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Old 21-08-2016, 07:05   #91
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

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So 2 1 inch holes worked well as a spillover system. How much insulation between the 2 boxes?
3/4" insulation.
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Old 21-08-2016, 07:50   #92
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

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I just dont get this argument. The holding plate is easily more efficient based on the fact it stores excess energy. I have had both types of systems and my current Ozefridge holding plate works really well and im cruising in Asia. If you couldn't store excess energy then it may not be as efficient, BUT you can! I dont need graphs etc to show me this. Batteries are down less in the morning with the holding plate system.

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I think if you really look at it from a pure efficiency standpoint, a holding plate is less efficient as ice is an insulator, reason why Igloo's will keep you alive.
But it may be as you note that efficiency isn't always what matters, if you can get colder than ideal during the day when we assume you have excess Solar, then you can use that excess stored energy to get through the night when you only have batteries.
Of course this requires some form of management to have two different set points for the thermostat, many ways to accomplish this, to include of course manual adjustment.
So as heretical as this is, sometimes efficiency isn't necessarily the best.


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Old 21-08-2016, 08:41   #93
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

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Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
I just dont get this argument. The holding plate is easily more efficient based on the fact it stores excess energy. I have had both types of systems and my current Ozefridge holding plate works really well and im cruising in Asia. If you couldn't store excess energy then it may not be as efficient, BUT you can! I dont need graphs etc to show me this. Batteries are down less in the morning with the holding plate system.
Yes, one of the advantages of a holding plate is "energy storage" where you can freeze down your holding plate when excess Solar, Wind, or Motoring power is available. To work this property to your maximum advantage you have a few ways to go. I posted these three earlier in the thread, but they are important enough to repost, I think. One is free and easy, one is cheap and a little more complex, and the other is high tech, but just costs $$.

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Free and Easy
Install a switch that jumpers around your thermostat so that you can manually turn on the compressor unit when you are motoring, running a ships generator, or have your batteries in float mode by wind/solar. This way you will stuff as much "cold" into the holding plates as possible when you have excess power. The negative is that you WILL forget to turn off the compressor until the next morning sometimes like I did and then you will need to hang a sign up somewhere to remind yourself. Another negative is that you don't want to freeze your refrigerator with things getting too cold, so I wold recommend installing a digital thermostat in the refrigerator so you know what's going on in the box.

Cheap and a little more complex:

Get a voltage sensing relay set at 13.9v (or whatever you call full batteries) so that is closes and opens the same switch as I mention above but does it automatically. This way you eliminate the risk of forgetting to turn on and off the unit manually. The negative here is still the risk of freezing your refrigerator if the unit stays on for a long time....like I did when I motored for 2 days across the Sea of Cortez. (you learn things from your mistakes but I liked the frozen mangos). This is where a digital temp display for your refrigerator and freezer comes in VERY HANDY and I recommend that for every boat anyway, because more data is better....right?

High Tech $$ approach:
Ok, this is the best approach and I've been testing it now for over a year and it works great, but it does cost more money. Use an electronic thermostat that that will sense your battery voltage and then turns on the compressor to take advantage of that "free power" BUT can still turn the system off if you hit a cold temp set point. This way you don't risk freezing your refrigerator. It works by tightening up the hysteresis set-point and going down to a new "coldest" set point.
I've seen as much as a 27% power savings of battery power. A place with hot day and cooler nights will benefit most (as well boats with great insulation) because the system can stay off longer at nights when you won't have that excess solar power. I spend most of my day in float mode with my 1300W of solar. But if you never motor, never run a generator, and never have your batteries up to the Full and float mode...well then this will do NOTHING at all for you, except piss you off that you spent about $275 on it! Remember, I'm a cheap live aboard cruiser myself, so anything I can do manually or on the cheap, I LOVE.
So the next logical question is:
"Ok that's great Rich, but are you saying that a holding plate system is only more efficient and is worth getting if you have excess power to spare? Because my battery bank almost never has extra power, it's all I can do to keep my batteries alive, let alone have extra power. So does that mean I should buy a thin rolled evaporation plate over a holding plate system then?"

