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Old 01-08-2018, 16:24   #1
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Who provides the best 12 volt refrigeration systems?

We are about to buy a small compressor/condenser using with an evaporator plate to add to out mechanical system. Reason is backup and to let our solar panel and windmill do some of the work

I have lots of data on ColdEh, Dometic/Coldmachine and CoolBlue, and have read a lot on this forum.

Much of the information here is from the vendors. While very useful on the technical side, it does not provide independent opinions.

I would appreciate comments on reliability, tech support and spares service from users who live on board at least several month/year.
Unfortunately info on units more than about 5 years old is of little value, since manufacturing quality and service seems to have changed over the past few years.

Thanks
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Old 01-08-2018, 17:30   #2
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Wo provides the best 12 volt refrigeration systems?

I wouldnít be so sure to state that anything over 5 yrs old is of no value.
There has been no significant advances in the last 20 years that I am aware of, maybe electronics, but that is a purchased part, not manufactured by the different manufacturers, same for compressors etc.

What to me matters more than most anything is
A. Will someone answer the phone when I call, especially on weekends etc?
B. The person who answers, is it some kind of call center, or is it someone that knows and understands and can help with trouble shooting, and are they the one that can make warranty decisions?

I want something basic and simple, that I can trouble shoot and fix. I donít want a Nuclear powered wrist watch.
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Old 01-08-2018, 17:44   #3
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Re: Wo provides the best 12 volt refrigeration systems?

Iíll second the 5 years old stuff. Weíve got a small isotherm unit, itís about 16 years old, and the same unit is still available today. Iíd buy it again without hesitation.
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Old 01-08-2018, 17:46   #4
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Re: Wo provides the best 12 volt refrigeration systems?

If you would consider a eutectic tank system I would highly recommend OzeFridge. Installed our system over a year ago, very neat and works like a charm. Most importantly you can call up and talk with the owner who is highly experienced fridge engineer and obviously passionate about his product.
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Old 01-08-2018, 18:47   #5
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Re: Wo provides the best 12 volt refrigeration systems?

Agreed on your points about phone answers. I was about to buy Dometic (after one great tech a few months ag) but wasted a few hours on Dometic last week. Seems I was put on to a guy intended to be unreachable by end users the first time.
When I discount reliability info on units older than 5 years, it is not because of technical advances, but because I hear that some equipment formerly made in Germany is now made in China, and we are too early in the cycle for the Chinese to get good at it.
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Old 01-08-2018, 19:38   #6
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Wo provides the best 12 volt refrigeration systems?

The Chinese manufacture a tremendous number of off brand compressors, my $99 counted top ice maker has one, and from what I have seen they are reliable. I strongly suspect nearly every dorm fridge, and a great many house fridges have Chinese compressors, but do not know.
However your speaking of Danfoss, Secop. Very well respected name.
I think though if you dig into it, you will find way more is manufactured in China than you think, a whole lot of products are assembled or designed in the US etc. The individual component parts, like bearings etc are Chinese.
Going to be real tough to avoid Chinese, good luck.

If you take Danfoss off of the table, your really narrowing your choices
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Old 01-08-2018, 20:34   #7
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Re: Wo provides the best 12 volt refrigeration systems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
The Chinese manufacture a tremendous number of off brand compressors, my $99 counted top ice maker has one, and from what I have seen they are reliable. I strongly suspect nearly every dorm fridge, and a great many house fridges have Chinese compressors, but do not know.
However your speaking of Danfoss, Secop. Very well respected name.
I think though if you dig into it, you will find way more is manufactured in China than you think, a whole lot of products are assembled or designed in the US etc. The individual component parts, like bearings etc are Chinese.
Going to be real tough to avoid Chinese, good luck.

If you take Danfoss off of the table, your really narrowing your choices
\

Danfoss took themselves off the table in 2010 when they sold their compressor manufacturing division to Secop who manufacture virtually the same compressor in China.
If anything the Chinese made Secop is an improvement as it has a far better Motor Driver Module.

Back to the OP, out of the options mentioned I believe you will get far greater support from either John @ColdEh or Rich @CoolBlue. They are accessible technical people, not just brochure readers.

Cheers OzePete Ozefridge | 12 Volt Refrigeration Systems
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Old 01-08-2018, 22:27   #8
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Re: Wo provides the best 12 volt refrigeration systems?

