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Old 03-08-2014, 19:32   #1
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Which Ice Box Refit/Fridge to Buy

We have an ice box, built in, just under 5 cu ft. Looks to be well done with about 4 inches of urethane foam insulation, encapsulated in a fiberglass housing.

I want to convert this to a fridge. Air unit, not keel cooled. I was looking at the Coastal Climate site and it looks like about $1,500 for the bits. Plus shipping and tax. We are in Delaware.

Any suggestions on a cheaper source of supply? Other suggestions welcome as well. Thanks.

We have 2 golf cart batteries and will be adding 200watts of solar shortly.
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Old 03-08-2014, 21:12   #2
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Re: Which ice box refit/fridge to buy

Adler Barbour CU100. Been around forever and has a great reputation. Mine is 10+ years old and has never given a bit of trouble.

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Old 04-08-2014, 08:27   #3
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Re: Which ice box refit/fridge to buy

Quote:
Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
We have an ice box, built in, just under 5 cu ft. Looks to be well done with about 4 inches of urethane foam insulation, encapsulated in a fiberglass housing.

I want to convert this to a fridge. Air unit, not keel cooled. I was looking at the Coastal Climate site and it looks like about $1,500 for the bits. Plus shipping and tax. We are in Delaware.

Any suggestions on a cheaper source of supply? Other suggestions welcome as well. Thanks.

We have 2 golf cart batteries and will be adding 200watts of solar shortly.



When selecting an ice box conversion unit for a 5 cu ft box you need to make a few decisions regarding:
  • Desired box temperature your choices are, a 55 degree F cooler, a 33 to 45 degree refrigerator, a freezer or a spillover refrigerator freezer.
  • Determine worst case planed climate cruising areas ambient temperatures? Increasing climate conditions from 70 F (standard day) to 95 degrees F will double the size refrigeration capacity needed.
  • Decreasing desired refrigerator temperatures down to a cooler reduces daily amp-hrs by as much as 50%.
  • Worst case tropical climate condition planning should consider a daily refrigerator 12 volt power requirement of,10 amp-hrs per cubic ft of box interior.
  • You may want to watch and do the math on SLIDE SHOW on my web site before selecting an ice box conversion refrigeration unit.
In climates where seawater stays below 80 degrees F a BD35 compressor with a large evaporator could handle the Btu capacity of a 5 cu ft box with 3 inches of dry insulation.
My choice would be an air cooled condensing unit with a BD50 Danfoss compressor and large evaporator that could handle maximum capacity of this compressor.

There are over 100 different configurations of 12 volt units to select from. Keep your selection simple and stay away from creative marketing gadgets. The concept is to remove heat from inside an insulated box and dispose of heat as efficiently as possible some where outside the area of refrigerator unit.


After you have made your equipment selection post it hear for other boaters to offer opinions.
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Old 04-08-2014, 13:36   #4
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Re: Which Ice Box Refit/Fridge to Buy

I installed a nova kool conversion last dec. Very satisfied so far here in fl.

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Old 05-08-2014, 16:26   #5
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Re: Which Ice Box Refit/Fridge to Buy

OK and thanks. It seems Nova Kool is a decent purchase.

I'm going to post a drawing of my box here. Where would you all suggest I mount the evaporator? In the deepest part ( front) or on the shelf in the back?

I have a plexiglass divider, about 6" high, that can be removed, but when installed divides the back shel from the deep part. Maybe that can be the freezer part?

I guess I could even get an F2, two plates, and set one high and one low, if that makes any sense at all.
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Old 05-08-2014, 18:15   #6
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Re: Which Ice Box Refit/Fridge to Buy

Richard,
Link to your website?
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Old 05-08-2014, 18:26   #7
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Re: Which Ice Box Refit/Fridge to Buy

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Old 27-08-2014, 17:35   #8
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Re: Which Ice Box Refit/Fridge to Buy

Quote:
Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
Where would you all suggest I mount the evaporator?.. .
Maybe think about an evaporator that is also the freezer...



