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Old 05-08-2009, 06:36   #1
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Portable 12vdc Coolers

As our boat has only an icebox. I was looking a buying one of the portable 12 volt coolers. Wondering if anyone uses one or has comments on how hard they are on the house batteries? I believe the draw is in the 4-5 amp range??Thoughts / comments welcome.Thanks.
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:25   #2
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Never tried one, but have thought about it. That would be about the same draw as a regular built in reefer in your icebox.
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:38   #3
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If you are thinking about one of the 12volt coolers from Wal-Mart, etc., I have read that they only cool to 30-40 degrees below ambient temp, run continuously and use around 8 amps. These used to be discussed a lot in the rv forums @ www.trailerlifeforums.com Do a search for the Engle portable refrigerator/freezer, pretty popular with cruisers and has a great reliability rating, using about 2 amps.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:26   #4
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See the other current post going. The Engel would be a great choice, low draw and real cold. Not cheap though...
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:49   #5
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Ever since reading about the Crosley Icyball in the classic Sailing the Farm, I've been intrigued by them... and just this morning read on the MAKE blog about a fellow who has built his own. Charge periodically with heat; makes lots of cold:

Home Built IcyBall

I've played with Peltier-effect devices, but as Steve says, they only create a differential below ambient. In small scale systems, they can be stacked (CPU coolers and such) but most are not very efficient as coolers. They can very efficient as heaters, however (not joking; they are essentially heat pumps, so you get dissipation plus the thermal transfer).

Any hull-coupling is good.

Cheers,
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Old 05-08-2009, 11:47   #6
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i tried the thermoelectric coolers from canadian tire took it back. very hard on battery bank didnt really cool that well lots of condensation. went out bought myself the new waeco cf-50 compressor style cooler much more expensive but works great. draws on average about 3.5 amps but keeps everything icy cold
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:04   #7
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this online trucker supply site was reccomended to me for very low Engle prices. They are $110 cheaper on the model I am considering than anyone else I can find. Link is to FAQ about Engles at this site. I have no affiliation with either, just passing info along.
Engel 12 Volt Fridge/Freezer FAQ

Steve W.
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:35   #8
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I have tried the coolers, they are junk. I bought a Coleman, and another smaller one that I bought at a truckstop. They were amazingly power hungry, and would make your drinks 'cool' if run for hours and hours in a cool shady place. They claim to cool to some temp below ambient temp, but will only do so after a long time of drawing lots of amps. I would not even recommend one for occasional use. I ended up giving one away, and taking the other one apart to try to make it better insulated... complete waste of time.

Then I bought an Engle 27. It is an honest to goodness compressor refigerator. It was pricey, but worth the price of admission. I have had it for 3 years, and would buy it again.

We used it crusing, and it worked GREAT. Our power use compares favorably to installed refer units.

Found the best prices at 'Compact Appliance'.
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:58   #9
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i just love the new waeco unit we purchased. like i said pricey but worth it. went out for 4 days this last weekend really hot out cooler performed flawlessly.
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Old 05-08-2009, 13:27   #10
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Before Waeco brought out their new (expensive) line, all the 12vDC fridge boxes were really designed as car units to keep the beer cool. The method of cooling was cheap to manufacture, but very expensive on power to run.

The new Waeco units are expensive because the system in them is the same as that in marine fridge/freezers- with a proper air cooled Danfoss compressor and an evaporator plate. This means that they cycle off more and when running, are much less power hungry. You just need to site them where they can suck in relatively cool air, and dont put them in direct sunshine.

For a yacht with no fridge, these units are a very good option. I have even seen one that had been semi-built -in, and was installed with significantly extra insulation around it (except of course where the air was being vented)
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Old 05-08-2009, 13:29   #11
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More on Waeco. I have had one for near a year and use it as a freezer. Works like a charm and draws about 3 amps to stay at -13C.
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