Author Topic: Idea's for a new fridge.  (Read 4946 times)

Valor

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Idea's for a new fridge.
« on: February 26, 2018, 02:13:57 PM »
Hey guys,

Looking for some input to this so feel free to let me know your thoughts.

Last season I spent an enormous amount of time on the boat. I sailed everyday and spent 5 nights a week out on it. I have also gone through the past season running bags of ice out to the boat on the mooring and it honestly sucks. Even if your careful with bins and crates, your food always gets wet and if something spills, it drains into the bilge and that's another entire topic of conversation.  I have read all of the posts on this site about converting the icebox to a fridge, and the consensus seems to be there isn't enough insulation in the design and build of the current icebox as it was delivered from Pearson.  My situation dictates I need a fridge. I like stuff cold and the BS with the ice needs to go away. If I can limit the AH of the compressor to 20-30 per day then the solar option can offset that load.

So here is my thought process. Instead of drilling holes all over the icebox so I can pour 2 part foam in or destroy my counter to add foam sheets and maybe get a better R value or not, why not make a new fridge?

I still have the old pressurized alcohol stove in my boat. It works fine but the whole operation makes me nervous. If the stove was removed there is a huge space there. A properly insulated structure can be built within that space very easily. Access would be so much easier because it's not buried in the corner, you wouldn't need to do a hand stand to get the stuff out of the bottom and you can even put the door on the side!. The old Ice box can be used as a non perishable food storage area, pots pans dishes storage or dry ice it to make a freezer as needed. A gimbaled Origo stove top is more then enough to prepare any meal. It just seems like an absolute way of solving the problem without destroying the counter top and cabinets. So what do you guys think? Crazy or MAYBE a good project idea?

Let me know!
Michael
Michael M

1978 Pearson 323 Hull #108.
Yanmar 3GM30F

Alma

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Re: Idea's for a new fridge.
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2018, 04:26:14 PM »
I know of no elegant solution.

Years ago there was a solid state (Pelitier) water cooled unit from Scandinavia that just didn't have the capacity for this climate.
If it had it would be perfect. It had the solid state chip in a through hull and the heat from the fridge was conducted from a aluminum heatsink (coldplate) in the box through a massive copper braid to the through hull. It was energy efficient but could only cool to a 28 degree drop from the water temp-

I used to rob the ice machine at Trump Marina's Casino hotel and that was satisfactory. I had no problem taking ice from Donald Trump. Today I'd likely take the MACHINE-

Now I make my own block ice in a chest freezer at home. It is far better than manufactured block ice we have in S. Jersey coastal area. We have one ice supplier and the blocks seem to be reconstituted cubes- It has little value.

I use several sized plastic containers and I have a dedicated block ice cooler. The schlep from car to boat isn't too bad and the ice lasts several days if the items are already cold.

There IS opportunity to increase the insulation in the engine compartment. Remove the water tank manifold and install regular home sheathing insulation. Cut holes for plywood backing plates to mount the tank manifold and follow up with polished aluminum to reflect the engine heat. I made this upgrade many years ago and really does make a difference.

You could also destroy the existing icebox interior, install new insulation and re-glass it. Who really needs the cavernous size of our 323 iceboxes (although when I bought the boat I was pleased fitting FOUR cases of canned beer in that box).

I watch a cruising show and the sailors have a 40' aluminum boat. They had an upright Norcold looking icebox that would be comfortable in a motorhome. It was worthless offshore and everything fell out upon opening  the door on a port tack!

They ripped out the home-style box and made a cubbord. To replace the fridge they bought a marine top-loading box and installed it as a bench seat infront of the nav station. It looks far better than it sounds and that is because the captain is a carpenter/cabinetmaker. Here's the link- but I'm not sure where it would fit. https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?name=dometic-cf-80-coolfreeze-portable-refrigerator-freezer&path=-1|2276204|2276226|2276228&id=680814

If I had known I'd have my 323 25 years I might have attacked the built in box years ago.
I think a massive rebuild of the existing space within the original footprint and a good engine driven holding plate would work best.