We have been very happy with this combo. I wouldn't want to keep frozen items weeks on end but that isn't the point as you rotate the food in and out. Also it takes a long time to freeze water that is put in but...



.... keeps frozen stuff frozen.

We bought a Danfoss BDF35F ......





...from Defender.

..............

Note the 'BD35F' above. The denotes that this is somewhat more efficient and better suited to warm water and bigger boxes than the 'BD35' without the 'F'. Spend a little more and get the BD35F. If you have higher cooling/freezing needs then you might have to step up to one of the 80 series compressors. I'd considered that, but I'm glad that we didn't.

The one we got with all of the insulation is easily up to the job.

One final note and that is if you are going to be cruising in really hot tropical climates with warm/hot water you might want to consider a water cooled unit vs. the air cooled like these, but that requires a thru-hull. There again we did not need this as we won't be in those climates with the boat.
..............

Above is the data attached to the unit. I haven't gotten a good amp reading with the unit the way the current boat wiring is, but with the 45 W claimed I feel that it is very close to that once it is on for a few seconds and running.


The almost 4 cu. ft. frig/freezer is using about 20 amp/hrs a day in 90 degree Florida heat. But that is mainly because it is...



.... super insulated with 4 inch walls and 7 and 9 inches on the stepped bottom and 3 inches in the two lids.

Here it is prior to....



... going to and in the boat. It slides into...



... the opening where the old front loader 110/12 volt unit was. The top of the counter was cut for the second opening into the box.

We have been very happy ...



...with this install in the 5+ months that we used it. Good luck with your install and having a good frig is a great improvement to any boat.

Lots more pictures and info on the build and install starting here...

Endeavour 37 Interion Mods Index

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Old 27-08-2014, 17:54   #9
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Re: Which Ice Box Refit/Fridge to Buy

Depending on the space you have available, maybe consider one of these:

Sundanzer Solar Refrigerators and Freezers | Sundanzer.com - Sundanzer is the industry leader in solar power refrigerators and freezers. We feature battery-free, upright and combination style refrigerators.

When you factor in the space for the machinery, it looks like it would be a good solution, and far more efficient than some of the numbers given above. And they're not expensive.

It's my understanding Gunboat catamarans have them installed as standard equipment. I corresponded with the Sundanzer folks a couple of years ago, and they looked like a good fit, really, although in the end I just added a lot of insulation to the icebox and decided to buy ice. Since we only cruise for three months in the summer, and often in very hot places like the Bahamas, this is a simpler and easier solution. As some of the previous posters have stated, it's hard to overestimate the enormous cooling and electrical loads required in a tropical situation.

4-8" of insulation all around and 80 lbs of ice would hold groceries and beer for over a week for us this summer throughout the Bahamas, for what that's worth.
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Old 27-08-2014, 19:00   #10
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Re: Which Ice Box Refit/Fridge to Buy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumner View Post
Maybe think about an evaporator that is also the freezer...
We have been very happy with this combo. I wouldn't want to keep frozen items weeks on end but that isn't the point as you rotate the food in and out. Also it takes a long time to freeze water that is put in but... keeps frozen stuff frozen.

Sumner
When I converted my icebox I chose the Alder Barbour (around $500-600 on sale) with the long L shape evaporator.
I believe Sumner has a good point - I had to do it over I'd go with the box shaped evaporator and get a bit of freezer space.
Two 50 watt solar panels generally keep it running fine, for improved performance I need to add insulation and an interior fan in the future
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Old 27-08-2014, 20:14   #11
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Re: Which Ice Box Refit/Fridge to Buy

Dont think you will find an adler barbour, or any other fridge, for $600, even on sale.

We bought our A-B with the freezer box and like it, but I dont think it will fit in your box because of its unusual shape. We use it in florida/bahamas in the summer and the air cooling does a great job, no need for troublesome water cooling. Daily amp consumption is under 40, which is easily supplied by a solar panel.
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