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Old 10-07-2006, 16:48   #1
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Anyone Have Experience with Frigibar?

I am looking to install a small refrigeration system in my boat (Cheoy Lee 41) and am anticipating re-insulating all the walls and cieling of the box.

Researching refrigeration for boats is an exercise in sticker shock!

Anyway has anyone owned or now own the Frigibar system?

I am impressed by their price (1/3 of Glacier Bay and others) and they seem to give straightforward answers to my questions. It is a completely self contained kit you install yourself all pre-charged.

I would much appreciate any feedback.

Thanks
AlanPerry
S/V Oceanus
Seattle, WA
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Old 11-07-2006, 17:56   #2
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evaporator plate refer

I had one that looked almost identical yet was a different brand name. These types of units just cannot deliver good thermodynamic efficiency in making cold in warm environments. Even with the best insulation in hot environments the compressor will run continuously.

If you are tied up to the dock all of the time or have a generator running constantly then you may be O.K. but forget ice when it is hot near the compressor. Otherwise get a holding plate with a eutectic solution like what Glacier Bay provides. Holding plate systems are far more efficient. In fact, you can achieve about 8 to one improvement with good insulation and a holding plate when it comes to the amount of energy used over time.
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Old 11-07-2006, 23:07   #3
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I have two Frigoboat systems I installed on my boat. The system you described sounds like them. I'll tell you the good and questionable parts of my installation. I have a freezer and a seperate refrigerator. I have a compressor, evaporator and keel cooler for each system. The boxes are rather large, so it necessitated the two systems.

Good: Very energy efficient, pretty easy to install, freeze ice in the box.

Bad: Reliability, cost of replacement parts.


When I initially installed the freezer, it ran fine for a day then it started using more power and the freezer stopped freezing. I called Frigoboat up in Annapolis. Long story short, I was down on refrigerant. I had to purchase refrigerant, and the adapter valves to fill the compressor with refrigerant. I had to use dyes to try to find the leak. I learned way more than I wanted to about refrigerant and refilling systems. It was not a leak, system just needed to be topped off. I am not certain if it was something I did, or the extension tubing that I had to buy.

The cost of their extension tubes are VERY high. It was several hundred dollars for a 5 foot peice of copper tubing with a couple of fittings on the end. So, be aware.

When I was in the Bahamas, the compressor stopped working. The electronics said it was working, but, the compressor wasn't working. This supposidely has a 2 year warrenty, I had only had the thing installed for 5 months. I contacted Frigoboat, after a week, we determined that it was the controller board that is built on the compressor. After pulling it, it was obviously damaged by moisture. They say I must have gotten it wet, I say I haven't had any floods in my boat lately. They say to bad, your fault. $400 later, I am back in business. The board was $200, the shipping of the old board back to them and paying for shipping and duties on the new board was another $200. Not pleasant. The electronics, in my estimation, are not really suited for a marine environment. What is one paying $1500 if not some degree of weather proofing.

The compressor can stall if you lose DC power momentarily, usually this is self correcting.

If you loose power to the thermostat while the refrigation is on, the refrigeration will stay on. even though the temperature is well below its set point. This causes you to use a lot more energy and freeze some food you might not want froozen.

When every thing is working, the energy use is excellant, I don't think you'll find many systems that are as efficient as theirs.

I have heard some users say they have had issues with the keel cooler because of corrosion. I got the keel coolers with the zincs built in. Each cooler has two zincs. I change one of the every three months. The good part is I can do this by just snorkling. The bad part is, it is obvious that they need to be changed. If you don't have them connected to a central zinc or something, I'd be particulary attentive.

I was on the fence as to whether I'd get a Frigoboat system again if I had to do it over again. I am now inclined not to. I was really displeased with the reliability and the response by Frigoboat to these reliability isssues.


Keith
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Old 11-07-2006, 23:30   #4
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Thanks for the replies, I think Frigibar and Frigiboat are two different companies...Frigibar is in Miami, Fl. I don't know how similar the systems are I'll look up frigiboat on the web and see.

I am not expecting this small system to make ice and keep everything at just above freezing. They claim an average draw of 1.3 to 2.5 amps with a max at startup of 5-6 amps for a 6-10 cu/ft box. They are really quite open about the limitations ie charging time for batt's and what it will do and not. All in all I take all claims with a healthy dose of salt.
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Old 12-07-2006, 02:15   #5
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The most important part about fridge efficiency is the type and amount of insulation being used. Most companies now use the danfoss compressors.
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Old 12-07-2006, 09:43   #6
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Does anyone have any good suggestions on the best type of insulation to go in the box? I am sure that the original insulation isnt the best. Although it kept a large block of ice for many days with little or nothing in the icebox.
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Old 12-07-2006, 10:36   #7
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You could fit fit polystyrene extruded board which is moisture resistant in its self and does not require an extra covering but it is 30% less efficient than polyurethane. Or fit polyurethane that requires a suitable covering to keep out moisture. My local fridge man gets a custom plastic liner made up and then uses polyurethane - 6" is recommended for the caribbean.

you can do a lot worse than looking through the forums at http://www.kollmann-marine.com/phpBB/
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Old 02-06-2015, 19:37   #8
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Re: Anyone Have Experience with Frigibar?

I have a fridgibar and i would not want to boat without it. I bought this one used and didn't know anything about it but I tell you this is the greatest thing ever it is so well insulated it will keep things frozen in the hot summer of Florida for a good two days without any electricity I keep it on the refrigerator setting most of the time and it'll keep everything ice cold all day
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