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Old 06-02-2009, 16:41   #16
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Have read many sad stories through the years about propane refrigerators malfunctioning causing deaths by carbon monoxide poisoning. It's seems to be near the top of the list of hunting camp and cabin hazards.
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Old 06-02-2009, 17:47   #17
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Propane fridges are standard on all Gemini cats (I have Hull #519, they are approaching #1100).

Level is the key so the ammonia can boil. You take the same precautions as with your propane stove.

We get nearly 3 weeks from a 20lb tank (includes cooking). I absolutly love it!
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Old 06-02-2009, 20:02   #18
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Go to the PDQ site and ask. Many are equiped with propane friges

PDQ Forum • Index page

I have one but have not used it enough to consider myself knowledgeable.
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Old 06-02-2009, 23:23   #19
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Gemini is the only sailboat manufacturer and PDQ (with their 32' cat) that used propane fridges. They work ok on cats, but the hassle of trying to refill propane every 3 weeks (and the extra weight of propane) dissuaded me from them.
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Old 07-02-2009, 00:35   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
Have read many sad stories through the years about propane refrigerators malfunctioning causing deaths by carbon monoxide poisoning. It's seems to be near the top of the list of hunting camp and cabin hazards.
Like most things in a boat, if you ignore their maintenance, they will bite you. I had LPG water heating, LPG fridge and LPG cooker. These were maintained, and I checked my gas lines every year and replaced when they needed it. I also had a leak detector.

LPG is particularly dangerous when you forget how dangerous it can be, just like the sea.

Take appropriate precautions, and it can make life a lot easier.


Quote:
Gemini is the only sailboat manufacturer and PDQ (with their 32' cat) that used propane fridges.
Catalac fitted them in over 500 8m and 9m catamarans
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Old 05-06-2009, 13:25   #21
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I've had Dometic propane refrigeration in both our Prout cats as well as a 43 Gulf Star Trawler. Absorption refrigeration doesn't work well with over 5 degrees of heel, but that means continous heel. If the boat is bouncing along a seaway they function correctly as they are never heel in one direction as if in a monohull on a continous tack. The pilot is on at all time but if it goes out there is an auto shut off valve that operates. We never had any issues and we always carried 3 20 Lb jugs. It sure beats either running engine to charge batteies or buy extra solar cell panel.

Just my viewpoint
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Old 05-06-2009, 13:32   #22
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I understand they eat propane pretty fast, for a 2 week vacation type of boat maybe they would be good, for cruising... those tanks are heavy!
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Old 05-06-2009, 15:29   #23
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Average consumption for refer and stove was 24 days per tank. We cruised for 3 years the first time logging over 15000nm. having a Cat means there is plenty of area for storage.
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Old 05-06-2009, 17:37   #24
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While at anchor, cold as heck... while under way, nothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
I donít think propane heated absorption refrigerators present any significantly increased danger of explosion over other propane appliances.
Separating the appliance from the living space may improve overall safety somewhat.

Itís important that a propane refrigerator (absorption cooling system) be level, particularly when running. Because gas refrigerators are based on gravity, if the appliance is not levelled, the circulation of ammonia coolant will be slowed down, which could inhibit its effective operation. This would require a gimbaled mount.
This may be one of the prime reason these units are not more commonly used on boats.

As an un-attended* appliance, some might recommend that a propane-fired fridge (or heater) be installed in a vented & scuppered compartment, separate from living-spaces.

* A stove is an attended appliance, because someone might always be expected to be "in attendance" when itís in use.
And yes, a vent is needed.

I generally turn it off if I am away from the boat. Also, most can be switched to AC while docked.
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Old 05-06-2009, 21:45   #25
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We had a small Dometic propane fridge in our Edel 35 cat.
It worked well once I modified the installation to the specs of the owners manual...it needs good venting of the cooling air ! Got better after I installed a computer fan to exhaust the heat.
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:26   #26
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Exactyly. The PO placed a drier vent and fan through a buckhead...

Quote:
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We had a small Dometic propane fridge in our Edel 35 cat.
It worked well once I modified the installation to the specs of the owners manual...it needs good venting of the cooling air ! Got better after I installed a computer fan to exhaust the heat.
and that works very well.
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:35   #27
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I have read that propane becomes explosive at between 12,000 and 65,000 parts per million (propane-air). It contains mercaptan and that is what you smell. It is "smelled" at low levels and becomes overwhelming at 600 parts per million.

But this only applies if you are there to smell it.
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Old 10-06-2009, 07:10   #28
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I have read that propane becomes explosive at between 12,000 and 65,000 parts per million (propane-air)...
Actually, Propane is explosive between 21,000 & 101,000 PPM.
Propane is an extremely flammable gas, but not itself is an explosive. Only with the right mixture* of Propane and air will it explode.
Concentrations lower than the LEL are too lean to burn, and concentrations higher than UEL are too rich to burn
Propaneís Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) is 2.1% by volume of air (21,000 PPM)
Upper Explosive Limit (UEL) is 10.1% (101,000 PPM)
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Old 28-06-2011, 12:13   #29
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Re: Propane Refrigeration

You know, I'm curious, has anyone made (or does anyone make) an alcohol fuelled absorption fridge? Seems like it would certainly be possible, and might be safer for boating use.
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Old 28-06-2011, 12:36   #30
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Re: Propane Refrigeration

The propane refrigerator in my motorhome has an automatic 3 way option. The default modes are it looks for 120 V first, then 12 V and finally gas. It would work on a catamaran for the same reason that it works in motorhomes. Although not perfectly level, there's enough sloshing going on to enable proper operation.

It draws almost 2 amps on 120 volts and about 16 amps on DC and although I have 100# propane I believe that a 20# bottle would run it for about a month. It has to be level for any mode of operation.
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