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Old 16-07-2014, 20:11   #16
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Re: Help with making practical use of top loading refrigeration, or switching to some

Front loaded is worth it. So much easier plus you don't have to clear off the counter every time you open it. I built shelves and its so easy. Cold drinks go on the bottom and are ice cold. Produce at the top shelf. Cold air escaping? Ours is always full. If there is free space, i fill it up with water bottles. There is not enough cold air to matter. The mass of cold food and drinks keeps a steady temperature. Everything is accessible so the door is not open long at all. No hunting and moving things around, How many times a day do you eat anyway? I might open the refrigerator 4 times a day for a total of 60 seconds, and the freezer once a day for 10 seconds. I don't have a drain hole. Front loading is a lot easier to sponge out water condensation on the bottom twice a week.


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Old 16-07-2014, 20:14   #17
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Re: Help with making practical use of top loading refrigeration, or switching to some

As far as keeping the door closed during sea conditions, get some heavy duty refrigerator latches and hinges. The kind used in commercial kitchens. The boat could sink to the sea floor and rotate all the way down and they are not opening. Plus you can put on a padlock


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Old 16-07-2014, 20:21   #18
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Re: Help with making practical use of top loading refrigeration, or switching to some

I cannot reach the bottom of our refrigerator, so I am torn between putting stocks down there (ie, hubby eats two kinds of cheese every single day, so we usually have extra on hand) or just filling the bottom of the trapezoid with foam.

It is all moot right now, as there is something wrong with the system itself and I want to replace the batteries before calling the tech, just in case they are the root of the problem.
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Old 16-07-2014, 20:41   #19
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Re: Help with making practical use of top loading refrigeration, or switching to some

We will have to look into changing out the system I guess... Is it as simple as leaving the current plates in the boxes and just sealing compressors/motors to go with a new and improved system? Or are we looking at taking a wrecking ball to the cabinetry to replace the whole setup?

Has anyone upgraded from an older R-12 or similar system that has any pointers/recommendations?

I like the efficiency of the holding plate systems, but may still end up with a small AC/DC front loader somewhere as a supplement.


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Old 16-07-2014, 20:54   #20
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Re: Help with making practical use of top loading refrigeration, or switching to some

Richard Kollman visits refrigeration threads quite often and helps people trouble shoot their systems. His website is
Kollmann Marine
He has quite a few tech tips that may help you solve your compressor problem.
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Old 16-07-2014, 20:59   #21
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Re: Help with making practical use of top loading refrigeration, or switching to some

Quote:
Originally Posted by dohenyboy View Post
As far as keeping the door closed during sea conditions, get some heavy duty refrigerator latches and hinges. The kind used in commercial kitchens. The boat could sink to the sea floor and rotate all the way down and they are not opening. Plus you can put on a padlock


Sent from an undisclosed location on the high seas or from the lounge chair by the pool, you decide.
A latch may keep the door closed but how do you keep all the stuff inside from jumping out onto the floor when the boat is heeled over and bouncing around in rough seas?

Even if you discount the cold air loss from a front loader the OP already has a top loader and would require major surgery to change over. Have just torn out my cabinets and rebuilt a fridge and I would not recommend doing it if not absolutely necessary.
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Old 16-07-2014, 21:09   #22
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Re: Help with making practical use of top loading refrigeration, or switching to some

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Originally Posted by AndDavRos View Post
Insulation thickness of the lids (one for freezer, one for fridge) is ~4" based on the thickness of the lid and surrounding woodwork. The lids are hinged and flush with the countertop.
The interior volume is (rough guess) 6 cubic feet for the fridge, and 4 for the freezer. Side and bottom insulation appears to be a combination of high density foam paneling with high density expanded foam as a gap/void filler. (This is mostly speculation based on the appearance of the area under the counter tops where some foam paneling is visible, and you can see where the spray/pour in foam expanded out of gaps/holes.
You say 4" on the top. What about the sides? If the insulation is polystyrene or urethane foam panels you would need a min of 4" all around. Hope yours is done better than mine. Even though I measured 3-4" gaps in the side cabinets and 5" on the top it wouldn't stay cold more than a couple of hours if I turned off the compressor. Ripped out the whole fridge to find 1-2" of foam sprayed on the outside of the fiberglass box with empty space all around. Made the box smaller and added 4-6" foam board all around and it works great.

Have you tested to see how long it will stay cold without running the compressor?
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Old 17-07-2014, 08:14   #23
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Re: Help with making practical use of top loading refrigeration, or switching to some

Thank you, Dohenyboy, for that input.

We just bought our to-be live-aboard last month and one of the things on our list is to get rid of that top-loading "cooler." As was said, clearing the (limited to begin with) counter space so you can unload several shelves to get to the one thing you need down below is a PITA, in our opinion. After reading all the posts that are FOR top-loading units, I was beginning to think we were on the wrong track! (I hate when I realize I am being swayed by the majority )

And that is not meant to be a criticism of the majority
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Old 17-07-2014, 08:22   #24
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Re: Help with making practical use of top loading refrigeration, or switching to some

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndDavRos View Post
We will have to look into changing out the system I guess... Is it as simple as leaving the current plates in the boxes and just sealing compressors/motors to go with a new and improved system? Or are we looking at taking a wrecking ball to the cabinetry to replace the whole setup?

Has anyone upgraded from an older R-12 or similar system that has any pointers/recommendations?

I like the efficiency of the holding plate systems, but may still end up with a small AC/DC front loader somewhere as a supplement.


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Since holding plates rarely if ever fail or go bad, it's very common to reuse or recycle them. If they are in a R12 system now, they they will need need to be flushed out and have a new R134a expansion valve installed on them and vacuumed down...pretty easy.

