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I presently have an ice box and would love to move up to refrigeration. The box is about 4 cubic feet... But I am clueless on refrigeration setups.

I have come across a working but used Adler Barbour DCM~2 unit for very reasonable price. Is this the type of thing I could use to convert my ice box? Present setup is just one engine battery but all wiring is there for two additional. I mainly day sail so the boat would be plugged into dock elec most of time. I am unclear about how much energy these units require and whether I can install to work off 110v while at dock.

Also it is an r-12 unit and I wonder about sourcing more r-12 here in US. Research tells me a r-134 conversion won't work/last.

So what do folks here with more knowledge think? Are there better options for converting my icebox? Or would it be wiser to try to figure out how to install a small 110/12v fridge unit?

Thanks...
 

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One of None
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R, don't bother with the used, unless you have access to R-12 and the tools of the trade.
Just about any of the units are very very DIY friendly for ice boxes on boats like ours.

I installed a Norcold in my boat over a year ago it's great. I also did a whole rewire of the battery systems. 2 6 volt for the house and 1- 12 volt for the engine.

The Refridge units are very easy on amps. I'm about 3.5 on mine when it's running.


 
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islander bahama 24
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I have recently installed one on a customers boat. Here is the unit I installed for him they also market it as norcold https://www.engel-usa.com/products/...-conversion-models/ice-box-conversion-kit-136 it also automatically switches from line voltage (110 volt ). And low voltage. Also the more insulation you have the better went from 3 to 4 inches and almost cut power usage in half if you can add it. Also plug off the drain line
 

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I second what Denise said. Better to go with new. R-12 refrigerant isn't available and if you end up having a leak you will have to replace the entire unit. They are easy to install with 2 self contained parts. I would have 1 start battery and 1 house bank with at least 1 battery at the minimum. I bought an Adler-Barber Cold Machine and am very happy with it.

Tod
 

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Welll, I'm amazed a how well they work. Not that I don't know about HVACR, but that so much progress has been made in the various components! 30-40 yrs ago one would never dream such efficency could be reached!
 

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I just installed an Adler Barber supercoldmachine and it was simple to install and works great. I just had my first ice cold beer from it and yesterday it was scotch on the rocks, yes I can make ice cubes with it too. Can ya tell I love it? No More carrying blocks of ice , or freezing up my own at home. I have the unit with water cooling but did not need to hook that up, the air cooling works fine, but just in case I need it in the tropics I can hook it up.
As far as running off dock 110volt, the Norcold units I beleieve have a built in converter and can run directly from Ac or DC. The Adler Barber do not ,they must run off 12voly DC but if you have a decent built in battery charger (like I do ) its not an issue as the charger just repalces what I pull from the battery, it seems to amount to the same thng really.
 

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Rby,

You might want to take a quick look at one of our project pages. We converted our OLD ice box to a reefer and it worked very good for MANY years. Even in the tropics.

See it at; Guenevere's Projects, Ice box replacement

It's work, but well worth it! Now days we have converted to an Engel unit, FAR better on the power draw.

Greg
 

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You CAN run 134a in an old R12 system with no problems; it has been done many times. However that is something you would do if you already have an old system installed that you were trying to get a few more years out of. It wouldn't be worthwhile to put all that time and effort into installing an old obsolete system with an unknown history. Certainly not if you don't have the ability to properly evacuate and charge the system.

Despite the energy efficiency of modern systems you should definitely upgrade your battery banks. It is not a good idea to run constant house loads like refrigeration on your cranking battery. You should have at least 1 dedicated house battery for that purpose. If you have room for 2, why not put 2 in? They are not that expensive. That way in the future if you do decide to spend a night on the hook , or at a dock with no shore power, you will still be able to start your engine in the morning!
 

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I am unclear about how much energy these units require and whether I can install to work off 110v while at dock.
Most units use anywhere from 3.5A to 5A when running, and once the box is cold (or you put pre-cooled stuff in) they run 50% of the time, so do the math, worst case is 60ah per day. That's been my experience with our A/B for 16 years! A good energy budget will indicate that 100 ah per day is a reasonable number for boats with fridges and reasonable other house loads (i.e., NOT using electrical inverters to make coffee or toast!). :)

If you don't have a NorCold which switches to 110V, then your charger simply fills up the batteries as the fridge works on DC all the time.
 