What throws people off in the mental exercise of understand the efficiency question is that they are just focusing in on the Holding Plate vs Thin Rolled Evaporation Plate. Notice that the for most of this thread and others when comparing Holding Plates vs Thin Rolled Evaporation Plates the other part of the system is never brought up? And that leaves out some key information in the understanding that makes the Holding Plate more efficient than a Thin Rolled Evaporation Plate. People will argue all day long and never turn the page to the other design features, partly because it's pretty techy and most are not interested in taking the time to dive into it. They say "hey...you use the same compressor...so you have to have the same BTU removal efficiency, it's all smoke and mirrors, you are a snake oil salesman".

So how can a Holding Plate system have better efficiency than a Thin Rolled Evaporation plate EVEN if the two system are using the same compressor?

It all boils down to the TXV (Thermally Adjusting Expansion Valve) used on most holding plate systems verses a FCO (Fixed Critical Orifice) used on thin rolled evaporation plates. Bottom line: A TXV is a more efficient way to inject refrigerant into the evaporator (Holding Plate or Thin Rolled Evaporator). The TXV also lets your system design incorporate a much larger Condensing Unit (radiator to dissipate heat) along with an oversized Drier/receiver with a sight glass for in-field recharge without a gauge set. So now once the temps get warm in the tropics your unit won't lose efficiency without water cooling up to 120-degs F.

So then one more question is asked:
"Then why doesn't everyone use a TXV over a FCO if it is really better?"

It all boils down, like everything does in the end, to Cost.
Building a TXV based system costs more in raw material parts and costs more in assembly labor. The FCO Thin Evaporators are stamped out by the cargo container load in China and have a landed cost in the USA of less than just the TXV raw cost that then still needs to be installed on holding plate. American fabrication and assembly costs are higher than they are in China and in a world where everyone wants to buy the lowest priced piece of equipment, the market moves towards meeting that consumer demand with FCO systems rather than the more expensive TXV systems.



[[[I assume everyone knows that I'm the owner of Technautics CoolBlue Refrigeration, but just in case I want to say that again here, so everyone know that I certainly do have a financial interest in this topic. One more year of High School for my Son and then it's back to the land of Mexico for cheap Tacos baby...the Boat Refit pushes on!]]]
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Old 21-08-2016, 09:04   #94
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

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The problem in having a metal divider between the refrigerator and freezer box sections is that it can make it difficult to control the refrigerator temp. If the surface area of the divider is too large then your refrigerator will be too cold and if too small then your refrigerator will be too warm. Typically you will be fighting the "too cold" refrigerator without an insulated box divider.
I think he has figured something out and is taking advantage "too cold".
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Old 23-08-2016, 07:00   #95
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

I am really surprised that a knowledgeable boater who is setting off on a long term live aboard cruise in the tropics dose not have the most efficient and reliable cooling/refrigeration system for there precious food stores .

A system using a thermostatic expansion valve is just that !

People we need to educate ourselves ! There is plenty of information on the net that will tech us the difference between these technologies , It is not a black art !

All Manufactures should offer a TXV system but they don't. Rich is right , they are expensive to build , but well worth it . Would you skimp on your electronics, or ground tackle ? If you are going serious cruising get the best refrigeration system you can , it will save you huge in the long run !

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Old 23-08-2016, 18:05   #96
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

Yup, agree. Been there done that.
Loved my Cool Blue system every day of the 12 years I had it on the boat.
(Bought the CSY 33 in 1998 and sailed for 2 years without fridge, without solar panels, without auto pilot, without plotter, without windlass, without SSB, etc. Basic boat and appreciated the goodies when I added them later.)
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Old 24-08-2016, 05:33   #97
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

Yes, I am still around and will try to catch up with my 796 to 1093 open emails. Plans to relocate our complete family back together again is now complete around Merritt Island Florida. Ten family members with the same last name into four purchased homes what a project. I may never be able to replace the lost six hours a day over the last seven weeks answering questions on boat refrigeration but I will start fresh tomorrow.

