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Old 22-12-2009, 05:23   #1
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Best Small Reefer?

On the Leopard 42 we used in the BVI for our ASA courses early this month, the top-loading refrigerator/freezer was large enough, but it's performance left something to be desired. The captain/instructor explained to us that the frozen meats we bought in St. Thomas needed to be cooked in the first few days of the cruise, as the freezer would not keep them frozen.

Now, thinking about buying our own boat, I am wondering if someone can recommend a small fridge/freezer that WILL keep food frozen? Or even make ice cubes. Something that would allow two people to live aboard for a week between store runs. Is such a thing a reality?

I would imagine for a small boat like we are contemplating ( F 27) the power would have to be propane, as dc sources are just not there.

Who makes the best small reefer/freezer?
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Old 22-12-2009, 07:07   #2
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Marine Refrigeration

Canibul,
Entire books have been written on marine refrigeration, and I will NOT be writing one here

But, I'll give you a few very brief answers....

1) Propane refrigeration does NOT work on boats (at least not on boats that move ......so don't even bother wondering about that....

2) 12 volt DC refrigeration is quite reliable and efficient, and if you use adequate insulation (and a smallish frig box), you'd not be using much in the way of 12 volt power.....
Danfoss units, such as the Adler/Barbour units ("Cold Machine") have been around for many, many years...working 24/7, and keeping things cold and frozen.....

3) INSULATION is the most important part of the system......don't scimp there!!!

4) Buy Richard Kollmann's book on marine refrigeration "12 & 24 volt Refrigeration Manual".......you'll learn a LOT....

5) I suspect that you'll start out with a "portable" refrigeration unit, such as the Adler/Barbour CF-50, which may suit your needs well....


There's a LOT more info and discussion, but the above should get you started....

John
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Old 23-12-2009, 08:03   #3
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Just to elaborate a bit...

Propane refrigeration is great. Had one on my RV and it worked wonderfully, kept things very cold, and used very little propane. BUT!!! For propane refrigeration to work the unit has to be pretty close to level. It will NOT work on a sailboat that is heeled over, or any boat that is rocking very much. Don't know why this is, but do know that on the few times I tried to fire up the propane fridge on my RV when it was very far off level it would not work.

So, on a boat, you are left with electrical refrigeration. This works at any angle, swinging back and forth, whatever. The good news is that there are a number of highly efficient DC refrigeration units available for boats. With a really well insulated box, and an appropriate refrigeration unit, there are plenty of cruisers out there who are able to run DC refrigeration off of solar panels and/or wind gens--no need to run their engine or a genset to keep up with electrical usage.

Good luck!
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Old 23-12-2009, 08:26   #4
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Thank you for that encouraging news. Are there any small ( two people on a F 27 small) refrigeration units that will run on solar that can actually keep stuff frozen or even make ice? Or is that too much to hope for?
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Old 23-12-2009, 08:33   #5
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For a smallish very efficient fridge/freezer there is IMHO only one ENGEL. A truly wonderful machine. One moving part using 2.7amp. I leave it plugged into both 110vac and 12vdc all the time. When I unplug from the 110vac on the dock it automatically switches to 12vdc. I have no problem keeping up with it's(and the rest of the boat) power demands with an 85w solar panel and a 400w Airx turbine. Mine is the same dimensions as a 40qt ice chest but holds twice as much because there no ice taking up space. It lives out of the way under the galley table and best of all I ALWAYS have cold beer available. Not cheap but very durable and well constructed..............m
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Old 23-12-2009, 09:22   #6
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I love my Engle 27. I second the recommendation and add that it is not only efficient, but quiet to boot.
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Old 23-12-2009, 09:29   #7
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Hey thanks for the info on the Engel. I just spent some time on their website. I can see how this could work. I could use their smallest 110AC/12vdc freezer to freeze water bottles into solid ice blocks, and then move the ice to a regular cooler. I was looking at the MT17 model.

Thats makes more sense to me than the larger, dual fridge and freezer one. Keeps power consumption low, gets dual use from bottled fresh water, and lets me use a much less expensive cooler to keep the food in. Or two coolers, whatever is needed.

Only using the Engel to make ice keeps it clean, and there is a Much lower initial cost, too.
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Old 23-12-2009, 09:38   #8
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another to look at would be the waeco coolers i have the waeco cf-50 cant say enough about it. uses very little power and cools / freezes fantastically. more than enough storage for me and my little catalina 27
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Old 23-12-2009, 10:14   #9
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I have been looking at the Engels,Waecos, Trailblazers, and Evacools online.

Are those metal cabinets on the Engels powder coated? Any rust issues in a high salt environment? There are some plastic ones around, but not dual voltage it seems...

or maybe I just haven't dug that deep yet.
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Old 23-12-2009, 10:23   #10
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the waeco's have a plastic enclosure very rugged and durable. they are also 12/120 volt autoswitching.
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Old 23-12-2009, 10:56   #11
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I would think for an F27 an Engel cooler would be great and super efficient. They can be a freezer or a refrigerator... but not designed to be both at once. However, often you can baffle a unit so that it works pretty well....also, you can take it on a road trip!
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Old 23-12-2009, 13:24   #12
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Now they (Engel) do have one that has two compartments, a freezer and a fridge. But thinking about it, i think I like the idea of a small one that just gets used to make ice, and then the ice gets packed into other insulated coolers to keep food cold.

Just not sure about keeping frozen food frozen this way.
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Old 23-12-2009, 14:01   #13
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I have the Engel 45 and love it, very little power use no sound, they do sell a addon like i seen above but very high price, you could buy two for the price of one with the add on.

Just a tip. Truckstops sell Engel's and cheaper than any marine place I have found. The Engel 45 sells for around $500 at a truck stop but in a marine store $650 to $700.

Dutch
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Old 23-12-2009, 18:16   #14
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Canibul,

What has been said about the propane not working on a sail boat is not true when a multi is the boat.

But if I was starting from scratch (with money) I would go with the Engle, batteries and solar.

Remember though, you need to do some math on the solar and batteries so that the third overcast day you don't have to cook all your no-longer-frozen steak.

I met someone here that had a Wildcat for a few years and had two Engles. One as a fridge and one as a freezer. When we visited he offered us ice cream - very hard ice cream.

That is what I would suggest for the best (expensive) answer.

I don't believe using the unit to make ice to use in the "refrigerator" cooler is economical in the long run.

Quote:
Richard Kollmann's book on marine refrigeration "12 & 24 volt Refrigeration Manual".......you'll learn a LOT....
is good advice if you want to get deep.

Shallow? Get two Engles

IMO
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