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Old 23-10-2017, 09:49   #1
txg
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Input needed: New fridge system for our Dufour 35

Our 1978 Dufour 35 still has its original(!) Engel 14L fridge, that works flawlessly even in the tropics. While this is very impressive, it is using quite a lot of electricity (50Ah/day and sometimes more) and 14L which equals about half a cubic foot is just too small.

As can be seen in the picture 01 i attached, it is also quite hard to get something cold, because the fridge is stored below the nav station on sliding rails. Grabbing a beer means closing the door to the saloon, opening the fridge storage door, opening the fridge slide lock, sliding out the fridge, opening the lid, taking out what is needed and then everything in reverse order.

Our first idea was to simply install a bigger box in this compartment, but due to the small width only the next size engl which is 21L would fit, and thats still too small. So we decided to keep the 14L box as a spare and for freezing stuff when we have enough power for it and now are trying to find another solution.

Pictures 02 and 03 show our galley and the factory-made icebox. This is very deep and big with about 100L or 3.5 cubic foot so it would be a nice storage, BUT it is nearly uninsulated and it will be a pain in the ass to get proper insulation around it. Also, it is the only space in our small galley where we can put down stuff and i don't want a solution where we have to take things away every time we want to take something out the fridge. Also, it looks like the lid on top is not that well insulated and it will be hard to add more insulation there.

Are there any other ideas? I would prefer to buy something like a Coolmatic CRX 65 which is a 65L fridge with a small freezer compartment, but so far i couldn't find a space for something this big on our boat. Is there someone else with a Dufour 35 with a better solution?

Oh, and i have to buy the new fridge in Grenada (or maybe Martinique), so there is no possibility to get something special.
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Old 23-10-2017, 10:46   #2
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Re: Input needed: New fridge system for our Dufour 35

Hi there, your boat looks like its in great shape.

We have a few customers that because of space limitations in there galley, are actually building small refrigeration and freezer spaces under there main saloon settees. These spaces are easy to insulate and the seat cushion actually adds to the R value in the lid !

We are presently building two such systems with plates 5" tall and 30" long . There is always a solution when you can configure a plate to fit the box .

Just an Idea , maybe (fresh) food for thought .

Regards John.
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Old 24-10-2017, 00:00   #3
txg
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Re: Input needed: New fridge system for our Dufour 35

Thanks for this idea, i was thinking about something like that as well. Problem is that we have our water tanks below the main settees, but as our saloon is U-shaped i was thinking about putting the fridge in one of the legs of the U.

There we have a space of a little bit less than 60x60 which would be fine, but it is only about 28cm high if i remember correctly. With an insulation of 5cm or 2 inches which is probably the absolute minimum this would make a space of about 45L which is a little bit on the small side compared to the work that is needed.
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Old 24-10-2017, 10:45   #4
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Re: Input needed: New fridge system for our Dufour 35

Quote:
Originally Posted by txg View Post
Thanks for this idea, i was thinking about something like that as well. Problem is that we have our water tanks below the main settees, but as our saloon is U-shaped i was thinking about putting the fridge in one of the legs of the U.

There we have a space of a little bit less than 60x60 which would be fine, but it is only about 28cm high if i remember correctly. With an insulation of 5cm or 2 inches which is probably the absolute minimum this would make a space of about 45L which is a little bit on the small side compared to the work that is needed.
How about under a berth or maybe a cockpit locker . 45L or 1.5 cubic feet is hardly worth it, as you say . There must be a spot that could be insulated .

Regards John
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Old 24-10-2017, 12:36   #5
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Re: Input needed: New fridge system for our Dufour 35

Quote:
Originally Posted by txg View Post
...Pictures 02 and 03 show our galley and the factory-made icebox. This is very deep and big with about 100L or 3.5 cubic foot so it would be a nice storage, BUT it is nearly uninsulated and it will be a pain in the ass to get proper insulation around it. Also, it is the only space in our small galley where we can put down stuff and i don't want a solution where we have to take things away every time we want to take something out the fridge. Also, it looks like the lid on top is not that well insulated and it will be hard to add more insulation there...
The built-in icebox area is presently being used to store a hot plate, which blocks access to that storage space and could easily be in the stove area, if needed at all. Excuses like "It's too hard" or "We can't find parts locally" may ultimately prevent you from seeking the best solution, so try to avoid that self-defeating thought process. (If you believe you can't do something, it's true!)

The existing cheap-out reefer arrangement is plainly laughable and needs to be properly addressed, that space being reserved for other storage. The most practical solution might be to re-insulate the icebox and add an efficient refrigeration conversion like the Frigoboat unit. If you do this correctly it will bring you pleasure each time you use it, instead of being a source of annoyance as it exists.
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Old 24-10-2017, 12:59   #6
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Re: Input needed: New fridge system for our Dufour 35

ooops
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Old 25-10-2017, 05:55   #7
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Re: Input needed: New fridge system for our Dufour 35

@Coldeh Marine:

So far i couldn't find any useable space. The saloon berths are on top of the water tanks, the quarterberth is on top of the diesel tank. There is storage below the forward cabin berth but that is too far away from the kitchen and also not that easy to access.

Our cockpit locker (we only have one) is very big, but is completely filled with sails. Because of sailing performance and simplicity we use hank-on foresails and so there are five different sails in this locker.

@Terra Nova:

Currently i'm thinking in the same direction, i'm just waiting for some input and hoping for someone else with the same boat that converted the icebox to a fridge. Would like to know which compressor was used (probably a bd35) and especially how the box is insulated and how much Ah the box consumes daily in the tropics.

I'm also thinking about making a cutting board that fits one of the sinks to get some more working space in the galley.

