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Old 05-06-2017, 14:30   #1
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Calling wiring gurus! Residential fridge

Hi to all the super helpful people on here!

I'm trying to understand some wiring options and I hope you all can educate me a little. I'm replacing a dead fridge that was a Norcold with a small "dorm" type residential fridge. I'm not a liveaboard so I'm not really looking to drop $1200 just to keep my beer cold.

So I have small fridge that fits perfect. Of course I could just plug it in to the AC outlet in the back of the opening, secure the old DC cords and only run it when at the dock or when the genset is running.

Or I can hook up a pure sine wave inverter to the DC wires and run it off that DC inverter all the time.

My question is there a way to have both? I guess I could drop some money on a automatic transfer switch but with the cost of that plus a pure sine wave inverter I'm getting close to just paying for a marine specific fridge anyway.

I highly suspect I have to live with one or the other (or pay for a new marine fridge) but before I just gave up I thought I'd ask the experts... YOU!

-k
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Old 05-06-2017, 14:37   #2
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Re: Calling wiring gurus! Residential fridge

Guess it depends how often you're at the dock vs out on the water - and - when you'll be wanting that cold beer.

Sounds like you're trying to save $$$, so I'd be inclined to go with the inexpensive "dorm" fridge for AC power, and if I needed cold beer away from the dock, rely on an ice chest.

Maybe get the inverter, and use it on DC all the time, but really on AC when you're on shore power and the battery charger is operating and keeping your batteries topped.
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Old 05-06-2017, 14:50   #3
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Re: Calling wiring gurus! Residential fridge

Used ice-box conversion kits can be had at chandleries or Ebay for $200 - $300. You could make a heavily insulated box with home depot stuff for next to nothing.

I bought such a kit, but have since gotten distracted by a raw-water cooled Peltier science project, which theoretically ought to do the same thing but lighter, smaller, cheaper. After I give up playing with that, I'll install the Adler-Barbour

My 1970's ice box also has inadequate insulation, and I've come to realize that there isn't room for any more without entirely rebuilding the galley. So yeah, little dorm fridge and a beer sounds like a good thing...
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Old 05-06-2017, 15:13   #4
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Re: Calling wiring gurus! Residential fridge

A good quality pure sine inverter will cost around that much, and waste a fair percentage of your precious DC power.

A good cooler and some frozen water bottles is good for weekender use.
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Old 05-06-2017, 15:32   #5
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Re: Calling wiring gurus! Residential fridge

I live full time at anchor in the summer and use a 120V fridge. I just replaced my cheap 9 year old fridge with a new edgestar. The biggies were separate freezer compartment (that keeps frozen stuff frozen) and LOW power consumption.

I also purchased a cheap sunpower $200 PSW inverter and mounted that in the quarter birth. A extension cord gets plugged into shore power at dock and inverter away. Works really well.

Most dorm fridges will use 60-70 ah per day in 80-90 degree F temps.
The edgestar uses less then 40 ah in 90 degree F.. The inverter loss is not so bad at idle. Total cost $420, plus mounting hardware to fix the fridge in place.
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Old 05-06-2017, 15:35   #6
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Re: Calling wiring gurus! Residential fridge

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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
The edgestar uses less then 40 ah in 90 degree F.. The inverter loss is not so bad at idle. Total cost $420, plus mounting hardware to fix the fridge in place.
Is that 40AH per 24 hours?

How many cu ft?

Link to the inverter?
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Old 05-06-2017, 15:41   #7
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Re: Calling wiring gurus! Residential fridge

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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
I live full time at anchor in the summer and use a 120V fridge. I just replaced my cheap 9 year old fridge with a new edgestar. The biggies were separate freezer compartment (that keeps frozen stuff frozen) and LOW power consumption.

I also purchased a cheap sunpower $200 PSW inverter and mounted that in the quarter birth. A extension cord gets plugged into shore power at dock and inverter away. Works really well.

Most dorm fridges will use 60-70 ah per day in 80-90 degree F temps.
The edgestar uses less then 40 ah in 90 degree F.. The inverter loss is not so bad at idle. Total cost $420, plus mounting hardware to fix the fridge in place.
40AH AC or DC ? ..... enormous difference
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Old 05-06-2017, 15:49   #8
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Re: Calling wiring gurus! Residential fridge

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Is that 40AH per 24 hours?