I have a friend with two holding plates in his 37' Crelock. One is engine driven for jaunts to Hawaii and the other is 12v for dockside- They take up so much room in his box a 12 pack of cans is about all that fits!

I think a trip to the boat shows and a study of what the mainstream (for easy parts and service) builders are using might inspire you.

Meantime- you're welcome to an ICE COLD Stella from my homemade block ice!


rkfitz

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Re: Idea's for a new fridge.
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2018, 10:44:26 PM »
If you haven't pulled the trigger yet I can tell you what I did, maybe it will help. I have two solar panels above the Bimini rated at 360 watts total and an isotherm air cooled fridge system model 2501. I did not add insulation, I felt the original 2" was plenty. The o shaped evaporator will make ice and the box will chill below 40° using 40-60 ah per day. My house bank is three size 29 batteries. The fridge accounts for about a 10% battery drain overnight. The wife and granddaughters account for another 15%. On a typical new England summer day we are fully charged by 11 am. I installed a dual voltage water heater element in my 6 gal. Raritan (300 watt 12v/500 watt 120v) to utilize the excess solar capacity while giving the girls hot showers every evening.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2018, 10:05:43 AM by rkfitz »

Valor

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Re: Idea's for a new fridge.
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2018, 11:14:35 AM »
Thank you so much for replying. I did not pull the trigger yet. My thoughts so far was to leave the fridge as designed. The way I am thinking about this setup is as follows:

From what I had researched, lead acid batteries will be destroyed rather quickly if you discharge more than 40% on a reg basis. I figured 2 6 volt 420 AH batteries run in series to give the bank 12v@ 420AH would give me a very safe repeatable draw of 180ah a day all day every day without compromising the life of the batteries. I figure 2 200 watt solar panels should give me close to 19 amps per hour so if a full day is 5 hrs or so, I can theoretically pull 90-120 ah per day including the not so bright hours.. I figured there is plenty of cushion of unused available safe AH on the bank to safely makeup the difference of a cloudy day effecting the charge. As long as the compressor I end up with is no more then 7 amps and runs no more then 10- 12 hr's per day, my math should work. The batteries are 130 lbs beasts.  I was planning on mounting the house bank in the bow where the water tank would be since there is so much weight aft as it is and a full bow tank is roughly 360 lbs so everything should even out.

If anyone has real world draw numbers on the system they use and the batteries and solar they chose, please add to this thread!
Michael M

1978 Pearson 323 Hull #108.
Yanmar 3GM30F

Dolce_Vita

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Re: Idea's for a new fridge.
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2018, 12:05:27 PM »
I have two 100W panels mounted over the bimini, and 200AH of battery bank.  It's not enough. In my experience, and that of others, I have found that around 400W and 400AH seems to be the "sweet spot" for a cruising sailboat with two people and refrigeration, so you are spot-on with your sizing.  And even then, there are caveats.

Your battery usage numbers look good, but I think you'll find that you are overestimating the power you will actually get out of the panels.  Three factors cause this:

  • Time of day: Although the panels start generating as soon as they're in sun, the intensity of the sunlight is lower in early morning and late afternoon.
  • Angle: Sailboat mountings usually have the panels mounted flat horizontal.  The level of power produced falls off when the panels aren't pointed directly at the sun (as the cosine of the difference of the angle).
  • Shadows:  Shadows are the big killer of output.  Because the many cells of the panel are wired mostly in series, a shadow that covers just a few cells on a panel can shut down the entire panel's output.  On a sailboat with a mast, avoiding all shadows at all times is pretty much impossible.  This is why most multi-panel installations are wired in parallel.

As a result of all this, using the instrumentation on both my MPPT solar controller, and my Link battery monitor, I have found my actual solar amp-hours produced per day to be about half of what I was expecting, using assumptions (like a 5 hour 'day') similar to yours.  Your mileage may vary.

