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Old 05-05-2010, 11:42   #1
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Fridge / Freezer: Custom Build vs Off the Shelf

This is one for next year, when a Galley remodel looks likely.

At 30' my blank piece of paper is not that big , but I think I have room to choose either a custom self built fridge / freezer or an off the shelf product..........although I usually hate the question "which is best?" , but at the moment just trying to get a handle on whether going DIY will result in being better overall than off the shelf or vice verce. (size for size)...........or whether one solution is worth more effort to acheive.

Am also struggling to work out whether a factory built item would be more efficiently insulated than anything the same size that could be DIY'd ie do I need to allow another 6 inches all round for DIY insulation efforts?!

Both solutions have initial attractions to me and each would be located in different places for shape reasons anyway.

Obviously loads more things I don't understand but only so much puzzling I can do at once.........
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:19   #2
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it would be easy to buy an Engle or similar unit and just plug it in. however, where do you put it? on an earlier cruising boat we added insulation that shrunk the size of an existing icebox and installed a Danfoss refrig/freezer unit that worked out well.
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:24   #3
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Many of the off the shelf "units" you would buy use a Danfoss compressor also - and are built on the assumption that you already have an ice box that is more or less insulated (usually less if it was up to the boat builder). But the Adler Barbour units are pretty idiot proof to install yourself with modern age snap on fittings. I dont know what would be gained by a do it yourself unit in terms of performance (I honestly dont know) but I do know that the Adler Barbour unit I got came with a warranty - which I needed since I was one of the 3% or so whose units were defective in some way right out of the box. They simply replaced it. Not a bad idea to have a warranty.
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:43   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sck5 View Post
Many of the off the shelf "units" you would buy use a Danfoss compressor also - and are built on the assumption that you already have an ice box that is more or less insulated (usually less if it was up to the boat builder). But the Adler Barbour units are pretty idiot proof to install yourself with modern age snap on fittings. I dont know what would be gained by a do it yourself unit in terms of performance (I honestly dont know) but I do know that the Adler Barbour unit I got came with a warranty - which I needed since I was one of the 3% or so whose units were defective in some way right out of the box. They simply replaced it. Not a bad idea to have a warranty.
by do it yourself vs off the shelf I think david means an engell type box vs an adlerbarbour type system and re-insulating the icebox.
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:57   #5
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Originally Posted by gbanker View Post
it would be easy to buy an Engle or similar unit and just plug it in. however, where do you put it? on an earlier cruising boat we added insulation that shrunk the size of an existing icebox and installed a Danfoss refrig/freezer unit that worked out well.
My Googles found those before - I like the look of them (albeit still not entirely sure what all the specs mean in practice - but that is one for later ).

Where to put? Fairly easy for me...........just have to relocate the saloon table. and build a new (fold up) sink in the head But less remodelling in the galley
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Old 05-05-2010, 13:13   #6
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Many of the off the shelf "units" you would buy use a Danfoss compressor also - and are built on the assumption that you already have an ice box that is more or less insulated (usually less if it was up to the boat builder). But the Adler Barbour units are pretty idiot proof to install yourself with modern age snap on fittings. I dont know what would be gained by a do it yourself unit in terms of performance (I honestly dont know) but I do know that the Adler Barbour unit I got came with a warranty - which I needed since I was one of the 3% or so whose units were defective in some way right out of the box. They simply replaced it. Not a bad idea to have a warranty.
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by do it yourself vs off the shelf I think david means an engell type box vs an adlerbarbour type system and re-insulating the icebox.
Yeah, errr I think so

Off the shelf to me is one of these:-



or one of these:-



Custom Built would be building my own coolbox (in situ) and then adding off the shelf cooling "stuff" (Adler Barbour - idiot proof? I like the sound of that ). Stuff like:



I think


FWIW there are a couple of built in coolboxes in the galley. Just zero insulation and innaccesible - so no chance of retro fitting insulation, Plan would be to remove the worktops and existing coolboxes and build a custom built / shaped fridge from scratch with DIY insulation..........something with a keel cooler sounds attractive to me, albeit not entirely sure at the moment how that would plug into a fridge
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Old 05-05-2010, 14:21   #7
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When we bought our 34' sloop, my wife was horrified by the small size of the original ice box/refrigerator. We removed it and combined the space with the irregularly shaped interior of the adjacent storage cabinet into a new insulated box with 3 times the volume. We used an Adler Barbour system. Other than one recharge in Grenada we never had any problems with it, and I suspect it was as or more efficient than an off-the-shelf unit. The advantage was that we got a big (by marine standards) refrigerator without sacrificing any of the boat’s interior space - the galley looked pretty much the same as when we started. Obviously, if you have the space to accommodate it and an off-the-shelf unit will serve your volume requirements, it is a much easier way to go.
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Old 05-05-2010, 18:42   #8
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I think that unless you plan to be spending most of your time in a berth with free unlimited access to the 240v stuff, it will make more sense to build one. The problem that I perceive with most of the off the shelf cool-box type units is that they just aren't as well insulated as they ought to be. Building yourself and allowing a good 4 or even 5 inches of good quality inulation will make a huge difference to the efficiency and therefore the power consumption of your system. Elsewhere on this site, there is a most excellent thread, with photos, about a really nice DIY fridge build... I'll see if I can find it.
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Old 06-05-2010, 20:40   #9
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I'm converting my icebox to a fridge freezer,so far i've added a nova cool system with the big freezer plate, divided the box with a plastic divider but still able to make the balance work properly so have ordered a add on panel with a fan and it's own thermostat for the fridge side will see how that works
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