I have evaporative plate system. So how long does it take for your plate to frost/freeze up in acold bax once you turn it on?
If the foregoing question is directed at us, we get the beginnings of frost on our cold plates within a few minutes of starting our refer and the plates are entirely covered with frost within 20-30 minutes--top, bottoms, sides, etc. We seem to have a very slow leak in our system somewhere (tho even with floresent dye we haven't been able to find it) such that we need a modest recharge (< 1oz) about every 18 months. We can tell when the system starts to get low as the amount of frost on the plates decreases. Our technician, John Bosserman of AAA Marine
Services in Tampa, advised us that the extent of frosting indicates the charge level of the system--and also agrees that a small recharge from time-to-time is more cost effective than replacing the system. We've owned this boat since January 2002 and in that time period the recharge costs do not even approach the cost of a replacement system.
Note that when we get a sizable build-up of frost we de-frost the system by rinsing the plates with cold water as the frost itself is a good insulator that can prevent efficient cooling
. (That also ensures the box is clean tho' the freezing cold water is tough on the fingers!)
We also have a second, Sea-Frost system, with much larger cold plates, for a freezer
of about the same size as the refrigerator
. On that the evaporator plates also completely frost up within 15-20 minutes and within 3 hours, room temperature water bottles begin to freeze. That box will keep a gallon tub of ice-cream solid as a rock and, accordingly, while cruising our boat would become the "ice cream boat" for the kids
my daughter brought "home" (we carried lots of small cones!)