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Old 19-12-2006, 13:55   #1
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Engine driven refrigeration

I kinda have a feeling I know how the forum is going to respond ... but here goes anyway. The CD I just bought has an engine driven refrigeration system in it. It does work! we ran it for about 15 minutes and it chilled the entire box quite nicely. The PO tells me that even on the hottest Bahamas day, he only had to run the thing for about an hour per day ... 40 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes in the evening. Having said that, looks like it was made the day after they discovered freon, big bulky heavy and would cost me around .75 cents a day to operate. I'm sorely tempted to rip it out and do a new installation. What do you all think? Deciding this will help me decide just how much solar I will need.
Bob
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Old 19-12-2006, 14:25   #2
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The old Crosby engine driven fridges were pretty popular in the 70's. The only really bad part is the engine driven part since it requires the engine. How long it will last may be the bigger question. Be nice if it didn't have to be replace along the way on your voyage. The sealed 12 volt compressors commonly last 15 years or more. My last boat made it to 16 and the current boat is at 15 and still going.

The one problem they all have is the insulation was usually minimal and a new box with a modern sealed 12 volt compressor could run on batteries just fine. If you decide to remove the engine drive don't stop before you can beef up the insulation as much as will fit. That part is the most important. It means any solar you add will have a decent chance of taking bite out of the electrical budget and leave the engine off as much as possible.

As far as solar goes. You need all that will fit. You need to also back up and reevaluate all the electrical system as far as batteries and charging too. It's about managing the electricity. Making it and not using it up too fast.

Hey, if you are not sure just use it for a while and see if the thing drives you nuts. That is not a bad measure of anything. Stick a thermometer in it and measure the temps at various spots and times during the day. Then you'll know how well it really works.
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Old 19-12-2006, 15:04   #3
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Paul,
You are right on all counts. The PO said he was willing to replace the batteries (4 golf carts) with fancy new Odessey batteries ... uh ... a gazillion cranking amps, but only 68 amp hours of storage .... gee thanks ... I would prefer 4 new T-105's. Right now planning on 2, BP 160 watt (24V) panels to mount over the top of the bimini, and an Outback 60 MPPT controller. An absolute ton of money by my standards, but should be a sweet arrangement. Will keep the old refrigeration for the time being ... but should I decide to make the change ... should have the juice to do it.
Bob
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Old 19-12-2006, 16:02   #4
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I would think the solar panels / regulator would make a fine setup. I can understand the fridge is a big chunk of money. I would go for the batteries as the prices on them are going up pretty fast as the lead market takes off.
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Old 19-12-2006, 17:03   #5
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If you don't mind running the engine an hour a day, why not just wait till this system dies before replacing it?
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Old 19-12-2006, 17:17   #6
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Bob, If you are going to hang out stateside for a while then the engine driven unit will be easy to replace when it dies. OTOH if you are down island in the Bahamas the replacement will be a major hassle and much bigger expense. In addition you don't mention how much you plan to use the boat. If you are a weekender and occasional vacation the unit will work fine for as long as it lasts. If you are planning to live aboard then it may be another issue. Sometimes the neighbors get a little bent over someone running the engine every day and some marinas have in their agreements that you can't. Lots of things to consider. We had a Sea Frost system for years and finally went to a 12 volt system just because we got tired of running the engine and the holding plates took up a big chunk of the space in the fridge. We sold the system since it still worked well and recovered some of the replacement cost.
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Old 19-12-2006, 17:29   #7
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Too bad some of you were so hard on Richard Kollmann a few months ago.

He's among the most talented refrigeration people on the planet and was starting to get active in this forum... until a few people ridiculed him over his choice of font style.

I guess about all any of us can do now is buy his book:

DO-IT-YOURSELF BOAT REFRIGERATION.

Personally, I believe it's the best book on the subject. It covers installation, repair, training & maintenance of 12 volt, 120 volt & engine driven systems.

I have never met the man. He's never tried to sell me anything. But he's generous enough to personally answer my e-mail inquiries and has taught me a thing or two about building an efficient & reliable refrigeration system.

Cheers,

Kirk
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Old 19-12-2006, 19:33   #8
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I missed that! Who gave Richard Kollmann a hard time?? Le-me at 'em!! RRRR!!!

Richard Kollmann singlehandedly saved me hundreds if not thousands of dollars after I bought his book. He is, hands-down the single best resource out there for learning how to do refrigeration. Not only is his book *the* source for learning, but he runs a forum where you can ask questions once you have purchased his book. Without his book and help, I would have never been able to get my refrigerator up and running. It was damaged in several ways when I bought it and I had to do a lot of stuff to it to get it up to speed. Now, it runs like a top.

I feel like I owe him more than I paid for his book. Honestly, after the emotional rollercoaster of my refrigeration install, I feel I owe a debt of gratitude to this man.

BTW: Congrats on the new boat, Bob! Personal opinion on this thread would be to make a decision after we know how you intend to cruise with this refrigerator. In any case, maybe you could adapt it to another power source, such as a genset, or go Paul's route. Really depends on what your daily usage will be. Fill us in!
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Old 20-12-2006, 02:47   #9
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I too recommend Richard Kollmann’s books:
“12 & 24-volt Refrigeration Manual”
“Do-It-Yourself Boat Refrigeration”


Richard’s website is also a fount of free information:
KollmannMarine Boat Refrigeration Specialist
Including, but not limmited to the Technical Forum:
kollmann-marine.com :: Index
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