The fridg never really worked when we purchased the boat. The previous owner told us that he thinks the gas had leaked out and that it used up too much power anyway. Some recent attempts to get it working again by simply filling it with gas and looking for leaks resulted in no leaks being found and the fridg seeming to work but not making the box cold.
I came very close to giving up on it – to replace the system with a standard fridg and rework the cabinet to make it work. I was convinced to try sniffing the unit with an electronic gas sensor. That did not work (no leaks detected). I was then convinced to run the unit, and over several days, add more gas. This seems to have worked. The freezer has a bit of frost and the return line (to the condenser) is seriously frosted (may have too much gas in there). Now what worries me is that the freezer is probably not cold enough to make ice and the unit is on full and running pretty much all the time.
Now going to let it run for a week and see how she goes.
Otters have visited the inside of the boat house a few times over the last week. They have discharged an awefull mess and some of it on the mahogany. So I am getting the mahogany stored up off of the floor.