There is a bit of a war, not unexpectedly, between vendors here.
OP asked if anyone had experience with Frigoboat; I've not heard anyone other than me speak of it. FB has air-cooled, only, too. It's just that the keel cooler
is vastly more efficient, even in the tropics, than the same or higher temperature air, at carrying off heat.
With NO change in box, and some reasonably detailed checks as to its efficacy under the direction of the same Richard Kollmann, our brand new SeaFrost, with its enclosed (more efficient) and ducted air cooling
, cannot maintain our temps running full time at high. If we add the (very problematic, but necessary to achieve the cooling
we ask) water cooling, it can cycle and keep up with our (altered to warmer in the freezer
due to performance issues) demand.
OP has now stated that he has two systems - one freezer
and one reefer. So, likely, the freezer will have some form of conventional layout plates, whether holdover or evaporative. If he can get the same equivalent heat removal
into the box (the only reason we didn't go back with Frigoboat was that we'd have to destroy the box to do so), he should get good performance from a FB unit, whether keel
or air cooled.
Having both is the best of both worlds. No pump, and the ability to use air cooling when out of the water and/or in extremely hot conditions, to supplement the water cooling, is the best of both worlds.
I don't imagine I'm unique in this: In Indian River, where Vero Beach has its moorings, in the summer, disassembly and cleaning
of the water intake on a less-than-weekly - i.e. more than once a week - is necessary to maintain flow. The 3/4" pipe I peer into is usually closed to less that pencil size, and vegetation and shelled creatures are what's doing it. Ramming and scraping manages to open the hose, again, and the cycle resumes. But for whatever reason, in well under a year of actual use, the raw water pump
ha$ failed. Whether that's a failing of the pump (it's going back for post mortem, as SF claims they next to never fail, but the replacement wasn't free) or just bad luck, it's another annoyance in a system which gobbles amps at a rate right at double what my FB system did - and were I to ask it of it, cannot approach (by 15°F) the depth
of cold in the freezer which my FB achieved (as a test; we normally kept the freezer, however, about 10°F colder than we now do due to the staggering amount of electrons needed to achieve our previous freezer temp).
Elsewhere, you'll have many people, Rich among them, singing the praises of air cooling, and how they keep a total box similar to mine (3.5CF freezer, feeding 6.5CF reefer with spillover fan) at zero and 35 with under 50AH a day. Please. In Nova Scotia
, or maybe Maine
. If you're surrounded by air and water in the 90s, unless you have a foot or more of insulation
(I suppose it's possible) to my 6", I just don't see it happening that way. Even with my FB, it was higher than that by half to double. But, in its best moments, and with air and water cooling on high, in 90+ water and air, I cannot achieve zero in the freezer. That is, the system, on high, running continuously (about 13A), cannot pull the freezer to zero. It can, however, cheerfully, eat through about 250AH a day trying.
The previous poster made an empirical statement; yes, of course, it's not as efficient in tropical water. Neither is the air as efficient in tropical air. But the energy needed to remove heat is markedly less if water is the medium, or is aiding the air.
The OP wanted to know about FB owner experiences. What's yours?