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Old 05-11-2022, 04:34   #1
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What off-the-shelf refrigerator are you using?

Scrambling to get my bat ready here and my norcild propane refrigerator control panel is fried.

My choice was always to upgrade to more solar and an electric refrigerator when that one broke, so that's where I am right now.

I need an off-the-shelf standing refrigerator (hopefully ONLY refrigerator) that has the lowest possible energy consumption and measures 24" wide max.

Any height works, but should be reasonably tall I'm order to be a good size

What are you using?

110/120VAC or 12V DC is fine.

Thanks!
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Old 05-11-2022, 05:26   #2
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Re: What off-the-shelf refrigerator are you using?

If you don't want to run an inverter all the time. I have a domestic refrigerator into which I install an evaporator plate connected to my 12v remote compressor and keel cooler. Done this about 4 times over the past 20 years. Be aware that new domestic units no longer use R134 so you cant just connect up and use the plate that it comes with any more. R134 is still ok for mobile and marine applications.
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Old 05-11-2022, 05:35   #3
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Re: What off-the-shelf refrigerator are you using?

That’s actually a really cool set up. Very ingenious. However, I don’t have time to put into projects like that. I just need an off the shelf refrigerator. Set it in place. Plug it in. Be done. My inverter is always on. 24 seven. It runs a deep freezer as well.

But I certainly wouldn’t rule out a 12 V off the shelf refrigerator, except most of the ones we have here in the states are stupid expensive. So to me that’s worth the small overhead of an extra load on the inverter.
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Old 05-11-2022, 05:41   #4
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Re: What off-the-shelf refrigerator are you using?

The most common domestic fridges now use R600 which is at a much higher pressure and is flammable and doesn't hold up well to vibration so must be handled carefully hence the use of R134 in mobile and marine applications. If you decide on a domestic unit and can still get one using R134 it would be a better choice than one with R600.
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Old 05-11-2022, 05:56   #5
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Re: What off-the-shelf refrigerator are you using?

Not certain you are going to get an off the shelf refrigerator that will be super efficient. They typically do not have enough insulation on them to be that efficient.

It's all a trade off if you don't want to build a well insulated box. We have a well insulated freezer (~3.5 cu ft. held at 4-6F) running on a frigoboat 12V air cooled and is ~22ah daily. Was going for high efficiency when we built the box.

Since you have a large cat, you could add a ton of solar (>1kw) then never worry about efficiency. The initial outlay of $ for solar would be about the same price as a marine system and you would have it for a long time.

Didn't you mention that you had an Isotherm box/system in another thread. Why not install that one?
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Old 05-11-2022, 06:11   #6
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Re: What off-the-shelf refrigerator are you using?

Check out the Novakool RFU9200 or the big dual compressor Isotherm units. I've got the single compressor version of that Novakool, but the dual compressor versions of the big fridges are better performers especially in the freezer department.

I'm not sure about the Isotherm units, but on the Novakool all of the equipment is underneath. So it's easy to glue extra insulation onto the outside of the box to reduce power draw and improve hot weather performance.
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Old 05-11-2022, 06:13   #7
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Re: What off-the-shelf refrigerator are you using?

The isotherm is for built-in boxes. Or as I like to call them "the pit". That’s why it’s up for sale. I don’t do those Reachin pit things. I’m tired of those. You have to remember I’m coming at this from about 30 years on the water already. I have well-developed preferences for what I think works and doesn’t in terms of running a boat. I hate reaching down into those kind of refrigerators. They also lose a lot of efficiency in my opinion. Because you take all of that stuff out and set it on the counter while it warms up and you dig down in for whatever you need. I can’t stand those types of refrigerators actually. But I don’t wanna get started on that. Ha ha

I don’t care too much about the type of refrigerant or how efficient the refrigerator is other than the highest land based efficiency. Residential efficiency.

I have 1400 W of solar and 5kw of generator power.

My deep freezer was about $120 if I remember correctly. Home Depot. Barely put a dent in the batteries overnight. And I barely have any batteries either. I just have 4 Trojan T105s Solar has it all the way up to full the next morning. But I’m going to add another two of these batteries to compensate for the electric refrigerator. I now have a propane refrigerator. But the control stuff is going bad so I just need an off the shelf stick it in there.

As a matter of fact, I’ve said it on here before, but I should say it again. One of the biggest design philosophies I have on this boat is everything should be replaceable and off the shelf. Nothing marine unless it’s absolutely necessary. I’ve spent 30 years on boats and realize that that’s the way to go.

