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Old 19-08-2008, 10:00   #1
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Which new refrigerator system?

I have an old refrigerator system(Alder/Barbour 26 years) on my boat and am looking at replacing it this year before we cast off all lines.
I know this is a loaded question, but I'd like recommendations as to what is the general feel as to the best system out there. We expect to be spending a great deal of the time in the tropics.
Suggestions and recommendations?
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Old 19-08-2008, 11:27   #2
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I would eliminate Glacier Bay due to high cost, frequent breakdowns and little or no factory support.
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Old 19-08-2008, 11:40   #3
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After four seasons I'm quite happy with my Adler Barbour.
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Old 19-08-2008, 11:51   #4
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The BEST way to go is build a shelf and drop in 1 or 2 Engel units! Uses a LOT less power (2.7 Amp at 12 VDC when running) and works GREAT! In a few years, you can just swap them out for better newer models!

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Old 19-08-2008, 14:05   #5
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I'm about to build my new reefer/freezer, using materials I purchased from Bob Van Ness, AKA Captain Frost (http://captainfrost.com/). His direction has lead me to my present design which uses a Bitzer compressor, 12 volt direct drive motor, and standard cold plate technology, just like Glacier Bay's stuff, only cheaper priced. The box technology is supplied by Rparts (http://www.rparts.com/). Their website provides all info. Bob has demonstrated to me, and many others, the value of using a powerful motor and compressor to quickly chill down the cold plate. Over a 24 hour period, fewer than half the amp hours of battery capacity are spent on refrigeration than ANY competing brand. This, of course, implies that your box is well insulated using vacuum super-insulating panels, 1" thick equalling 6" of polyurethane foam. The systems are robust, serviceable, and quiet. They cost more than Adler Barbours, but use half the juice over a 24 hour day cycle. Check out the Rparts site and the Captain Frost units
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Old 19-08-2008, 15:20   #6
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Cool Blue

I have installed Cool Blue systems on both of our boats. We have been cruising 6 months a year in Mexico since 1998 and have been very happy with the performance and energy usage. I recently upgraded to the newer adaptive energy module from RParts and saw a 10% reduction in AH used.

Mike
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Old 19-08-2008, 15:24   #7
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I'm on the fence. On one boat I put a high end 1/2hp belt drive with cold plates. On another I had a Cold machine in a small space insulated with that vacuum sealed expensive stuff. On my catamaran I had a large front opening refrigerator. Frankly, I seemed to run the diesel about the same with them all. it's really hard to compare them due to locations and size though. If I was building anew on a budget I would try the Engels as mentioned above. simple, easy, no water pumps etc. personally the Adler barbour style of unit is probably as good as a high end system. BTW, last I heard you can still get cans of R12 for your old unit in the Dominican Republic for a few bucks a can, but you may be living on the edge of failure.
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Old 19-08-2008, 15:25   #8
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Our SeaFrost System...

You can check out what we've done. To date we're happy w/ it but the cruise starts in a little over a month when we really test it out.

http://svelysium.net/_projects/_refr...ion/index.html
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Old 19-08-2008, 15:42   #9
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Sorry couldn't resist throwing my 2 cents in. After spending 17 yrs doing marine refrigeration, among other things, I would unhesitatingly use Danfoss compressors (Adler Barbor among most others) and i would combine air cooling while on the hard and water cooling. Recirculating your fresh water through the condensor is preferable to sea water (less maintenance), but if you want to eliminate the water pump open up your fresh water tanks and run the liquid line off the compressor through the bottom of the tank. Sort of like an inboard keel cooler. R parts will sell you all the parts. With Danfoss compressors due to the small HP I don't believe it matters whether you use a holding plate of an aluminum evaporator, either way it'll be a constant cycling unit. Just the frequency of the cycle changes. I hope that's worth $.02. Good luck george
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Old 19-08-2008, 17:54   #10
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Originally Posted by George Elliott View Post
Sorry couldn't resist throwing my 2 cents in. After spending 17 yrs doing marine refrigeration, among other things, I would unhesitatingly use Danfoss compressors (Adler Barbor among most others) and i would combine air cooling while on the hard and water cooling. Recirculating your fresh water through the condensor is preferable to sea water (less maintenance), but if you want to eliminate the water pump open up your fresh water tanks and run the liquid line off the compressor through the bottom of the tank. Sort of like an inboard keel cooler. R parts will sell you all the parts. With Danfoss compressors due to the small HP I don't believe it matters whether you use a holding plate of an aluminum evaporator, either way it'll be a constant cycling unit. Just the frequency of the cycle changes. I hope that's worth $.02. Good luck george
Really?

