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Old 30-08-2011, 18:01   #1
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Protecting Evaporator Plates

Greetings Folks,

I completed my fridge box a while back, but just installed the evaporator panel. It's a Frigoboat system with the largest plate I could fit.

The box is a funny shape as you can see from the pics, and dimensions are about 1m wide athwartships (3ft), 40cm long fwd/aft (1.5ft), and about 1m deep (3ft). Starboard side has a step in it to conform to the hull.

One thing that I hadn't thought about is that since it's so wide - firstly it will be a challenge to pack well.. but more importantly, when rolling, won't the contents damage the evaporator plate?

I'm considering welding up a "fence" in the middle to divide it into two so that theoretically the weight of the stuff leaning on the plate on starboard tack will be less and the distance things fly around will also be less.

I can't put in a piece of wood or anything vertically continuously bonded to the box itself since the plate covers the aft face of the box, so was thinking of welding up some angles/flat bar in vertical strips to make a fence that will straddle the plate on the aft side.

I have no issue with welding up such a fence or even two - but my questions are:

A: Do the plates actually need protection or am I wasting energy on a non-existent problem?

B: Is a single divider/fence enough?

C. What containers etc does everybody use to stack provisions - especially in "non-standard" dimensions -considering that the space leftover will not suit standard tupperware etc..? (A friend mentioned making plywood/glass trays, but that sounds like too much work at this stage if there's a ready-made alternative available)

Thank you muchly in advance!
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Old 30-08-2011, 19:10   #2
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Re: Protecting evaporator plates?

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Originally Posted by akio.kanemoto View Post
or am I wasting energy on a non-existent problem?
yes.

Unfortunately, most of the time you'll have a layer of frost/ice protecting the plate.

The biggest thing that plate needs protection from is you. When you defrost, don't chip away at the ice because that's how 99% of these plates are damaged. Let it melt according to its own schedule.

Otherwise, if you're rolling bad enough to worry about the evaporator plates, throw in a reef.
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Old 31-08-2011, 05:29   #3
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Re: Protecting evaporator plates?

The best organizers are rectangular plastic baskets. You can buy them in numerous sizes and they allow air to move through. When I need to "defrost" my plate I use a pancake flipper to scrape the frost off. Do not try to chip it off, just scrape it.
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Old 31-08-2011, 07:22   #4
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Re: Protecting evaporator plates?

You might try "food grade" silicone spray lubricant to ease defrosting.
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Old 31-08-2011, 07:46   #5
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Re: Protecting evaporator plates?

Quote:
that's how 99% of these plates are damaged.
yes, ice pick is very useful for damaging fridges.
Using an ice pick is like an old lady trying to find the keyhole for the car door and the paint is all scratched off, but they dont care until it is broken or they are shown how they wrecked it. I have noticed people abuse what they have and if they are rich it is not very meaningful to them, so just get another one.
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Old 31-08-2011, 09:12   #6
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Re: Protecting evaporator plates?

Roll bond aluminum evaporators have always been fragile and need to be protected from sharp items, dynamic loads and abrasive surface action. I have found some of the newer evaporators are made from thinner aluminum with less abrasive coatings.

It is too late now but there were better evaporator options from other companies like SeaFrost , Nova Kool and maybe others in your country. An evaporator to be efficient needs to aid in the natural movement of air, warm air rises across evaporator where heat is absorbed, after heat is removed cold then descends to absorb more heat.

Akio, To protect your evaporatorís surface an open air shelf needs to be constructed about one inch or more above evaporator so it does not contact any part of evaporator. Shelf must be strong enough to with stand an impact from items dropped from top lid into box. Shelf above evaporator should be removable for easy cleaning and defrosting. To prevent heat layer stratification I recommend a one inch PVC pipe in rear corner of box extending from just below the shelf to with in 3 inches box ceiling. On top of this PVC air tube install a low volume say 10 cfm one inch square or round DC muffin fan. Fan should be fused with a one amp fuse an off on switch and be powered 24 hours a day when refrigerator is in use.
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Old 01-09-2011, 15:38   #7
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Re: Protecting evaporator plates?

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Originally Posted by Richard Kollmann View Post
Roll bond aluminum evaporators have always been fragile and need to be protected from sharp items, dynamic loads and abrasive surface action. I have found some of the newer evaporators are made from thinner aluminum with less abrasive coatings.

It is too late now but there were better evaporator options from other companies like SeaFrost , Nova Kool and maybe others in your country. An evaporator to be efficient needs to aid in the natural movement of air, warm air rises across evaporator where heat is absorbed, after heat is removed cold then descends to absorb more heat.

Akio, To protect your evaporatorís surface an open air shelf needs to be constructed about one inch or more above evaporator so it does not contact any part of evaporator. Shelf must be strong enough to with stand an impact from items dropped from top lid into box. Shelf above evaporator should be removable for easy cleaning and defrosting. To prevent heat layer stratification I recommend a one inch PVC pipe in rear corner of box extending from just below the shelf to with in 3 inches box ceiling. On top of this PVC air tube install a low volume say 10 cfm one inch square or round DC muffin fan. Fan should be fused with a one amp fuse an off on switch and be powered 24 hours a day when refrigerator is in use.

Thank you all for the replies.

So we have two views - one is that it's no problem and the other is that it is a problem and to protect the plate.

Richard, on your note above, I don't understand what you mean by fabricating a shelf above the evaporator plate to take loads being dropped in etc... the plate is on two sides of the box, so loads will be oriented horizontally against the plate such as when moving from one tack to another and having a bunch of food go from one side to the other and hit the plate.

Are you suggesting a vertical shelf in front of the evaporator plate?

Also, can anybody comment on whether 3ft width athwartships un-partitioned is OK or not?

Thank you!
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Old 01-09-2011, 18:16   #8
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Re: Protecting Evaporator Plates

Akio, Your are correct, I did not pay enough attention to pictures so you should ignore my response.
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Old 01-09-2011, 18:25   #9
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Re: Protecting Evaporator Plates

I looked at the photos again, to make certain I was reading them right. I was. The plates are installed almost identically to the plate in my previous boat. I lived aboard on that boat for eight years and sailed it 10,000 nautical miles without ever protecting the plate, and had zero problems with it.

If there's any reason to insulate that plate, it's because anything you put directly against it will probably freeze.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:15   #10
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pirate Re: Protecting Evaporator Plates

no problemo/plastic coated freezer boxes,cut to size,seal ends with liquid dip,frozen food under,beer on tip/happy sailing.
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Old 02-09-2011, 16:33   #11
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Re: Protecting Evaporator Plates

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
I looked at the photos again, to make certain I was reading them right. I was. The plates are installed almost identically to the plate in my previous boat. I lived aboard on that boat for eight years and sailed it 10,000 nautical miles without ever protecting the plate, and had zero problems with it.

If there's any reason to insulate that plate, it's because anything you put directly against it will probably freeze.
Thanks for that - can you confirm that your's was also athwartships and about the same width?

Did you divide it at all for ease of access/storage?

I can just see my wife eventually complaining that she has to remove everything from the fridge to get to stuff at the bottom etc...(and can see how it could be a pain if not divided)... but if it works for you, it will work for me probably and one less thing that I have to build!
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Old 02-09-2011, 16:34   #12
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Re: Protecting Evaporator Plates

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Originally Posted by bigpuff View Post
no problemo/plastic coated freezer boxes,cut to size,seal ends with liquid dip,frozen food under,beer on tip/happy sailing.
Very clever idea, thanks for that!
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