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Old 18-11-2008, 12:29   #1
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Ice cubes for my cocktails

My new (to me) boat has an under chart table ice box with no refrig. I have read many threads here about refridgeration including the 8 pager below and have decided to get either a stirling or engel type to use as a freezer and to make ice to put in the stock ice box. This way, I can have a place to keep things cool and the ability to freeze a few packs of meat and of course, make ice cubes for my cocktails. So, it sounds great, but is it a realistic approach or am I just smoking something?

BTW, the boat has a very basic 2 battery, dc only + shorepower electrical system. I do plan to upgrade somewhat, but due to space limitations it won't likely be very much.

Also, I plan to be in tropical waters.
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Old 18-11-2008, 13:36   #2
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Unless you make the ice with shore-power, or you have a power boat you will be running the engine on most of the time.... you will probably find making ice a battery killer in short time.

For anyone to actually recommend anything you need to provide much more info, such as what kind of boat; sail or power; how you will use it, daysailing / weekends or cruising longer term; what are the two batteries capacity and are these both house or one house and one engine batteries; what is the power requirement of the two systems your looking at.

Basically how long your going to be attempting to make ice/ maintain it, and what your power availability is will be the factor you need to look at.

With out some additional upgrades, your engine driven alternator will be the only method of keeping your batteries up and running with out killing them with frequent discharges. If your running a power boat with the motor on all the time, this is probably enough but very expensive and hard on your engine if your not also using it for propulsion. An idling engine is an unhappy engine and will show you with very expensive and frequent repair bills and fuel bills.

I had a similar problem and had to go with solar panels and will probably add a wind generator. To determine what you need... you have to know what the boats energy needs/ requirements are. You will probably find the refig/ freezer is the main drain of power on the boat. See what your total watts per hour requirements are and size your battery bank from that with a source to keep them charged over your time away from the shore power. It isn't hard but not real easy... just takes the effort to review your documentation on each component or sometime the item itself will have a power consumption tag or you may use some of the "Typical" tables to estimate what uses what power per hour and then estimate how many hours a day it will be in use and you will arrive at the estimated power per 24 hours for each item... then add them up.

A lack of some additional power on non power boats will generally severally limit your production capability and even your ability to keep those you buy cold enough to not turn to water. This is an ongoing problem for sail boats in the tropical waters and a good ice box and frequent purchases of ice is the typical solution unless you power up with additional batteries and sources of charging them.
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Old 18-11-2008, 18:11   #3
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How appropriate that I got this news from someone with the name of reality check!

OK, the boat is a Pearson 31-2 with a 2gmf and 35A alternator. No solar or wind but I am researching and considering either or both. The batteries are basic (cheap) Sears Diehards. One is a new deep cycle marine trolling motor style. Unsure of Ah, but I doubt it's very high. The other is a "starting" deep cycle, but it needs to be replaced as it's reading 10 volts. I am considering using the good diehard as the starting battery and getting a real strong battery for the house. There is no room where the batteries are to add an additional battery.

My power requirements are fairly slim. My laptop is a Dell XPS with the 13" LED backlit lcd screen so it sips the juice. 12v bjc85 printer, 12v 19" HDTV LCD, and the standard lights, pumps and basic instruments. All 12v.

It is my understanding that the stirling and engel type coolers use very little power which is why I'm focused there. If I can squeeze in a little more battery power and maybe a solar panel to charge, it seems I could get this system to work for me. I'm not a purist so I will be motoring around a fair amount.

I guess my main question boils down to...

Can one of these little freezers make enough ice blocks to keep the ice box reasonably cool and also provide ice cubes for drinks?
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Old 18-11-2008, 18:37   #4
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The simple answer is no. You will not be able to keep your batteries up with that set-up. You have to do an analysis of how much power you really need. That laptop probably takes 4 amps. And what does that tv take? Until you quantify everything you're working in the dark. You should have a high output alternator and a smart regulator. This will probably lead to re-wiring as the standard wiring is not good enough. That's where you need to start. If you intend to cruise and have refrigeration start with the alternator and wiring. After that you can look into solar or wind or both. There is no easy way.
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Old 18-11-2008, 18:44   #5
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Four words, Engal,Norcold,Coleman I have heard and Waeco. They are all good units but I can only vouch for the Coleman from what I read here. And I think Coleman may be discontinued. If your looking for simplicity, then one of these units at the appropriate size will be a good choice for you. I encourage you to research all these units before making a decision.
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Old 18-11-2008, 21:13   #6
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If you have a bunch of pre-frozen stuff in the Coleman (stirling) cooler, it will allow you to make a tray or two of ice. If you try and start with a bunch of unfrozen water or other stuff, it most likely will disapoint. The trouble is not that the mechanism cannot cool, it is that the box only has about an inch of standard foam insulation, and that is not much.

When I first got mine, I tried a stress test, but putting four one-gallon ziplock bags filled with water, into the unit, set to freeze. If could not freeze all of the water, but some did, within 12 hours or so. This is with moderate outside temps.

