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Old 01-05-2020, 11:50   #1
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Adding fan inside refrigerator

I have an Alder Barbour style refrigerator on my tartan 37 and am considering adding a squirrel cage fan inside of the refrigerator to circulate air. My hope is that this will cause more temperature consistency around the refrigerator. I have issues with some things freezing occasionally.

A few questions
1. Should I run the fan only when the compressor is running? I would hook it up to the fan power source on the control board. Or should I run it constantly to continue to circulate air even when the compressor isn't active.
2. Does it make sense to put it towards the bottom of the refrigerator and blow air upwards or should I blow across the cooling unit in the refrigerator?
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Old 01-05-2020, 12:02   #2
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Re: Adding fan inside refrigerator

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Originally Posted by felizcortez View Post
I have an Alder Barbour style refrigerator on my tartan 37 and am considering adding a squirrel cage fan inside of the refrigerator to circulate air. My hope is that this will cause more temperature consistency around the refrigerator. I have issues with some things freezing occasionally.

A few questions
1. Should I run the fan only when the compressor is running? I would hook it up to the fan power source on the control board. Or should I run it constantly to continue to circulate air even when the compressor isn't active.
2. Does it make sense to put it towards the bottom of the refrigerator and blow air upwards or should I blow across the cooling unit in the refrigerator?
I don't know how big the squirrel fan your thinking of using is, but wouldn't a computer style case fan take up less of your fridge?

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Old 01-05-2020, 12:11   #3
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Re: Adding fan inside refrigerator

It only takes a small fan, I run a small computer type of flat fan in mine, it draws very little power and runs continuously. I chose a ball bearing fan as I believe they will last longer.
I think my fan is 2.5”, but not sure
I have a shelf in my fridge located about half way down and I mounted the fan under it. It’s best protected and out of the way there, I don’t think where is all that important as long as you get an air current, which of course you will with a fan.
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Old 01-05-2020, 14:26   #4
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Re: Adding fan inside refrigerator

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Originally Posted by Pete17C View Post
I don't know how big the squirrel fan your thinking of using is, but wouldn't a computer style case fan take up less of your fridge?

I have both. A squirrel cage fan that is maybe 3 inches across. And then I also have a small computer fan so I can use either. The squirrel cage one is smaller than the computer fan and has mounting holes so I could direct the air flow parallel to the wall it is mounted.
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Old 01-05-2020, 17:43   #5
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Re: Adding fan inside refrigerator

Try this:
Take a piec of 3 or 4 inch PVC lenght = refer height (inside lid) but 2 inches shorter
Drill some 1" holes at one end of PVC (The Bottom)
Find a 12v computer fan that fits inside the pipe. Trim corners to fit as needed
Mount fan just above the holes
Fit a grid above the fan and secure well.
Wire the fan as you choose
The pipe allows good airflow bottom to top AND hold your beer. (Need to use wire basket to retrieve beer!)
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Old 02-05-2020, 08:08   #6
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Re: Adding fan inside refrigerator

We bought some self contained freezer/refer fans from Amazon and they helped a lot making the units be more consistenat in temperature throughout. Ran off D batteries.
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Old 02-05-2020, 08:17   #7
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Re: Adding fan inside refrigerator

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamhass View Post
Try this:
Take a piec of 3 or 4 inch PVC lenght = refer height (inside lid) but 2 inches shorter
Drill some 1" holes at one end of PVC (The Bottom)
Find a 12v computer fan that fits inside the pipe. Trim corners to fit as needed
Mount fan just above the holes
Fit a grid above the fan and secure well.
Wire the fan as you choose
The pipe allows good airflow bottom to top AND hold your beer. (Need to use wire basket to retrieve beer!)
I'm not visualizing this as a beer holder/cooler - got a pic?

For us, I used a NO/NC reed switch to turn off the fan and turn on the LED puck lights when the door is open; otherwise it runs all the time.

My thermostat controls the spillover fan; it, too, is paralleled to the door switch, so if the door's open, and the reefer is calling for cold, both fans stop until the door is closed again.

My fan is a 2" computer fan, which I merely sit vertically on the floor...
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Old 02-05-2020, 08:21   #8
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Re: Adding fan inside refrigerator

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamhass View Post
Try this:
Take a piec of 3 or 4 inch PVC lenght = refer height (inside lid) but 2 inches shorter
Drill some 1" holes at one end of PVC (The Bottom)
Find a 12v computer fan that fits inside the pipe. Trim corners to fit as needed
Mount fan just above the holes
Fit a grid above the fan and secure well.
Wire the fan as you choose
The pipe allows good airflow bottom to top AND hold your beer. (Need to use wire basket to retrieve beer!)
I have similar systems in the freezer and refrigerator (both holding plate type) .

