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Old 09-08-2015, 19:13   #1
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Fridge and Solar Power

Hello there, People with good ideas and experience!
I have a puzzle to solve on my O'Day 28 in a very hot climate -- on the Okanagan. I'd like an electric cooler, as lugging expensive ice blocks every three days is not my idea of adequate refrigeration. At the moment I have no access to shore power. I have seen solar panels very elegantly mounted on a stainless steel frame above the transom and, ideally, I'd like to insert an electric cooler into the existing ice box space, which is fairly generous, but the access, from the top, is so limited that I can't even find a cooler small enough to slip in, and of course I'd like to maximally exploit the available space in the ice box. Do I have an unresolvable problem? Is there a solution, without sawing the whole counter apart (something I obviously don't want to do)?
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Old 09-08-2015, 19:26   #2
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Re: Fridge and Solar Power

If I recall, Frigoboat (and probably others) makes an evaporator that is flat and you bend it to whatever shape you need. You should be able to make that one fit. That's one option but all the fridge makers have multiple options size and shape, for evaporators and I can't imagine your lid is so small that none of them will fit.

So what are the dimensions of your lid?

Before you get to far down this road, how good is the insulation in your ice box? If it's old and original then probably not that good. A fridge unit it a box that isn't well insulated will suck power faster than you can make it. Have you measured the cu ft capacity of the box?
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Old 09-08-2015, 20:04   #3
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Re: Fridge and Solar Power

Thank you, Skipmac, I will follow up your recommendation. Didn't know about bendable evaporators. The lid on my ice box is just over 9"x13" (the inside measurement of course is larger) and the ice box depth is 13". The insulation is fairly good.
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Old 10-08-2015, 09:40   #4
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Re: Fridge and Solar Power

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Skublics View Post
Thank you, Skipmac, I will follow up your recommendation. Didn't know about bendable evaporators. The lid on my ice box is just over 9"x13" (the inside measurement of course is larger) and the ice box depth is 13". The insulation is fairly good.
Frigoboat has two evaporators smaller than 9 X 13 so should fit in the hold but you would also have to check to make sure they fit in the box. Also have two size folding evaporators.

Evaporators
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Old 10-08-2015, 09:57   #5
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Re: Fridge and Solar Power

Not only is it likely that your built-in icebox is not very well insulated but they're a pain to use. Every time you wanna get something out of the fridge you have to clear the countertop. On a boat your size you're limited to how many solar panels you can fit, so I recommend a Engle. It looks like a regular cooler but uses a highly efficient compressor with only one moving part. it doesn't have the high surge startup that motor-driven compressors have. They come in many sizes. The only drawback is they are expensive. And of course you have to have the space to put a cooler. but now you can use your built in icebox for storage. And it's a really good place to put canned foods.
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Old 11-08-2015, 16:07   #6
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Re: Fridge and Solar Power

Do you have storage under the seats in the cockpit ? That seems like a good place to put a little electric cooler.
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Old 11-08-2015, 16:59   #7
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Re: Fridge and Solar Power

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Skublics View Post
Thank you, Skipmac, I will follow up your recommendation. Didn't know about bendable evaporators. The lid on my ice box is just over 9"x13" (the inside measurement of course is larger) and the ice box depth is 13". The insulation is fairly good.
Indel Marine Isotherm has 2 evaporators that can also be bent. I don't know if they are plug and play with other systems but their self pumping system works good in my opinion.
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Old 12-08-2015, 08:59   #8
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Re: Fridge and Solar Power

Quote:
Originally Posted by sparrowhawk1 View Post
Not only is it likely that your built-in icebox is not very well insulated but they're a pain to use. Every time you wanna get something out of the fridge you have to clear the countertop. On a boat your size you're limited to how many solar panels you can fit, so I recommend a Engle. It looks like a regular cooler but uses a highly efficient compressor with only one moving part. it doesn't have the high surge startup that motor-driven compressors have. They come in many sizes. The only drawback is they are expensive. And of course you have to have the space to put a cooler. but now you can use your built in icebox for storage. And it's a really good place to put canned foods.
Yeah, I was going to say - check the insulation. On my 1980 boat, I had a HUGE icebox with virtually no insulation, so I was going to have to build a new box inside the icebox.

I just got an Engel instead and used the icebox for dry food storage.
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