I would go Ozefridge next time. I had one on my previous boat and thought it was great, also I cannot fault Pete and his teams support, they didn't hesitate to discuss a problem (and resolve) via international phone call at their expense.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned regarding their unit is it's appearance. It's packaged so well that it increases the number of location options you can install the compressor, it dosent need to be hidden away. On my last boat I actually had it on the book shelf, this enabled me to see the display at a glance, switch it to manual load quickly if I wanted to take advantage of free power and it looked great, not agricultural in anyway.

I have zero affiliation with Pete and Ozefridge, never met him, just previously was a satisfied happy customer.
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Old 01-08-2018, 22:45   #9
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Re: Wo provides the best 12 volt refrigeration systems?

I have a 12v drop in fridge from National Luna in South Africa. ( though i havent turned it on since I arrived in Patagonia - bilge is 4 C).. It is an awesome piece of Kit. Using as a freezer I can get it sown to -20 C. Uses very little power and has adequate insulation.

They now make a double door and a split fridge/ freezer verizon


https://www.nationalluna.com/product-category/fridges

LD
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Old 02-08-2018, 06:43   #10
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Re: Wo provides the best 12 volt refrigeration systems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nmccubbin View Post
We are about to buy a small compressor/condenser using with an evaporator plate to add to out mechanical system. Reason is backup and to let our solar panel and windmill do some of the work

I have lots of data on ColdEh, Dometic/Coldmachine and CoolBlue, and have read a lot on this forum.

Much of the information here is from the vendors. While very useful on the technical side, it does not provide independent opinions.

I would appreciate comments on reliability, tech support and spares service from users who live on board at least several month/year.
Unfortunately info on units more than about 5 years old is of little value, since manufacturing quality and service seems to have changed over the past few years.

Thanks
The answer to your question is simple avoid expendable refrigeration units and buy only repairable unit that an average refrigeration mechanic will understand. Buying an expendable unit generally means it is loaded with marketing unproductive gadgets that over complicate troubleshooting. Contacting the salesman or even the manufacturer for help is not likely going to satisfy you with a simple typical repair until a permanent repair can be accomplished. If you buy one of these gadget loaded expendable units at least find out first how you can eliminate add on items in order to keep basic refrigeration running. As far as parts support for repairable refrigeration systems Danfoss components are the most common anywhere in the world.
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Old 02-08-2018, 07:42   #11
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Re: Wo provides the best 12 volt refrigeration systems?

Hey Richard,
Thanks for your copious comments on this forum
Do you consider Danfoss, ColdEh, CoolBlue and Isotherm expendable, or repairable?
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Old 02-08-2018, 08:11   #12
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Re: Wo provides the best 12 volt refrigeration systems?

In my opinion, and that of other sailing friends, THE best refrigeration system by far is an Evakool - manufactured on the Sunshine Coast in Qld AUSTRALIA.
My mate installed one in his catamaran and has run it for 17 years...never once switched it off. I have one as well and thankfully it simply does the job.
And importantly they are a phone call away as they manufacture at their factory in Australia..
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Old 02-08-2018, 08:38   #13
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Re: Wo provides the best 12 volt refrigeration systems?

I use cool blue for my refrigerator and freezer. They have operated perfectly. The one time I called coolblue with a question, they were immediately responsive and provided excellent support.
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Old 02-08-2018, 08:56   #14
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Re: Wo provides the best 12 volt refrigeration systems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nmccubbin View Post
Hey Richard,
Thanks for your copious comments on this forum
Do you consider Danfoss, ColdEh, CoolBlue and Isotherm expendable, or repairable?
All three of the Cold Eh, CoolBlue and Isotherm units are repairable by most mechanics and DIY boaters. If Isotherm is your choice you would need to know how to remove the ASU module and be able to rewire Danfoss module to operate unit without ASU if it were to fail. Also the through hull condenser is so equipped will require regular cleaning and zinc maintenance.

Before selecting a icebox conversion unit manufacturer I would point out a 47 foot boat's large box generally requires a large refrigeration unit. The climate where you plan to cruise in, The temperatures in box you want to maintain and the boats electrical power grid capacity are the first things that need to be evaluated.
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Old 02-08-2018, 09:00   #15
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Re: Wo provides the best 12 volt refrigeration systems?

As I mentioned when starting this thread, the electrical system is an add on to a mechanical one that works well but needs engine running when we have plenty solar/wind power available.

Thus a small unit will suffice. refrig is only 4.4 cu ft and is well insulated (6" plus)
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