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Old 17-01-2012, 17:14   #1
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Replace Ice Box with Refrigerator - Tartan 37

My husband and I own a Tartan 37 and we are planning to replace the ice box with refrigeration before we cruise full-time or begin taking even more extended trips. We have been given many suggestions, some by those who would like to sell us something, others by those who mean well. Furthermore, my husband has a good idea.

However, we would like the wisdom of those who have actually made this change in their own boat. What did you do right? What would you do differently? Did you get a refrigerator and freezer space too? Please share your experience with us. Thanks!
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Old 25-01-2012, 05:38   #2
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Re: Replace Ice Box with Refrigerator - Tartan 37

Hi Cruising Couple, I see you made a good chioce in yachts !!!!!
May I suggest you ask again on Page Title Join the forum then you can view photos etc Lots of good T37 info there.
Regards Bruce. T37 #6
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Old 25-01-2012, 06:29   #3
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Re: Replace Ice Box with Refrigerator - Tartan 37

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Originally Posted by Cruising Couple View Post
My husband and I own a Tartan 37 and we are planning to replace the ice box with refrigeration before we cruise full-time or begin taking even more extended trips. We have been given many suggestions, some by those who would like to sell us something, others by those who mean well. Furthermore, my husband has a good idea.

However, we would like the wisdom of those who have actually made this change in their own boat. What did you do right? What would you do differently? Did you get a refrigerator and freezer space too? Please share your experience with us. Thanks!
Here is something that is working out well for me on my 30 foot Nonsuch:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: IS THIS A COOL WORLD OR WHAT!
No installation issues and the Enegel freezer and cooler serve as additional seating and expand the bunk size too. Making it more comfortable to streach out. The original icebox is used as additional storage (usually cases of beer) though it could still be used for it's original function if needed.
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Old 25-01-2012, 06:48   #4
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Re: Replace Ice Box with Refrigerator - Tartan 37

Did the conversion 11 years ago on my CSY 33.

2 ice boxes side by side, one became freezer, the other one fridge.
Added insulation on the inside of the boxes.
Bought a Cool Blue system and traded in the standard holding
plate for an over sized one (2 1/2")
Added cooling fans and an hour meter.
2 solar panels and a solar booster power the whole thing, then some.
Works great, last a long time.

Average draw 55 amps. 11,000 hours on the compressor, no issues, no problems.
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Old 25-01-2012, 07:00   #5
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Re: Replace Ice Box with Refrigerator - Tartan 37

The Engel is a great unit and by far the easiest and quickest way to add refrigeration.

Rebuilding the existing ice box into a refrigerator/freezer is a more elegant solution but to do it correctly, will most likely require much more time, trouble, skills and even higher cost.

Issues:

1. Stock ice boxes almost never have sufficient insulation to be efficient refrigerators. To keep your power use within reasonable limits you should have at least 3-4" of good insulation.

2. To add the insulation typically involves tearing out the old ice box or at least gutting the insides and rebuilding the whole affair.

3. The refrigeration equipment is added to the box as a kit and this part has been designed to be pretty straightforward and idiot proof. Expect to pay $1000-$1500 for the hardware.

4. The Engel is great but you have to find a spot to store it that is out of the way and where it won't bounce around the boat at sea.

5. The Engel is less expensive than an ice box conversion but only the larger Engel is comparable to the smaller ice boxes in capacity so you have to decide what storage volume will suit your lifestyle.

6. Everyone I have heard of with an Engel praises the unit but also have never heard of anyone that didn't love their built-in refrigerator.
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Old 25-01-2012, 07:20   #6
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Re: Replace Ice Box with Refrigerator - Tartan 37

Our Niagara 35 has an aftermarket 12V Nova Cool retrofit that works well. I like the 12V way of doing it, myself. We still need to add more insulation.
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Old 25-01-2012, 08:10   #7
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Re: Replace Ice Box with Refrigerator - Tartan 37

On our little 28 foot cruiser, we did an ice box conversion with a Norcold unit. An earlier version of this

Despite the less then ideal placement of the compressor in the engine room (it gets hot in there), it has worked well for at least 13 years. It is reasonable on power consumption (the newer model supposedly is more efficient).
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Old 25-01-2012, 08:28   #8
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Re: Replace Ice Box with Refrigerator - Tartan 37

If there's one area where almost all sailboat manufacturers drop the ball, it's icebox insulation. They realize that upwards of 98% of their customers will only use the icebox to cool beer on short outings, seldom longer than a weekend.

Getting the insulation right is usually the hard part; installing a compressor and cooling plates is relatively easy in comparison.
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Old 30-01-2012, 19:49   #9
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Re: Replace Ice Box with Refrigerator - Tartan 37

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Getting the insulation right is usually the hard part; installing a compressor and cooling plates is relatively easy in comparison.
+1

I just spent about 9 months (nights and weekends) building a new fridge on our Caliber 40. Probably 3% of that time was spent on installing the compressor and evaporator plates.
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Old 30-01-2012, 21:08   #10
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Re: Replace Ice Box with Refrigerator - Tartan 37

Thank you all for your replies. I am sending these onto my husband for his review.

