Bard- liquid line just... snapped
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,042
    My agency (the division of the State of Georgia that monitors air quality) has about 20 small portable buildings with Bard wall mount packaged AC units. Most are one ton with 5 kW, but we have a few three-ton units for shelters with a lot of power-hungry equipment throwing off heat. These shelters are basically walk-in refrigerators that have been finished inside and set up with Bards instead of real refrigeration. They look kind of funny but they are pretty durable and far better insulated than a typical modular buildings. A company builds them for us, turnkey, and all we have to do is connect utilities and install instrumentation.

    Today I was in Macon to see the electricians connect up service to a brand-new shelter we just had delivered there. Well, ok, not quite brand-new; we took delivery of the building in September, and it sat at the main office until we were ready to send it out to the field, which happened last week. It has a Bard WA372-A05XP4XXJ, serial 225H041919368-03; that's three tons, Copeland scroll.

    Once the power was connected, I tried the heat, which worked. Then I tried cooling... but the compressor sounded awful, awful, awful. I'm not a tech, but am curious and well-read, so I took off a side panel to reach inside and feel to see if the refrigerant lines were getting hot and cold in the right places, but something more mechanical didn't feel right. Hmm, what was it? I crouch down to get a better look and find that the liquid line is completely snapped. Coming out from the compressor, the line flares out into a little manifold for splitting the liquid between the two condenser circuits. BOTH lines leaving the little manifold to go to the condenser had completely seperated from the manifold. Not a little crack, complete fracture with jagged edges and all. The compressor is right where it's supposed to be, not loose or anything. I was shocked. I mean, it's not like they dropped the building when they were delivering it or something!

    Later, I talked to a coworker that's been here at DNR for ages. He said that this is not the first time we've taken delivery of a Bard that was DOA with this exact failure.

    I'm still shocked that this has happened at all, much less that it's happened twice now. Copper is pretty flexible stuff, after all. Yeah, they're going to warranty it, but jeez. Even worse, we don't know when the liquid line broke, so we don't know if the system has been open to the atmosphere for a week or for six months. I don't yet know how they want to deal with this... waiting on a phone call. Still, what a mess.

    Is this ringing a bell to anyone? Bard is odd-ball, in its own way, especially in the one ton size that we have so much of, but at the same time, there are actually lots of Bards out there, with the advent of the telecom shelter and the portable classroom.

    [Edited by wyounger on 03-30-2005 at 02:16 PM]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    875
    The compressor will move around alot more on it's mounts than the copper lines will flex... more likely the Bard was dropped and not the whole building... Routine repair, the details of which will depend on what oil is in the system, how long you ran it and the conditions it saw while open.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,042
    I don't know exactly what oil is in it, other than that it's R-22. It ran for about three minutes before I figured it out and shut it down. We don't know when the line broke, so whether it's been open to a week of early spring or the entire fall and winter is hard to say. By its position, it probably hasn't ingested rainwater, but it has certainly been quite open to the atmosphere. A snapped line isn't exactly like a small leak, where you still have some pressure in the system when you catch it. I could have stuck my finger in that puppy.

    What I worry about now is if this brand new compressor is already hurt. I don't want to end up needing a new compressor down the road once the warranty runs out. Somehow I doubt they're going to want to replace it if they can evacuate, recharge, and see it work. I imagine I should hold out for them to pull a deep vacuum on it for awhile to get any moisture out, at minimum?

    Thanks guys.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Lexington, NC
    Posts
    64

    Broken hot gas line

    I have seen this same occurance on cell phone boxes and those bard units. As long as the unit did not run with that line broken and pump all the oil out it should be ok. The unit needs to be triple evacuate the unit and change or install a liquid line drier that should do it.

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