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Hi Cruisers,

Those of you who are pretty dedicated to the ball or hook, do you have refrigerator units and how are they powered? I just don't know, so I'm asking - do solar cells and/or wind generators make enough juice to supply the batteries while they are running a refrigeration unit?

Dave
 

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Dave,

There are too many variables to answer this definitively. It depends on the size of the compressor (determined by the size of your box), the amount of insulation you have, whether you want/need a freezer, and the amount of solar panel area you have or can accommodate.

If you've got an ice box already, as a starting point I'd go looking for fridge conversion kits and determine their current requirements. Assume a duty cycle of 75% to be safe and calculate how many amp hours that corresponds to in a 24 hour day. Then figure out how much solar area you can accommodate, divide the total panel rating by 2 given our latitude, shading, etc., assume a 6 hour day, and that'll tell you if you can cover the load. The devil will be in the details but this will give you an order of magnitude estimate.
 

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bell ringer
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Hi Cruisers,

Those of you who are pretty dedicated to the ball or hook, do you have refrigerator units and how are they powered? I just don't know, so I'm asking - do solar cells and/or wind generators make enough juice to supply the batteries while they are running a refrigeration unit?

Dave
My boat sits out on a mooring and the freezer/refrigerator (huge freezer with a spill over fan system) on it runs all the time from April splashing to Nov haulout. I have a 290W solar panel and 460 AH batteries and when I get to the boat Friday evening the batteries are normally 95+% state of charge. From the logging menu of my solar controller the system normally uses about 60 AH/day. I have never seen the batteries less than 90% SOC at the end of the week even with cloudy/raining days during the week.
 

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s/v Ubiquitous
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good info

I just got the frig in my Morgan 35 working today...yea! I plan on setting the DC up with a 240w solar panel and controller followed by 3 sets of 6v golf cart batteries. Our only other drain will be fans and lights and possibly an 110 ice maker. Does this sound feasible?
 

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One of None
Hunter 34
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uh.. gentlemen please spell it Fridge or Refridge. not frig :)

It would not sound quite so right to say something like: DIY frigging lol
 

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We live aboard our Sabre 36 on a mooring. The refrigerator (adler barbour cold machine) is always switched on. We have two soliban 125w panels and 540a/h batteries. Fridge has been on 9 weeks straight with just solar powering the setup.
 

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We live aboard our Sabre 36 on a mooring. The refrigerator (adler barbour cold machine) is always switched on. We have two soliban 125w panels and 540a/h batteries. Fridge has been on 9 weeks straight with just solar powering the setup.
Where are you moored?

I have a solar panel and a wind generator that are connected to 2 batteries that are dedicated to just running the fridge/ice box. I am at the dock though, in Connecticut, and have the charger hooked up as well. I have been out for 2 weeks with no problems though. Wind generator works a lot better (most of the time) when off the dock and on the hook.
 

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Dirt Free
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Re: good info

I just got the frig in my Morgan 35 working today...yea! I plan on setting the DC up with a 240w solar panel and controller followed by 3 sets of 6v golf cart batteries. Our only other drain will be fans and lights and possibly an 110 ice maker. Does this sound feasible?
A 110v icemaker (through an inverter) will suck your batteries dry very quickly.
 

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islander bahama 24
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It also depends on what type of system you install i just installed a system for a customer in tacoma pm me and I will sendreal world specs i have can't send crap on this tablet to the forum just thru email. Rob
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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I have a small freezer box at the top of a large well insulated top loading fridge. Makes ice in 95f ambient..

Adler Barbor Super Cold Machine air cooled.

I have 400 watts of tiltable solar feeding 6 golf cart batts.

Most days I am fully charged by mid day.
 

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Your ice box insulation could make a huge difference in the energy required to maintain temperature. Before we added refrigeration, we went to Maine in the company of an older Morgan 34. These folks used literally 10 times the ice we used in our boat over a two week period.

These folks bought bulk ice at a commercial dock and had a strategy for recycling the melt water--but that's another story.

Since then, we've added an Isotherm refrigeration system with a thru-hull fitting that contains an in-water heat exchanger. It has proven to be a very energy-efficient setup. Normal engine operation (60+ minutes/day) is sufficient to keep the battery bank sufficiently charged when cruising.
 

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I'm currently running a 12v only 27 year old unit that is air cooled (perhaps the most inefficient setup possible). I've got 280w of solar panels running through a MPPT controller and a Victon BMV600S monitor to tell me watts watt.
On hot days (over 90) I need around 75ah to satisfy the fridge, it's on the list for a air/keel replacement next haul out.
My panels keep up the draw (about 110 on average daily) quiet easily, more often than not I'm showing 95% by early afternoon.
 

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We I replaced our refrigeration with wate cooled aldar barbour supercold5 years ago i took the oppertunity to blow foam isulation aorund the exhisting box. The average daily ah draw dropped from 48 to 22.

iNSULATION IS SO VERY IMPORTANT
 

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I use a Domatic cooler/freezer, it can be used as a deep freeze or cooler. For the summer I set it to 0 C (32 F) and leave it on all the time. I have two 100 ah batteries and a 64 watt (10 year old) solar panel. Two years now and never had a problem. A bonus is that because it runs on 12 or 24 vdc or 120vac I take it home and plug it in and set it for minus 18 C (0 F) and have an energy efficient extra deep freeze for the winter.
 

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We have a very large freezer with spillover to a refer. 280 watts of solar and an Air Breeze wind gen.

Currently in the cold waters of Maine we're almost always 90% state of charge or higher. Even on cloudy windless days. But in Florida in the winter we need to run the gennie every 3 to 5 days to assist charging.

I did add a bunch of insulation which helped a lot but warm water and warm air temps make a big diff.
BTW, solar does a lot more overall than wind gens.
 

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1974 Cal 29
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Engel has very efficient drop-in units. I'm planning to purchase one of these to replace my un-insulated ice-box, and power it with two 12v G27s, each fed by it's own 100Watt panel and WPM charge controller. I may add more batteries, or bigger batteries, at a later date, but other than lights (which will eventually all be LEDs) and fans, there is little other power consumption.

My previous boat had a similar setup, but aided by a wind generator for those stormy days that keep the sun hidden.
 

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I'd be curious to see photos of smaller boats with large panels on them. A fridge could be handy, but the requirement to plug in makes it far less appealing. The 30w panel on my 28' boat already is large, I can't imagine finding room for 250w worth of panels.

Dave_E: We've always had an easy time finding ice on the Salish Sea, so a fridge conversion hasn't been a major consideration. Our icebox is well insulated and we can go 4-6 days on 2 blocks of ice (4 days if one is half melted when we start, 6 if both are intact).
 
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