Happy Sailing,
Darby
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Old 31-01-2012, 07:10   #11
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Re: Replace Ice Box with Refrigerator - Tartan 37

Hi Darby,

I am in Gainesville and am in the process of rebuilding my old refer box and installing new insulation and Frigoboat system. If you happen to be in the neighborhood you're welcome to come back and see the process in person.

Regards
Skip
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Old 31-01-2012, 15:21   #12
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Re: Replace Ice Box with Refrigerator - Tartan 37

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Originally Posted by steamgoat View Post
Hi Cruising Couple, I see you made a good chioce in yachts !!!!!
May I suggest you ask again on Page Title Join the forum then you can view photos etc Lots of good T37 info there.
Regards Bruce. T37 #6
Thank you Bruce. I know my husband goes on the Tartan site. I will suggest he posts it on the Tartan site as well. Great idea.

Thanks again,
Darby and Falco
T37 #198
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Old 31-01-2012, 15:23   #13
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Re: Replace Ice Box with Refrigerator - Tartan 37

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Hi Darby,

I am in Gainesville and am in the process of rebuilding my old refer box and installing new insulation and Frigoboat system. If you happen to be in the neighborhood you're welcome to come back and see the process in person.

Regards
Skip

Thank you Skip. We have a son and daughter-in-law at UF Levin Law (3L), so maybe we can make the trip up sometime. Very nice offer.

Warmly,
Darby
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Old 31-01-2012, 18:59   #14
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Re: Replace Ice Box with Refrigerator - Tartan 37

There are no two boat designs the same so an icebox conversions to refrigerator must address box size and shape. The Tartan 37’s icebox with an upper shallow area and thin deep area create a problem for refrigeration. I had three different icebox conversions for Tartan 37s that were installed in the in 1990s unfortunately this was before modern high output DC power grids on boats under 50 ft so they were all engine driven holding plate systems.

Your Tartan icebox is not a candidate for major rework do to its extension into the cabin area and off the shelf refrigeration conversion units will not provide a true refrigerator with freezing section in your boat. Also the one inch ledge around box means any evaporator used must be above ledge or at least addressed in design.

Assuming you plan on living aboard at anchor more than a couple weeks per year. Tartan’s standard DC power grid and box size will only support true refrigeration if cruising climates are above Latitudes 37N without serious DC current power equipment upgrades. Eighty amp-hr high output alternator, Smart voltage regulator, wind generator, solar panels and increased battery capacity are worth considering. I have gone to the Bahamas with groups before where there boat's power grids could not support refrigeration even running engine 4 to 6 hours per day.

My recommendation is to watch my slide show on my web site and then contact SeaFrost who is the only one that will customize a 12 volt system to fit your box size.

Always do your home work first; Box Dimensions, Do you want a two dimension box refrigerator/freezer, and what temperature setting do you desire in each area of box.
If all you are interested in is a great cooler then an Adler Barbour CU100 with their largest evaporator coil or an air-cooled Frigoboat Caprice will work fine.
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Old 31-01-2012, 20:22   #15
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Re: Replace Ice Box with Refrigerator - Tartan 37

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There are no two boat designs the same so an icebox conversions to refrigerator must address box size and shape. The Tartan 37’s icebox with an upper shallow area and thin deep area create a problem for refrigeration. I had three different icebox conversions for Tartan 37s that were installed in the in 1990s unfortunately this was before modern high output DC power grids on boats under 50 ft so they were all engine driven holding plate systems.

Your Tartan icebox is not a candidate for major rework do to its extension into the cabin area and off the shelf refrigeration conversion units will not provide a true refrigerator with freezing section in your boat. Also the one inch ledge around box means any evaporator used must be above ledge or at least addressed in design.

Assuming you plan on living aboard at anchor more than a couple weeks per year. Tartan’s standard DC power grid and box size will only support true refrigeration if cruising climates are above Latitudes 37N without serious DC current power equipment upgrades. Eighty amp-hr high output alternator, Smart voltage regulator, wind generator, solar panels and increased battery capacity are worth considering. I have gone to the Bahamas with groups before where there boat's power grids could not support refrigeration even running engine 4 to 6 hours per day.

My recommendation is to watch my slide show on my web site and then contact SeaFrost who is the only one that will customize a 12 volt system to fit your box size.

Always do your home work first; Box Dimensions, Do you want a two dimension box refrigerator/freezer, and what temperature setting do you desire in each area of box.
If all you are interested in is a great cooler then an Adler Barbour CU100 with their largest evaporator coil or an air-cooled Frigoboat Caprice will work fine.
Thank you Richard. This confirms one of my husbands ideas. We met with the SeaFrost people at the Annapolis Boat Show last fall. We have two solar panels, a wind generator, four batteries, and a voltage controller, so I think he is thinking the same way you are.

It is very kind of you to take the time to share this much information.

Darby
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