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Old 22-10-2012, 13:55   #16
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Re: Refrigeration versus ice box

Geez, I am very happy with my 8.5cu ft Summit fridge that has self defrost AND an interior light. It runs on dock/generator when available or an inverter with auto transfer switch. And yes my two 145 ampere solar panels keep my genny time to making coffee in the mornings. Next spring I have another two 145 watt panels in my garage to install. Not a big deal. Maybe I can keep the genny off every day.

There is at least one prior thread where the question was asked "is refrigeration necessary?" It comes down to what the meaning of "is" is. Life is too short to be unnecessarily frugal. You're dead a long time.

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EDIT: Comment--- who knows what was in the water used to make the commercial ice you used to cool your margarita!
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Old 22-10-2012, 14:20   #17
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Re: Refrigeration versus ice box

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Originally Posted by Tia Bu View Post
Yes, or I wouldn't have asked. Has anybody tried the all-ice route with newer, more efficient coolers? Or maybe a well-insulated built-in icebox? Has anybody else been unhappy with built-in refrigeration, or are most people happy with it?

Sincerely interested in replies, and many thanks to those who have posted so far.
Yes, been there done that.
Refrigerator and Freezer

1) Block of ice last a few days, but takes up most of the room inside.
2) Ice cubes do not last long in a cooler
3) Buy the best cooler you can find
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Old 22-10-2012, 20:13   #18
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Re: Refrigeration versus ice box

ice making story.

one of the anchor out liveaboards here had his fifteen year old adler barbour break down. decided not to fix/replace it. decided instead to buy one of the stand alone engle style freezer/fridges. bought it at half the cost of a new adler barbour and set it on a quarter berth. used it ONLY to make ice, which he then put in his old ice box (the one the adler barbour had once cooled). it didn't work. he couldn't make ice fast enough to keep up with the melt. BUT, he found that the new engle style fridge was really all he needed anyway, and used half the power of his old a-b. he's a happy liveaboard again..
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Old 22-10-2012, 20:42   #19
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Re: Refrigeration versus ice box

We used to get 10 days plus out of good quality ice and keep the cold for around 14 days on the last boat.
This was a box with 100mm of urethane all round of approx 150 litres with 2 lids and a divider.

When I say good ice this was when we could get 10kg and 20kg clear solids.

Normal bag ice and ice machine block we were lucky to get a 5 days of cold from.
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Old 22-10-2012, 21:04   #20
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Re: Refrigeration versus ice box

My only advice would be to go with what works best for YOU. While some of us refuse to leave dock without all the comforts of home, others revel in living a minimalist life onboard their boats and go completely without. Just because one of us likes things one way or another doesn't mean thats the best way for you. If you want refrigeration, go for it. If you don't skip it. All up to you.
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Old 22-10-2012, 21:13   #21
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Re: Refrigeration versus ice box

I HATE iceboxes. Not only is ice expensive and someplaces outside the US, hard to find, but hauling it around is a pain in the rear. Especially if you have a long dink ride.

Sure a refer system and enough insulation is expensive, but the results are more than worth the cost.
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Old 22-10-2012, 21:29   #22
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I bought one of those Coleman Power coolers that you can no longer buy new. Took it apart and put it in my icebox. It will freeze! I keep it above freezing most of the time, and it draws 1.2 to 1.8 amps... and I only paid $150 for it.

You can always put ice in an icebox that's had a holding plate added to it if you decide not to use the amps... but it's hard to turn on the non-existent refer if your ice thaws a few days from replenishment.
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Old 22-10-2012, 22:33   #23
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Re: Refrigeration versus ice box

Most of us have seen sailors who always seem to win the race no matter which boat they sail on.

By the same token some folks are able to get the ice in a cooler to last longer than other folks. You can find lots of tips on car camping sites about how to get your ice to last longer.

One of the most common tricks is to have two coolers, one that you open only once or twice a day and the second one you open when you want cool one. Some folks only open the top high enough to slip their hand in and remember where the drink they want is, while other folks open the lid and ask guests if they want a Coke or Pepsi.

Lots of RV and car camping sites also have hints about how to add insulation to a cooler, even a really good one, so the ice will last longer. Things like bubble wrap and wet towels definitely work. Block ice definitely will last longer but you can't always find it.

An Engle with extra insulation and a good solar panel is almost a no brainer for anything but a weekend trip unless you simply do not have enough room for anything but a tiny cooler.
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Old 23-10-2012, 03:49   #24
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Re: Refrigeration versus ice box

When we bought our FP Maldives in the south of France it only had an icebox. We could if lucky get frozen mineral water bottles or ice cubes intermittently and had constant problems keeping food in temperate let alone hot weather. In Europe, ice is getting less and less available. We ripped it out and fitted a Waeco fridge. Power consumption was less than the instruments/autopilot day sailing. Our FP Athena has a massive fridge and again even in a Croatian summer, power consumption is fairly low. At the moment, the boat has no solar and standard alternators and we can go several days daysailing/anchoring without problems.

There is also a health issue here, fresh food in an icebox will have the temperature constantly changing which is not good news. You will also have to go shopping more often which in my view is very bad news. To me, an icebox is an less than ideal halfway between all tinned or dry provisions and taking advantage of the best available fresh and frozen food.
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Old 25-10-2012, 11:00   #25
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Re: Refrigeration versus ice box

Thanks for the feedback, guys. The availability of ice in other countries (especially Europe) is a factor in the decision.