Then you can just install a new 12v compressor unit. You will need a compressor set-up specifically for a holding plate/expansion valve system and here's what ours looks like. The tall cylinder/tower with the site glass ontop of it is the dryer/receiver, it is where the refrigerant is stored so that when the expansion valve regulates the flow of refrigerant based on the plate temperature the refrigerant has somewhere to go or better said to "wait". Critical charge fixed orifice systems don't have or need this "surge storage" becasue as their name implies the charge volume of 3 to 5 oz is exactly matches\d for the internal volume of the refrigerant loop and refrigerant flow into the evaporator is constant. Our unit has 24oz of refrigerant by comparison. The dryer/receiver allows systems using a thermally adjusting expansion valve to have a much larger condensing "radiator" to help remove the refrigerant heat since the internal volume of the refrigerant loop can be much larger. This lets you say adios to the need to water cooling and let the unit not lose efficiency even up to 120-degs F. The systems we sell to the US Millitary had to pass the air cooling only test up to 135-degs for their mobil 12v food service systems.




Regarding the Top vs Front loader issus...Hell Yes a front loader is more convienient! But it's also uses more energy....so just like everything in life it's a trade off. Side by side test we have done in 90-deg heat shows the front loader can use up to 30% more daily power. But if that is what you have now or on the boat you want to buy would I rip it out and re-do it to a top loader? No that would be crazy...just add another solar panel and do a bit more defrosting of your plate or evaporator and be done with it. You can "what's best" yourself to death rather than get out Cruising!
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Old 17-07-2014, 08:23   #25
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Re: Help with making practical use of top loading refrigeration, or switching to some

The only thing worse than being swayed by the majority is being swayed by someone just because theatre saying what you want to hear.


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Old 17-07-2014, 08:28   #26
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Re: Help with making practical use of top loading refrigeration, or switching to some

Greenhand:
Ooohhh, thoughts to ponder. You are making me think -- I like it

Me thinks the only way to be swayed is by someone saying what you want to hear (unless you are just another member of the flock who follows the pack mindlessly).

And now back to our regularly scheduled thread........
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Old 17-07-2014, 08:46   #27
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Re: Help with making practical use of top loading refrigeration, or switching to some

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
Since holding plates rarely if ever fail or go bad, it's very common to reuse or recycle them. If they are in a R12 system now, they they will need need to be flushed out and have a new R134a expansion valve installed on them and vacuumed down...pretty easy.

Then you can just install a new 12v compressor unit. You will need a compressor set-up specifically for a holding plate/expansion valve system and here's what ours looks like. The tall cylinder/tower with the site glass ontop of it is the dryer/receiver, it is where the refrigerant is stored so that when the expansion valve regulates the flow of refrigerant based on the plate temperature the refrigerant has somewhere to go or better said to "wait". Critical charge fixed orifice systems don't have or need this "surge storage" becasue as their name implies the charge volume of 3 to 5 oz is exactly matches\d for the internal volume of the refrigerant loop and refrigerant flow into the evaporator is constant. Our unit has 24oz of refrigerant by comparison. The dryer/receiver allows systems using a thermally adjusting expansion valve to have a much larger condensing "radiator" to help remove the refrigerant heat since the internal volume of the refrigerant loop can be much larger. This lets you say adios to the need to water cooling and let the unit not lose efficiency even up to 120-degs F. The systems we sell to the US Millitary had to pass the air cooling only test up to 135-degs for their mobil 12v food service systems.




Regarding the Top vs Front loader issus...Hell Yes a front loader is more convienient! But it's also uses more energy....so just like everything in life it's a trade off. Side by side test we have done in 90-deg heat shows the front loader can use up to 30% more daily power. But if that is what you have now or on the boat you want to buy would I rip it out and re-do it to a top loader? No that would be crazy...just add another solar panel and do a bit more defrosting of your plate or evaporator and be done with it. You can "what's best" yourself to death rather than get out Cruising!

Ok, this should cut down on the costs of the refurb unit if I can use some of the original components. I would really like to avoid gutting the counters/woodwork. My only complaint about the boat so far is that the builder did not make things easy to remove/replace, so a lot of work is going to go into making changes to systems. The good part is that in rough seas, nothing is going to shift.


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Old 17-07-2014, 11:18   #28
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Re: Help with making practical use of top loading refrigeration, or switching to some

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so you can unload several shelves to get to the one thing you need down below is a PITA, in our opinion.
Dunno if I'm really going for it but I was pondering a handy billy to lift all the shelves up with a single "halyard" at once..
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Old 17-07-2014, 11:25   #29
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Re: Help with making practical use of top loading refrigeration, or switching to some

Thinking about the original thread post.....when my freezer runs for a while and then trips the circuit breaker, I know it's time to clean out the basket in the raw water strainer, or go overboard and clear the vegetation away from the raw water intake.

I'm just saying...
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Old 17-07-2014, 11:49   #30
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Re: Help with making practical use of top loading refrigeration, or switching to some

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The variety is what caught your eye? What caught my eye is that he was able to fit over 5 milk crates in his freezer!

Mark
LOL

That was in HI. I about popped a vein when I saw the price of beef in the grocery stores!! A friend suggested going to his butcher for a half side of excellent beef. They financed it, along with a 15 cu. ft. freezer, so we had more like 200 lb of beef to start off with, which lasted quite a while. Then we had an amazing fishing trip where we ended up with just over 300 lbs of filleted mahi mahi and tuna. We were throwing huge backyard BBQs every 5 or 6 weeks, so we went through a lot of teriyaki burgers, chicken, kalbi ribs, wings, hot links, fish tacos, beer and tequila!
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