Cruisers Forum

Join CruisersForum Today

  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 04-12-2016, 13:17   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 33
12 volt refrigeration?

Hey all you Sailors out there. I just bought my 41 foot Morgan out Island and she is all original I would like to upgrade her with 12 volt Refrigeration instead of 115 volt Refrigeration has anybody put a 12 volt refrigeration system in their boat that is functional and successful? And that uses very little power that can run off of a large Bank of batteries which are charged by solar panels and occasionally by the generator? At the moment I have a huge ice box and a huge refrigerator that runs off of every frigerator unit that makes a lot of noise and obviously is very old I want to remove it and remove the ice box and remove the refrigerator and replace them with 12 volt refrigerators if possible please let me know if anybody has done this and how it is thanks

bustylady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 13:38   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 2,681
Re: 12 volt refrigeration?

I have some of the same questions, but if you have a huge fridge now, you may be able to just add insulation on the inside rather than having to tear out cabinetry to make a new box. It will be smaller but you need really good insulation to not run the pumps a lot. I think there have been many threads on 12 volt fridges so I am sure some searching will turn up info. I will follow this thread. ______Grant.

gjordan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 14:16   #3
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2012
Location: Hailing Minny, MN
Boat: Vancouver 27
Posts: 1,030
Images: 1
Re: 12 volt refrigeration?

There are a number of 12v options. I've got an engel onboard and it runs very smoothly and efficiently. Mine is a 12v standalone cooler, but they also offer ice-box conversion kits that you could drop in and replace your old 120V with. There are also a few other options in terms of high-efficiency "marine" units, but can't think of names off the top of my head.

The engel only takes about 2A or so on average, depending on the ambient temps and how often you open it. 3A max. My setup runs on a 400A battery bank and about 250W of solar, and it fits in well with my overall energy budget, which is otherwise pretty minimal.
laika is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 14:39   #4
Senior Cruiser
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 14,108
Re: 12 volt refrigeration?

12V, air cooled fridge is very doable and has become the standard for cruising boats (though there are some that argue for and love their water cooled units).

Power consumption will be primarily based on how good your insulation and seals are. The best, most efficient compressor in the world is going to suck power like mad if you don't have a good box.

I have a 9-10 cu ft box with about 1.5 cu ft of that in freezer space. I draw about 50 amp hours/day in summer with ambient temps mid 90s day, 60-70 night. Winter I use half that. One 330 Watt solar panel makes more than I need to run the fridge.

To get this I ripped out the old box and built a new with min 4" of Dow foam insulation. Also made a new lid with double seals. Unless some PO of your Morgan already did this you will need to redo the insulation. If the box is really big and you can live with less room the easiest method is to add insulation on the inside.
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.

Sometimes it's necessary to state the obvious for the benefit of the oblivious.

Rust is the poor man's Loctite.
skipmac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 14:52   #5
Registered User
Suijin's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Annapolis MD; currently in Luperon DR
Boat: Valiant 40
Posts: 4,507
Re: 12 volt refrigeration?

There are a number of vendors of 12v refrigeration systems available. I just replaced my 30 year old 12v compressor and plates on my boat with a Sea Frost unit and I'm extremely happy with it. More compact and efficient than the old unit and quieter too. It is both air and water cooled, you choose with the flip of a switch. I have not installed the water cooling gear yet and may when I next haul the boat. Has a great programmable panel that gives me current temperature at the probe. My box is a "spillover" design and I kept it that way since it has worked extremely well for my needs.

For reference, that inlet duct is 4".

If your existing box is well insulated (which it's not, given it's age) you could just slap some new cold plates inside and be done with it. Fridge box rebuilds are not for those that shy away from time-consuming projects, but the benefits are enormous in terms of efficiency gains.

There are plenty of blogs out there documenting box rebuilds and how to refit your refrigeration. There's also a whole book by Nigel Calder that goes into more detail than you'll need:

Nigel Calder's "Refrigeration for Pleasureboats"
Suijin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 15:19   #6
Senior Cruiser
newhaul's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: puget sound washington
Boat: 1968 Islander bahama 24 hull 182, 1963 columbia 29 defender. hull # 60
Posts: 7,593
Re: 12 volt refrigeration?

Give Google a try. Look for 12volt refrigerator . There are many different ones available.
Personally I have installed several for customers and with a properly insulated box the power usage numbers are doable somewhere between 35ah. And 80ah are the normal range
Personally I would recommend the cool blue system from technotics . Give Rich Boren ( SV third day on here) a call or shoot him an email.
Non illigitamus carborundum
newhaul is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 15:57   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Marblehead
Boat: Brewer 44
Posts: 73
Re: 12 volt refrigeration?

Second that for Seafrost. I installed the BTxp on the frig side (engine driven on the freezer side) and couldn't be happier with. Runs off of our solar panels during the day and batteries when the sun isnt out. Cant beat their customer service either.
bfiegener is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 16:01   #8
Senior Cruiser
Blue Stocking's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: St. Georges, Bda
Boat: Rhodes Reliant 41ft
Posts: 4,131
Re: 12 volt refrigeration?

Richard Kollman has many times posted the water temp. conditions below which water cooling is an advantage. A very narrow window where water pump energy consumption .v. cooling gained.
so many projects--so little time !!
Blue Stocking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 20:43   #9
Registered User
Terra Nova's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Marina del Rey, California
Boat: Mako 248
Posts: 4,089
Re: 12 volt refrigeration?

One of the most efficient units I've installed was a 12-volt, keel-cooled Frigoboat. Quiet, efficient and affordable.
1st rule of yachting: When a collision is unavoidable, aim for something cheap.
"whatever spare parts you bring, you'll never need"--goboatingnow
"Id rather drown than have computers take over my life."--d design
Terra Nova is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2016, 06:07   #10
Registered User
ranger42c's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Maryland, USA
Boat: 42' Sportfish
Posts: 4,035
Re: 12 volt refrigeration?

Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
There are a number of vendors of 12v refrigeration systems available.
Originally Posted by newhaul View Post
Give Google a try. Look for 12volt refrigerator . There are many different ones available.

Yep, Vitrofrigo, Frigoboat, NovaKool, Norcold, etc. all offer likely products in various sizes/shapes. Ours happen to be NovaKool AC/DC models, so they run on shorepower or genset (AC) or DC. I think most dual-voltage models actually use DC compressors these days, and the AC power feed (hwne present) is simply converted to DC as it comes into the unit.


Selby Bay, South River, Chesapeake Bay, USA.
ranger42c is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Wiring a 24 volt windlass on a 12 volt boat Paul Lefebvre Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 7 12-08-2018 16:34
420: Electrical- converting 220 volt 50 hz to 220volt 60 Hz or 110 volt 60 Hz Karibia Lagoon Catamarans 4 17-03-2013 10:55
Using a 24 volt genset in a 12 volt system flopster Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 2 21-05-2012 18:50
direct-charging a six volt bank from a 12 volt charger Jonathan Reiter Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 19 14-12-2011 06:24
6 volt vs 12 volt? mestrezat Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 39 17-02-2009 23:33

Advertise Here

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 20:50.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.