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Old 09-11-2009, 15:31   #1
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Looking for Ideas on Improving the Old Ice Box

Most sailboats have the top loading Ice box/refrigerator. Many are nothing more than a pit with maybe one shelf that have been fitted with a refrigeration system. I have seen lots of information about the refrigeration systems but little on how to improve the function of the box its self. I think I read here where one person described getting something out of his refrigerator as a game of Jenga lol. I know the feeling. I have recently made some improvements to mine such as adding shelves improving the insulation, and I think the coolest thing was adding a light just like the ones in real houses lol.

I was wondering what others have done and was thinking of doing an article about it but thought I would see what others have done first, after all as much as I like to think so I do not have all the answers lol. I would like to see what others have done. Pictures would be great! I will post some of mine in a day or so when I finish.

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Old 09-11-2009, 16:01   #2
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My wife came up with a system of plastic containers (open, no tops) that fit in the reefer crosswise at the bottom and front-to-back above. Two layers of containers, the top layer supported by the bottom. She allocated each container to vegetables, cold cuts/cheese, condiments, beer/sodas, etc.

Her final act was to declare the reefer "OFF LIMITS" to males. This was due to bitter experience, as I wasn't patient enough, and rummaged around like a wild boar. The result was that neither one of us could find anything without keeping the lid open for a long time.

After her Proclamation, she, being the only one authorized to search the fridge, kept things organized and accessible. All I had to do was ask, and she could find the item instantly. It's a good system.
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Old 09-11-2009, 16:15   #3
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IMO (and that of Tere Batham) the top loading refrigerator box is one of the worst indignities foisted up the boating populous. I will be rebuilding the box on S/V Soon to be Renamed as soon as we move aboard full time. New box will have front loading drawers to make everything instantly accessible, freezer and fridge, and to minimize loss of cooth.
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Old 09-11-2009, 16:27   #4
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What are you referring to by "front loading drawer"? Will the drawer stay airtight while you pull it out and then you open something to get into the cool area or are you just referring to a regular drawer type design?

We have a freezer drawer in our home refer and while I love it the amount of cold that pours out when it is opened is impressive. If you could design a drawer that pulled out and then you opened a lid to get at the contents (and the cold) that would be convenient and efficient.

Jim
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Old 09-11-2009, 16:30   #5
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IMO (and that of Tere Batham) the top loading refrigerator box is one of the worst indignities foisted up the boating populous. I will be rebuilding the box on S/V Soon to be Renamed as soon as we move aboard full time. New box will have front loading drawers to make everything instantly accessible, freezer and fridge, and to minimize loss of cooth.
Front loading drawers will be a good compromise. The problem with most front loaders is that the heavier then air 'cold air' completely empties out of the box whenever it is opened.

Better to try to minimize the size, and contents and use non-refrigerated space where ever possible. IMHO.
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Old 09-11-2009, 16:51   #6
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Front loading drawers will be a good compromise. The problem with most front loaders is that the heavier then air 'cold air' completely empties out of the box whenever it is opened.............
There are ways around that and when I am finished with this project will put up a howto if anyone is interested. Also will add a desuperheater to use the rejected heat to provide 'free' domestic hot water, water on tap for both hot and cold drinks - just like the fridge in our kitchen. Why waste any energy you don't have to?
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Old 09-11-2009, 16:59   #7
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Also will add a desuperheater to use the rejected heat to provide 'free' domestic hot water, water on tap for both hot and cold drinks - just like the fridge in our kitchen. Why waste any energy you don't have to?
Great idea. I see Steve Dashew uses a fresh water tank and something like Frigaboats keel-cooler to as a heat exchanger in his new power boats. Capturing that heat seems really smart. I look forward to hearing about how you do that. As well as how to keep the drawers from spilling cold air.

Jim
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Old 09-11-2009, 17:12   #8
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.

After her Proclamation, she, being the only one authorized to search the fridge, kept things organized and accessible. All I had to do was ask, and she could find the item instantly. It's a good system.

Now that is a GREAT system. Does she bring it to you also?
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Old 09-11-2009, 17:17   #9
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We put foam boxes (eskys) in both fridges to make them smaller.

Too bloody big and they use too much power!

Smaller weans cooler.... beer
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Old 09-11-2009, 17:29   #10
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We put foam boxes (eskys) in both fridges to make them smaller.

Too bloody big and they use too much power!

Smaller weans cooler.... beer
I like it no point in cooling a lot of space you don't use!
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:31   #11
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But still, can someone expand upon the "front loading drawer" design? Specifics, if possible or a link? Our box is getting a redo and I am up to a complete redesign if it gives more room and increases space usage efficiency.

Thx!
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:50   #12
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Fish we are moving aboard early in January, 2010, and I will do the box posthaste. If you can wait until then I will post a howto after we have lived with it a little while to debug.
BTW I have been a refrigeration service tech since 1971.
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Old 10-11-2009, 10:53   #13
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Oh, I thot someone out there had already done it and had some details or links on it. My Bad
I've seen the commercial unit but don't know anyone who did a home job.....
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Old 10-11-2009, 13:39   #14
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Galley Fridge - Top or Front Load?
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Old 10-11-2009, 13:50   #15
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Here are a couple of pics of what we did to make it easier to access the lower portions of the top-loading fridge:





Details on it are here:

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