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Old 07-09-2010, 18:21   #1
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12vdc Refrigerator or Cold Plate ?

I am refitting a 1978 37ft Irwin it currently has a large box at the navigation station and one smaller one in the galley and a small 110vt small refrig that needs to be replaced. Should I get rid of the refrig and by cold plates for the boxes or buy a new 12vt frig. I plan on living on the boat cruising full time anchoring off shore. Plan on adding solar and wind for power with back up honda portable generator. Thanks for the help in advance.
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Old 07-09-2010, 18:54   #2
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I'm currently doing an experiment with my Engel Refrigerator/Freezer on my current cruise. I'm using it to freeze one liter water bottles. Which I then transfer two at a time to a 48 quart cooler.
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: IS THIS A COOL WORLD OR WHAT!
My two 75 watt solar panels keep the batteries topped up during the day. So far I feel I have to run my Honda about 1/2 hour in the morning and the evening. But, I am expermenting with turning the Engel lower at night so I may not have to use the Honda as often or at all. I may make this modus operandi for all future cruises. The old ice box is used to store a case or two of beer, wine and extra canned goods and other provisions. The Engel and cooler double as an extra seats too.
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Old 07-09-2010, 18:59   #3
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I've only used cold plates (2 in the freezer, 1 in the fridge, all oversized). I chose this method as I thought the plates with their cold mass would keep the contents cooler and warm slower than a more conventional approach. It turned out that while it kept the freezer/fridge cooler it also took longer to chill down, so I don't think I gained much in efficiency or power savings.
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Old 07-09-2010, 19:48   #4
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Home port in Florida, plan on sailing the islands and then were the wind takes me. Budgeting $1,500 for either the plates or a ac/dc frig/freezer. What brand names would you suggest on each? Thanks
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Old 07-09-2010, 20:57   #5
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Fridge recommendation

Hi: I installed the Frigoboat keel-cooler fridge and could not be happier. I added vacuum insulation to the bottom and hull side of the box, and under the lid. It uses about 30 amp hours per day. I had a Technautics cold plate system on a previous boat and it was not nearly as efficient. The keel cooler option will cost more in installation simply because the boat must be hauled for the installation, but if you do it during a normal haulout for painting, it can be owner installed. I bought it during a boat show and they (Swedish Marine) threw in a remote controller and display. It makes very little noise. A number of other Valiant owners have installed the same model and, as I understand it, all are happy with their decision.
Good luck,

Richard
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Old 07-09-2010, 21:24   #6
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Look in West Marine stores or other Discount Boat stores and you will see first hand what units cost. $1500 is a rather low budget and probably only get you a very small system. Look at West Marine eCatalog - 2010 - page 830 to get an idea of what is available and the prices.
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Old 07-09-2010, 23:07   #7
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adler barbour makes a high quality freezer/fridge that runs on 12 volts - mine uses about 60 amps a day, and i have a fairly large fridge - about nine cubic feet. i would be just as happy with one half the size.

adler barbours have been known to last ten or more years of steady running. there are two models - both are air cooled but the more expensive one (the super cold machine) is capable of adding water cooling to supplement the air. i bought the more expensive one but have not yet found the need to add the water cooling feature. i'm also in florida so i would recommend to you to buy the standard model.

and it's within your budget. the regular cold machine plus the standard evaporator will cost about $1200.

by the way, if you're going to be living on the hook, you might want to just abandon any idea of using 120 volt for anything. much easier to stick to 12 volts.

here's a link to the defender page -
Defender.com Search Results: adler barbour
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:17   #8
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I have a friend with the Irwin 37, and he put in two air-cooled systems--one for each box. It took a lot of power, and I suspect the insulation on the boxes should be upgraded.
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:37   #9
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look at an engel mt 60 dual zone before you make a decision.

cheers
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:40   #10
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read both Steve dashews more recent pronouncements on fridges and also Nigel Calder, both seem to favour now Danfoss based units.
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:23   #11
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When I was considering upsizing or getting a newer fridge system, I also gave some thought to better insulation (my boat was 15 years old at the time with original fridge and insulation). I had money for the insulation but not the fridge, so I did what the money would allow. I was pleasantly surprised at the increased performance and lower power requirements of much better insulation.

I eventually went with an engine driven compressor and oversized/custom made holding plates and while the newer gear will chill the plates faster, the better/thicker insulation did more.
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:45   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gruntled View Post
Hi: I installed the Frigoboat keel-cooler fridge and could not be happier. I added vacuum insulation to the bottom and hull side of the box, and under the lid. It uses about 30 amp hours per day. I had a Technautics cold plate system on a previous boat and it was not nearly as efficient. The keel cooler option will cost more in installation simply because the boat must be hauled for the installation, but if you do it during a normal haulout for painting, it can be owner installed. I bought it during a boat show and they (Swedish Marine) threw in a remote controller and display. It makes very little noise. A number of other Valiant owners have installed the same model and, as I understand it, all are happy with their decision.
Good luck,

Richard
Grebe, Valiant 40
Santa Barbara
Richard,

I'm designing and building my refer/freezer around this same system. It was recommended to me by Mike Brundage who may have been involved in your installation? If you wander down the marina to L dock you will find me putting the thing together. I'm next door to Helene, of all people.

Mike
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:43   #13
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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Look in West Marine stores or other Discount Boat stores and you will see first hand what units cost. $1500 is a rather low budget and probably only get you a very small system. Look at West Marine eCatalog - 2010 - page 830 to get an idea of what is available and the prices.
West marine is a discount store?
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Old 08-09-2010, 20:54   #14
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I just junked an old NorCold and would never purchase another. OK, I am not addressing custom fridges or freezers, stuff with keel coolers and such. They appear to engineering projects but projects that can yield great results.

Mine was simple!!! I purchased a Summit 8.5cu on liine delivered for about $480. This fit into the hole left by the Norcold. Benefits--- frost free!, QUITE!!!! I CANNOT HEAR IT RUN!! Has an interior light, very helpful.

Disadvantages--- came only in white so I painted it black, looks great!

I also purchased a 1KW Zantrex sinwave inverter. I guess a modified wave would work, I just didn't want to take a chance with noise from an unhappy motor.

Next I wired in a $15 relay so the fridge is powered all the time from dock power until dock power ends--- or generator power ends and the relay then gets de-energized switching the power source to the inverter.

It works great, total cost not including paint is about $285 for the inverter, $15 for the circuit relay plus the $480 delivered price of the fridge.

Total cost was about $780, much less than the Norcolds from the Big West. The last time I purchased something special from West, they charged shipping. So add shipping along with sales tax to any price quote or at least ask if those costs are included.

If you plan to use an apartment size fridge, look carefully!!! There are not many and the sizes are limited. The Summit was one that was nearly the same size as the Norcold.

Foggy
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:26   #15
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Foggysail said

"Next I wired in a $15 relay so the fridge is powered all the time from dock power until dock power ends--- or generator power ends and the relay then gets de-energized switching the power source to the inverter."

I cant imagine this being very efficient once you unplug from the dock. How many amp hours in a 24 hour period does this set up of yours use when running off the inverter all day? How big is your battery bank?

But if your are going to be tied up to a dock all the time it sounds like the way to go for pricing anyway.
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