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Old 10-08-2014, 06:37   #31
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Re: Tips for Keeping the Darn Fridge Cold

It really is a giant freezer brick. I've never seen that before.

When you mentioned a blue thingy I was expecting it to be an expansion chamber like this.


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Old 10-08-2014, 08:15   #32
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Re: Tips for Keeping the Darn Fridge Cold

Is that inside or outside the freezer? It looks like its outside to me but hard to tell.
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Old 10-08-2014, 08:33   #33
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Re: Tips for Keeping the Darn Fridge Cold

It's outside. Looks like one of those camping freeze bricks to me.
But it does freeze solid outside of the freezer so I guess provides cooling to the rest of the fridge that way?

Anyhow.. A bit of silicon later and the leak is stopped and all is well with the world (until I break the next thing).




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Old 10-08-2014, 08:50   #34
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Re: Tips for Keeping the Darn Fridge Cold

I'll echo some of the suggestions made so far and add a few more:

- Make sure the compressor is getting good ventilation. I've never seen a new boat where this was true. Most have them stuffed in some compartment where there is minimal airflow. Buy a 120mm computer cooling fan (they sell some very quiet ones...look for ones engineered for "silent" PCc) and install it so it pull hot air out of the compartment when the compressor is running.

- Buy a thermal mat (looks like reflective bubble wrap) that you can use over the top of items in your fridge right under the top opening door.

- Cut down a yoga mat to go over the counter on top of the fridge. This also helps protect the counter and make it none-skidish when underway.

- Keeping the fridge as full as possible helps to regulate it's temperature (less cold lost when you open it, as you have more mass and less cold/warm air exchange) and so makes it incrementally more efficient, but the flip side is that you have the door open longer as you root around getting to what you want. Keeping it full is only effective in this way...if you never were to open the door, a full fridge would not be any more efficient than an empty one.

- If you have a combo freezer/fridge with a spillover, consider sealing them off from each other and installing a temperature regulated fan in the divider.
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:59   #35
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Re: Tips for Keeping the Darn Fridge Cold

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Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
I'll echo some of the suggestions made so far and add a few more:

- If you have a combo freezer/fridge with a spillover, consider sealing them off from each other and installing a temperature regulated fan in the divider.
Can you explain this? We have a freezer and fridge and it's a spillover. There's a fan and thermostat. The problem is moist air comes in through the fridge and condenses on our freezer plate. We plan on sealing it off, but I don't see how you can seal it off and then have a fan (as that would break the seal)
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:28   #36
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Re: Tips for Keeping the Darn Fridge Cold

You don't say if you have a compressor style or a 12 volt thermoelectric type. Most responses seem to assume you have a compressor and you have not disputed that.
In either case the big enemy of efficient operation is too much frost on the cooling coils.
This may seem counter intuitive until you realise that frost is a really good insulator and when it builds up too much it reduces the ability of the coils to transfer "coolth". (extract heat) Your problem may be that you simply need to defrost more often.
I have a thermoelectric top loading unit and the cooling plates are all in a small box about 6 x 6 x2 inches. A small fan is supposed to drive air between the plates into the fridge proper. In the humid tropics where I live it takes about two days before all the plates become just one big ice block and completely block any air flow. I have solved the problem by just getting into the habit of regular defrosting.

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Old 11-08-2014, 09:45   #37
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Re: Tips for Keeping the Darn Fridge Cold

Tips on how you defrost easily every 2 days?
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:26   #38
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Re: Tips for Keeping the Darn Fridge Cold

We found the same problem with our fridge but due to the way the galley is built in around it found it virtually impossible to insulate the outside of the box.

So instead I used double layers of camping mat foam on the inside, cut to shape and size then secured using either velcro tabs glued to the foam or good old fashioned duct tape. One layer has a silvered side which I placed against the plastic to help reflect ambient heat back away from the interior and the inner layer is just plain. As these camping mats are closed cell foam you don't have to worry about the soaking up moisture but you do need to pull out the base layers regularly to remove the condensation build up. I've even stuck this to the underside of the top and lid.

With a small Inside/Outside thermometer unit (from Maplins in UK) we have the outside temp probe in the bottom corner of the fridge so we can see what temperature the inside of the fridge is without opening it. This has allowed us to track the efficiency and we have got it down to a 10min per hour run time with a minimum observed temp of -6C and a normal range between 0C to 7C. With this we can leave the fridge running all day as our 70W solar panels can put in enough to meet demand if on anchor and at least reduce the drain if sailing with the instruments on.

Have looked into the idea of adding a second fan to the system to help draw out the hot air from the compressor but not got round to that yet. Also looking into ways to insulate the underside to help reduce the heat rising up into the box but not found a suitable solution yet.

We also use 4 isotherm cool blocks to take up a little dead space and help keep the air cold for as long as possible. The other trick I have found is to leave a channel along the middle of the fridge to allow the cold air to circulate properly inside the fridge or you end up with a very warm side and a very cold side. Large plastic bottles with the tops cut off are good for this, we use square 5l ones.

