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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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Discussion Starter #1
If you were to fit new refrigeration into your boat would you go air cooled or water (keel) cooled ?

I'm presuming water cooled is preferable due to less condensation and less noise but I'd be interetsed to hear what others think.
 

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Keel cooled, I gather, would be different from a water cooled condenser that constantly discharges cooling water flow? For some reason these all seem to discharge above the waterline and I find that very annoying... but then I don't like 'water features' either...

We can hear our air cooled compressor, but it's not optimally located (under the aft berth which is our primary) How does the cost compare?
 

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Go with one of the Engel drop in units. I am using one of the chests now and it sips power! Using less than I thought and I can get by with one (1) 85 Watt solar panel for almost a week.

Greg
 

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Tartan 37
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Check out Sea Frost, they have both air and water cooled, but not keel cooled.

I am probably going with their BDX air
 

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We added an Isotherm refrigeration system about 10 years ago. It uses a cooling coil that is inside a thru-hull fitting that replaces my galley sink drain thru-hull. The discharge is below the waterline. The Danfoss compressor is extremely quiet and there is no pump equivalent to the fan used for an air-cooled system.

We are extremely satisfied with the power consumption and overall performance of this unit. We have a cold plate inside the icebox, but there are other options. We bought it at Defender, which describes our system at Isotherm 3751 ASU SP Water Cooled Refrigeration Component System.

(We have no connection with Defender or Indel Marine.)
 

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Old as Dirt!
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Having had both, for the sake of simplicity and ease of maintenance I would go with the air-cooled even though it is somewhat less energy efficient. We have a FrigoBoat unit for our refrigerator and a SeaFrost unit for our Freezer, both situated in a cabinet in our galley and even when both units are operating, one has to stop and listen carefully to hear either/both. On the rare occasions when an issue comes up, the units are very easy to access and service and we've had very good service from both even though we're in Southwest Florida which can get pretty toasty in the summer months.

FWIW...
 

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The OP didn't let us know his boat size or intended cruising area or duration.

I brought up the Engel unit as it uses MUCH less power than either the Frigoboat (4 to 4.5 Amp) or the Seafrost (2.6 best case, to 5.6 Amp). Our Engel unit start is 2. 4 and quickly drops to less.

If power is no problem, Any one will do. By the way, we have been useing our unit for well over 5 years and it makes GREAT ice in the heat of summer in the Sea of Cortez. :D

Greg
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks all for the feedback. Reason I'm asking is that after an insurance claim we are suspecting (I'll be on board tomorrow to check) that repairer has installed air cooled unit instead of replacing the existing water cooled, which is as per Fallard's suggestion.

Water cooled is more expensive that air.

btw ... we do keep an Engel unit as overflow backup. It sits in the cockpit locker with access through the head. No complaints.
 

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All marine 12/24 volt air and air & water cooled refrigeration units are very very efficient. When the say water cooled there is most often a water cooled "subcooler" type of coil or keel cooler, sink drain coil which works in conjunction with the fan cooled condenser coil. (not all but many have this feature.) 100% water cooled of course would have to be off when the boat is hauled, so not to damage the compressor.

Greg, Engel uses a "swing motor compressor" very very low amp draw.
 

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All marine 12/24 volt air and air & water cooled refrigeration units are very very efficient. When the say water cooled there is most often a water cooled "subcooler" type of coil or keel cooler, sink drain coil which works in conjunction with the fan cooled condenser coil. (not all but many have this feature.) 100% water cooled of course would have to be off when the boat is hauled, so not to damage the compressor.

Greg, Engel uses a "swing motor compressor" very very low amp draw.
Denise,

I used to have an older Norcold unit that would draw 4+/- Amp. When I switched over to the Engel unit I was amazed at how much better it performed. :)

We are on a small boat it makes a big difference to us.

I have a Link-10 energy monitor and shut down everything (in and out) and started the unit to watch the draw. I saw it drop to less than 2 Amp after a short time, then run for a bit more. My old unit ran at the rated Amp draw ALL the time it was on. :(

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The OP didn't let us know his boat size or intended cruising area or duration.

I brought up the Engel unit as it uses MUCH less power than either the Frigoboat (4 to 4.5 Amp) or the Seafrost (2.6 best case, to 5.6 Amp). Our Engel unit start is 2. 4 and quickly drops to less.

If power is no problem, Any one will do. By the way, we have been useing our unit for well over 5 years and it makes GREAT ice in the heat of summer in the Sea of Cortez. :D

Greg
True enough and he should have done so.

Boat is a Malo 39 Classic which through some perverted Swedish logic is 42' loa not 39. Not such a bad thing actually as most marinas and yards charge us for 39 not 42. :)

Boat lives in Sydney (Australia) and can/will be found anywhere from coldish climate (Tasmania) and up into the tropics of the Great Barrier Reef. Sydney climate is temperate.

We currently use the boat between two - four days a week plus a couple of months full time. It is our intention to be partial cruising liveaboards for say six to nine months a year.
 

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I installed a new Frigoboat with their "keel cooler" heat exchanger about 10 years ago. Other than a thermostat that quit, it's been reliable.
While the Keel Cooler version does cost more than the version with the fan-and-radiator, I like the quiet and the low amp draw.
Our house bank is two GC batteries, and we have easily gone for two days at a time on the hook with plenty of power remaining to start up the diesel.

Loren
 

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True enough and he should have done so.

Boat is a Malo 39 Classic which through some perverted Swedish logic is 42' loa not 39. Not such a bad thing actually as most marinas and yards charge us for 39 not 42. :)

Boat lives in Sydney (Australia) and can/will be found anywhere from coldish climate (Tasmania) and up into the tropics of the Great Barrier Reef. Sydney climate is temperate.

We currently use the boat between two - four days a week plus a couple of months full time. It is our intention to be partial cruising liveaboards for say six to nine months a year.
tdw,

Nice boat. We have a couple of friends with Malos.

We visited Australia a couple of years ago. Tas, Sydney and Can, LOVED IT!!!!! VERY MUCH!!!!
You cruise in a GREAT area.

Good luck on the insurance claim.

Greg
 

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When the say water cooled there is most often a water cooled "subcooler" type of coil or keel cooler, sink drain coil which works in conjunction with the fan cooled condenser coil. (not all but many have this feature.) 100% water cooled of course would have to be off when the boat is hauled, so not to damage the compressor.
FWIW, the Isotherm system with the heat exchanger inside the galley sink drain thru-hull does not have a fan. But as Denise030 points out, you need water for water cooling to work!
 

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Since our old sailer is a Florida boat (and I was told they did it that way back then), we have a water cooled. Can't hear a thing as the pump and unit is in the stbd cockpit locker, but like mentioned the constant above the waterline discharge does get noticed by folks up here in the north west. But that rascal makes ice cubes!
 

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I just installed a norcold unit in our boat. I checked the engel link that Bene posted and I would have to say that the two units are identical. Probably like lots of other things one main manufacturer and different stickers.
My only input on the norcold has been that it has worked well, except for one problem that cropped up only after a few weeks. Power supply stopped providing power to the fan. Called our local norcold rep, two weeks later a complete new system shows up. All I needed was the power supply, even gave them the part number for it. but I won't turn down an almost complete spare system.
Also, I used surgical tubing to make gromits and little foot pads to help isolate any vibration from the unit. at night you can hear a little hum but during the day with the hustle and bustle I never even notice it running.
 
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