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Old 01-11-2013, 10:56   #1
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Frigoboat Keel Cooler in the tropics

Hi there , thinking of putting in a new system and getting away from my engine drive setup.

How well does the Frigoboat keel cooler work in water temperatures around 80 degrees ?

Are they well suited to the tropics

Feedback would be appreciated

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Old 01-11-2013, 11:12   #2
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Re: Frigoboat Keel Cooler in the tropics

Do a search. Lots of threads on Frigoboats. One of the threads is a mile long.
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Old 01-11-2013, 14:02   #3
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Re: Frigoboat Keel Cooler in the tropics

The following is a comment of mine from another thread:
Of the small BD systems that I service here in Puerto Vallarta, I must say that the Frigoboat is the most reliable (with the exception of a small custom builder here in Mexico) and the most efficient. However that said, I believe the keel cooler is just borderline acceptable in these waters except in the Winter. When recharging a system, which had a leak (normally due to the Schrader service tap or a disconnect), there is a fine line between frosting the entire evaporator and a climbing discharge pressure where the keel cooler is not expelling enough heat. Sometimes, I have to stop short of a full charge.
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Old 01-11-2013, 15:22   #4
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Re: Frigoboat Keel Cooler in the tropics

i also ditched an engine drive system and went 12 volt. glad i did.

i looked at all the possibilities and finally went with an air cooled adler barbour. it has an optional water cooling circuit that i can use by just adding the pump and thru hulls, but after ten years i've never felt i needed it. this in florida/bahamas. never a single malfunction in ten years and does it's job well.
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Old 01-11-2013, 16:24   #5
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Re: Frigoboat Keel Cooler in the tropics

Seems like it's a split , some like the air cooled and some like the keel cooled units, going to do some more reading .

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Old 01-11-2013, 16:57   #6
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Re: Frigoboat Keel Cooler in the tropics

I have an AB unit in my 393, ten years and all's still fine. Have a EZ Kold nearly 25 years old in my CS and still working fine. As you can see I like air cooled 12v systems. My EZ Kold has water cooling too but the water pump kept on packing it in. I have run it just on air cooling in the Bahamas and it's fine.

One factor that not a lot of folks think of is that if you're a cruiser and have to go on the hard for maintenance for a week or two your keel cooler will not work. Ran into that a few years ago in a boatyard when the folks with a Frigoboat couldn't run their fridge. Just a thought.
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Old 01-11-2013, 17:09   #7
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Re: Frigoboat Keel Cooler in the tropics

I'm not in the tropics... Well, I guess I am to an extent. The water here will get 85+ degrees and my system with the keel cooler works great. It's been 3 years now.

Of course, the normal caveat that with any system you need a well insulated box.
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Old 01-11-2013, 17:19   #8
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Re: Frigoboat Keel Cooler in the tropics

My keel cooled frigoboat did very well in the tropics in water up to 90 degrees, with similar air temperatures.

We spent a couple of weeks on the hard with it and found it not too difficult to rig up a drip system to keep the refer running. Basicly a tupperware braced over the keel cooler with rags stuffed along the edges, then a tube siphoning water from bins in the cockpit. We had to refill the bins every couple days but not a big deal.
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Old 01-11-2013, 17:35   #9
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Re: Frigoboat Keel Cooler in the tropics

We have had a keel cooler installed for 3+ years, all in the tropics, works great and no issues with the "warm" water. The water is still much colder then the heat being removed from the fridge.

Our frigoboat system draws 3 amps and we have a decent sized fridge. Happy customers.
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Old 01-11-2013, 17:36   #10
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Re: Frigoboat Keel Cooler in the tropics

Maybe Kollman will chime in but I have heard when the water temp. goes up, efficiency goes down. Like others, my AB air cooled system works great. I think if you focus on 4" plus insulation, you'll do well.
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Old 01-11-2013, 17:40   #11
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Re: Frigoboat Keel Cooler in the tropics

Most boaters are satisfied with performance of keel cooler systems in cool and warm waters. The problem is in preventing compressor from running hot causing system to break down and in time destroy itself.
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Old 01-11-2013, 20:40   #12
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Re: Frigoboat Keel Cooler in the tropics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
Maybe Kollman will chime in but I have heard when the water temp. goes up, efficiency goes down. Like others, my AB air cooled system works great. I think if you focus on 4" plus insulation, you'll do well.
Any refrigeration system, air or water cooled, will become less efficient as the condensing medium temperature increases. But the more extreme the ambient temperatures, the less efficient air cooling becomes compared to water cooling, mainly due to the higher differential temperature between the ambient air and the refrigerant gas. Sea water will be at a maximum 90F, and is so dense compared to air, that one drop will do the same job as the large amount of air required to be forced over an air cooled condenser by a fan.

Frigoboat Keel Cooler systems are designed, and well proven, to give many years of trouble-free service in both tropical and freezing conditions, plus everything in between, if installed and operated with regard to the manufacturers' instructions.

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Old 01-11-2013, 21:02   #13
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Re: Frigoboat Keel Cooler in the tropics

I just installed a Frigoboat and a new box in my boat. Have the BD50 air cooled compressor and 9.5-10 cu ft box. Have not yet launched the boat but after I put the system together ran it for a week to test. This was August in Florida, daytime highs in the mid nineties, probably the same or higher inside the boat which was closed up most of the time.

After a day or so to get the box cooled down I was using +/- 50 amp hours/day. Not a real world test since the box was mostly closed and empty but if draw is even close to that in use I don't see the need to go with the keel cooled option.
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Old 01-11-2013, 21:35   #14
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Re: Frigoboat Keel Cooler in the tropics

Fact is in the tropics air cooled units use lots of power even in a good box. You can figure on about 70-90 amp hours a day.
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Old 01-11-2013, 22:47   #15
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Re: Frigoboat Keel Cooler in the tropics

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Fact is in the tropics air cooled units use lots of power even in a good box. You can figure on about 70-90 amp hours a day.
thanks for that but would you like to show me the stats on that one?
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