I have seen so many changes in pleasure boat refrigeration in the last thirty five years, start up companies with new design ideas that could not stand the test of time are diversifying to other product lines or going out of business.. Boats of forty feet and less generally were not designed to support energy demands of mechanical refrigeration. Refrigeration is a process of moving heat from one location to another under controlled conditions. Companies that are successful in the boat refrigeration business needs to be aware of the small market for their product. If a company’s business plan does not satisfy each customer with; guaranteed reliability, after market support and available access to parts anywhere experience shows that these businesses will fail.

Some pleasure boat refrigeration companies appeared to have failed because of failure to recognize their units design or manufacturing flaws and did not take corrective action until it is too late. A major fault in many companies business plan is in over use of creative smoke and mirrors indicating exceptional overall performance. You will always get old untruth comments in response when refrigeration is not performing as advertised from a salesman indicating; Box insulation R value is not good enough, You need water cooling, You need an expansion valve instead of a cap tube, Holding plates store energy and are more efficient than standard evaporators, What you need is an electronic thermostat. If you believe any of the above responces are correct solution maybe you would like to buy a bridge over the ICW.

As I follow boat refrigeration comments on the web it is more Déjà vu phenomenon of boat refrigeration creative smoke and mirrors advertising all over again and another short term business plan in process. Is Randy’s Cool Blue refrigeration unit still the exceptional breakthrough in small refrigerated icebox conversions for boats or as the new owners marketing plan says (One more year of High School for my Son and then it's back to the land of Mexico for cheap Tacos baby..)

A marketing study once claimed one satisfied costumer will increase sells by three and just one dissatisfied customer will discourage eleven customers from buying the product.

Remember when a salesperson claims his recommended system costs more because it is more efficient it probably will not perform as well in your application. It is also important to realize refrigeration means different things to different people. After it is installed is it going to be a 50 degree F drink cooler, a 33 to 36 degree F refrigerator or a combination zero degree freezer 36 degree F refrigerator. In very warm climates freezer will require a total insulation R value of R30 totally dry insulation or R20 in normal 70 to 80 degree climates. In spillover applications the divider must be at least insulated to R20 with some type adjustable mechanical control of refrigerator side box temperature.

It is also important to know that in warm climates 50% of the energy consumed is by product through put remember this will decrease refrigerator performance and increase energy consumed.

Increasing Insulation from 3 to 6 inches outside the box in hot climates will improve performance by 15%. Adding insulation inside a refrigerated box will greatly improve refrigeration performance mainly because box is smaller.
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Old 24-08-2016, 08:01   #98
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

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Yes, I am still around and will try to catch up with my 796 to 1093 open emails. Plans to relocate our complete family back together again is now complete around Merritt Island Florida. Ten family members with the same last name into four purchased homes what a project. I may never be able to replace the lost six hours a day over the last seven weeks answering questions on boat refrigeration but I will start fresh tomorrow.

As I follow boat refrigeration comments on the web it is more Déjà vu phenomenon of boat refrigeration creative smoke and mirrors advertising all over again and another short term business plan in process. Is Randy’s Cool Blue refrigeration unit still the exceptional breakthrough in small refrigerated icebox conversions for boats or as the new owners marketing plan says (One more year of High School for my Son and then it's back to the land of Mexico for cheap Tacos baby..) .
Hey Richard, glad to have you back. Congratulations on surviving the move, each time we move the junk we haul around it seems to get heavier and heavier.

I'm not sure your definition of a short term business plan fits in this case, considering that Technautics is the oldest marine refrigeration company in the business having been around since 1968. There are not many marine businesses of any type that are working on their 49th year of being in business, still servicing units purchased 30yrs ago as if they bought it yesterday. Even if they just bought a boat with one of our systems on it, they get the same service from me as if they bought it yesterday.

We only came back to California from Cruising in Mexico so that our kids could go to a "normal" High School and as you mentioned above, as soon as my son graduates, we are, "heading back to Mexico Baby, the land of cheap tacos and easy living!" Maybe you were just throwing a good humored gig my way or perhaps you have misinterpreted my planned return to Mexico to mean I won't still be answering emails and providing phone technical service and support calls 7 days a week as long as I'm awake to our customers. But knowing how chat room and dock rumors can get started at the drop of a hat (or joke), I wanted to let folks know that I've never sat at a brick-n-mortar desk and that isn't needed for me to continue Cruise RO Water and Technautics for another 30yrs. With a partner in San Diego, building and shipping units while I handle the email and phone technical support, I can do that from a Beach in Mexico with a taco in one hand.

