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Old 10-11-2012
Sailing Chance
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Refrigeration Conversion Help

I will be cruising in the Caribbean for the next year or so and am building a new Freezer box for my 34' Seafarer (didnt have one before).

I was back and forth between a Frig-o-boat compressor/evaporator system and an Adler Barbour system - both run on 12v DC current. Both systems costs about $1500 + insulation, etc. This will be a Small Freezer only - about 3.5 Cubic Feet.

During my research I came across this :
EdgeStar 80 Quart 12 Volt DC Portable Fridge/Freezer - FP861

I found it online for about $600 all-in. My thinking is that I can remove the outer shell and build up the insulation to make it more efficient for the higher temps of the Caribbean. All for about $800 instead of close to $2000 with the other systems. It only pulls 80W! of power or, 5.7 amps DC - same as the Adler Barbour. Am I crazy or does this sound like the way to go...?

All my electronics are supported by 300W of Solar and a 400w wind turbine. I also have a genset. The Freezer will definitely be the largest power draw, but this seems like a no brainer to me. What am I missing?
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Old 10-11-2012
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Re: Refrigeration Conversion Help

I guess that's doable, have you done anything like this before?

Also, you must be aware that the 5.7 amp rating is likely RLA, and that on startup the compressor WILL draw much more than that. A good rule of thum is near triple the run current. Granted, that spike typically lasts only a second or two at most, but the power supply MUST be able to handle it. Adding a hard start kit or booster capacitor can help a lot.

Good luck!
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Old 10-11-2012
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Re: Refrigeration Conversion Help

So you are thinking of building that unit into the cabinetry in your boat? If you are going to box it in you will need to make sure that the compressor section still gets good ventilation. You also want to make sure that you can access the compressor easily for service and maintenance.

Beware of manufacturer specs when it comes to compressor amp draws. Compressor draw varies depending on box temperature and ambient temperature. If they quote a really low amp draw, then it is likely measured in optimum conditions with a cold box. You can expect real world draws to be higher, especially if the condenser is located in a hot cabin with poor ventilation.

Having said that, it wouldn't surprise me if they used the same compressor as the AB and Frigo do!

The advantage to the kits is that they allow you to locate the condensing unit in a cool well ventilated area of your choosing.

BTW Brewgyver, Capacitors and hard start kits only apply to AC motors not DC.
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Old 10-18-2012
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Re: Refrigeration Conversion Help

I am also looking to convert
I have a rather large cabinet that I can do an ice box conversion
or am open to buying a fridge such as below

here is a Norcold unit for 663
am I missing something, does this include the compressor & tubing & all?
I am assuming that one limits their space if they go this route?

any other unit ideas are much welcomed
I would like to stay near 1000

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Old 10-18-2012
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Re: Refrigeration Conversion Help

Have you consider vacuum insulated panels for insulation?
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Old 10-19-2012
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Re: Refrigeration Conversion Help

Here is what we did, right or wrong, it worked for us.

I used two inches of foam board and spray foam to beef up the insulation in our icebox. The first year out, I took apart a dorm sized refrigerator without breaking the system. I curled the condenser into a "U" shape. The evaporator went down into the box and the condenser and compressor went behind and on top of the icebox. I boxed the compressor/condenser in, with 3" holes at each end of the box. I installed 12 volt fans, like the ones used to cool desktop computers, inside the box at the holes. I purchased a Johnson controls refrigeration thermostat to run compressor and fans. I wired it up to my inverter. It worked fine, but pulled more amps than my 85 watt solar panel and Aqua Air wind generator could put back in our batteries. The Honda generator had to be run way to much, about an hour each night.

The next year I got my hands on a used Danfoss BD35 12v compressor. I removed the 134 from the system, cut out the 120v compressor and soldered in the Danfoss, and put the gas back in. The Honda gets run much less now. We used it as a refrigerator but it would work as a freezer also by turning down the thermostat.

We sailed on a tight budget, and nothing on the boat had a factory warranty, but we sailed.
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