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Old 25-04-2011, 14:49   #1
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Opinions on 12vdc Coolers for Cruisers ?

This weekend or next we should close on my boat, a Westsail 28. Then a month of living at the dock and getting moved in.

Then it is off to the morning field.

The boat has an ice box now, but it is in bad location/design.

For when I am living on the morning I am looking into a medium sized 12v cooler under $200. I can't find any info on how much power they draw.

I have a small one in my truck at holds about 6-12 cans and it has worked great over the years.

Anyone know how much power the bigger ones use?

I am planning on using a SUNFORCE solar panel 1.0A Amps, 5.0Ah Amp Hours/Day, 15W Watts with the cooler being the biggest power draw on 24/7.

After a few months and building the bank account back up, I plan to add a real ice box refrigerator, wing gen, and better solar panels. But this set up needs to hold me over a few hot months.

Any suggestions on 12v coolers under $200 and their power draw?
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Old 25-04-2011, 14:56   #2
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Re: Opinions on 12v coolers for cruisers?

I have an Engel MT35; it's far outside your price range at around $800. But it's probably the smallest and most efficient model on the market, and it consumes ~15AH.
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Old 25-04-2011, 15:01   #3
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Re: Opinions on 12v coolers for cruisers?

The Engels and other high priced units seam to work great, but out of my price range for my temporary needs.
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Old 25-04-2011, 15:23   #4
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Re: Opinions on 12v coolers for cruisers?

I think you might struggle on that budget for a better quality one. Our Waeco 18CF is great but it cost as much as a full size domestic fridge. The CF18 is too small for you though.

We have also fitted an Isotherm Compact classic to our ice box which has been a great success. During the summer it uses 3 amps an hour during the day if the fridge is used a lot. However, the water is cold at the moment here (12c) so our total boat consumption is down to 16AH a day including the fridge.

Sadly they are also not cheap.

Indel Webasto Marine - Compact Classic

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Old 25-04-2011, 16:23   #5
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Re: Opinions on 12v coolers for cruisers?

Go to WAECO site, they give the nominal power use and typical cycle time.

I have seen small coolers take typically btw .5 and 1.5 A.

If you are likely to be anchored for short periods only an ice box is fine.

Here we have a fridge ... and never used it! But I think if you are a meat-eater, you may need one.

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Old 25-04-2011, 16:31   #6
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Re: Opinions on 12v coolers for cruisers?

15 watts of solar isn't enough to do much of anything, to be honest. I don't know what those coolers draw, but I'd be surprised if a single 15W solar panel could offset it.
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Old 25-04-2011, 17:18   #7
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Re: Opinions on 12v coolers for cruisers?

We have used an Igloo 12 volt cooler in the car and on the boat. We usually leave it plugged in while the engine is running, but it keeps things cold overnight while not plugged in. It is rated to draw 3.5 to 5.5 amps per hour. I have been very happy with it.

http://www.skingcompany.com/Igloo-14...oler-P450.aspx
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Old 25-04-2011, 17:31   #8
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Re: Opinions on 12v coolers for cruisers?

There are really two different animals out there, they look alike.. but are very different.

One type, like my engle (27) uses a compressor and is an actual refridigerator / freezer. It can cool to freezing and below.

Another type uses a peltier type cooler plate and generally will cool to something
like 40f below ambient temperature. Coleman and many others make these...
they are ok to keep soda cool in the car, but (in my experience) use a lot of current
or are unable to do much in the way of chill down of items placed in them (take forever). I have purchased 2 of these, one new and another used... neither were suitable for use on the boat.

As has been said by others, you will likely be better served to use the ice box, or spring for an Engle....
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Old 25-04-2011, 17:41   #9
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Re: Opinions on 12v coolers for cruisers?

Yeah if there was a low amperage cooler for under $200 that worked well in a marine environment you can be sure I'd own one.
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Old 26-04-2011, 12:08   #10
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Re: Opinions on 12v coolers for cruisers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lowcountry View Post
15 watts of solar isn't enough to do much of anything, to be honest. I don't know what those coolers draw, but I'd be surprised if a single 15W solar panel could offset it.
I think the lowest I have seen was o.5 so in 24 hours it would ask for 12 A. Give a sunny location with 5 hours sun-hours say the panel has to deliver about 2 A. This would imply 45 W panel as a minimum.

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Old 26-04-2011, 12:30   #11
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Re: Opinions on 12vdc Coolers for Cruisers ?

I'm about to spend about $380 on this three way unit (gas, ac, dc), small but will transfer from my camper to boat to truck.

Dometic DRC4000 3 Way Portable Refrigerator Propane, AC/DC - In Stock!
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Old 26-04-2011, 12:40   #12
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Re: Opinions on 12vdc Coolers for Cruisers ?

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I'm about to spend about $380 on this three way unit (gas, ac, dc), small but will transfer from my camper to boat to truck.

Dometic DRC4000 3 Way Portable Refrigerator Propane, AC/DC - In Stock!
That looks like a pretty cool unit (pun intended).

Hope it works out well for you, let us know.

(not sure I would use propane below, might not like being healed.... make sure you have a CO detector if you do).
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Old 26-04-2011, 12:54   #13
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Re: Opinions on 12vdc Coolers for Cruisers ?

Try these guys....I have one of their 64 qt. jobs and it seems to be pretty good for the last two years.

Portable Travel Coolers, 12 Volt Travel Cooler & 12V Portable Fridge / Freezers
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Old 26-04-2011, 13:48   #14
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Re: Opinions on 12vdc Coolers for Cruisers ?

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Originally Posted by s/v 'Faith' View Post
That looks like a pretty cool unit (pun intended).

Hope it works out well for you, let us know.

(not sure I would use propane below, might not like being healed.... make sure you have a CO detector if you do).
For sure on the propane, DC/AC on boat, DC for truck, gas/AC/DC for camper, AC for garage beer
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Old 27-04-2011, 02:25   #15
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On the level?

My understanding is that a gas absorption refrigerator must be level to work properly.

An explanation of how they work is here.
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