Hope this helps

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Old 11-08-2014, 11:07   #39
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Re: Tips for Keeping the Darn Fridge Cold

An air conditioning expert once told me that all of these compressor based systems can be improved incrementally, systematically. You gain 10% here, there, etc and soon the entire system is 40% more efficient.

First, follow the advice you got from many about adding a fan or bilge blower to the compartment where your condenser is. The cooler it is, the better it transfers heat from the fridge.

Second, get an IR temp. gun as mentioned before, and use it to find out where your insulation or door gasket is leaking cold.

Third, when you're ready to dig into it, pull the fridge apart and add aluminum foil to the inside of the hull behind the fridge. Then remove all insulation and replace it with Aerogel or Cryogel, whichever is rated higher. It's a lot better than the cheap insulation that the mfr uses, probably by 2 or 3x. Add aluminum foil to the inside of the cabinet (outside of the insulation) on the bottom and other 3 sides. Do the same for the door. If there was any appreciable loss through the door seal, consider replacing that with a better version.

I'm not sure what refrigerant is used in your system, but they all work on the same principle of gas expansion which absorbs heat. One thing I've learned about quantity of refrigerant is that it's better to be right on the money or slightly low than overfilled. Too much refrigerant allows the low side of the system to maintain too high of pressure, which does not allow enough expansion and heat absorption. As the ambient temp. rises, the entire system pressure rises, which unfortunately gives even worse performance when you need it most. A properly charged or slightly undercharged system will be able to maintain maximum pressure differential between high and low side and max. gas expansion, thus max. efficiency. This is in addition to reducing the load on the compressor itself, which wastes precious energy.

It sounds like a lot of work, but it's a one time deal, once you've optimized everything, just enjoy the nice cold fridge!
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:22   #40
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Re: Tips for Keeping the Darn Fridge Cold

OK I would suggest that you try running the fridge without the blue ice thingy. I suspect that the blue ice thingy is actually keeping the cold from circulating to the bottom of the fridge It's acting just like ice buildup on the evaporator.

I found that a 1/4" of ice on my evaporator effected the fridge section below the ice box and would allow the fridge to warm up to 45-50 degrees F. Got rid of the ice and its 35 degrees at the bottom.

Give it a try, you might find that the box stays cooler and runs less.
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:58   #41
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Re: Tips for Keeping the Darn Fridge Cold

It looks to me like the Blue Ice brick is mounted to the lid, but I could be wrong. The evaporator isn't in the lid, is it? Or are you saying that it's blocking airflow?
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:18   #42
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Re: Tips for Keeping the Darn Fridge Cold

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It looks to me like the Blue Ice brick is mounted to the lid, but I could be wrong. The evaporator isn't in the lid, is it? Or are you saying that it's blocking airflow?
OP said it was under the evaporator. My guess is it's blocking colder air flow from the evaporator to the rest of the fridge. The blue thingy will act like Ice buildup/insulation on the evaporator.
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:46   #43
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Re: Tips for Keeping the Darn Fridge Cold

I think I'm confused about which fridge or how it's constructed. I thought he was talking about his top opening fridge/freezer. This would mean the fridge and freezer are next to each other. He stated the blue ice was under the freezer, but in the pic it looks like it's in the top of a compartment, on the underside of the lid. The wire baskets under it kind of reinforce the impression that it's a top opening setup, with 2 lids and 2 wire baskets..

Is that actually a pic of the front opening unit, with a freezer on top?
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Old 11-08-2014, 17:45   #44
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Re: Tips for Keeping the Darn Fridge Cold

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Tips on how you defrost easily every 2 days?
The cooling plates are one side of the box near the top. When I think the air flow through them is too restricted and the chamber is not as cold as it should be I simply turn it off and open the top. It usually defrosts in an hour or so and I turn it back on. The contents at the bottom generally remain reasonably chilled.

The melt water accumulates in the bottom where I leave some towelling. Usually that is enough to absorb all the melt water. Sometimes it needs a second squeeze and a bit of a wipe down.

Ok ... maybe I sometimes get a little lazy and only defrost every 4 or 5 days.. it also depends on what I have stored and if I am prepared to accept it not being as cold as I know it can get.

When the plates are frost free it is really an efficient fridge and keeps those cans of beer nice and frosty.

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Old 12-08-2014, 04:47   #45
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Re: Tips for Keeping the Darn Fridge Cold

OP here.. So the blue stuff is under the small freezer compartment which is just below and back from the top opening lid. The fridge also has a front door. Sorry for the confusion.

I think the person mentioning defrosting was onto something there though. Since doing this on the weekend the fridge has been nice and cold and seems to be drawing less power.

The tip about adding mats to the bottom to collect dampness is really helping as well. The build up of ice is much less than it had been.

Lastly we try never to open the front door during the day now. We move anything we need from that section into the main area you can reach from the top lid in the morning.

I will look into the other tips also but just this has made a big difference.

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