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I don't believe the Engel and Norcold are the same. Engel uses a swing arm compressor that is proprietary. It is also more efficient.
Engel and Norcold are not the same. I have used both, AND the Waeco unit.

BY FAR the BEST unit, power wise, is the Engel. It's the unit I am now using in the boat. The old Norcold went to the trash and the Waeco is in the truck or car when we go shopping.

NOT a pro, just a user.

Greg
 

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Rby,

You might want to take a quick look at one of our project pages. We converted our OLD ice box to a reefer and it worked very good for MANY years. Even in the tropics.

See it at; Guenevere's Projects, Ice box replacement

It's work, but well worth it! Now days we have converted to an Engel unit, FAR better on the power draw.

Greg
Hello Greg and Jill! I'm just wondering which Engel unit you installed. I'm about to replace my fridge and I'm probably going to buy an Engel drop-in unit. Thanks in advance.
 

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The Engel intrigues me as I understand they draw the least amount of power and I do need to address my refrigeration, which has finally bit the dirt.

I have a good sized refrigerator / freezer (yes, ice cubes and deep freeze) which is 10in wide x 40in long x 30in deep, top access through my galley counter top. This has a cold plate with a timer. The box has a removable plastic divided to separate it into freezer and refrigerator compartments. When run the freezer would be below zero.(depending on time of year)

This was a pretty expensive, engine driven compressor system installed by Rich Beers 'Technicold' in the mid 1980s. I still have the invoice. It's currently water cooled and runs off my starboard engine. It slowly lost it's ability to cool and although the compressor 'click's on' it no longer refrigerates. It's an R-12 system and I guess you might say, due for an upgrade.

I'd like to keep the box, and chuck everything else and run my refrigerator as God intended, off solar panels and house bank. The current setup worked great on the hook but necessitated running engines at the dock where the boat spends most of its time.

The first issue as I see it is that I'm in the tropics. Water cooling a must. Next problem is my box size. When I do the math that's 12,000 cubic inches or almost 7 cubic feet. I haven't seen a conversion drop in kit of this size.

Anyone been there and done this?



Any ideas?
 

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Copa,

At this time we have an MT-17 or 27, can't recall just now. We went with this size as I can just drop it into the space we had our mounted Norcold in without cutting ANY teak. Jill forbid me from cutting any of our trim as it's old teak that looks better then the new stuff (to our eyes). :D

IF I had the room, and could cut the teak, I would have used one of the drop in units. But what we have works for us.

By the way, when I turn on the old Norcold it used 4.2 Ah running. The same for the Waeco, all the time it runs. BUT, if you watch our energy monitor Youtube video -
( Energy Monitor Mini Op-Eval - YouTube )

you can see that the Engel unit ramps the power down as it runs. It starts at about 2.4 Ah, but quickly ramps down to something like 1.8 or so!!

Greg
 

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rick Isotherm has what you need.. Looks like engel doesn't make what you need. I love the swing compressor but I'd still consider the danfoss compressors used. They are ALL, VERY low amp draw.

Do you seek dual plates/control Rick, or one with spill over cooling to the refrigerator side? (best imho)

I'm not all that keen on water cooling for any. tropics or not. condensors can work in 100 + degree ambient and still cool well. The insulation on the box/es is the deal maker/breaker.

this will do 7 cu ft. they make one that will do 15 also
Marine Water Cooled Holding Plate Systems on Sale
this one will 7.1 cu ft. water cooled with plate.


this from norcold is what I installed.


Engel. (nearly identical to norcold)
https://www.engel-usa.com/products/fridge-freezers/ice-box-conversion-models/ice-box-conversion-kit-136

Oh, and box size is a big +- variable. bigger box with less super insulation can be better then a box half it's size with minimum insulation.
 

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pricey would be an understatement Rick. To convert it to a 12 volt condenser and to 134A is something that can be done. You would need a btu rating from the old, but I've not seen 12 volt condensers sold without evaporators, but then, I'm not in the marine trade either. .
 

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pricey would be an understatement Rick. To convert it to a 12 volt condenser and to 134A is something that can be done. You would need a btu rating from the old, but I've not seen 12 volt condensers sold without evaporators, but then, I'm not in the marine trade either. .
R-12 is increasingly rare and expensive. My refrigeration is almost 30 years old and won't run off electricity. I was thinking that investing $700 for cold beer a real value. But not so much, if I'm staring at $2000 + +

Maybe it's time to find that gypsy with the R-12 ??
 
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