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Old 10-12-2015, 07:02   #1
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Just a freezer & make ice for ice box... would it worK?

Title sort of says it all... in the long process of investigating refrigeration options for 32' coastal cruiser (which will eventually do some longer trips but still can't imagine more than 2 weeks out at a time before back at a marina or somewhere semi uncivilized).

Currently have original built in ice box, decent sized, but the way it's laid out doesn't seem like a drop in would work there (plus the drop-ins are pretty small). Not sure I want to do the huge amount of labor involved in insulating it myself to make it feasible to use as a refrigerator.

So started looking at Engel portable coolers, they look pretty sweet but they get big and I will need to figure out where to put one. So I thought maybe just a smaller Engel, run it as a freezer with jugs of water in there, and use the frozen jugs of water on a rotating basis as ice in the icebox.

Is this a waste of time? Energy? Sanity? I figure this way I would have a bit of freezer space to freeze other things (not a big priority for us, but ice for a cocktail is nice!), would only be in and out of there maybe once a day to rotate the ice jugs, and wouldn't be so worried about the fact that my built in icebox is just not very well insulated.

???

-- Bass
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Old 10-12-2015, 07:17   #2
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Re: Just a freezer & make ice for ice box... would it worK?

You're going to use just as much of not more energy freezing water to use in a poorly insulated box as you would attempting to keep the box at reefer temp with a conversion kit.

How long will Ice keep in the box now?


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Old 10-12-2015, 08:00   #3
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Re: Just a freezer & make ice for ice box... would it worK?

Bass: I do just as you propose and it works fine. I use two (1 gallon) water jugs that rotate between my ice box and an Engel MD14 on a 2 day cycle (Jug is still mostly frozen at end of cycle).

If the sun is out most of the time, a 100 watt solar panel will keep the above cool indefinitely.

Steve

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Old 10-12-2015, 14:03   #4
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Re: Just a freezer & make ice for ice box... would it worK?

Perfect, thanks Steve, that's just what I had in mind... good to know what size Engel works for you too. My cruising area is the Pacific Northwest so pretty temperate so I don't need anything extreme, just seems a nice easy way to have a fridge and freezer without a huge refit of the galley.

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Bass: I do just as you propose and it works fine. I use two (1 gallon) water jugs that rotate between my ice box and an Engel MD14 on a 2 day cycle (Jug is still mostly frozen at end of cycle).

If the sun is out most of the time, a 100 watt solar panel will keep the above cool indefinitely.
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Old 10-12-2015, 14:15   #5
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Re: Just a freezer & make ice for ice box... would it worK?

Ack, hit send too fast... meant to add, the other thing I like about this possible arrangement is instead of having a fridge having to run all the time to keep things cold, if you need to you can plan ahead (i.e. when you have abundant power) and generate a bunch of ice then shut the freezer off for a few days and draw zero power while still keeping your icebox (mostly) cold.

I also like not having raw ice in my icebox as it eventually makes a royal soupy mess, much prefer it trapped inside gallon jugs (even though condensation will eventually create some moisture in there).

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Old 10-12-2015, 16:57   #6
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Re: Just a freezer & make ice for ice box... would it worK?

A few more thoughts:

I agree that the ability to shut off the freezer is good (I turn mine off when sleeping for absolute quiet). However, the Engel has a very small compressor that takes a looooong time to re-freeze the water. The unit will have to be kept running at least 1/2 the time in order to keep up. My Ice box is quite small (under 2 cubic feet) and pretty well insulated (minimum 4 inches on sides, 6 inches on bottom). A larger or poorer insulated box may require a small Engel to run continuously in order to keep up.

Another benifet to using an Engel/icebox combination is you will have a portable unit that can be used in other boats, cars or on picknicks.

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Old 11-12-2015, 11:13   #7
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Re: Just a freezer & make ice for ice box... would it worK?

Instead of using jugs of water, why not just use those larger things that are designed to keep things cold out of the freezer- like in a camper- those blue things? They won't split or crack.
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:15   #8
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Re: Just a freezer & make ice for ice box... would it worK?

Quote:
Originally Posted by basssears View Post
Title sort of says it all... in the long process of investigating refrigeration options for 32' coastal cruiser (which will eventually do some longer trips but still can't imagine more than 2 weeks out at a time before back at a marina or somewhere semi uncivilized).

