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Old 27-01-2015, 14:55   #1
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The Art of keeping your cool

I am interested in alternate refrigeration to that supplied as standard on boats.
I live aboard an Lagoon 450 full time, currently have 2 x 130 lt fridges in Saloon 1 x 80 lt fridge and 1 x 100 lt freezer in aft cockpit.

Giving me a total of aprox 320 lt fridge and 120 lt freezer. This is about the same storage as offered by a Domestic 420 lt 2 door fridge/freezer.

The difference being each draws 6 amps DC when running.
The combined replacement cost is close to $8,000.00 Australian Dollars.
They need to be defrosted manually every 6 to 8 weeks.
The freezer will not keep Ice cream frozen unless turned all the way up and run continuously.
They take up almost the same space as 2 x Domestic 420 lt 2 door fridge/freezer.

When I purchased the 100 lt freezer and complained about the issue of not keeping ice cream frozen, the response was "what do you expect from a boat freezer it will never be as good as a land based unit." !!!!!!!!!!!

I floated the subject of using a domestic type unit and was told in no uncertain terms by a number of people that it would not work or last in the marine environment.

Fast forward 6 months and I am not happy with the set up I have on board.

Then I meet a fellow cruiser on a Lagoon 500 who has been a full time live aboard since 2009 with a family of 4, and sailed over half way around the world.
His refrigeration is a Bosch Domestic upside down 2 door unit still going strong after 5 years without an issue.

I know people do not like AC units on boats and will argue about where do you get the power to run them etc etc etc.

But if you look at the economics $8k - $1.5K for the domestic fridge/freezer you still have $6.5K to beef up the Inverter/Battery/Solar systems.

Am I not seeing the problem with this way of thinking.

The Lagoon 500 by the way had NO Gas on board all cooking was done by electricity (220 volt AC)

The other comment that stood out was all the problems they had had in 5 years was with dedicated Marine equipment. The domestic equipment installed was still running fine after 5 years at sea.

Any body else out there using domestic equipment with success.
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Old 27-01-2015, 15:13   #2
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Re: The Art of keeping your cool

Last week in Boot Dusseldorf the new Bali 43 was at display and that cat does has a two door domestic fridge/freezer.

No idea how it works out in the long run but at least I liked the idea.


Rob

It was the only bit I liked though
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Old 27-01-2015, 16:12   #3
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Re: The Art of keeping your cool

I have a domestic two door (1 refer 1 freezer) bought at a big box store for about $350 on my trawler. It is about 10 cubic feet total space. Powered by an inverter it draws about 6 amps of 12 volts DC about 20 minutes out of ever hour. It has been used for 3+ years on salt water and the last 1.5 years on fresh water. It keeps my ice cream hard at that power usage.

When shopping I looked hard a efficiency ratings and didn't consider any units that had a fan to blow air over the coils. I also have good ventilation over the coils on the back of the unit. I could replace this one 7 times for what I saved over a brand name boat refrigerator. So far so good and "the Boss" prefers regular doors over diving into a hole .
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Old 27-01-2015, 16:29   #4
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Re: The Art of keeping your cool

Paul, part of your problem could be due to two items:

Poor insulation. Are your's the stand alone, drop in units? With thin walls?

Poor efficiency. Are your's air cooled?

I have two refers, one 200 litre and one 100 litre. 12dc Frigoboat in cabinets with a LOT of insulation. When departing on cruise we load and set the big one as a deep freezer and the little one as a fridge. We load all the frozen goods we'll need for 7 months. Swap halfway thru our 7 month cruise in the tropics when the freezer load gets down to the point where it will fit in the small unit. About 5 amps each. Of course when the big one is the freezer it uses 5 amps a lot longer than the small one as a freezer. We do not try to keep ice cream, however. It takes up too much room and is not as good as rum. But we could keep it if we wanted to spend the space allowance. All our power is from solars and two alts on each engine.

The secret is insulation and efficiency.

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Old 27-01-2015, 17:01   #5
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Re: The Art of keeping your cool

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Originally Posted by PaulinOz View Post
..............
But if you look at the economics $8k - $1.5K for the domestic fridge/freezer you still have $6.5K to beef up the Inverter/Battery/Solar systems.
..........
Any body else out there using domestic equipment with success.

We've been running a domestic fridge and freezer for 5 years with no problems.

