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Old 09-05-2017, 11:09   #1
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Anyone use a Wine Cabinet as their fridge?

While going through my dream list for the Hunter 28.5, I checked out refrigeration.
Wine cabinets go down to a proper temp... they can be quite compact... and cheaper than a full-blown fridge.
I haven't run any numbers concerning power yet.
.
Anyone ever used one before?
Thoughts on using one as a small fridge on a 28ft boat destined for bay sailing and some local coastal cruising?
.
I've never been around a small wine cabinet on land or on water, so I have no experience with them whatsoever!

Thanks!
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:24   #2
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Re: Anyone use a Wine Cabinet as their fridge?

I don't have experience with using one on a boat, the only problem that I see with a wine fridge is that the inside shelves aren't flat, they are curved to fit the bottles. If you google "small fridge for sodas" you get the ones with the flat shelves.

I don't see why it wouldn't work for a small fridge. Good idea!!
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:15   #3
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Re: Anyone use a Wine Cabinet as their fridge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KiminAK View Post
I don't have experience with using one on a boat, the only problem that I see with a wine fridge is that the inside shelves aren't flat, they are curved to fit the bottles. If you google "small fridge for sodas" you get the ones with the flat shelves.

I don't see why it wouldn't work for a small fridge. Good idea!!
It'd be interesting to know if those formed shelves can be removed and flat ones made to fit inside?
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:19   #4
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Re: Anyone use a Wine Cabinet as their fridge?

For refrigeration, you really want below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're talking about just cooling non-perishables, then it would work.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:20   #5
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Re: Anyone use a Wine Cabinet as their fridge?

Wine fridges are usually kept at a higher temp than a regular fridge. Also wine fridges (I think) aren't opened/closed as frequently as a regular fridge. I wonder if this would overwork the compressor trying to use it as a regular fridge (the cheaper price coming from a cheaper compressor).
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:30   #6
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Re: Anyone use a Wine Cabinet as their fridge?

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Wine fridges are usually kept at a higher temp than a regular fridge. Also wine fridges (I think) aren't opened/closed as frequently as a regular fridge. I wonder if this would overwork the compressor trying to use it as a regular fridge (the cheaper price coming from a cheaper compressor).
I suspect you're right. Wine fridges are great for aging cheeses, though.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:31   #7
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Re: Anyone use a Wine Cabinet as their fridge?

I keep my fridge at home around 42F... always have...
.
With the glass window in the door... I wouldn't have to open it as often to see what I should already know is in there!
I open my fridge at home even though it's maybe 1/8 full and I could probably list everything thats in it without going to look... stupid stuff humans do I guess
.
But I agree... I would figure wine cabinets aren't opened as often as fridges.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:43   #8
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Re: Anyone use a Wine Cabinet as their fridge?

1) The image of the dual-voltage wine fridge you are using as an example has only 0.6 cubic foot. (Too small to be functionally effective IMHO)

2) Operating temperature is 41F to 68F

3) There is no freezer.

4) The glass door is a very ineffective insulator.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:44   #9
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Re: Anyone use a Wine Cabinet as their fridge?

Those inexpensive wine coolers just have a cheap Peltier-effect plate. The same thing you can get in one of those plug-in 12V ice chests. They can cool (or heat) to maybe 40° below ambient. So if it's 100° in the cabin, the cooler will, at best, get to maybe 60°. And spend a whole lot of energy doing it, and dumping the excess heat into your cabin.

However, what if you coupled that with a heat exchanger and a sea-water pump from a nearby through-hull? Then the "ambient" starting point from which you are cooling would be the water temp, and the water would also take away the excess heat pumped from the cold box. I went down this rabbit hole a few weeks ago: Peltier plate, heat exchanger, water pump, arduino controller. Maybe a couple hundred bucks total? I would have jumped right into the project, except I have already collected all the parts for a conventional ice-box conversion.

My ballpark calculation suggests that the total energy budget would not be much different from the conventional set-up, but it would be much cheaper, lighter, smaller, quieter, and require no volatile coolant. Also, it's basically a heat pump, so the same basic set-up could be used as a cabin heater, if you have the watts.