Just looking for recommendations on an efficient off the shelf refrigerator. 24 inches maximum width. Really hoping for something that is only a refrigerator, but that seems to be hard to come by.

I know people do use them on boats. A lot of people. As you get to the larger boats that’s all anyone uses. And I remember we had a woman on here from the West Coast. Near San Francisco? She was an electrical engineer or something? Very knowledgeable woman. I always loved her posts. She was using a dorm fridge. I need something a bit bigger than that I think.
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Old 05-11-2022, 06:25   #8
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Re: What off-the-shelf refrigerator are you using?

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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
Check out the Novakool RFU9200 or the big dual compressor Isotherm units. I've got the single compressor version of that Novakool, but the dual compressor versions of the big fridges are better performers especially in the freezer department.

I'm not sure about the Isotherm units, but on the Novakool all of the equipment is underneath. So it's easy to glue extra insulation onto the outside of the box to reduce power draw and improve hot weather performance.
I mean, this thing looks pretty nice. But $3000? Iím looking for something thatís like $200. Ha ha. Completely different type of refrigerator. Like the kind you would put out in your gazebo. Or your pool house. You know. You spent 200 bucks? Maybe $300? You leave it plugged in for 10 years and then it maybe looks rusty after that so you buy another one? These types of things.
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Old 05-11-2022, 07:44   #9
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Re: What off-the-shelf refrigerator are you using?

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I mean, this thing looks pretty nice. But $3000? Iím looking for something thatís like $200. Ha ha. Completely different type of refrigerator. Like the kind you would put out in your gazebo. Or your pool house. You know. You spent 200 bucks? Maybe $300? You leave it plugged in for 10 years and then it maybe looks rusty after that so you buy another one? These types of things.
Yeah, if you don't need DC and high efficiency, I agree, go cheaper. Or you could just build your own box and put the Isotherm kit into it. No reason it can't be used with an upright fridge, especially if it's fridge only and you have a separate freezer.
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Old 05-11-2022, 09:07   #10
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Re: What off-the-shelf refrigerator are you using?

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Yeah, if you don't need DC and high efficiency, I agree, go cheaper. Or you could just build your own box and put the Isotherm kit into it. No reason it can't be used with an upright fridge, especially if it's fridge only and you have a separate freezer.
Yes. Hoping some of those people that are using regular refrigerators in their boats have some brands they could recommend. Or models. I imagine people have found efficient ones. That would probably take me a couple more hours. Definitely I canít build a box. I have about four weeks left to get out of here.
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Old 05-11-2022, 09:14   #11
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Re: What off-the-shelf refrigerator are you using?

Basically I have an appointment in four weeks at the Rigger‘s to get the mast stepped.

And I have to go all the way there. All the way up to Saint Pete.

Definitely no time for any extra projects.
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Old 05-11-2022, 09:24   #12
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Re: What off-the-shelf refrigerator are you using?

Thinking about it, a box might actually be quick and easy. Simple wood frame to hold it together, foam board insulation and those thin pre made fiberglass panels Home Depot sells for the inside surface. Could be done with just glue, caulk, and screws for assembly.

If you can't find an off the shelf unit the right size, that would let you build one that fits the spot you have.
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Old 05-11-2022, 09:45   #13
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Re: What off-the-shelf refrigerator are you using?

Sounds like you just need to go to a fridge shop with a tape measure and just buy the one that fits with the best energy use sticker on it??
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Old 05-11-2022, 10:26   #14
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Re: What off-the-shelf refrigerator are you using?

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Sounds like you just need to go to a fridge shop with a tape measure and just buy the one that fits with the best energy use sticker on it??
I guess so. Probably is the way I am going to have to do it. There were so many people using regular refrigerators on Catamarans and even on monohulls in recent years on these threads that I figured somebody just had one they liked. And I would just order it.
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Old 05-11-2022, 10:59   #15
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Re: What off-the-shelf refrigerator are you using?

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Yes. Hoping some of those people that are using regular refrigerators in their boats have some brands they could recommend. Or models. I imagine people have found efficient ones. That would probably take me a couple more hours. Definitely I canít build a box. I have about four weeks left to get out of here.
Our boat was built with a 24" wide Sub-Zero undercounter door freezer (with icemaker option) and a 24" wide undercounter drawer fridge. Newer boats, same model, were built with Perlick versions of same size.

Not a recommendation, since they cost an arm and a leg, just an observation... although ours do seem to work well enough. So far.

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