Currently have original built in ice box, decent sized, but the way it's laid out doesn't seem like a drop in would work there (plus the drop-ins are pretty small). Not sure I want to do the huge amount of labor involved in insulating it myself to make it feasible to use as a refrigerator.

So started looking at Engel portable coolers, they look pretty sweet but they get big and I will need to figure out where to put one. So I thought maybe just a smaller Engel, run it as a freezer with jugs of water in there, and use the frozen jugs of water on a rotating basis as ice in the icebox.

Is this a waste of time? Energy? Sanity? I figure this way I would have a bit of freezer space to freeze other things (not a big priority for us, but ice for a cocktail is nice!), would only be in and out of there maybe once a day to rotate the ice jugs, and wouldn't be so worried about the fact that my built in icebox is just not very well insulated.

???

-- Bass
i haven't done anything yet but that is my plan only would ditch my icebox for a yeti or redo insulation on the present icebox and turn it into something with yeti type insulation properties.. good luck
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:22   #9
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Re: Just a freezer & make ice for ice box... would it worK?

Sounds like a waste of energy.
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:44   #10
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Re: Just a freezer & make ice for ice box... would it worK?

It would work using more power than a well insulated box with a conversion unit in it. If you are set on this way of refrigeration/ cooling I would suggest of the two jugs you rotate be a solution of salt water it freezes at a much lower temperature than plain water thereby extending your rotation period and in the end using less power over the long haul. Prefreeze all jugs prior to leaving the dock to extend the need to refreeze even further.M2CW
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:45   #11
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Re: Just a freezer & make ice for ice box... would it worK?

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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
You're going to use just as much of not more energy freezing water to use in a poorly insulated box as you would attempting to keep the box at reefer temp with a conversion kit.

How long will Ice keep in the box now?


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I agree with above, but you will use more energy I'm sure as your freezing water to ice, so going colder than necessary for a fridge.
But if use is only temporary, it may be the best thing to do is waste that energy as opposed to spending a whole bunch of money for a box conversion. I opted for a conversion myself, but now see it may have been more effective if I had just cut out the existing box and inserted an Engel or similar in the hole. But I now have a 14 cu ft fridge / freezer and that might be difficult to get in a drop in.
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Old 11-12-2015, 13:27   #12
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Re: Just a freezer & make ice for ice box... would it worK?

What you are wasting is the Phase Change energy in going from Liquid to a Solid that happens with NO temp decrease. It's a Big step up in BTUs that you get nothing for.

Remember those Q=CM delta T days from high school physics?

But CAN it work...sure it will.

But will it be efficient...No...but do you care?

Not that is the question....do you care from a power standpoint...only you and your boat's power system can answer that.
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Old 11-12-2015, 13:43   #13
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Re: Just a freezer & make ice for ice box... would it worK?

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It would work using more power than a well insulated box with a conversion unit in it. If you are set on this way of refrigeration/ cooling I would suggest of the two jugs you rotate be a solution of salt water it freezes at a much lower temperature than plain water thereby extending your rotation period and in the end using less power over the long haul. Prefreeze all jugs prior to leaving the dock to extend the need to refreeze even further.M2CW
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Old 11-12-2015, 14:16   #14
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Re: Just a freezer & make ice for ice box... would it worK?

Hey Bass,

We love our Engel and use it for a full time freezer. What you propose will work but won't be the most efficient once you get to long term cruising- but should be fine as an interim solution. That will buy you a lot of flexibility for now too...

You can gain a bit more efficiency by using an appropriate eutectic solution instead of water. If you want something purpose made, look at Arctic Ice.

Cheers!



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Old 11-12-2015, 14:21   #15
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Re: Just a freezer & make ice for ice box... would it worK?

I think for your use in the PNW the jugs will work fine. Let's face it, if you start a cruise with 4 frozen jugs from shore power or home freezer, you are good for maybe a week without doing anything!
You could also line your current ice box with pink or blue home depot foam.. it's non water absorbent. If you don't care what it looks like in there.... just cut to fit and use a few dabs of contact cement to hold it... maybe even sticky back industrial Velcro. That way you can remove it any time you want. Probably a $20 investment though! :>)
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