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Old 04-05-2009, 11:38   #1
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Galley Fridge - Top or Front Load?

Just another What If for my next boat...

When refitting the galley refrigerator, using the same space, would you rather keep the top loading ice box style with a cold plate system, or install a drop in front loader that runs 12V/110V?

I see many pros and cons of each.


S.
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:15   #2
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Every time you open the door of a front-loader, the cold drops out. They are designed for folks who will have 110AC available most of the time (dock queens) and only occassionally run the boat on 12V.

If you will need the fridge mainly asea or on 12v, go for the top loader and the lower 12v power consumption.
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Old 04-05-2009, 16:45   #3
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We have limited power so stopped using our top l,oader because it was too big and the plate doesnt work as well as the front loader. Hellosailor is right... the cold air falls out when the door opens.

If I were refitting I would be getting the smallest size fridge with the largest size plates etc that runs both off the engine and 12v compressor.

We really only need to keep a few drinks, butter, milk and a few 'flaovours'.


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PS We would LOVE a freezer with ice-cream!
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Old 05-05-2009, 06:55   #4
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My preference is for the top-loader but the Admiral prefers the front-loading type for ease of access.

Admiral wins in most cases.... I'd consult yours
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:39   #5
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Ours is both. As noted above, when at the pier (most of the time), it works fine. But on the hook / at sea, we TRY to use the top only.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:18   #6
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1. With a top loader, unless you are very organized, invariably the item you want will be on the bottom so you have to remove a few other items to get to the one you want. The heat gained by the ones removed while digging will probably average out to be at least as much as opening a front loader.

2. A shield can be added to the bottom section of a front loader to keep the cold from falling out.

3. Expect the worse thing about installing a "drop in unit" is it probably won't have adequate insulation.

4. Look at some of the "sectional drawer units" now on the market. They seem to eliminate many of the disadvantages of both the top and front loaders.
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Old 05-05-2009, 21:15   #7
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Before you do anything with refrigeration go check out the ENGEL. This is a portable, low on power consumption, (we are talking REAL low here) refrigerator/freezer, 12v/110v and a real bargain. These are found mostly on the RV websites but ENGEL makes several models specifically for marine use. You can find a great selection of ENGEL refrigerator/freezers at www.gowesty.com. We bought one and installed under the setee. We use it as a freezer as we live a lifestyle where we really don't require a refrigerator. But, nice to have ice cubes!!

Hope this is helpful,
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Old 05-05-2009, 21:34   #8
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"The heat gained by the ones removed while digging"
Some folks have organizational skills, others just don't. And if you shuffle things around IN the ice box--you never lift them out of it, you just dig around them. I guess top loaders need to come with a Rubik's Cube pre-sale test.<G>

Of course, I'd rather my home fridge had a big glass front door on it, so I could check it out without ever having to open the door. Or maybe a nightvision minicam inside...yeah, that would do it.<G>
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Old 14-05-2009, 19:13   #9
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We had a top loading cooler up to last year. A friend had installed a Frige-o-boat system and had raved about it for several years. We installed it on our boat last year and have had no misgiving. Draws very little amps and is so quite that you never hear it. I have been told that it is the largest selling unit in Europe.
We have had to adjust the temp up as on our first cruise last summer we had it set for 35 degrees and the sodas,tea, beer and just about everything in the box froze and the cans ruptured. What a mess. We now have it set at 40.9 but we can keep ice cream in the freezer portion. Check it out www.frigeoboat.net
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Old 14-05-2009, 19:37   #10
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Careful about front loader

When we bought our Pearson 365, it came with a small front loading refrigerator. The documentation claimed it draws 3.2 amps when running, but my ammeter measures 3.7 amps. During an average summer day it runs about 55-60% of the time in the day and perhaps 50% of the time during the cooler night. In a typical 24 hour period, it draws about 45-50 A/H. It is by far the largest consumer of electricity on my boat. In selecting a refrigerator, you need to consider the size of battery bank needed and how it will be charged. Don't try to save a few bucks on the refrigerator if it means you have to increase the size of the battery bank or install a larger alternator.
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Old 14-05-2009, 21:51   #11
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"documentation claimed it draws 3.2 amps when running, but my ammeter measures 3.7 amps."
Mike, that can also simply mean that the system is low on freon, so the compressor is working overtime trying to keep up pressure in it. Among other things.
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Old 14-05-2009, 23:16   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TazW View Post
installed a Frige-o-boat system and had raved about it for several years. ... Check it out www.frigeoboat.net
Correct address is Frigoboat Home Page ?
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Old 15-05-2009, 06:35   #13
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If you have a galley with a large inaccessible corner it is a perfect location for a top access frig or cabinet. As far as top access refers, you don't dump the cold air as you would with a side opener.
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Old 15-05-2009, 07:25   #14
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We have a front door fridge. We also keep bottles of water in there such as litres. That way when there is less food the bottles retain the cold, and keep the compressor from running as much. I would prefer a top loader, and make containers that come out in sections for huntting for that last snickers ice cream bar that I just know is in there somewhere, but we live with what came with the boat.......i2f
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Old 15-05-2009, 07:45   #15
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I prefer the top loader, especially in rough seas. I sailed on an old pearson last summer and had no problems trying to dig through the top to find my desired treat. It takes some intentionality to organize.
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