Your financial reasoning is exactly the same as mine was. Save a heap of money on the fridge and freezer, and spend a bit more on solar to make up for the lower efficiency.

However with the inverter style fridges they make these days, you wouldn't even lose much on efficiency.

Reliability hasn't been an issue - a domestic fridge that wasn't good for 10 years MINIMUM would be looked at as very poor.

And you'll never have to pay the exorbitant rates for marine fridge mechanics. In the unlikely event of a problem you can either take the fridge to a domestic fridge repairer, or simply and cheaply replace it.

Obviously a domestic fridge/freezer will need to secured in place, and catches (or just Velcro straps) fitted to the doors to keep them shut in a seaway.

While you do lose a bit of thermal efficiency, you can gain a lot in space efficiency. Modern domestic fridges make very good use of the space, veggie drawers, door storage etc. You can access what you're after much more quickly than having to rummage around in a top loading pit, having to unload half the food etc.

After 5 years full time live aboard, we're very happy with our choice.
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Old 27-01-2015, 17:12   #6
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Re: The Art of keeping your cool

"Poor insulation. Are your's the stand alone, drop in units? With thin walls?"

All are Stand alone units.
100 lt Freezer is a Novakool Canada
2 x 130 lt Lagoon Supplied Vitrifrigo Italy
1 x Waeco 80 lt ( I am Guessing made in China)

The Thin Walls are similar to Domestic type units though the insulation type may well be different. The Waeco is the least prone to icing up and best made in my opinion, the small freezer at it's top is sealed very well compared to the Vitrifrigo. I trust my beer, wine and drink ice to the Waeco.

None are frost free and none have circulation air fans inside. It seems to me that purpose built boat fridges are still 40 plus years behind the times in design and construction.
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Old 27-01-2015, 18:01   #7
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Re: The Art of keeping your cool

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Originally Posted by PaulinOz View Post
The Thin Walls are similar to Domestic type units though the insulation type may well be different.
Domestic types don't need to be efficient. They just need to be a little more efficient than they used to be in order to be advertised as such. And they are all air cooled with fans. This is less efficient than water cooled.

The insulation on my freezer is 6 inches thick. What's the thickness on yours?

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Old 27-01-2015, 19:57   #8
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Re: The Art of keeping your cool

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Originally Posted by 2Hulls View Post
Domestic types don't need to be efficient. They just need to be a little more efficient than they used to be in order to be advertised as such. And they are all air cooled with fans. This is less efficient than water cooled.

The insulation on my freezer is 6 inches thick. What's the thickness on yours?

2 Hulls Dave
Some (most?) people pay more for electricity than we do in the U.S. And effective use of energy is a serious marketing strategy. Try to look at some units that are marketed in Mexico for instance. I'm happy with my refrigerator's cost / benefit ratio.

I would love to take my boat to Loyd and have him build proper refrigerator and freezer boxes and cooling units. At this point it doesn't make financial sense.

I have seen discussion with some people whose opinions I respect conclude that it is possible for a properly designed air cooled system to use less total energy than water cooled versions.
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Old 28-01-2015, 01:40   #9
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Re: The Art of keeping your cool

Hi Paulin Oz
We also have a Lagoon 450 and we have two freezers and one fridge and had a lot of issues with condensation as we live in Singapore and the easy fix was insulation (it helped keep everything more frozen as well).


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Old 29-01-2015, 01:00   #10
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Re: The Art of keeping your cool

Hi Paul,
My wife and I are currently upgrading the refrigeration system in our Lagoon 410 S2. It was a former charter boat but still had the standard 200 litre fridge and 200 litre freezer. At some time some idiot decided that it was far more efficient to remove the cooling plate in the fridge, drill a 100mm hole through the common wall to the freezer and rely on the freezer plate to work both units and think that this would work - NOT.
We had purchased the boat in the Whitsundays and had accepted a quote to have the system upgraded for a separate unit for both fridge and freezer but the tradesman decided he did not want to turn up - his bad luck.
Now we are back on Lake Macquarie we went back to the Refrigeration guru who lives locally. He has designed a custom system which he fabricates himself utilising copper plate and tubing and Danfoss compressors. I will have two plates in the freezer, one in the fridge and it use half the power that I am currently using. A custom unit built for all conditions in Australia, all for the same price as quoted in Airlie. ($3500 installed with me playing as labourer)


Greg and Sue
SV Sunshine - Lagoon 410S2
Lake Macquarie NSW Australia
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