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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 03-12-2003
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Cheap Fridge Idea

Thermal

On our camper-van we have a small ac-dc-propane fridge that works just great underway with all of the horizontal accelerations of normal driving. That makes me wonder if the level requirement is for the agerage rather than the instantaneous condition. The owner''s manual cautions about posible over heating if the camper is not parked on a level surface, but has no caution against using the 12-volt option underway. Do you have any further information to share? Thanks, George
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  #12  
Old 03-12-2003
AJS AJS is offline
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Cheap Fridge Idea

When using these refrigerators are in propane mode, the unit must be level for at least 3 reasons that I can think of:
1. To keep the flame on the safety thermocouple. This device senses heat and shuts off the propane flow if it cools down. This would prevent propane from flowing if the flame gets extinguished.
2. To keep the flame aimed at the chimney so that its heat can run the evaporator properly.
3. To keep the flame out of contact with any other part of the fridge.

These limitations do not apply when an electric compressor is being used to power the unit, whether DC or AC.
I''ve heard that its bad to lay a regular fridge down or turn it upside down. Don''t know if this is a myth or not.
I doubt you could run a propane fridge while sailing with heel.
I''ve been toying with the idea of retro fitting my built in cooler with the cooling unit from a Koolatron or similar electronic refrigeration unit. I noticed someone earlier said that they are power hogs, but I though i remembered seeing the power consumption someplace and it wasn''t bad. I''ll have to check I guess. These units don''t have huge capacity, but I think I would be able to leave a lot of stuff in the cooler during the week (plugged into shorepower) and then augment with ice when using the boat on the weekend. An added benefit is that the cooler and its contents would be pre-cooled and wouldn''t melt nearly as much ice.
I''d like to hear thoughts on this possible project.

AJS
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  #13  
Old 03-12-2003
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Cheap Fridge Idea

My Koolatron cooler used 4Amps @ 12V, about the same as my Addler-Barbour "Cold Machine" compressor unit.
The Coolatron runs full time (4A x 24Hrs = 96 AH per day), and maintains < 40 degree differential twixt ambient & box. The Peltier unit failed after 2 summers of continuous use (dockside). Kooatron advised that cost of module was about same as cooler +/- $100.
The Addler-Barbour is still running fine after 10 years. My reefer box is NOT super insulated, so the compressor runs about 18 Hrs/day (Florida/Bahamas), utilizing about 75 AH/day. Cost of A-B unit c/w ''stat < $450.
In any case (whatever reefer installed) INSULATION is the key!
Regards,
Gord

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Old 03-13-2003
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Cheap Fridge Idea

The biggest drawback to the electronic refrigeration systemsis that they cant make ice. I would hate to give up 90+ amp hours a day and not be able to make margaritas.

Svensens Marine here in Alameda California has a new product that is a well insulated ice chest with a small compressor based refrigeration system on it. It is supposed to be able to operate from -40 up and the power consumption while its running is 3 amps. Its about $400. I have refrigeration on my boat so was not intereted in in but will see if I can get some more info (such as name of the manufacturer) when Im over there today.
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  #15  
Old 03-13-2003
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Cheap Fridge Idea

I have an
Alder/Barbour unit on Teacher''s Pet III, it been out to Tahiti and back, been used for 10 years, still makes 4 trays of Ice in 12 hours and it runs exactly 5 minutes every 1/2 hour, the secret is in a very well insulated box which does not touch the hull.
Gene Koblick
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  #16  
Old 03-13-2003
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Cheap Fridge Idea

We have an independent deck refrig. that we bought in 97 at the West Marine store in Oakland, CA. It operates on propane,12VDC and 110 VAC. When we are under power I run it off the 1500 watt inverter, under sail I turn it off or turn it on sparingly using 12vdc. At anchort I use the 20# propane bottle I use for the Forc4e 10 BBQ. It is a handy unit for beer, soft drinks and its worth the extra energy.
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Old 03-14-2003
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Cheap Fridge Idea

The only problem with thermoelectric coolers to my knowledge is they will only cool down 40 degrees from the ambient temp(if it''s 80 in your cabin the fridge is going to cool it to 40 degrees. I use one on my boat and as long as it stays below 90 everything keeps well chilled but I don''t think I would trust keeping meats at that temp. There are cooks out there in cyberspace, how about giving us the facts on temps to keep meat,fish,dairy, and the usual things we keep in a fridge for a weekend aboard. thanks in advance from those of us who don''t know.
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Old 03-15-2003
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Cheap Fridge Idea

There are some tables in the technical section of glacierbay''s web site on the useful life of foods at various temperatures. This web site has a lot of good info about insulation, a box building assistant that will calculate the heat load of your box and a really good article on sizing battery banks.

I used their vacuum panel insulation on my last boat and was very pleased with the results. Im now in the process of building the fridge on my new boat using the same insulation.


www.glacierbay.com
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Old 03-15-2003
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Cheap Fridge Idea

KenD:
Effective refrigeration should be maintained @ about 40 degrees F.
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Old 03-16-2003
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Cheap Fridge Idea

The small self-contained fridges that I mentioned in a previous mesasge in this thread are made by an outfit called Engel. The power consumption seems reasonable and they can be operated as either a fridge or freezer. Have a look at their web site.

http://www.i-m-d.com/engel/

One of their firdges in a size suitable for a small sailboat will cost about $400.


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