Had a pleasurable experience with the small chest freezer on my aft deck. The challenge was to keep my beer cold without freezing my wife's lettuce and use no power and buy no ice for a minimum of 5 days.
I filled a 5 gallon flexible/portable water container with brine. I set the freezer at minimum temperature and froze the container into a solid brick before we left. I didn't put anything in the freezer for the 3 hr tow to the lake.
Once settled at anchor for the night, I moved the contents of the cooler to the unplugged freezer and added 18 bottles of room temp beer. I could have done this before we hit the road, but I wanted the freezer to normalize so the beer and lettuce didn't freeze. I have 2 remote bulb thermometers mounted on the side of the freezer...one reads the temp 1/2 way down the brick (about 4" off the freezer bottom) and the other at the bottom of the freezer basket -- about 8" from the top of the freezer. The temps at this time were 34 on top and 28 below. My bottled beer was placed directly on the brick.
The next morning the readings were 36/28 and my breakfast beer was perfect. There was a plastic food bag with a little water in it from the cooler above my beer, and that water froze solid. At the end of the day, we were at 40/28.
The next day the basket probe was showing 45. The brick probe was 29+. Worried at the climb of the basket temp, I powered the freezer for about an hour and saw 36/28. On day 4 I powered the freezer for 1/2 hr with similar results. Looking back, I'll bet most coolers have areas of 45 or higher regularly.
So now the big question. If/when I 'recharge' the freezer by applying power, will I be adding recharge time by setting the freezer thermostat at 28 versus having it at -20? The intent being that I wouldn't have to worry about over recharging and freezing my brew - screw the lettuce.
Blog entry about the trip here:
One More Time Around: Merlin - Just Like Me