I just ran across this in my research. Has anybody tried one of these refrigeration units yet? The DCR50 uses 9.6 amp/hrs per day as a refrigerator in 90 degree ambient temperature. It appears to cost about the same as a Waeco drop-in unit of the same size. They also have a larger unit.

Sundanzer Solar Refrigerators and Freezers | Sundanzer.com
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Old 25-10-2012, 11:10   #26
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Re: Refrigeration versus ice box

A spec sheet on the unit. Thoughts? Experience?

http://www.solarpanelstore.com/pdf/SunDanzer50L.pdf
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Old 25-10-2012, 11:29   #27
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Re: Refrigeration versus ice box

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A spec sheet on the unit. Thoughts? Experience?

http://www.solarpanelstore.com/pdf/SunDanzer50L.pdf
No experience, but the 9+ amp-hrs/day seems low, but would be great if it is true. Still it has more insulation at 4+ inches than our EdgeStar and the other portables I've seen so it should use less power per day. I wonder what the ambient temp was and the inside temp for the 9 amp-hr?

Ours is 63 quarts, so more than the 50 of this unit, and with cabin temps in the 80's and adding about 4 hot drinks (12 oz.) per day we average about 35 amp-hr/day.

I'd keep looking for owner reviews like you are doing.

I'd also look at spending $200-$300 more and build your own where you can have a fridge/freezer that is a couple times larger than the SunDanzer that will still use very little power (way less than our EdgeStar)....

Endeavour 37 Interion Mods Index

The one in the link above is what we made for the other boat and love it. If the portable breaks in the Mac I'll make a fridge for it also.

Good luck,

Sum
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Old 25-10-2012, 12:20   #28
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Re: Refrigeration versus ice box

Boy, what a great step-by-step photo sequence on building a fridge/freezer.
Do you have any idea how many amp/hours per day you actually use with the Endeavour built-in?

The Sundanzer fridges seem to be new technology. They don't seem to have a separate compressor/condenser unit. The info on their website says the 50 liter refrigerator can run off a 45 watt solar panel and a 60 amp-hour battery. This seems to offer enough system capacity to keep the thing cool for a week of cloudy weather.

I'm wondering if it wouldn't make sense just to rig one of those up as a separate system, independent of the house batteries, and be done with it?

No personal interest in/connection with this company or product, but it is grabbing my attention.

I see what you say about the convenience of the larger, built-in unit, but as others have explored above, once you start adding all the batteries, solar-panels, wind-turbines, etc., it all starts to balloon. Have you found your built-in to require a lot of that? You've got a LOT of insulation in that baby.
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Old 25-10-2012, 13:41   #29
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Re: Refrigeration versus ice box

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Originally Posted by Tia Bu View Post
Boy, what a great step-by-step photo sequence on building a fridge/freezer.
Do you have any idea how many amp/hours per day you actually use with the Endeavour built-in?

The Sundanzer fridges seem to be new technology. They don't seem to have a separate compressor/condenser unit. The info on their website says the 50 liter refrigerator can run off a 45 watt solar panel and a 60 amp-hour battery. This seems to offer enough system capacity to keep the thing cool for a week of cloudy weather.

I'm wondering if it wouldn't make sense just to rig one of those up as a separate system, independent of the house batteries, and be done with it?

No personal interest in/connection with this company or product, but it is grabbing my attention.

I see what you say about the convenience of the larger, built-in unit, but as others have explored above, once you start adding all the batteries, solar-panels, wind-turbines, etc., it all starts to balloon. Have you found your built-in to require a lot of that? You've got a LOT of insulation in that baby.
We used it for almost 3 months and I don't have accurate figures, but the best I can guess is less than 15 amp-hrs/day. It is hardly ever on, at times I thought it was broke. It is very quiet so I'm sure it came on some when I didn't realize it. I bought 6 of the hour meters for a buck each that someone posted a link to the other day and when we go back I'll put one on the fridge and get accurate figures. The inside boat temps during those months of use varied between 80 and 87 so it was hot in the boat.

Our portable runs way more than the one in the Endeavour. One thing is the one you posted a link to has way more insulation than I've seen on other portables. My only concern would be the 1.8 cu. ft.. I wouldn't really want to go under the 2.3 of our portable. I guess it depends on what your intentions are. We like to stock up for at least a month if we can as we just don't go ashore that much. We will like the small freezer on the new one as we can stuff it full of meat and then ration that out. We also now have more cooler space than the portable.

I'm totally guessing but with the 4 inches of insulation on that portable I'll bet that under 15 amp-hrs/day might be reasonable if you are adding some warm drinks each day. We have 4 inches in the walls of the new one, 3 in the top and 7 and 9 in the bottom where you probably need it the most. If you could insulate the space under that portable I'll bet it is even better. If the size is good for you and you can find other 'real life' reviews on it it might be a good deal.

I think that all of the different compressors are very comparable efficiency wise. The big difference is the insulation of the box. One thing about going with one like ours is that you could service probably easier down the road vs. the portable. If our portable quits that is probably the end of it. The built in one can be serviced.

I think their 45 watt panel is optimistic considering you might not always have good sun days. I think 100 watts and 2 batteries would mean not having to run anything else for power with that fridge though. 180 did us for the one in the Mac and also a lot of computer time and I run a CPAP machine every night that draws about 1 1/2 amps,

Sum
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Old 25-10-2012, 15:07   #30
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Re: Refrigeration versus ice box

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Add up the cost of the refrigeration system, a new bank of batteries, solar panels and controller, new alternator and installation. Then ask yourself where you will put the panels and how unattractive they will be. Ice might look reasonable.

Ice is expensive when you're cruising.
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