A fun science project! But would it really work? Apparently there is one company in Italy actually selling such a thing. Their website is old and primitive, and doesn't indicate how much they are charging, or whether it's even still a viable product. Apparently, the "Sailing Uma" kids have got their hands on one, and promised a review in an upcoming video.
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Old 09-05-2017, 13:11   #10
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Re: Anyone use a Wine Cabinet as their fridge?

My wine fridge in my house doesn't get down to low enough temperatures. I can only set it to 40*F (sometimes it gets itself down to 39, might have seen 38 once). Is that cold enough for standard fridge duties?
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Old 09-05-2017, 14:00   #11
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Re: Anyone use a Wine Cabinet as their fridge?

They are the same price range generally as a fridge of the same size. I bought a vitrifrigio and put in mine for about $1K
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Old 09-05-2017, 14:01   #12
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Re: Anyone use a Wine Cabinet as their fridge?

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Originally Posted by toddster8 View Post
Those inexpensive wine coolers just have a cheap Peltier-effect plate. The same thing you can get in one of those plug-in 12V ice chests. They can cool (or heat) to maybe 40° below ambient. So if it's 100° in the cabin, the cooler will, at best, get to maybe 60°. And spend a whole lot of energy doing it, and dumping the excess heat into your cabin.

However, what if you coupled that with a heat exchanger and a sea-water pump from a nearby through-hull? Then the "ambient" starting point from which you are cooling would be the water temp, and the water would also take away the excess heat pumped from the cold box. I went down this rabbit hole a few weeks ago: Peltier plate, heat exchanger, water pump, arduino controller. Maybe a couple hundred bucks total? I would have jumped right into the project, except I have already collected all the parts for a conventional ice-box conversion.

My ballpark calculation suggests that the total energy budget would not be much different from the conventional set-up, but it would be much cheaper, lighter, smaller, quieter, and require no volatile coolant. Also, it's basically a heat pump, so the same basic set-up could be used as a cabin heater, if you have the watts.

A fun science project! But would it really work? Apparently there is one company in Italy actually selling such a thing. Their website is old and primitive, and doesn't indicate how much they are charging, or whether it's even still a viable product. Apparently, the "Sailing Uma" kids have got their hands on one, and promised a review in an upcoming video.
THANKS! That's a lot of good info to digest.

Concerns I've seen over the size... like I mentioned above... I don't keep a lot of refrigerated foods at the house and can't imagine needing more than I use here, on the boat. Just was thinking of something to keep a few things cool, that operated more like a refrigerator than an icebox.
.
I haven't spent any warm/hot days on my boat yet... they're coming soon I hope! ... but having lived in small human containers before, I can imagine the inside temps will rise, which I can see making the cooling device work harder if it's not very well insulated for the environment/purpose.
.
Not working hard at 'cheaping out'... it was just an idea that struck me and I have no experience with these little cooler/cabinets.
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Old 09-05-2017, 14:05   #13
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Re: Anyone use a Wine Cabinet as their fridge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudMusic View Post
My wine fridge in my house doesn't get down to low enough temperatures. I can only set it to 40*F (sometimes it gets itself down to 39, might have seen 38 once). Is that cold enough for standard fridge duties?
USDA suggests 40° or colder for refrigerated foods.
My fridge at home runs around 42° but I don't keep the kinds of foods they are mostly worried about, and I don't keep perishable or foods likely contaminated in there for very long.
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Old 09-05-2017, 14:06   #14
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Re: Anyone use a Wine Cabinet as their fridge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tkeeth View Post
They are the same price range generally as a fridge of the same size. I bought a vitrifrigio and put in mine for about $1K
The little wine cabinet I posted the pic of above... it's around $250.00
.
Figured with the small size... it'd be easy to stash away in my boat, unlike one of those camping refrigerator/coolers, or a standard refrigerator.
Plus the cost was nice
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Old 09-05-2017, 14:10   #15
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Re: Anyone use a Wine Cabinet as their fridge?

LOL. I got mine for free with "bonus points" from my checking account, back when there were such things. Hmm... come to think of it, the bank gave me the wine cooler, a really nice poker chip set, and a backgammon set. Drinking and gambling. No wonder they went out of business...
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