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Dcneuro 08-11-2010 06:49 AM

I am, (and have been), thinking about adding refrigeration to my 32. I have been looking at the Sea Frost unit which is engine driven. If I understand correctly, this system only works off 110v, (shore power), and the engine. Sea Frost maintains that running the motor for thirty minutes will keep stuff cold most of the day? Anyone have any experience with these units? Anyone have any suggestions? Anyone with a 32 with refrigeration on board?

remetau 08-11-2010 06:55 AM

We had friends that had an engine driven refrigeration. It did perform as suggested, but that was a problem when cruising. They had to be careful what they kept in the fridge since they could be gone more than 1 day while exploring a new port.

Dcneuro 08-11-2010 07:44 AM

By that I presume you mean that they were away from the boat by dingy and the fridge warmed up? If so, I don't think that would be any more of a problem than my ice having melted and needing to be replaced, (which is why I am entertaining this in the first place). I would imagine ice would still be needed with this system? I don't typically leave the boat for long, and I don't even own a dingy

Zanshin 08-11-2010 08:04 AM

I had an engine-drive compressor on my last boat. The system worked very well, but 30 minutes isn't enough to get the eutectic solution down to the freezing point. 45-60 minutes would suffice and then I would get 2 days or more of very cold beverages from the fridge.
It boils down to how often you are willing to run your main engine at very low loads... but if moving around the engine time used to get into and out of anchorages/docks/harbours was more than enough to keep the reefer cold.
How powerful is your engine (the compressor takes a lot of HP from a small engine)?

sailingdog 08-11-2010 08:18 AM

It depends on how you are using the boat. For liveaboard or long term cruising, I would recommend getting a 12 VDC powered system, rather than a engine-powered system, since it won't require running the engine when you're at a dock with shore-power. Also, upgrading the electrical system's regeneration capability is not a bad idea in any case.

How large a refrigerator are you looking for? The Engel/Norcold portable units are pretty good choices if you need something that isn't too large. They have units as large as 60 quarts IIRC.

Vasco 08-11-2010 08:21 AM

Dr. S,

Whether you have an engine driven fridge or not depends on how you use your boat. If you intend to cruise I would say no to engine driven as you'd have to run the engine twice a day to keep the fridge up. A 12v system would be preferable but with 12v you'd have to look at your charging system and possibly have to go with more batteries, panels, wind and/or a Honda.

If you're tied up at the dock most of the time I would still go with the 12v system as shorepower and battery charger will keep it up and, with sufficient batteries, you might get away without more charging if you go out for a weekend.

12v is cheaper and easier to install.

erps 08-11-2010 08:32 AM

We had an A/B Cold Machine in the previous boat and I installed one in our current boat after a massive failure with the Grunert system. We were averaging 40 to 50 amps a day with it. It would also allow you to use it over weekends without the extra support of alternate energy sources if you size your battery bank accordingly. Google Kohlhmann refrigeration (sp?) and you'll get a hit on a website with a good FAQ on boat refrigeration.

Dcneuro 08-13-2010 07:25 PM

Thanks to all for responding. I have decided against the engine driven system, not only from reading these posts, but also, the engine driven system is like three times the cost of the 12v system. This makes the decision easy!

Dr. S.

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