The world had changed quite a bit in the nearly 5 decades since Technautics started, no longer do you need to sit in an office in the USA with a landline and take customer service calls only from 9-5 Monday-Friday. For example, I started my water maker business from aboard our boat anchored in Tenacatita, Mexico. I built our company website literally from a Mexican Internet Cafe up in Bahia de los Angeles in the Northern Sea of Cortez while waiting out hurricane season. My wife says, that I failed at Cruising because my type A-personality just couldn't sit still and I admit she is right. Armed with only my smart phone, I spent June in Italy staying with family and besides the time I was in the air flying across the pond, I didn't miss a single customer email or phone call for the month. It was pretty cool actually to be sitting on the steps of the Roman Colosseum taking an order for a water maker or when I was talking a customer through a CoolBlue recharge on a 20yr old unit while walking the streets of Chinque Terre on the Italian Riviera. That was as fun to me as being in Italy...as my wife says...I'm sick, I admit it and I love it.


[[Editors Note: I want to leave the Day After Jason's Graduation...but my wife is already talking about sticking around long enough to make sure he gets off on the "right foot in College"...WTF...that wasn't our plan/deal...he can get off on his left foot and do just fine in life just as long as he doesn't vote for one of the two Bozos el Trumpo or HiLiary that is....ahhhh]]

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Old 24-08-2016, 09:04   #99
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

Our Daughter will start College next year, this will be my Wife's last year at work, and I will Retire when our Daughter Graduates High School, if I can last that long, it is getting tougher putting up with work knowing the end is near
She will go to school in Brunswick Ga, which has a nice Marina. I am sure we will spend enough time there in that Marina until we are comfortable I figure I will install a water maker there, then head out. I figure we will park there for Hurricane season and leave when it is over.

So send him to school where there is a good marina, finish your work there and head out
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Old 24-08-2016, 09:09   #100
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

My son said that he wants to liveaboard on the mooring next to us here in Morro Bay so he can cove over for Dinner...I told him that we don't play the 30yr old living at home game. So he will have to come down to La Paz, MX if he wants to have dinner with us. Of course at a taco cart, but I will buy...ha ah ah
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Old 24-08-2016, 17:03   #101
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

Aye Richard, effiency may have improved some since you wrote your book.
I remember you had a hard time believing the numbers I posted on your site regarding amp hours per day and overall power consumption.
(I was the anal guy adding fans to improve airflow and insulating the cold pipes as well as adding insulation on the inside of my boxes, including 16" in the bottom)

I met you and checked out your boat and your fridge set-up years ago.
Not on the pay-roll, but believe me, the Cool Blue system with the optional 2.5" holding plate and the other goodies I added exceeded my wildest expectations and I was very happy with it, 11,000 hours running time and all.
Highly recommend and super efficient.
Randy was my contact and gave good support all along.
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Old 25-08-2016, 05:22   #102
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

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Increasing Insulation from 3 to 6 inches outside the box in hot climates will improve performance by 15%. Adding insulation inside a refrigerated box will greatly improve refrigeration performance mainly because box is smaller.
I think ALL agree that most, if not all marine boxes need more insulation.
But I think that it is unrealistic to think that everyone can or even will add 3~4" to their box. To do this, most will have to do a total gut job. And for 6", it will take a total galley rework. For most at least.

My box does have added insulation to the inside, (though Rich has pooh poohed the blue stuff that was used) and for me at least, it is going to have to be good enough.
All I want is for my existing system to make my ice cream hard.

I like Cool Blue's ideal on using a larger condenser to up the operating temp range. Also think that expansion valves are the only way to go. But I'm not to convinced that a holding plate is better than a rolled evaporator.

So Richard K., I'll ask my question again, but in a different simplified way.

Two identical systems, one with a thin plate system, WITH an expansion valve and the other with hold over plate, with an expansion valve. Both in an empty box with R-10 insulation on all six sides. Which one will use less Ah's, while maintaining a box temp of 5f?
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Old 25-08-2016, 05:41   #103
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

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I think ALL agree that most, if not all marine boxes need more insulation.
But I think that it is unrealistic to think that everyone can or even will add 3~4" to their box. To do this, most will have to do a total gut job. And for 6", it will take a total galley rework. For most at least.

