Click for Ocean Alexander Click for Nordhavn Click for Cheoy Lee Click for Cross Click for Northern Lights

Cruise Air Units AC Issues

Discussion in 'HVAC' started by Matt Clark, Aug 16, 2020.

You need to be registered and signed in to view this content.
  1. Matt Clark

    Matt Clark New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Sylvan Lake, MI
    Just read the other thread on "AC Help" but thought I would post as my issue may be a little different. I have two Cruise Air Units (I assume both original from 1990 per my boat year) and the salon air crapped out just as we arrived at our destination on a 7 day boat trip. Uggh...Wife not happy as she runs hot (thank goodness the master stateroom air worked). I assumed we maybe leaked freon over time as I had it re-charged a couple years ago when I bought the boat as it was not running cold air at the time and an error code helped diagnose the issue. This time the fan runs warm air but no error code. I tried resetting the unit a few times with the same result. I then checked both compressors via touching them and the good one was ice cold and the bad one was so hot I couldn't keep my hand on it so I shut it down for the rest of the trip and just let the fan run for general circulation. Got back to the dock today and tried the bad unit again and this time it popped the breaker. Still no error codes given. Since I don't have strainers inside my boat but rather just grates on the hull, I assume this is not a seaweed caused incident. I live in MI so barnacles are also not the issue. I am not a great mechanical troubleshooter but my guess is that it is either the pump or the compressor gone bad and I don't think I have the tools or time to diagnose it. Any ideas or recommendations on a good marine HVAC guy in the Detroit Metro area? I used a couple guys before but not impressed as one is almost like 90 years old and makes me nervous on my boat as he grabs whatever he can to keep from falling over (not good especially in an engine compartment) and the other resource just ripped me off on a toilet issue so I would like to go elsewhere. Thanks
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    11,228
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I'd ask local yacht clubs, marinas and bait shops for recommendations along with local boating publications.
  3. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    6,303
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    An issue with water flow would normally trigger a high pressure error. Did you check the discharge to make sure it s pumping water?

    leave the breaker off for a few hours till the compressor cools off. Then try to restart it. Does the compressor start? Feel the coils, do they get hot right away? How quickly does the compressor get hot? Compressor have a thermal safety that will turn it off above a certain temp.

    Usually when the breaker trips right away, the compressor is done

    btw is this a self contained or split ?
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    11,228
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    BTW, it sounds to me like you've got it figured out. But I just wanted to remind you that you may not have barnacles but you've got the snails. They can raise hell on raw water systems. A quick look at the outflow will tell you about that fast.
    Those strainers you have are called south bay strainers. Great for keeping eel grass and kelp out but snail eggs have no problem going in.
  5. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2019
    Messages:
    932
    Location:
    Vero Beach
    If it starts, you could try running the unit with a fresh water hose attached to the coils, having the dock provide your cooling water for a few minutes to try to isolate and identify the problem.
  6. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    6,303
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    Here in Miami we get small mussel like shells.

    i added valves on my chillers so I can isolate one of them without shutting down the whole boat, pull the discharge hose, out it in a bucket, open the valve and check for flow. On boats with splits running off a manifold you Can do the same thing. Very convenient when all the units discharge in a single TH making it hard to see individual flow
  7. LM Viking

    LM Viking Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2018
    Messages:
    57
    Location:
    Michigan
    Had trouble with one of my Cruise air splits last summer. It would run for a while and then trip breaker. HVAC tech tried several things and for a little while was ok. Then just before a trip the A/C was off and would not let breaker reset that time. This time compressor was shot. Luckily it did not spew stuff into evaporators and A/C tech felt he could just replace compressor. The unit was removed from boat and he replaced the compressor on his bench. Then reinstalled in boat and recharged. It worked great and we have been using since late season last year and all summer this year living on boat since May. With all included still less expensive than replacing the condenser completely. Especially since it cools forward and aft cabin with 2 evaporators. I know there are different opinions on just replacing the compressor but it has worked for us. We have a 1988 Viking 44 Motor Yacht (aft cabin)
    We are in Charlevoix and I am afraid we are not much help with HVAC recommendations but I can tell you that is important.
  8. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    6,303
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    With proper care (vacuuming out the lines long enough) replacing just compressing Is not a problem.

