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post #1 of 6 Old 06-20-2002 Thread Starter
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Boat Portable Refrigeration

I''ve been given some thought to installing a refrigeration/freezer system on my 26 ft.boat.I''ve been trying to weigh out the pros and cons of a portable system, compared to a full blown installation.There are several companies that make "portable" units that have air cooled compressors.Engel makes such a unit that has a pretty large storage volume, while also being versatile in regard to power requirements.The unit can run on either AC or DC.Has anyone had any experience with these type of units, or other portables? I mostly coastal cruise with my boat with an occasional trip to the Bahamas.How well do these units work in the warmer climates?The units I''m interested in are sized around 1.5 to 2.5 cubit feet capacity.
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-01-2002
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Boat Portable Refrigeration

Has anyone had any experience with the Adler-Barbour portable units. They are like a cooler, but are set up for 12 volt or 110 volt refrigeration. Rather expensive at about $500, but attractive due to high quality.
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-02-2002
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Boat Portable Refrigeration

Whenever the discussion turns to refrigeration, I wonder how many pounds of ice could be purchased for $500, and how many pounds I go through in a season. I wonder how long the refrigeration will last before it stops working, and what the power consumption would cost me until it does. We''ve just had 15 pounds of cubes last us 3 days in 100 degree heat with no special insulation efforts on our icebox, and no pre-cooling the box or pre-freezing its contents. We''ve never have to worry about ice keeping things cool. (Something about physics.) Our friends with refrigeration always seem to be looking for mechanics and/or running their engines (heating up their cabins in the process) so they can keep their icebox cold. Seems counterintuitive, inefficient and expensive to me.
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-03-2002
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Boat Portable Refrigeration

I looked at various forms of portable refrigeration and decided that ice was a better idea. In any case you have three basic choices: thermo-electric, ac/dc, and 3-way ac/dc/propane. Each has its own pluses and minsuses. Thermo-electric coolers are cheap. About $100 for a big one. Can both heat and cool. Uses ALOT of power and cannot get much colder than 40 degress less than current air temp. The ac/dc compressor type portables start in the $500 range and go up from there. They are much more efficient than the thermo-electric types. Typically they can make ice or at least make things ice cold. The 3-way ac/dc/propane option is somewhat interesting. On ac/dc I believe they use the least amount of power of the three or have the option of attaching a small propane bottle. I think the technology is called ammonia gas absorbtion or something like that. Price is about the same as the ac/dc units. Catch is on these units that they work best when the boat is flat. Get less efficient at various degrees of heal due to the cooling mechanism employed. IF you are worried about heating up the cabin just put the units outside in the cockpit under a towel or some shelter. Good luck.
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-05-2002
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Boat Portable Refrigeration


I''ll pass on the ''what you should do'' stuff and try to answer your question. A good friend is currently using an Engel (the larger unit) as an on-board freezer while living aboard in (currently hot/humid) Florida. The boat is air-conditioned so it''s operating at about 80-85 degree ambient. He sets it about midway on the 1-5 thermostat setting, where it freezes ice cream rock solid - which was the motivation for his purchase in the first place.

He measured it at 2.7 amps DC (while plugged in, so that''s a full/healthy 13+V of DC) with a duty cycle of roughly 60% (his estimate).

Seems to be a great way to expand refrigeration capacity at the dock or while doing an ICW cruise (lots of motoring = lots of amps for hard ice cream), and it''s cheaper & easier than buying/installing a built-in system. The whole thing turns upside down once you leave for the Bahamas, of course - where it will ask roughly 75 amp/hrs from you, day in & day out, beyond all your other 12V consumption. Unless you have a very unusual 26'' boat, that just won''t be practical. But hey, unplug it and do without...and then enjoy the treats when you return to the dock. It''s not like you can''t enjoy it when its use makes sense.

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post #6 of 6 Old 11-22-2002
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Boat Portable Refrigeration

I have the engel and love it!!! It freezes without problems even in tx summers. I have it in my lazzerate. hooked up to the 12 v system
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