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Old 25-08-2015, 13:14   #1
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CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

I have a well insulated box with a broken engine driven compressor cooling a holding plate. I would like to move to 12v. Is the CoolBlue by Technautics really worth the extra money? I like the idea that I can run the unit to coincide with solar generation. Is the CoolBlue unit that much better? If so, how? How do they compare to an evaporator plate?
Should I reuse the holding plate I have? If I reuse the holding plate (I can braze the quick fit connectors on) can I simply recharge the holding plate with a can of R1234a? Or does this require a refer tech? Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 25-08-2015, 14:01   #2
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

I installed a Coolblue on my last boat and also have one that came with the current boat. They are good quality and I've had little trouble with them. I don't see where they are particularly better than many of the other choices. The holding plate approach doesn't add a lot value to us, as we let the thermostat control when the compressor is on, so it has no idea whether we have excess solar at the time or not.
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Old 25-08-2015, 14:23   #3
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

We have two Cool Blue units on board - one for the freezer and one for the refrigerator. Well-built and efficient. You should be able to use your existing cold plate, but the Technautics guys will tell you. From my experience they are very customer-oriented and are very willing to wok with you.

Rich should chime in here - he's a cruiser and is very knowledgeable about his product and how it is best used on sailboats.
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Old 25-08-2015, 14:49   #4
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

CoolBlue with holding plate incl shipping and tax in California= $3000
Most of the others (SeaFrost, AB, Isotherm) with evaporator plate = aprox $1500-1600
I am quite sure CoolBlue is very reliable, and am drawn, maybe wrongly, to the holding plate. What do full-time cruisers like/dislike about whatever system you have?
Is the holding plate worth the extra $1000+ ?? And why can't I bring myself to drink warm beer? I lived in England long enough!
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Old 25-08-2015, 21:30   #5
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

I'm
Quote:
Originally Posted by multihullnz View Post
I have a well insulated box with a broken engine driven compressor cooling a holding plate. I would like to move to 12v. Is the CoolBlue by Technautics really worth the extra money? I like the idea that I can run the unit to coincide with solar generation. Is the CoolBlue unit that much better? If so, how? How do they compare to an evaporator plate?
Should I reuse the holding plate I have? If I reuse the holding plate (I can braze the quick fit connectors on) can I simply recharge the holding plate with a can of R1234a? Or does this require a refer tech? Thanks in advance for your help.
Since holding plates rarely go bad, we recycle them all the time. A new R134a expansion valve, two female Refrigeration couplings installed on your current holding plate, new copper precharged cooper line set and a stand alone CoolBlue Compressor unit and thermostat gets you going for under $2k. We have two of these recycle projects going now. One with old gruner plates and one with seafrost.

You will need to vacuum down your holding plate since the refrigeration loop will be opened when you install the new Refrigeration couings and expansion valve or just send it to us and we will do the "recycle" for you.

I'm available 7 days a week if you have any questions so just shoot me an email or give me a call and I will be happy to help.
Cell 619-609-3432
Info@technauticsInc.com
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Old 25-08-2015, 22:11   #6
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

I have installed several varied systems and I have found the cool blue system to be more efficient than the others for my customers heck my dad has one on his boat I installed it. The boat has 200 watts of solar with a pwm controller and the refer has been running for 6 months with no other charging to provide 12 volt power mind you we are in the pnw so not as hot as southern calli I have calculated it to use about 30 to 35 ah to maintain 15 f in the freezer and 38 in the spill down fridge using a single standard 2.5 inch freezer holding plate. Another thing that draws my customers to technautics is the 5 year warranty.
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Old 26-08-2015, 00:01   #7
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

I sent my holding plate to Rich and he reworked it with new fittings and fluid. I also ordered a new compressor and lines as my original unit was 110v and engine driven. I opted out of the engine driven as it just more of a headache and maintenance for nothing. If the engine is on, it's charging the 12v anyways.

Rich is a very nice guy, met him at Miami this year, and his customer service is excellent. He even took note of our 3 hr time difference, I'm in LA and him in CA. Prompt emails and he's not going to sell you something you don't need, I needed a thermostat and he didn't try to push his own on me.

