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Old 20-08-2010, 13:47   #1
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Refrigeration vs Ice

I'm not sure where to post this question, but kind of goes toward provisioning.

I recently read somewhere about the cost of buying ice v. the cost of running a refrigerator. It appeared that buying ice once or twice a week was less costly. (Less costly in terms of energy (solar, generator, engine) and of course, repairs.)

The next question is what about making ice on board? Presuming one has a water maker, would it be feasible to use an electric ice maker to fill the coolers? Or, would the ice maker be too inefficient and "cost" too much to run.

I have seen portable ice makers that cost $200.00US and claim to produce 30lbs of ice per day. Would running this machine once or twice a week be worth it, or would it make more sense to buy ice or stick with 12v refrigeration?
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Old 20-08-2010, 14:01   #2
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One problem I can foresee other than if you are setting up an ice-maker you might as well set up a refrigeration system, is that I have not seen any boxes that are insulated enough to have ice last for a week or even where you would only need it a couple of times a week. Cubes will melt VERY quickly and block ice is going to be hard to make on a boat. Chuck
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Old 20-08-2010, 14:30   #3
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It depends on where you are cruising. If you have a really good ice box and access to block ice you can probably go a week or more in New England waters. Once you start cruising further afield ice becomes hard to find and gets very costly.
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Old 20-08-2010, 15:04   #4
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A refridgeration system is hard enough to keep cool in the tropics; ice is a joke. Hauling it will make you want to shoot yourself, if you can even find it. I'd much rather have no fridge at all than ice.
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Old 20-08-2010, 15:37   #5
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A refridgeration system is hard enough to keep cool in the tropics; ice is a joke. Hauling it will make you want to shoot yourself, if you can even find it. I'd much rather have no fridge at all than ice.
Indeed

I remember buying very expensive ice at Isle de pin (New Cal) which was bottles of water frozen.

By the time we got it out to the boat all we had was bottles of very expensive cold water.

The week of warm beer, that is a horror that I choose to forget


But, back in Oz where we had quality clear block , we could get up to 14 days (9 days of ice and then cold)
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Old 20-08-2010, 17:22   #6
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We carried ice aboard for our first twenty years of living aboard and we've had a refrig/freezer for the recent twenty years aboard. I bought a Technautics "cool blue" in 1991 and have had to replace the electrical control unit for $268 in 2010 with no other maintenance. I did OK with the ice, but I do best with a 12VDC cold plate using a Danfloss compressor. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 20-08-2010, 18:04   #7
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Quote:
The next question is what about making ice on board? Presuming one has a water maker, would it be feasible to use an electric ice maker to fill the coolers?
No. The laws of thermodynamics would indicate it's not productive. The same energy used by a fridge would be better. The ice machine that could make the ice would be one heck of a fridge. Buying ice twice a week is fine in places that don't get hot. When we are in ice mode it is 10 pounds per day after the the third day in hot weather. Considering that the ice takes a fair bit of space you can't carry all that much food. With the fridge we can freeze some items and stretch the provisions a lot longer and have more space. Long weekends are no big deal with ice since you come home in 3 days. After a week plus it starts to be noticed. I still have food, water, and fuel after the ice is too low. It becomes the bottleneck.
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Old 20-08-2010, 18:34   #8
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Engel as ice maker?

After my R12 Frigoboat engine driven refridgeration system died I hesitated getting it repaired. Mostly because it used obsolete R12 gas. Going electric made any repair issue moot. Since then I've gotten along quite well with an Engel 12 volt refrigerator/freezer suplemented by ice in a cooler on longer cruises. But, yes the ice does disappear eventually. I'm thinking experimenting on using the Engel in the Freezer mode only to freeze liter bottles of water that I will place one or two at a time in the cooler to be used as the fridge. Has anybody tried this?

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Old 20-08-2010, 19:12   #9
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What a person needs is a vacuum refrigerator, I don't know where you would find one that would fit on a sailboat. I do remember reading about some Canadian sailors that got in no small amount of trouble for storing beer in a torpedo tube of their submarine. If I can't find one I might have to build one. If it works I'll take custom orders lol.
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Old 20-08-2010, 21:00   #10
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Ice is a really great system if you cruise one or two weeks a year and you don't go anywhere hot where they don't sell ice in large blocks.

Otherwise, forget about it.
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Old 21-08-2010, 07:30   #11
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We have a small Waeco that we use to make ice, each evening I replace the ice in our very well insulated ice box. The Waeco will run on DC/AC and our solar panels more than keep up with the draw. We put the ice in a vertical plastic container with lid, holds a total of about 12 normal ice trays (no water in box) and it keeps all the food more than cold enough. Generally we will have to put in 4-5 normal sized ice cube trays each day to stay ahead.. The Waeco will hold about 16 full sized trays. That is our solution, not complicated and for us it is working well..

And we always have ice for our Cocktails!!
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Old 21-08-2010, 07:51   #12
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We have a small Waeco that we use to make ice, each evening I replace the ice in our very well insulated ice box. The Waeco will run on DC/AC and our solar panels more than keep up with the draw. We put the ice in a vertical plastic container with lid, holds a total of about 12 normal ice trays (no water in box) and it keeps all the food more than cold enough. Generally we will have to put in 4-5 normal sized ice cube trays each day to stay ahead.. The Waeco will hold about 16 full sized trays. That is our solution, not complicated and for us it is working well..

And we always have ice for our Cocktails!!
I'm interested in how many amp hours it takes to freeze down the four or five ice trays a day. The system sounds good because it is adjustable-you can stop donating ice to the icebox when the frige food is gone and still have ice for the cold drinks, but I wonder if it would be more efficient to have a conventional freezer in the frige and keep it constant? On the other hand, the portable, although probably not as well insulated, sure is easily replaceble.

I also am interested to know about the long term usefulness of the stirling process cooler/freezers. There was an interesting thread but it seems to have died. Has anyone had success? Longevity? Relyability? Anyone know where one of the coleman stirling power coolers can be found any more?
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Old 21-08-2010, 07:51   #13
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We have a small Waeco that we use to make ice, each evening I replace the ice in our very well insulated ice box. The Waeco will run on DC/AC and our solar panels

How many amps per day on 12 vots are you using?

Could your shebang freeze enough ice for sundowners if you just bunged the thing on a midday? Or what time do you think it would have to go on?
(I am thinking the tropics)


Thanks


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Old 21-08-2010, 09:42   #14
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When we cruised from Mexico to South America a number of years ago, we were able to have occasional ice by filling sandwich size zip lock bags and hanging them on the freezer plate of our small freezer. The ice didn't last long, but we drank fast. Keeping the freezer quite small and thus filled, helped reduce the draw on batteries/solar panels.
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Old 21-08-2010, 10:36   #15
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I purchased a Waeco 18 for under US$300 for my Hunter. I make small amounts of ice, (enough for drinks) by placing bags of water against the cold plate. I also freeze a few cold packs that way for keeping things a bit colder in the boat's cooler.

The energy use information for Waeco refrigerators is here:

Power Consumption-Refrigerators - WAECO mobile solutions

I think my power consumption might have been a little more than indicated there, but not by much.

I would gladly have purchased a larger unit which would have used almost no more power if my space would have allowed so.

Ice rarely lasts more than a day in my cooler when in the Bahamas and often my cruising would take me a week or more without any possibility of purchasing more, so the Waeco has been a great cost-effective upgrade.
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