    I m so glad I don’t have to deal with splits anymore. Love my chillers !!!
  9. Oscarvan

    Oscarvan Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2015
    Messages:
    933
    Location:
    Chesapeake Bay
    Do the chillers reverse?
  10. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2019
    Messages:
    932
    Location:
    Vero Beach
    Yes, but better (I think) to put a separate heating unit inline for the system. But the heat pump reversing valve setup still applies to chiller units.
  11. Matt Clark

    Matt Clark New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Sylvan Lake, MI
    Pretty sure my compressor is shot as it tripped right away when I tried the test but I have an Air guy coming to look soon. Will keep ya'll posted.
  12. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    9,566
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    Fingers crossed. A bad start cap can do the same as you have explained.
  13. Matt Clark

    Matt Clark New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Sylvan Lake, MI
    Well I had air guy out (who is well respected and 83 years old and been doing this a long time) and he said my circuit board is fried and since they don't make them anymore for that unit then I need a whole new unit. He said 5-7 weeks out and around 5K all in with labor and shipping. Ouch!! When he was checking the unit he asked me to turn it on then a few minutes later yelled frantically at me to turn it off, turn it, off etc. (i didn't hear him at first with the fans running) I went outside and I could smell like a burnt electronics smell so hopefully it was a legit circuit board fry and not him creating one by arc-ing the board with the screwdriver to convince me it was the circuit board. I am so skeptical but I have to assume he is not trying to screw me over. What else is odd is that after that day the other unit is now not working and I am getting a HI-P5 or HI-PS error code which he is coming to check on this week. Hoping it is a quick fix as we are going on another trip this weekend and if it is warm then the wife will cancel our reservations shut if we have no AC at all.
  14. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    9,566
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    There are so many replacements, upgrades and knacks on the legit and on the side markets that a good condensing station does NOT have to be replaced because a board has fried.
    Tell us what you have or send a bunch of pics and / or some model numbers off of the condensing station.
    I can make at least a Passport I/O up date for you.
    Flight systems still fixes the old stuff also.

    If it's a chilled system, same advise.

    In closing my shop early last year, I trashed so much of this stuff. Have been regretting it a week later.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
  15. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    6,303
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    Difficult to help when you don’t answer basic questions. See my first reply Above, the day after you started the tread.

    HI PS is high pressure. It is always an using with water flow. Does the pump start? Do you see water coming out of the discharge thru hull? On most systems each air con unit sends a signal to a relay box to start the pump when needed. Is it possible that the shorted control board affected the pump rely box, possible. Have you checked the breaker for the pump?

    I don’t buy that the board can not be replaced. Even if that specific board is no longer available, there are other control boards which can be retrofitted for a lot less money than a new air con.
  16. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    11,228
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Call me a skeptic, but before I pay 5K to replace I'd be getting a 2nd opinion.
  17. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2018
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Check out this first, here is the place that makes all the Cruise Air boards and panels etc. You can get them yourself. They have the boards and such for old and new.
    www.microair.net , in New Jersey.
  18. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    9,566
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    Good Lead.
    Thx
  19. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2018
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Hey CR!
    Is there a way I can upgrade my old cruise air three dial Rotary knob control with a digital set temperature thermostat? Instead of the old warmer colder Dial thermostat?
  20. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    9,566
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    If your current stuff is still serviceable; Yes, Anything is possible. Now that Dometic owns all the marine A/C companies, One call does it all.
    Just takes money..

    CruisAir did make a kit to convert 3 knob systems to the PassPort I/O system.
    Terminal strip, big hole cover, logic board in it's own box, digital display and temp sender.
    I copied the kit and used spares to replace my 3 knob sets on our Bertram.

    I think the new CruisAir controller (U-Board) works with just about any op panel (except certain SMX-IR panels), on just about any DX or Chilled system out there.
    Probably all Matt Clark (above) is going to need also.
    There should still be some kind of a kit now, as they used to have one, with the new common control board.

    Do you have a fav A/C vendor? Ring him up.