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Old 06-05-2011, 05:03   #1
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Two 12vdc Cooler Questions

I could use some advice on whether or not I should purchase a 12-volt cooler for my cruising this season. Is there a model that can stay plugged in all night and not drain my house battery to zero? And if so, will the darn thing be so noisy every time it comes on that it will keep me and the dog awake all night?

Thanks, as always, for any help!
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:43   #2
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Re: Two 12 V Cooler Questions

Depends on your budget. The cheap ones will suck down a batt drawing 6-10 amps, and only cool 30-40 below ambient temps. Best value I found was an edgestar fp430 or 630 but they are $400. amp draw is very low under 3 amps.
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:50   #3
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Re: Two 12 V Cooler Questions

As Dulcesuenos says it depends on budget and the good ones are the same price as a house hold fridge.

This recent thread would be worth a read:

Opinions on 12vdc Coolers for Cruisers ?

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Old 06-05-2011, 05:54   #4
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Re: Two 12 V Cooler Questions

Woww! Thank you both! I'll look into all of it. I'm not really prepared to spend a fortune. Not being very savvy about amperage (among many other things), could you give me a rough idea of how long it would take, say, 8 amps to draw down a house battery below the useful level for starting the engine (if the other battery died)?
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:16   #5
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Re: Two 12 V Cooler Questions

peltier cooling modules can be purchased pretty cheaply, check out , Cooling Modules , there the specs can be viewed. Their largest module draws 6 amps at 12v and cools 50 deg below ambient temps. mounted in your cooler with a fan purchased at same for <$10 you could put one together for a small price. As for battery (total amp hrs of bank)-(6 x hrs run)=x
x/(total amp hrs of bank)=percent of battery capacity remaining
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:18   #6
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Re: Two 12 V Cooler Questions

Thanks, forsail!!
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:24   #7
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Re: Two 12 V Cooler Questions

Dennis,

Depends on how big your battery is and what type. Assuming you are not trying to use a car starter battery and it is either a leisure or deep cycle flooded lead acid, in other words you have battery caps that you can top up the liquid, then you can draw down 50% or so and achieve a useful battery life.

Now, a small fridge will take about 3 amps per hour (a little less during the night because it's cooler and you're not using it). Say 20AH for 24 hours. Plus any other electrical loads like lights and radio, another 20AH, total needed 40AH.

With a good 85AH battery you would just get away with it, but batteries deteriorate with time so if it's old then you are going lower than the suggested 50% limit and it will shorten any life left.

If it is an old battery don't worry let it fail then replace it with say a 110 AH battery, which will help with any additional electrical load you add in the future.

How is the engine started? and how are you going to charge the battery is another completely different question that you should consider as well.

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Old 06-05-2011, 06:37   #8
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Re: Two 12 V Cooler Questions

I found this at $169:claims to only draw 5 amps.

The Engels are way outta my price range, and the Edgestars are simply too big (and a bit pricey, too, as was already noted).
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:38   #9
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Re: Two 12 V Cooler Questions

Thank you, Pete. That is VERY useful information!! My house battery is only two seasons old, and it is a deep cycle.
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:12   #10
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Re: Two 12 V Cooler Questions

Scared about the "keeps food cold for 3 hours if unplugged" Hell m Coleman Powerchill will double as a cooler and keep food cold for a long time. My Edgestar will keep stuff cold for Days unplugged.
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:21   #11
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Re: Two 12 V Cooler Questions

I hear ya, Dulce. It's a compromise, for sure. But I'm thinking that for a month of coastal cruising, it might be okay, even if I have to run the engine just to top off the batteries occasionally. I don't have solar or a windgen.

Over the last two seasons, I put a lot of effort into purchasing and ferrying various forms of ice out to the boat. I know I'll still have to do that to some extent this season, but I was hoping to reduce that effort and perhaps to reduce the number of items which eventually went bad despite my best efforts.
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:37   #12
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Re: Two 12 V Cooler Questions

Dulce, I just found a Coleman Power Chill for less than the Koolatron, and it supposedly only draws 4 amps (40-qt. version).... That might be the ticket (but still a compromise, of course).
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:43   #13
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Re: Two 12 V Cooler Questions

Over the past 15 years I have owned several solid state coolers, including Kooltrons and Colemans. They all claim to cool 30 or 40 degrees below ambient but in my experience that is very optimistic. Also the box takes a very long time to cool down when you first plug in or add food.

Especially if using one in a warm cabin or hot summer day the very best you see is reasonably cool, not anything close to cold. My opinion, they're better than nothing but for long term use, liveaboard or even long vacations if you need a way to keep food cool they are not a good solution.
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:47   #14
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Re: Two 12 V Cooler Questions

With a 12v cooler, you can expect your beer not to turn skunky if you leave it on the hot boat all week, but don't expect it to be anything close to drinkably cold.
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Old 06-05-2011, 16:10   #15
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Re: Two 12vdc Cooler Questions

Thanks very much, skipmac and Jetexas! I plan to use ice, too. My hope is the cooler will simply keep things from spoiling. I hate to throw away food. Looks like I better keep at least three beers on the ice at all times.
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