Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 27 Old 03-22-2012 Thread Starter
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Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

RV manufactureres have been making refrigeration systems that run on 110V/12/AND Propane for many years. These systems are cheap and available everywhere due to the high number of RVs around.

Why have I never heard of anyone using propane refrigeration on a boat? I know these systems can last weeks on a modestly sized bottle of gas, which would remove the need for huge wind/solar arrays, Balmar alternators and AGM batts etc etc.


There must be some reason right? I just can't think what it would be.....



Seriously though? What about using one of these:
LP Gas Refrigerator - Norcold 323 on sale - PPL Motor Homes
with all the appropriate sniffers/solenoid etc?

MedSailor

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post #2 of 27 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

Probably for the same reason that ammonia gas refrigeration is avoided ... if you get a leak you get "!!!!". Propane gas in an RV if it leaks simply 'drains' to the tarmac; in a boat it 'drains' to the bilge. Propane 'sniffer alarms' arent 'foolproof'.

Its all a 'safety issue'.
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post #3 of 27 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

it is used on cats, like the Gemini 105Mc and houseboats. The issue is that propane fridges don't work unless they are damn close to level and above the waterline, two difficult requirements on a monohull.

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post #4 of 27 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

If you park on a slope the RV fridge gets warm.eh. Then there's a down draft problem The electric side isn't as efficient as a compressor, me thinks. And then I think of BOOM. I've personally seen 3 boats and a house boat do the nasty. Oft gang aglee!
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post #5 of 27 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

A propane frig doesn't need to be level as long as there is motion.... So sailing wouldn't be a problem.... The biggest issue is with safety.... Not only with a propane leak... But with the open flame required on a propane fridge....
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post #6 of 27 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

I once used one on a boat. They do not work if not level. Even the smallest waves stop their functioning. If you are sailing they will not work for sure.
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post #7 of 27 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

I have one in my boat and it works great. Mine is a freezer and I get about 25 days on a 13kg bottle of gas. Mine is gimballed, though I leave it in the locked position almost all of the time. I might release the gimbal if the boat is going to be a long time on one tack and well heeled, otherwise no problem. The flame has gone out twice in the 2 years I've owned the boat, but it has a gas cutter, so it hasn't been a problem. I'm not sure it would be my first choice if buying new, but it has worked flawlessly for about 15 years now, which is saying a lot.

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post #8 of 27 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

We had a full sized front opening unit on Herreshoff NY 40 in the 70's but only used at anchor. Had forklift tank on deck. Kept the liquid assets at room temperature rather than on the rocks Safety is the big issue as well as the market it overwhelmed with 12v DC units and that's what builders and aftermarket promote.
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post #9 of 27 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

boom

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post #10 of 27 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

I'm not sure it's any more dangerous than a propane stove. Change all the gas lines and put in good quality shut-off valves and I can't see any problem.

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