I also found that, despite having rebuilt the icebox by adding ~ 3" of additional insulation inside (essentially building a box-within-a-box), our 6 amp compressor runs 12-18 hours per day, further depleting our reserves.  Our plan going in to our 9-month cruise south and to the Bahamas was to run the engine (with its hi-output alternator and smart regulator) as needed to make up  the difference, but we quickly found this to be too fuel inefficient and produced too much heat in the cabin (worsening the refrigeration situation).  We ended up buying a small Honda 1000W generator to make up the difference using our 120V shore charger.  This thing is a marvel.  Its quiet, and runs for 4-5 hours on a HALF GALLON of gas!  And it gives you options for using  "shore powered" equipment while at anchor.  In our situation, we had to run it about 2 hrs per day typically. 

@(^.^)@  Ed
1977 P-323 #42 "Dolce Vita"
with rebuilt Atomic-4

Valor

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Re: Idea's for a new fridge.
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2018, 10:16:06 AM »
Hi Ed,

I was hoping you would chime in here. If you don't mind me asking, how many AH in a 24hr period is YOUR boat drawing just to run the fridge? With your 200 watt solar setup, how many AH are you replacing in a 24hr period on avg? Thanks!

Michael
Michael M

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rkfitz

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Re: Idea's for a new fridge.
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2018, 10:48:26 AM »
Kathy is on a ball at Block Island for the summer, I asked her to make an hourly record of solar output for a day with our 360 watt system. It averaged 10 amps/hour over 13 hours with cloudy skies. Our house bank of 3 size 29 batteries gives us 380 reserve capacity (630 reserve capacity × 0.6) and we normally use 80-120 amps over 24 hours. This includes using 25 amps for the water heater for one hour. One battery is in the stern with the starter battery, the other two are mounted on top of the keel. There is an 1800 watt inverter on board so there are movies every night for the grandkids (blu ray or netflix using my cellphone for wifi), a microwave, and all the other assorted electronic devices that need charging. I have a  Honda generator but haven't carried it on board for years, never need it. With this setup power is never a concern.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2018, 08:53:51 PM by rkfitz »

Valor

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Re: Idea's for a new fridge.
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2018, 02:54:31 PM »
@ RKFITZ. Thanks for taking the time to document your production rates. I feel a lot better knowing those figures.

Based on what I learned and what other people on this and some of the other boards have mentioned, I think my calculations are really close and if I'm off, it should be by a small margin. Realistically, If I am short on charge rate then 2 thing are going to happen. 1- Get another panel or 2- do as Ed has done and purchase a suitcase generator, plug it into the shore power and use the onboard charger to get everything topped off. If I could get by a week at a time without dipping below 60% of my capacity then I would be totally fine with running the generator once a week to get the bank back up to float.
Michael M

1978 Pearson 323 Hull #108.
Yanmar 3GM30F

SailRxSin

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Re: Idea's for a new fridge.
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2019, 12:23:56 PM »
Valor, we are thinking of doing this exact same thing.  Did you go through with it?   Would love to see pics if so.
Sincerely,
Skipper & Cindy
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grzano

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Re: Idea's for a new fridge.
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2020, 10:42:45 PM »
Hi,

I appreciate all of you and your comments. I am considering installing the Isotherm 2501 unit in my 323. I see that RKfitz did the same thing, and this is where I am getting the idea. The post is old, so perhaps none of you will still be on this site, but I was wondering if anyone had any photos of this unit inside the fridge unit. It measures 10X5X17, so I was wondering how he mounted it and whether you can put things you want to freeze in the loop coil?

I hope for replies.

Thank you.

Greg
I'd rather be sailing!

rkfitz

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Re: Idea's for a new fridge.
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2020, 12:47:50 PM »
I may have some photos of the fridge banging around somewhere, I'll check.

rkfitz

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Re: Idea's for a new fridge.
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2020, 01:19:00 PM »
As you can see I mounted it horizontally between the shelf and starboard wall of the icebox, just used four screws and standoff. I did install the optional door but I don't have a photo of that.