While you're right about the current solution being not the best one, we still managed to live with it for a year and it's still much better than no fridge. Also, remember this was installed in 1978 and at that time an electric fridge that can run on 12V for several days was an absolute luxury.
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Old 25-10-2017, 06:06   #8
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Re: Input needed: New fridge system for our Dufour 35

Just had another look at your galley , you could insulate that dry storage box , that would be a great solution. Also , do you need both those large sinks ? You could make one of them an insulated space and refrigerate that compartment . That would also give you greater counter space . We have helped clients with reno's like this before , sort of what we do .

Regards John
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Old 25-10-2017, 09:31   #9
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Re: Input needed: New fridge system for our Dufour 35

sea frost belt driven compressor it will make ice cubes and only needs to be run 15 minutes, there is a timer. install within the existing box
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Old 25-10-2017, 10:19   #10
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Re: Input needed: New fridge system for our Dufour 35

I am with the sink idea, whereas the one you have is deep and large. How many dishes do you actually do? The disadvantage is the top loading only makes for finding things a little more challenging, yet, the cold won't flow out on the floor. When I put in my new galley sink to replace the little round thing they called a sink, I also made a wood cover to give us counter space. My Cheoy Lee had a top load and a front load to make things convenient, that wouldn't work for you in the pictures I see.
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Old 25-10-2017, 10:40   #11
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Re: Input needed: New fridge system for our Dufour 35

If energy use is a concern I would look at the Isotherm refrigeration line with their self adjusting electronic control for compressor speed based on available battery. We reinsulated a top load box in our Morgan 37 and now freeze 4 cu' and refrigerate 4 cu' with the Isotherm 5700 with cold plate using about 30 amp hours a day in the sub tropics. I, too, look at your huge sink area as a desirable location for refrigeration.
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Old 25-10-2017, 11:30   #12
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Re: Input needed: New fridge system for our Dufour 35

If I was in the tropics, I would take a serious look at the ColdEh system. The numbers show a much more efficient system than the mass produced units on the market. More money up front but, in the long run, probably cheaper.
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Old 25-10-2017, 11:47   #13
txg
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Re: Input needed: New fridge system for our Dufour 35

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Originally Posted by bcboomer View Post
If I was in the tropics, I would take a serious look at the ColdEh system. The numbers show a much more efficient system than the mass produced units on the market. More money up front but, in the long run, probably cheaper.
While i'm sure this system is worth it, we simply cant afford a compressor system for 2799USD plus Grenada taxes. We can get an isotherm system for about 500 here in Germany and bring it when we fly back to Grenada.

The sinks are actually not that big (and we use both of them), the picture is misleading there because it was taken with a very wide angle. If we take out one of the sinks there won't be enough space for a proper fridge.

While thinking through all of this i got another idea about the icebox:

It can hardly be seen in the pictures i provided (as i'm currently back home i cant provide better ones), but the icebox is not only the space that can be seen in the detailed pic, but it is in an L shape that extends aft. If you have a look at the full galley pic the icebox ends below the empty water bottle.

Now i'm thinking about adding a spillover fridge/freezer to this icebox. The compartment in the back (about 35L) is a little bit smaller and harder to access so i would put the freezer there with a big flat evaporator plate, and then put insulation between the two compartments to separate a fridge that would be about 65L big.

I'm not sure if a BD35 would be sufficient for this setup in the tropics (assuming proper insulation with polyurethane), we would probably need a BD50 but we would love to have a freezer.

Is there any proper spillover fridge controller that has sensors for both compartments and can control the compressor and the spillover fan?

I guess that you have to be very careful with such a system when loading the fridge to make sure nothing defrosts in the freezer. Is this a problem?
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Old 25-10-2017, 15:15   #14
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Re: Input needed: New fridge system for our Dufour 35

So you are looking at approximately 100 liters or 3.5 cubic foot . 1.2 cubic feet of that being a freezer . Now this size is really not a problem for a BD35 system if you insulate it properly and in reasonable ambient temperatures .

Also know that a conventional refrigeration system looses efficiency as the ambient temperatures rise, so ventilating the area that the compressor is in will be a key factor , water cooling will not be of any help as the water temperatures are so high in those areas . Saying that, then a BD35 may not be enough and you may have to spring for the bigger BD50 because of the nature of the conventional design, and of course the extra amp hrs it takes to run it .

How much room do you have for insulation? If you are very limited for space I would recommend Aerogel , its expensive but you get R10 per inch and in the tropics in a box your size I would not go below R30 in the freezer section if you want to be able to manage the power consumption on your boat , you probably do not have a generator or a great amount of space for a large solar array . Great insulation will be your highest priority In the tropics !!!.

ps, i can help you source parts to build a controller for your spill over section.

Regards John.
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Old 25-10-2017, 21:15   #15
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Re: Input needed: New fridge system for our Dufour 35

My desire is to have a 2 cu.ft. freezer that can achieve -27 F (I found one)and increase the foam from 2" to 4" and reroute the condenser into the bilge or on deck. The 120V AC compressor uses 40 watts and will run 20% duty cycle.It will be so cold and insulated that it could stay frozen for a couple of days at least if I lost power for some reason,and if I don't go into it a lot. For a fridge I would just use a medium cooler with a couple of frozen water bottles in it. and I could put it anywhere on the boat I feel like, even in the cockpit. Meanwhile making all the Ice I want in the freezer for it. This is easy for me to do and I could tell anyone (who's handy) how to do it.You just need to borrow couple expensive tools (good vacuum pump). Tubes can be put together with unions and flare nuts (so you don't burn down your boat).Evaporators with cap & suction lines can be purchased cheap,the bigger the better. Feel like a challenge ?
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