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Old 02-13-2017, 08:52 PM   #1
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Fridge upgrade on Mainship 34?

Having no experience with long distance cruising other than what I conjure up in my mind, it's hard to say exactly how much refrigerator space I'll need. My guess is as much as I've had in RVs or at home.

Has anyone seen the little under counter fridge in a 34 upgraded to a full size or at least normal size refrigerator/freezer?
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:39 PM   #2
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I'm pretty sure I saw photos of one that had a full sized fridge where the stove was.
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:48 AM   #3
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I'm pretty sure I saw photos of one that had a full sized fridge where the stove was.
So how do you cook?

Keep in mind that a larger refrigerator uses more electrical power so you may need to upgrade your batteries and alternator if you intend to spend time anchored.

We have a small boat and a small refrigerator. We've learned to adapt by using more food items that don't need refrigeration or freezing.

I suggest living with what you have for a while before making any drastic changes.
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:59 AM   #4
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Also, Depending on your cruising duration, a cooler full of ice can be a great temporary "fridge"
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Old 03-01-2017, 11:48 AM   #5
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We've been looking at a 34 and discussing. A large '5 -day cooler' with blocks of ice lining the bottom, storing Beer, soda and water, then periodically top off with ice. Theice can double for mixed drinks.

Meat gets vac-packed and put in the cooler of freezer. Food goes in the fridge. We're banking that the fridge should hold enough food to last between weekly trips to the grocery store. You can't really store fresh veg, milk, etc for weeks on end. Even a full sized fridge doesn't have capacity for our weekly beer consumption rate.

We don't see this as being an issue.
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Old 03-01-2017, 02:22 PM   #6
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We had a Mainsip 34, and never found the fridge size to be overly-limiting.

I mentioned in the recent thread about meal planning that we could use a couple coolers to augment. One with block ice and frozen food -- inserted already frozen and in the reverse-expected order of use -- and the other with ice, drinks, whatever other fresh food needed refrigeration.

We could fairly easily go three weeks or so that way, even more if augmented with grocery and ice stops or with meals ashore.

The coolers in the cockpit made decent auxiliary seating sometimes, too.

We also augmented our cooking capability with a one-burner propane camping stove and a propane grill, both in the cockpit. Think we had an electric toaster oven in the galley, as well.

These days, think I'd be inclined to add a microwave/convection oven combo instead of toaster oven. And maybe a real toaster. And maybe an electric pressure cooker/slow cooker combo thing.

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Old 03-01-2017, 08:03 PM   #7
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My objective is Loop cruising and consequently live aboard issues. I'd love to avoid depending on a cooler for anything except evening beer.
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Old 03-02-2017, 06:44 AM   #8
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My objective is Loop cruising and consequently live aboard issues. I'd love to avoid depending on a cooler for anything except evening beer.

Fair enough; that could warrant a different solution.

Bigger fridge, maybe AC/DC -- or AC with inverter, bigger battery bank, etc. Doable.

Just probably would need some thought first about where in the galley to install. And some thought about what you'd lose in that same galley. Trade-offs between fridge size, counter space, cooking systems, etc. Plenty of room for inverter and batteries, I think.

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Old 03-02-2017, 07:52 PM   #9
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Anyone know for sure if the functional difference between a household fridge and an AC/DC fridge is that the AC/DC fridge has the inverter already built in? Seems superfluous for boats that already have an inverter.
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Old 03-03-2017, 06:30 AM   #10
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Anyone know for sure if the functional difference between a household fridge and an AC/DC fridge is that the AC/DC fridge has the inverter already built in? Seems superfluous for boats that already have an inverter.

AC/DC fridges that use a Danfoss DC compressor essentially run on DC all the time. AC, when present, is converted to DC first by the fridges's "power supply." The DC compressor motor in (most current) AC/DC fridges includes a soft-start feature, and some other technical goodies. This is a very abbreviated version of what really happens, but captures the essentials.

Contract that with household fridges that run on AC all the time, even if enabled for DC marine use by an inverter. Many who use AC fridges in boats tie those to a single-purpose inverter, sized specifically and economically for the task, not necessarily the "whole house inverter."

Minor details: there are some inefficiencies with power conversion or inversion... big picture: size and fit would be more important to me... and the frost-free feature in household fridges could well be worth a look.

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Old 03-03-2017, 08:18 AM   #11
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Anyone know for sure if the functional difference between a household fridge and an AC/DC fridge is that the AC/DC fridge has the inverter already built in? Seems superfluous for boats that already have an inverter.
The AC/DC refrigerator only uses power when the thermostat calls for power. With an AC only refrigerator, you have to leave the inverter running 24/7 so power will be available when the refrigerator thermostat calls for it. Inverters draw power even in standby mode.

Good quality marine refrigerators are more efficient than household or "dorm" refrigerators because they are designed for the limited power available on boats.

We have a typical small marine refrigerator on our boat and while we have never done the Great Loop, we have cruised the AICW, Florida's St. Johns River and the Chesapeake Bay for months at a time without needing a bigger refrigerator. Sure, you can't just stock it up with a month's worth of meat and frozen vegetables, but cruising like we do or the Great Loop, you will find places to buy these things as you need them. Cruising seems pointless unless you stop along the way and visit the towns and cities.
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Old 03-03-2017, 09:37 PM   #12
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Guess it's all about compromises. Perhaps the limitations of a drawer type smallish fridge make for smarter planning and buying.
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:26 AM   #13
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We have an Engel Cooler/Freezer (came with the boat) on the flybridge on our 2006 Mainship 34T. You can set it for either cooler or freezer. Freezer accommodates 2 of us with enough food for 2 + weeks and we always have something left when we get home. Some of the newer Mainships before they went out had 2 drawers in the galley. One was a freezer and one was a refrigerator. Good Luck. Hal
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