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Old 18-01-2009, 09:17   #1
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Refer Box Size?

Hello people! I'm looking out the window at lake effect snow falling in the yard, where it's about 25 degrees. Damn heat wave, compared to last week. While watching a squirrel pop up and down from a hole in the snow, my thoughts turned to refrigeration. I have an old 120 volt Crosby system, running off an inverter, to chill a 12 cu ft fridge, and an 8 cu ft freezer. No ice cubes, and there is a hole between them. At anchor, I drain the batt's pretty quick overnight, and have to run the engine first thing in the morning.
I want to go to a 12 volt system, and will probably have to reduce the size of both boxes. I was just curious about what you experienced cruisers have for:
1. box size
2. refer system
3. power storage ( number and type of batt's, solar, wind)
4. what's in the fridge?

I have seen the Kollmann slide show, and estimate that I would have to reduce to a 8 cu ft fridge, and 4 cu ft freezer, to be able to use a BD50.

So what are y'all doing to keep those tasty beverages cool?

Freezing up in Rochester,
PJ
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Old 18-01-2009, 10:01   #2
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Sorry, found my way into the wrong thread. Thought you meant REEFER box size. Then I would say big enough to hold a good stash, and small enough to conceal from the authorities...

My bad.

Cheers

Bill
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Old 18-01-2009, 10:11   #3
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Sorry, found my way into the wrong thread. Thought you meant REEFER box size. Then I would say big enough to hold a good stash, and small enough to conceal from the authorities...

My bad.

Cheers

Bill
Guess I should have said fridge. Would reefer need a humidor? Just curious.
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Old 18-01-2009, 10:23   #4
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Quote:
I want to go to a 12 volt system, and will probably have to reduce the size of both boxes.
It's generally the case that an old Crosby fridge is installed in an old fridge box on an old boat. They generally are very lacking in insulation. Consider the feasibility of ripping out the boxes completely. If you could have 4 inches of good insulation you would use less power and be able to make ice in the summer instead of only like days this week. Building the box is easier done outside the boat from scratch. Ripping an old boat apart is always a unique adventure best well planned.

Your typical boat fridge runs about 5 amps on a 50% duty cycle. That makes for a budget about 60 amp hours per day. That is based what you typically see on a boat. When you add that to the rest of the boat energy required it usually works out to a 400 amp hour battery bank of 4 golf carts or two group 4D's. This is a very very common setup.

If you get elaborate and want more electrical power such as a Microwave oven running from an inverter the budget gets blown pretty quick. You need to back into the energy budget with all the rest of the needs though the fridge is almost always the number one consumer. Spending time and money for better insulation pays back HUGE dividends across the board.

Lots of insulation and good hatch seals is the main requirement. You can find a lot of fridge matter already posted in the various sections relating to power use and specifically on different fridge setups.
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Old 18-01-2009, 10:36   #5
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Thanks Paul. Good info. I've got some reading to do. I was toying with the idea of installing a new dc system, and seeing how she runs this summer, before I rip apart the box. I could add more insulation to the inside, to reduce the cubic feet, but my wife would love a new countertop, so maybe next fall I'll do a tear out.
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Old 18-01-2009, 10:42   #6
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Quote:
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Guess I should have said fridge. Would reefer need a humidor? Just curious.
Depends...but generaly not on a boat...........so I've been told!.
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Old 18-01-2009, 12:11   #7
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I would consider the box construction first. It's easier to do the box without the system installed. It means you can cut the holes right where they go without a band aid patch if you have to work inside to add insulation. You want as few seams as you can get away with so it will be very water tight. Adding a drain may not be a bad idea either.

You need to deal with how much room you have left. That assumes you can accurately estimate how much insulation you have now.
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Old 18-01-2009, 13:46   #8
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Good advice from Paul. Just for a reference point, my freezer side is about 6 cu ft, and the fridge side is about 9 cu ft. It is not super-insulated, but I did add a couple of layers of that foil-backed foam insulation that is used on HVAC ducting (from Home Depot). The Frigoboat keel-cooled system with a K35 compressor worked well in the Chesapeake and the Caribbean, although I believe that it was at it's limit, since it didn't cycle very much when the water temps were 82 deg F or so. It could freeze meats etc, and made enough ice for cocktails.

I think that if I did it over again, I would prefer two compressors, one for each side, and make the fridge bigger and the freezer smaller, say 10 cu ft and 5 cu ft. That would be plenty of capacity for two people cruising the Caribbean, in my opinion. You can re-provision fairly easily there.
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Old 18-01-2009, 16:17   #9
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The answer to the refer conundrum begins with you deciding how you intend to cruise and use the boat. How long will your passages be, with how many on board? Where do you intend to cruise? Will you stay at anchor or at dockside most of the time?

We have a relatively small and decently insulated box with an engine drive refer. Battery drain is not an issue. But we do run the engine for an hour or more per day if we want to run the refer. So we usually combine that with OTHER uses of the engine, such as getting the anchor up (windlass) out of the anchorage and hoisting sails.... or a trip to the dock to tank up. We also recharge our batts while we chill the refer... and make hot water. I don;t stay parked out at anchor for weeks on end. If I did, I would need to resupply and run the engine/refer. On the other hand, making 60 amps a day to replenish a 12 volt system needs engine time, or alternate charging sources.

Then there's the issue of re supply and what you keep in the refer. I like to have relatively fresh food and prefer to shop frequently in small amounts than stock up in one shot. Things like milk and OJ don't do well after a few days anyway.

For passages we bring the refer to freezer temps by running it longer and filling it with frozen foods - prepared meals, and work our way from top to bottom. We find that with this approach our refer system works well.

It may not work for you, your boat and your cruising style and culinary taste.

Kill several birds with one stone.
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