Sounds cool!
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Old 28-08-2008, 10:55   #11
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I went the Rparts route myself. A pair of Danfoss BD50 compressors and evaporator plates for the refer and separate freezer. The condenser is a little different though. As I cast my own keel I placed two separate loops of copper/nickel tubing in the keel mold about 1/4" in from the surface. The pair was about the same price as one complete Cold Machine.

One counter intuitive thing about the Danfoss compressors. They are most efficient and use the least amp hours if you set the speed so that under normal loads they run almost all the time. That is the basic idea behind the smart speed controllers.
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Old 28-08-2008, 13:41   #12
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Gashmore, It is counterintuitive. Can you provide an amp-hour consumption figure for a 24 hour period and 80 degree seawater temperature? Then I can compare it against the Bitzer compressor/cold plate system and see which really uses the least amp hours over a daily cycle. Apples to apples, amp-hours to amp-hours, no bull.
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Old 28-08-2008, 15:55   #13
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It would be very hard to give you a comparison with so many variables. I am not familiar with any Bitzer hermetic compressors. The ones I know about are belt driven for holding plates which is a completely different situation. With a holding plate you want the compressor to run flat out while power is available to freeze the plates as quickly as possible. With an evaporator system you want the compressor to run faster when the box is first loaded and once the box reaches the desired temperature it should slow down to the point that it maintains that temperature.

The best way to compare compressors for a given application is to look at their COP (Coefficient of Performance). That is the watts of heat moved divided by the watts of electricity supplied. It varies by the temperature of the evaporator and the speed the compressor runs. You should be able to find a table of COP values for the Bitzer somewhere. For the Danfoss BD50 the COP figures are on the second page of http://www.rparts.com/Catalog/Major_...compressor.pdf

You will see in the ASHRAE Capacity table that at 0C and 2,000 RPM it will move 143 watts of heat while consuming 65.8 watts for a COP of 2.16. At 3,000 RPM it will move 212 watts of heat but consume 104 watts for a COP of 2.04. (You can also look at the last table where it is calculated already.) From that you can see that it will be more efficient at the slower speed.

That is what Danfoss' Adaptive Energy Optimizer and Frigoboat's Smart Speed Controller attempt to do with algorithms that try to find the lowest speed for the load. In fact the SSC is deliberately limited to 50 minutes in an hour because some owners were concerned that it never cut off. Isotherm's Automatic Startup Unit is more oriented to small 12V holding plates as it senses when excess power is available and runs the compressor as hard as possible given the power available.
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Old 31-08-2008, 09:37   #14
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mestrezat, After your 26 years of experience with a Danfoss BD compressor I would think the answer to your question is obvious. If you’re Adler Barbour with its BD2.5 compressor performance was satisfactory in Oregon and you are concerned about performance in the tropics there are systems available with larger Danfoss BD 50 and BD80 compressors. The boats electrical power grid and size of refrigerated boxes will determine the type refrigeration you need. Normally when the daily 12 volt amp-hrs exceed 100 a system powered by another energy source would be wise.

Large 12 volt ice box conversion refrigeration systems with holding plates are not as reliable and are not as maintenance friendly as the Danfoss compressor systems. Belt driven or direct drive compressors are noisy, vibrate, and have shaft seal concerns. In large box application these 12 volt motors require engine alternator to run to extend battery life. There should be no question in a boat refrigeration application that the Danfoss compressor is always going to be more friendly and more energy efficient than the larger open shaft 12 volt compressors.
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Old 31-08-2008, 10:22   #15
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I have installed Cool Blue systems on both of our boats. We have been cruising 6 months a year in Mexico since 1998 and have been very happy with the performance and energy usage. I have installed Cool Blue systems on both of our boats. We have been cruising 6 months a year in Mexico since 1998 and have been very happy with the performance and energy usage.
Installed a Cool Blue about 8 years ago and clocked up almost 9000 hours on it. Very satisfied with reliability and performance: Both exceeded my expectations by a large margin.

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I recently upgraded to the newer adaptive energy module from RParts and saw a 10% reduction in AH used.
Sounds good, how does it work and how much $$ ?
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