I don't have mine running but it's installed, I don't expect anything but excellent results (unless my insulation is completely shot :/ haha).

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Old 26-08-2015, 05:12   #8
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

If a boater has done his home work in comparing capacity performance satisfaction of a fractional horse power compressor system as compared to present engine driven system any good 12 volt system might be an improvement.

A small 12 volt compressor lacks the thermodynamic Btu capacity needed to support a holding plate by itself unless installed in a small ice box. Holding plates only make sense when there is surplus energy available from large compressors or alternative energy from wind, solar, shore power or water power.

Adapting a holding plate that does not have an evaporator coil inside designed for the new compressor can result in poor performance or over time compressor failure.

The cool blue unit is an excellent unit in the right application although I no longer recommend them after they quit using Danfoss designed compressors.
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Old 26-08-2015, 07:20   #9
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

I've had a cool blue for over 10 years and sailed across the Pacific with it...now in Thailand and it is doing just fine. Knock on wood of course!
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Old 26-08-2015, 08:44   #10
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

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I no longer recommend them after they quit using Danfoss designed compressors.
When Danfoss moved their production from Germany to China, we made the swap. As the only refrigeration company offering a standard 5yr full warranty, we couldn't live the the increased electronic module failure rate coming out of the made in China components. So we changed to Cubigel compressors made in Spain and so lives on the only 5yr warranty in the marine refrigeration business, as it has since 1968....
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Old 26-08-2015, 08:44   #11
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

I've a custom designed (Cool Blue) unit in my boat, It's a larger than normal compressor and dual cold plates, it works well, but my biggest draw to it is, simplicity, with the sight glass and normal servicing ports, I can easily service the thing myself, out in the boonies somewhere, it's a simple fan air cooled design.
Now I'm going to get myself in a little trouble here, but I don't see why a cold plate is actually much more efficient, it works as a sort of thermal flywheel, that is a large mass that takes a lot of BTU's to chill, but once cold, can absorb a lot of heat due to both it's mass and the phase change of the liquid. But assuming you have a large mass of food, that is pretty similar.
Three things made me chose the CoolBlue.
It's KISS, or as I say it, if it's simple and works, it ain't stupid
Owner is a cruiser, and I'd rather support a cruiser than someone who isn't.
When I call, Rich always has answered, yes I try to call on his normal business hours, but I've called him and he is out eating with the family or something, but he always answers, that is worth a lot to me, not leaving a message or listening to a recording.
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Old 26-08-2015, 09:02   #12
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

I've had my Cool Blue for ten years now and it has run the entire time. I pulled out the Seafrost engine driven unit that came with my TPI lagoon to install it.While it does frost up occasionally it keeps the freezer area cold enough for ice cream and the reefer area at a constant 34 degrees.
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Old 26-08-2015, 09:12   #13
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

On our boat we have a holding plate system and I tend to force run it just before we loose solar for the day and seems to hold the temps overnight so running when we have excess of power generating capability. That is the main draw for us to the holding plate systems.
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Old 26-08-2015, 10:21   #14
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

We had a very large refrigerator/freezer with a spill over design with a Cool Blue holding plate and compressor. We loved it. It worked well and we could keep ice cream solid in the tropics. I did overinsulate the boxes when I removed the old system. Technautics went the extra mile when I though my holding plate was bad. It wasn't. It was my installation error. I still owe them one for that. We never had a problem after that.

I am not sure how my current new/old system is working yet but if I replace it it will be with a Cool Blue system.
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Old 26-08-2015, 10:41   #15
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Re: CoolBlue - is it worth the extra $$$

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On our boat we have a holding plate system and I tend to force run it just before we loose solar for the day and seems to hold the temps overnight so running when we have excess of power generating capability. That is the main draw for us to the holding plate systems.
That's a smart way to take advantage of the excess power...basically store it in the holding plate, as Richard Kollmann suggests is the best way to get efficiency out of a holding plate system. So there are three ways to do this and like everything, one is free and easy, one is cheap and a little more complex, and the other is high tech, but just costs $$.

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.
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