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Old 07-01-2006, 20:46   #1
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Seafrost vs Adler Barbour

There seem to be two primary types of ice box refrigeration - Seafrost working off the engine and Adler Barbour drawing from batteries. Any opinions on which system is more efficient, preferable over the other ?

Larry
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Old 08-01-2006, 05:02   #2
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Old 08-01-2006, 07:59   #3
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Larry,

Having just had to go through the refrigeration exercise, I found that the answer is not in what system is best in general. The answer is in what system works best with your current setup.

Mark and I (the guy I'm buying my new refer from), have opposite existing systems aboard our boats. Mark has an enormous DC generating capacity with a sizeable battery bank. He's got so much power, he has actually let others plug into his boat to recharge while rafting... ha ha Well set up.

Since he has all this DC power, he can run an Alder Barbour all day long without any hassle or having to worry about it eating through his batteries. No problem. The advantage for him also is that he doesn't need to constantly attend to the system and it will work.

My situation is the reverse. I have substantial AC power from a genset that I will be running daily to keep up with power needs while living on the hook. I also have a tiny little DC system. The Alder Barbour I have installed as original equipment can't even run 24 hours on my current battery setup. Then... charging the batteries back via genset would also take several hours. My anchorage neighbors would not be too happy with that.

So for me, a very high power AC system with holding plates is the only solution. I run it while the genset is on, and the both the batteries and daily refrigeration can be "topped off" in a couple hours.

All use a similar amount of engergy (based on calculating heat loss of your icebox and efficiency of the refer unit). The real difference is when and how they use that engergy, and what you want to sacrifice to keep your food cold.

(ie: engine, genset, batteries, etc....)
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Old 08-01-2006, 16:50   #4
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Holding Plates vs Evaporators

From what I went through a couple of years ago:

A BTU doesnt care who made it nor where it ends up.

So given an identical box the question is 1) whats most effecient and 2) where are you getting your power from.

Day by day effeciency goes to the holding plate. Everytime a compressor starts up it doesn't go to the net amperage but has a burst of more amps before it settles into transfering energy. What makes the holding plate more effecient then is that it has a burst of one or two times per day whereas the evaporator burst several times / hour. I doubt there is however more than a couple of amps difference in a day.

So then one needs to look at where you get power and how much power you have to give. If you get dc then you need a big battery bank to have holding plates. The small evaporators just won't bring down a box and holding plate.

You may with a dual plate have an engine compressor or large dc (like the BD 5000 from Seafrost) to bring it down, then use the small one to help maintain it.

Now if you have an ac generator then the choice leans towoards AC as the power choice or you can run a compressor off the engine.

Our setup is a dual holding plate system with a generator compressor and then the Seafrost DC 5000 for when we have plenty of amps.

As I'm not fully in service yet I can't comment on the success / bumps in the road yet of our choice.
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Old 06-04-2006, 20:04   #5
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When one decides to change from a engine driven to 12v freezer how do you do it and then what upgrade others one should consider in reference to the rest of the systems plus conversion cost estimates.
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Old 07-04-2006, 04:19   #6
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You will need to thoroughly review your 12v power requirements when you change over. You will likely need any of the following:

1) Larger alternator
2) More batteries
3) Larger battery charger if charging quickly is important
4) Possibly solar or wind power generation

But... all that depends on your power system, how much the 12v freezer draws per day, and if you are plugged into shore power, or out at anchor.
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Old 07-04-2006, 05:44   #7
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It's also not all about the energy and how you make it there is another half to consider as well. With a fridge it's how you gain energy. The heat that can't enter your fridge saves more power than anything else. On any older boat (many newer ones) you need to add insulation to the box. The power you never have to make is the most efficient.

Were it not for refrigeration the whole boat electrical system would be a whole lot easier.

I'm using an older Adler Barbour with a single cold plate and an air cooled compressor. There is a vertical diveder so the cold plate side freezes (can't keep ice cream) and the othe side is warmer. In hot summer weather it can go almost two full days with everything else used conservatively before a recharge off two 4D batteries discharged to 50%.
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Old 07-04-2006, 07:21   #8
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Adler Barbour

We switched from an AC system to DC Adler Barbour system and have been using it in Florida for the last 3 months. The installation of the AB system was easy. It took about 4 - 5 hours. We have a set-up that is similar to Paul's. A small freezer that spills over into a larger frig with a thermostat controlled computer fan to aid in the transfer of air from the freezer to the frig.

I added 3" on insulation to all sides of both boxes and my one 120watt solar panel w/MPPT Controller keeps up with the frig/freezer during the day. We have 400 amphour house batt system and we only need to run the engine once every 3 days if we cut the frig off at night. If we leave it on at night, we run the engine every other day.

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Old 07-04-2006, 08:56   #9
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Over the past 4 years my AB has seen heavy service hours and has operated flawlessly. I depend on two Kyocera 150 watt solar panels for my juice, as I go weeks at a time without firing up the engine. The points made about where you get your juice from are right on target. If I had a holding plate, I simply wouldn't have refrigeration. But the Kyocera's have kept up perfectly with the AB, lights, etc. For extended cruising, the AB has worked great (even get ice cubes out of the $50 aluminum ice trays). If you're coastal cruising, or marina hopping, it's simply a matter of personal preference/cost/installation. My sense among the distance cruisers that I've met is that they, in general, don't like the holding plates for extended periods of cruising and long passages.

My two cents
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Old 10-04-2006, 17:59   #10
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I'll definitely agree about the Alder Barbours longevity. The one I switched over from was 20 years old. Although very undersized for the icebox, it ran perfectly.
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Old 11-04-2006, 05:33   #11
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Roger, Sounds like you may have added abit more insulation than I was able to add. My 75 watt solar panel isn't enough to carry the load in the summer but of course it helps. Mine cycles quite a bit and it won't keep ice cream but it can make some ice cubes and it will alow us to pack the freezer with frozen meat and it stays hard as a rock for weeks during the hot parts of the summer.

I think some of the newer machines do a more efficent job but it really starts with the extra insullation. In most all older boats and quite a few newer ones there isn't much but room to add it some way. It costs so little to add the insulation I don't see why new boats don't come with a lot of it.

Mine works best if I plug it in to shore power the day before we leave to really get it jump started, then it keeps up well enough for as long as we are out I'm working at getting my wind genrator back on line as it can make serious power when the wind blows 15 knots.
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