How many cu ft?

Link to the inverter?
Roughly per 24 hours. I have solar so don't really count the daytime. But batteries are topped off 2-3 hours eariler compaired to old fridge and MSW inverter.

Fridge runs 20 minutes every 1.5 to 1.75 hours. Plus with the separate freezer less ice builds up as the freeze is only opened one or two times a day. Highly recommend it.

The sunforce is a cheap PSW inverter. https://www.amazon.com/Sunforce-1124...+wave+inverter

The display is near about worthless, I put tape over it. The fins are plastic, so all show and no go. But it works well and the fan only comes on when the temperature get over 87 ish (under load). Rated for 1000 continuous and it will do that or near that. The fridge pulls 70 watts when running but surge needs over 700 watts for a second for the capacitor start.
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Old 05-06-2017, 15:49   #9
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Re: Calling wiring gurus! Residential fridge

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40AH AC or DC ? ..... enormous difference
DC. With batteries that's all that matters.
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Old 05-06-2017, 16:08   #10
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Re: Calling wiring gurus! Residential fridge

Looks like a bargain setup!

Which model fridge?
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Old 05-06-2017, 16:43   #11
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Re: Calling wiring gurus! Residential fridge

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Looks like a bargain setup!

Which model fridge?
Here is where I got mine delivered in 2 days, free shipping https://www.compactappliance.com/crf.../CRF321SS.html

Has about the same capacity as the old 3.5 cf I had before, actually over an inch larger then the 3.5 cf fridge in every dimension, which was almost an issue. Freezer hold 3 weeks of food (for one) it's about 1 cf. Fridge is a tiny bit smaller then the old 3.5, but I still get enough storage for 3 weeks.

Highly recommend separate freezer compartment.
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Old 06-06-2017, 08:10   #12
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Re: Calling wiring gurus! Residential fridge

Small dorm refrigeartors are a poor choice. Power hungry and not worth all the extras you need to power it unless you are at dock all the time. Almost all invertors have a 10% loss when going from 12VDC to 115VAC. A nice 12 volt Adler-Barbour will do a nice job with less hassle. You ca. n put small roll up solar panel on deck if needed to keep batteries charged. I installed one on my sailboat and it was still working after living on my boat for 6 years and sailing to Australia from Buffalo, NY
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Old 06-06-2017, 08:10   #13
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Re: Calling wiring gurus! Residential fridge

Thanks for all the great replies! I got the fridge wired up for AC only last night and it is working great. So I have dockside and genset operated fridge now.

I may try this for the few (usually 4-8) hours I'm off shore power on the weekends.

https://www.amazon.com/Power-PWRIX12...ct_top?ie=UTF8

If that doesn't work, it's ice chests and frozen water bottles.

-K
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Old 06-06-2017, 08:12   #14
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Re: Calling wiring gurus! Residential fridge

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Small dorm refrigeartors are a poor choice. Power hungry and not worth all the extras you need to power it unless you are at dock all the time. Almost all invertors have a 10% loss when going from 12VDC to 115VAC. A nice 12 volt Adler-Barbour will do a nice job with less hassle. You ca. n put small roll up solar panel on deck if needed to keep batteries charged. I installed one on my sailboat and it was still working after living on my boat for 6 years and sailing to Australia from Buffalo, NY
Yeah, it's definitely not optimal. But I'm in an old powerboat on a lake where I'm only away from the dock for the afternoon. Mostly I want a fridge for when I'm at the dock hanging out overnight. If I was at anchor or gone for more than 4-8 hours at a time I'd certainly be looking at an entirely different option.

-Koree
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:42   #15
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Re: Calling wiring gurus! Residential fridge

I second the dorm fridge proponents. Very low cost so easy to replace every few years. Like everything marine, 12v boat refrigerators are overpriced and failure prone. Any repair will probably cost more than a new dorm unit. My experience with inexpensive 12v and dual power RV stuff is unprintable. I suspect the dorm unit manufacturers are more professional. If you can stand the power consumption, inverter at sea and shore power at the dock is a good way to go. Also a full freezer will need no power for a day or two. Separate dorm freezers and refrigerators cost under $150 each, take limited space (20x20x20") and can use existing 120v inlets in port, extension cord to inverter at sea. I believe there are far better uses for your boating dollars.
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