My box does have added insulation to the inside, (though Rich has pooh poohed the blue stuff that was used) and for me at least, it is going to have to be good enough.
All I want is for my existing system to make my ice cream hard.

I like Cool Blue's ideal on using a larger condenser to up the operating temp range. Also think that expansion valves are the only way to go. But I'm not to convinced that a holding plate is better than a rolled evaporator.

So Richard K., I'll ask my question again, but in a different simplified way.

Two identical systems, one with a thin plate system, WITH an expansion valve and the other with hold over plate, with an expansion valve. Both in an empty box with R-10 insulation on all six sides. Which one will use less Ah's, while maintaining a box temp of 5f?


This is a fare question . But the only problem is , nobody builds a system with a TXV and a roll bond evaporator plate , that I know of . Actually if you really want the best refrigeration system for your boat that uses a TXV , Technautics Cool Blue system is the only option , and they use a holding plate . I wanted a TXV system with a roll bond plate so I built one. Rich at Technautics may build you such a system , I know he does custom work but you would have to ask him .

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Old 25-08-2016, 06:44   #104
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

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I think ALL agree that most, if not all marine boxes need more insulation.
But I think that it is unrealistic to think that everyone can or even will add 3~4" to their box. To do this, most will have to do a total gut job. And for 6", it will take a total galley rework. For most at least.

My box does have added insulation to the inside, (though Rich has pooh poohed the blue stuff that was used) and for me at least, it is going to have to be good enough.
I think that is the normal reality for the vast majority of Cruisers. We know the insulation in our Box isn't ideal, heck we know it flat out sucks, but we are just not going to mess with it. The project is just too scary to tackle so we make the conscious decision that it will just have to be "good enough" and we will just live with the increased power usage. That is exactly what I did when we headed out cruising on our Pearson 365 Ketch. If I could have fit through the hatch door, I would have comfortably sat inside the box...it was ludicrously big. But lots of the older boat boxes are huge because they were designed to be filled up with 1/3 of 1/2 way with block ice in the pre-refrigeration days.

We do need to clarify my "poo pooing" comment about the Blue Board for insulation because without the context of my Poo-poo it's a little misleading. I don't have a problem with using Blue Board at all. The discussion was about what insulation product would give you the best R-value and then weighing in the water absorption characteristics. Polyisocyanurate (R-6.5/inch) has a 30% better R-value than Blue Board (R-5.0/inch) and in my opinion can be installed in a way that will deal with the risks of water entry, so since space is almost always an issue for people, I prefer to use Polyiso over Blue board. That's not really poo-pooing the Blue Board it's just ranking it on a scale of good vs better.

For those with money, Aerogel has an R-value of 10.3 that blows away Blue Board and Polyiso but get your wallet out the stuff ain't cheap as I talked about in this thread Aerogel vs PolyIso: $$ vs Space
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Old 25-08-2016, 06:50   #105
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

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This is a fare question . But the only problem is , nobody builds a system with a TXV and a roll bond evaporator plate , that I know of . Actually if you really want the best refrigeration system for your boat that uses a TXV , Technautics Cool Blue system is the only option , and they use a holding plate . I wanted a TXV system with a roll bond plate so I built one. Rich at Technautics may build you such a system , I know he does custom work but you would have to ask him
Hi Typhoon, I do have a Cool Blue system. Mentioned this previously (I think it was this thread).
Although my box has had extra insulation added to the inside, and short of an expansion valve problem that I think I have, I'm just looking for the most efficient system that I can get to get my Ah's down.

I agree, I don't think anyone makes a thin plate evaporator w/ an expansion valve. I have been toying with gutting two holdover plates by removing their outer housing and liquid and just install the tubes into the freezer compartment. Kinda like old freezers did with the evaporator coils actually being the shelf racks.

But as of yet, no one has given any info as to which type of system, both with expansion valves, would be theoretically more efficient.

I don't want to go through all the effort of installing evaporator coil tubes if in fact the holding plate system that I currently have is the most miser.
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