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Old 31-07-2011, 22:12   #16
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

Using and electric skillet on a small boat could be practical if you are just heating things up and you have a way to charge your batteries. You could budget 20 - 40 Amp Hours per day and this would be plenty to cook for one or two people as long as you were not running the skillet for more than 30 - 60 minutes a day. This is a fairly easy amount of power to generate with solar. The electric would also keep the cabin much cooler than using a flame to cook (propane stoves really heat up the cabin).

If you are installing solar anyway, I think this would be a really practical option on a small boat if you just us it weekends or eat bachelor style all the time. You could get a system like this up and running for a small fraction of the cost of installing a conventional propane system. Anywhere from $25 to $300 would get you set up really well (not including the cost of generating the power).

I have not done this, I just think it is a quite viable option.

For examples see:

12 Volt Frying Pan
Power Hunt 12-Volt High Performance Appliances


Examples:
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Old 31-07-2011, 22:26   #17
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

What about a diesel powered stove?

There is a new'ish Australian made yacht the Montebello 12 that has a diesel stove. Worth a look maybe.
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Old 31-07-2011, 22:50   #18
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

Except in extreme heat, you do not need to refrigerate most items to keep them a couple of days and things like butter don't really require refrigeration in the course of normal consumption. Things like fresh meat will keep for at least a day and vegies longer in an iceless ice box or other below decks storage that is not subject to direct sunlight and engine heat, even in the tropics. You do have to go shopping more often if you have to have that steak everyday but it's not big thing while cruising. After all, regular shopping is still a tradition in such culinary waste lands like France. Dried foods will keep a very long time as long as they are not open to the atmosphere. Beer is even very drinkable if stored low down in the boat. It's amazing how good food taste when consumed at room temperature.

Yes you can take it with you but you better have a lot of money behind you. Buying the toys and the electrons to keep it going are going to cost you as much as your 30' boat. Then there is the small problem of keeping everything going in a salt air environment. We found that complicated boats spent their time going from large, dirty, noisy commercial port to find the technicians to keep everything running. The owners of the these boats were owned by their toys. When they broke, enjoying the surroundings and taking a slow pace to discover the little secrets of their environment went out the window. They had to get things fixed NOW and were off to the next piece of civilization. We know of one boat that had sailed down to the Marquesas and immediately turned around and sailed back to Hawaii to get their refrigeration fixed.

Living without all the amenities of our civilization is not roughing it. It's appreciating all the things that are out there despite the trappings of our modern techno. society. With a little searching you can find quite good dehydrated, freeze dried, canned etc. foods that are quite tasty and will keep a long long time. My wife is a reasonably creative cook and our diet surely didn't suffer.
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Old 01-08-2011, 05:47   #19
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

It is very true that if you don't have "it" you don't have to fix "it." The theme of the CF Thread cruising under $500/mo - is all about living aboard on a minimalist budget. To do that you most often need to forgo all the fancy electric appliances we are used to when living on land. There is a lot of good information in the early parts of that thread for anybody wanting to live aboard both economically and simply.
- - However, if the OP is going to be only "living aboard" and not planning to take off for some long distance /long term cruising then things are different. The boat becomes a substitute for a cheap small efficiency apartment. A lot of those types boats become the broken down derelicts that after a little while cannot move anywhere if they wanted to. Inside the boats things resemble the typical Hollywood bachelor's pad with trash, uneaten food and garbage everywhere.
- - For those more fastidious about living then water, refrigeration, and home electronics become important items to keep the place livable, neat and clean.
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Old 01-08-2011, 06:05   #20
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

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Except in extreme heat, you do not need to refrigerate most items to keep them a couple of days and things like butter don't really require refrigeration in the course of normal consumption. Things like fresh meat will keep for at least a day ...
This could be very dangerous advice!

Hot food must be kept hot, at or above 60C (140F); and cold food must be kept cold at or below 4C (40F). There's no safe middle ground.

Keep food out of the temperature danger zone of 4C to 60C (40F to 140F). Bacteria can grow in this temperature range.

After only two hours, your room temperature food can become lethally dangerous.
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:14   #21
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

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This could be very dangerous advice! Hot food must be kept hot, at or above 60C (140F); and cold food must be kept cold at or below 4C (40F). There's no safe middle ground...
Gord is absolutely correct for many foods. But fruits & vegetables & even eggs can be kept quite a while if they've never been refrigerated. But finding unrefrigerated produce in the 1st world is usually pretty difficult.

For those thinking of moving aboard, you might want to work out an "Electrical Energy Budget" to make sure if something like an elecric frying pan will work. Since our kids did their high-school on board, one assignment for our son was to compute an energy budget & post the results. It starts here but there are also several pages of graphs & explanations.

This sort of thing is highly individualistic, but it can be adapted to most cruising boats if you put in your own energy consumers & your own numbers.

One interesting (off topic) result came out of this - If you want to know how many amp hours a solar panel will give you on an average day in the tropics, divide the nominal wattage by 3. That is, an unshaded 120W panel will give you about 40Ah/day of electricity at 12v. I've yet to find a manufacturer who will give that sort of number.
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:56   #22
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

