesting to experiment.

    Let's see those pix

  8. #8
    I'll have to check it out. I suppose I could get something smaller with a receiver made up. The key here is to go cheap or should I say cost effective. I just might want something a little larger to make up for the old insulation. When the freezer was running it was OK....Not great. I did keep most things frozen in the cooler weather but not on hot days. It also has an issue when stuffed with boxes that there is minimal air circulation, if any. I ususally use it to keep bait I may or may not use on a trip. I ussually put 4 flats of bait in it. at 30 buscks a flat if I don't use it I want it good as it was for the next trip.

    I guess I will flare the aluminum. even if it does corrode I will probably get a few years out of it. I'll just have to inspect it. As you can see, I have about 10" before it enters the evaporator. As far as using a heat stick.... Could work I suppose.

    I do think if I can get a condensing unit of maybe. 750btu or so it might work very well

    Here are the pix

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Ilwaco, Washington


    Flaring the aluminum isn't a very good option. I'd keep the cap tube, pump a little oil and maybe a lead slug through it, and just replace the condensing unit with a new one. If a Tecumseh isn't available, go with one of the Italian units like Embraco, or Aspera. Stay within the same Btus, and charge according to the frost line, it'll work. Plan on spending the better part of the day watching it run, so you don't overcharge it and slug liquid back to the compressor when she starts cooling down. I figure about a six pack job, unless you have help.
    One way to outthink people is to make them think you think. They'll think you're not really thinking what you're trying to get them to think you think...........

  10. #10
    I wasn't too keen on flaring the aluminum. Keeping the cap tube is definatly easier. I think I will just replace the existing unit. It's cheap enough.

    As I mentioned earlier. I'm a plumbing contractor with minimal acr experience. I heve occasion to install new smal split units like the mitsubishis. If it is any larger. I'll sub it out. The guy I sub it too says he doesn't know about refrigeration. I think it is time to invite him, an hvac engineer (with no hands on experience) and myself. get a case 'o' brewskies and see if we can't get this thing running.

  11. #11
    Originally posted by tunateaser
    I wasn't too keen on flaring the aluminum. Keeping the cap tube is definatly easier. I think I will just replace the existing unit. It's cheap enough.

    As I mentioned earlier. I'm a plumbing contractor with minimal acr experience. I heve occasion to install new smal split units like the mitsubishis. If it is any larger. I'll sub it out. The guy I sub it too says he doesn't know about refrigeration. I think it is time to invite him, an hvac engineer (with no hands on experience) and myself. get a case 'o' brewskies and see if we can't get this thing running.

    Three things bother me.

    One; the word cheap. There is nothing cheap about doing refrigeration work. Period!

    If need be, put off doing the retro project until you have the money saved to do it right.

    Two; If you need airflow in the cabinet, why not retro this baby right and add a fan coil unit which will actually chill your flats of bait even during the hotest days?

    Three; bringing in somebody who dont know "jack" about what your doing! No hands on experience, you said.

    We can desgin the system for you. We can write you out a parts list, if need be.
    But seriously ... what is this worth to you?

    If it were something that was a vital part of MY own business ... I wouldnt want just any old fool working on it. And I certainly wouldnt want junk either!

    Do you want your customers to see this thing and get the impression you dont know how to take care of bait?

    I am NOT trying to insult anyone here. I am not calling you a DYI, or a homeowner or a cheapskate.

    Most who visit this site and ask for advice fall into one of two categories.
    Those who know what they are looking for in the way of results.
    And those who are simply looking for what cheap deal they can put together.

    I assume you are one of those fine folks who knows what he is looking for and is just in need of some advice and guidance.
    Cheap is a dirty word in my book. So dont use that word, ok?
    Value is a great word. It is a tremendous word! It describes what is worth doing. Versus ... shoping around for price only.
    People who buy things based mainly on price are either dirt poor or just scrooges.
    I cant speak badly about someone who cant afford something. But those who are poor are usually willing to do without, instead of making a mistake.

    Putting together a piece of mission critical refrigeration equipment .... based mainly upon price.... is DEFINATELY a BIG mistake!!!

    Four flats huh?
    Give us the weight and description of these bait fish. I guess they are mostly made up of water ... like usual fish are. (according to my butcher)

    Give us ambient air temp around this bait chiller. Hot season.
    Give us space requirements as well as voltages available to operate off of.

    There is a formula for determining how many BTU's are required for a given load at a given temp incoming. And a given load for just maintaining that certain temp in a given insulated cabinet.

    This can turn into a fun project. Keep on sending us some info. Oh ... and let us see some pix of your boat.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Olympia, WA

    [Edited by redwolf on 06-24-2004 at 12:16 AM]

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