Global cooling makes a unit with VIP panels, I bet that would work just great.

BTW, while your laptop might draw less than others, I bet it does not sip the juice. Does the power supply get hot? That is electricity being turned into heat.

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Old 18-11-2008, 23:14   #7
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This is a friend of mine and he loves showing us the ice in his beer almost as much as he does his Engel.


<<I have now had my Engel35 for about 2months and love it. It is about the same size physically as a 40qt ice chest but you can get more "stuff" inside because theres no ice. Pretty small for a big boat but perfect for my PSC25.
Engel makes them up to 120qt size, 2 compartment 1side fridge 1side freeze.
Mine runs intermitantly during the heat of the day(no a/c on my little boat) out of the sun under the galley table and will freeze a gallon jug hard as a brick over night. On its lowest setting(ie1 to 5, 1 being fridge and 5 being freeze) mine draws < 1amp with the ambient temp at about 75f on freeze at the same ambient it draws<3amps. >>


Coleman Stirling Power Coolers
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Old 19-11-2008, 07:47   #8
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I think your batteries will be totally inadequate and you will kill them in a few weeks. You probably need to look at D4's or even D8's and boost your alternator and probably add other sources like solar.

Lots depends on where and how long you will be away from shore power. It may be easier to simply buy ice and keep it in a cooler.

You should have a house bank of batteries and a different engine battery. As I and several other people have stated... you need to know you load... what amp/ hour you will use over 24 hours and what at peaks and how you will replace that from your batteries. Your batteries need to be sized sufficiently to allow you to run everything with out engine being own for at least 20 or more hours if you area a cruiser in a sail boat. More batteries power is recommended as are more sources of re charging them... but YOU do Have To Do the Math on your Boats systems.
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Old 19-11-2008, 08:37   #9
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Do what ever it takes to make ice. A nice chilled drink as the sun goes down intesifies the sunset. I don't care if you are drinking tea, or a soda pop. I cruised with a 50lb ice box, and it can't come close to having things cold all the time, and especially hearing those little ice cubes tinkle in a glass
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Old 19-11-2008, 19:01   #10
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OK folks, I've been reading for hours on this subject and I now have a much better understanding of what I am up against. One guy on another site spent 3k for an arch, 3k for panels, 3k for batteries, 1k for controller and wire, 2k for wind gen, and still has to run the motor at some point. His power usage didn't seem out of control either.

It seems to me that one of those little Honda gensets is the economical way to go. I know the purists will cite the fuel costs but I think I could run a generator a LONG time on $10,000 worth of gas.

This thread seems like it should be in electrical, but it said refrigeration under the plumbing category. I may just start a new thread over there.

Thanks for all the info guys.
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Old 19-11-2008, 22:03   #11
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Originally Posted by imagine2frolic View Post
Do what ever it takes to make ice. A nice chilled drink as the sun goes down intesifies the sunset. I don't care if you are drinking tea, or a soda pop. I cruised with a 50lb ice box, and it can't come close to having things cold all the time, and especially hearing those little ice cubes tinkle in a glass
I2F..you just made my friends list....


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Old 20-11-2008, 06:55   #12
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OK folks, I've been reading for hours on this subject and I now have a much better understanding of what I am up against. One guy on another site spent 3k for an arch, 3k for panels, 3k for batteries, 1k for controller and wire, 2k for wind gen, and still has to run the motor at some point. His power usage didn't seem out of control either.

It seems to me that one of those little Honda gensets is the economical way to go. I know the purists will cite the fuel costs but I think I could run a generator a LONG time on $10,000 worth of gas.

This thread seems like it should be in electrical, but it said refrigeration under the plumbing category. I may just start a new thread over there.

Thanks for all the info guys.
Those cost are way out of line. One of the top wind generators, KISS, is only $1k, You can buy 2 8D's for less then $1k. I just bought 2 8D's for a little over $200.00, and they were alot heavier than the Dekkas I removed. My friend just bought 2 monstrous Kyocera panels for about $1,300, and as far as an arch goes. You can get a shop to bend you some material, and brace it down yourself.

I have a Honda 2k generator, and it will run for over 7 hrs charging batteries, running interior lights while at anchor at night, and a household freezer on less than a gallon of gas.

I think the fella that gave those prices got took IMHO...........All hope isn't lost. Get on the internet, and do some hunting for prices. Get in touch with HOTWIRE.COM. They are the distributor for KISS in Florida, and they sell pumped up alternators too............i2f
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Old 20-11-2008, 08:23   #13
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In all fairness to that guy, he had 4 panels and 4 batteries. A very big system and still not enough to self sustain. He obviously has more money than me. Good on him, I hope it works for him after spending that much $$$.
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Old 20-11-2008, 08:46   #14
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THat does make a difference, but it still sounds like he could've done some better shopping. No kidding, who wants to spend that much money, and get cut short on electricity.
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Old 20-11-2008, 11:00   #15
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