I used 2" pvc pipe and 1-1/2" pipe to make the 'trees'. They are located in the most remote corner (tucked beside the holding plate) to minimize loss of space. A 12v computer fan is in the bottom--elevated from the floor by 1", with a grill (Just in case). Halfway up is a branch pointing to the holding plate. The trunk decreases and continues to the top, a 90 degree bend pointing outward.

Performance: the fans run nonstop. One year so far. Power draw is negligible. No noticeable warm/cold spots.
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Old 02-05-2020, 08:26   #9
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Re: Adding fan inside refrigerator

I like the high temp gradient in our Tartan. I put meat, ice trays, etc in the evaporator to freeze, next to the evaporator goes the rum & beer then other drinks, then as we get farther away we store things like veggies that don't to be as cold... works well.
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Old 02-05-2020, 09:24   #10
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Re: Adding fan inside refrigerator

We have a circulating fan in each of our refrigerator and freezer in our Tartan. The fans are only about 1.25" square and run non-stop, although I added a switch so I could shut them off at night if I wanted to. On our boat, they are built into the walls of the unit, but using a PVC pipe or square tube to bring the cold air up is the best idea. The fans are up high drawing the cold air up. We have no issues with uneven temperatures or unexpected freezing.

I attached a picture of the fan.
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Old 02-05-2020, 09:31   #11
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Re: Adding fan inside refrigerator

Use a computer fan, they draw almost nothing. Look at the specs, you just want a low speed one.
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:57   #12
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Re: Adding fan inside refrigerator

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post
I'm not visualizing this as a beer holder/cooler - got a pic?
Sorry, no pics, but
Visualize a pipe just big enough that a beer can slides in it
Put this vertical

Take a bendable wire, weld rod?
bend a L at one end, but keep the narrow part 3 or 4 inches long
Bend this end to allow a beer can to comfortably sit on the L
Long side of the L becomes a handle
Put this "Beer-Levator" into the pipe, adding beer as you insert the B-L and Beer.
The handle (which you will bend for comfort) makes it easy to remove the beer

AND

There is enough clearance between the beer and pipe for the fan air to flow and reduce temperature gradients in the refer.
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:28   #13
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Re: Adding fan inside refrigerator

I have one of these. It runs for ever on 2 batteries.
https://www.amazon.com/VALTERRA-A10-...s%2C170&sr=8-6
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:53   #14
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Re: Adding fan inside refrigerator

RE: Beverage elevator:

On a past boat I also used perforated, thin walled PVC [drainage] pipe for vertical storage of canned/bottled beverages in the top loading fridge.

To control insert and removal, I attached ne end of a piece of 2" wide thin, flexible [nylon?] webbing [e.g., seat belt material] to the top inside of the tube. This webbing strap is long enough to run to the bottom of the tube, and back up to the top, with extra for grabbing ahold of. I just lift on the loose end of the strap to raise the beverages for removal [and it allows you to gently lower them- instead of the loading a mortar approach...]

Note: Through trial and error, I learned a narrower piece of webbing will sometimes slip to the side of the bottom can if the tube ID is much larger than the beverage container ODs... The wider webbing helps prevent this from happening [if your tube isn't too much larger than the beverage containers...]

In case this drink elevator variation is of interest to anyone... [I doubt I am the first or only one to have done it this way...]

Re: Fans: Having had little continuously running pancake fans in several top loading fridges on different vessels, I learned it seems more efficient [better distribution?] to pull air from the bottom to the top. This measured by placing several simple thermometers around the top layer of a relatively full fridge and taking observations after 24 hrs of rinning fans top down, then bottom up.

YMMV

Cheers! Bill

PS: I almost forgot another advantage to using thin walled plastic pipe: You can slit it lengthways and overlapping one new cut edge over the other, shrink the ID to more appropriate size using a couple of hose clamps... [Perforated drainage tubing is still best as you get better cold circulation- and a site guage...]
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:59   #15
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Re: Adding fan inside refrigerator

I used a small computer fan (1.25"?) and 1.5" PVC pipe. The pipe picks up the cold area below the freezer unit, runs across the bottom of the fridge, then up and over to the far corner of the fridge box at the top. The fan is mounted where the "exit" of th epipe is and sucks air from the low pipe and spills it over everything else in the fridge. Makes a big difference in evening out the cooling. The fan runs 24/7, when the fridge circuit breaker is turned on. I think the fan is rated at 0.15 amps?
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