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Refrigeration on a small boat can be a real power hog unless you are moving, motoring, or have an external power source like a Honda Eu2000i.
- - It is most common for the smaller boats to forgo electrical equipment as much as possible to keep both weight and battery maintenance at a minimum. So that pretty much rules out larger inverters to power AC equipment.
- - There are a few options for refrigeration - similar to the butane camping style stove. The Engel units - Compare Engel 12-Volt Fridge Freezer Technical Information are an option that eliminates the hassles of rebuilding the insides of the boat to accommodate a refrigerator/freezer and all its problems with insulation, etc. These "pre-made/ready to use" units can be stowed anywhere you can find the space rather than having to be built in.
- - Depending upon your food preferences, refrigeration may be a high priority item in places where raw foods are not easily available or you cannot do without a stock of meats, previously refrigerated items like eggs and some veggies and of course, beer and soft drinks.
- - Once you cruise out and away to 3rd World or less developed countries then the need for refrigeration drops dramatically as basic foodstuff is available raw and locally grown.
Have you tried one of these units? I scrapped the old 60s monster compressor/cold plate in my boat a couple of years ago but would like to cordon off a very small area in the countertop hatch ice box (way too large) with some polyisocyanurate to at least keep some perishables and a beer or two cold. I use solar (250w) only but do have some extra watt hours as my power consumption is very low (all led, etc.). My only substantial power draw is when using SSB or VHF. Would like to see a temp/watt hour/cu' curve for some comparable low watt units to be able to calculate the actual expected power draw. I've looked at small portable 12v "tailgate" units but they use a lot of energy and I just refuse to pay the exorbitant price for a "marine" unit.
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:24   #23
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

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Have you tried one of these units? I scrapped the old 60s monster compressor/cold plate in my boat a couple of years ago but would like to cordon off a very small area in the countertop hatch ice box (way too large) with some polyisocyanurate to at least keep some perishables and a beer or two cold. I use solar (250w) only but do have some extra watt hours as my power consumption is very low (all led, etc.). My only substantial power draw is when using SSB or VHF. Would like to see a temp/watt hour/cu' curve for some comparable low watt units to be able to calculate the actual expected power draw. I've looked at small portable 12v "tailgate" units but they use a lot of energy and I just refuse to pay the exorbitant price for a "marine" unit.
The Engle is not cheap, but it is very efficient and (IMHO) well worth it.

I have the 27, which I bought from 'Compact Appliance'. You should have no trouble running it on 250w of solar... just don't set it above 1.5 or it will freeze everything!

Make sure it has adequate air flow, I have found mine works hardest when the vents get obscured by something falling beside / behind it.

I have had it for 7 years now, and it works GREAT. 2.4 a when running, quiet, and makes stuff as cold as you want it.
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Old 01-08-2011, 12:03   #24
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

Not having the amenities of civilization doesn't make for junk boats. Most of the junk boats I'm familiar with in marinas had refrigerators. How could I tell?? The full sized frig was sitting on deck. Probably had tvs, vcrs,cable, wifi, airconditioning and anything else a house has to offer as well. Can be sure they didn't go out for day sails, however. Maybe in areas like Florida and Richardson Bay in Sausalito, the anchor outs are living on trashed boats without any amenities. However, they aren't trashed because of a lack of the toys of civilization other than a place to store their trash. Living aboard does seem to lend itself to accumulating deck accoutrements. In our case, it was usually bicycles, a B&D Workmate and stuff that was in the process of being installed below. Almost every marina liveaboard maintained a neat boat and dock surround. Still, it was pretty easy to tell the liveaboards walking the docks. Things like flower pots and herb gardens were a dead give away.

Cruising is different than living aboard but you don't have to go totally 21st century decadent to actually be quite comfortable on a boat. Block Ice does work even in a poorly insulated ice boxes and propane cooking on a boat is little different than the propane stove we now use at home. The biggest inconvenience living aboard is laundry. Hanging out at laundromats has never been one of my favorite leisure occupations. Wasn't a problem cruising cause our wardrobe was limited by choice and easily kept clean. Will admit, have had prurient thoughts of trying to fit in a microwave, though.

If I had lived my life by the gummints reccomendations, it would have been a very boring existance. Have never had a problem with food spoilage causing problems. Yes, that's never, at least from our own food. Have had occasional communes with the commode because of bad restaurant food even though they had refrigeration and supposedly inspection by the health nazis. Lest we forget, humans have managed to survive in one form or another for over 2 million years without refrigeration.
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Old 01-08-2011, 12:09   #25
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

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Items like butter, and foods that require refrigeration to keep from spoiling will no longer be viable.
Many Americans refrigerate food items that simply don't need to be refrigerated. Butter will keep indefinitely in a butter bell. Eggs don't need to be refrigerated. Most condiments (mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup) don't need to be refrigerated if kept clean (the squeeze bottles are great for this). Most veg keep fine outside the fridge and some keep longer with good ventilation.

Just because the FDA or label recommendations are for refrigeration doesn't mean it's true. Some labels are based on flavor maintenance and some are driven by concerns for liability.
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Old 01-08-2011, 13:47   #26
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

Actually part of long term cruising/live aboard life is learning the "old way" of doing things like food and storage. There are lots of provisioning books for cruising that explain how to keep non-refrigerated foods. But a lot of USA refrigerated foods from the supermarkets must be kept in refrigeration unless you are going to eat them immediately or same day. And the alternative foods are just not available since the mega-food corporations do not want to handle them.
- - Foods you buy in other countries and islands is not kept in refrigeration and is either tinned (shelf-storage) or has never been refrigerated since the chicken laid the egg or the meat animal met its conversion to dinner.
- - There are tricks and guides to help extend the useful storage life like "green bags" and bleach washing to keep little buggies and bacteria at bay.
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Old 01-08-2011, 14:05   #27
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

On our thirty foot boat we have a Waeco CF-18 refrigerator and an Origo 2-burner alcohol stove. We just cruised for three months (our second summer cruise) and had great meals every day for 2-3 people. Provisioning was easy, and refrigerated food kept at least as long as it does at home.

I think the Waeco refrigerator is using about 20 amp/hours of 12 volt electricity a day. You could also use it as a freezer if you wanted.

The Origo used about a gallon of alcohol a month. We ate most meals on board.

Oh, and this year we added a Magma Marine Kettle propane grill. That added great variety and ease to the meals.
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