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Old 09-14-2018, 08:02 AM   #1
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Solar/DC/AC - Cooler/Freezer

Solar/DC/AC - Cooler/Freezer

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071JSLDFX/ref=emc_b_5_t

I may purchasing a cooler such as this for boating season 2019.

Anyone with experience on solar and DC power needs regarding 24/7 use relativity aboard boat?

Maybe introduction to other brands of similar cooler/freezer??

Options of daytime solar power / night DC greatly interests me. Heck, just solar in day with no opening of cooler lid during dark hours should do the trick!

Thanks! - Art

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071JSLDFX/ref=emc_b_5_t
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:11 AM   #2
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I'm pretty involved in off road stuff, the guys all swear by the ARB freezers. I have enjoyed ice cream on the beaches of Baja, with just a small twelve volt battery and a harbor freight solar panel!
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:42 AM   #3
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I'm pretty involved in off road stuff, the guys all swear by the ARB freezers. I have enjoyed ice cream on the beaches of Baja, with just a small twelve volt battery and a harbor freight solar panel!
Welcome to TF Robert - And, Thanks! I'll Google ARB freezers...
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:48 AM   #4
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The primary "marine" brands are Dometic and Engel. I have a 40 qt Dometic. It draws 3.5 amps when the compressor is running. I use it as a fridge and it runs about 6-9 minutes an hour at an ambient temperature of 70F. That works out to about 110-160 watts per day. My 100 watt solar panel keeps up with it easily. It would probably draw at least twice that (220-320 watts/day) if used as a freezer. A 100 quart unit will draw 2.5-3 times as much (275-480 watts per day fridge and 550-960 watts per day freezer). You will need at least 200 watts of solar to keep up with that and I would prefer 300-400 watts. As far as batteries are concerned you will need at least a 100 amp-hr battery for a 40 qt unit and 200+ amp-hr for the 100 qt unit.



Another note is that these fridge/freezers use less power if they are full than if they are empty. I would always run one off DC since running them off AC involves about 10-15% more power from the batteries due to inverter losses.


I usually load mine just before an engine run so the run provides the larger power drain needed for initial cooling. Since these coolers are top loading opening them does not add much power drain. Putting warm stuff in does increase power drain.


Dometic also makes dual compressor models that have independent fridge and freezer compartments. They are worth looking at if you want cold drinks and ice.
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Old 09-14-2018, 09:40 AM   #5
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I have 4 295 watt solar panels along with two banks of golf carts providing 850 AH storage and a 3KW true sine wave inverter that runs 24/7. The inverter automatically powers the AC loads when genny or dock power is absent.

Last season with my genny down my batteries always remained safely charged on moorings and anchor thanks to my solar. Besides normal lighting, we have 2 TVs, computers and an 8.2 cuft fridge with self defrost that keeps ice cream rock hard.

So whatever you select for a freezer you should be fine IF you have both adequate battery storage and the means to charge it while away from dock power WITHOUT running an engine or a genny.
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Old 09-14-2018, 09:43 AM   #6
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I have an 10+ year old Waeco, I think they are Dometic now. Continues to work just fine. Used seasonally from May to September as a freezer. Also run on 12 volts. Solar panel 330 Watts keeps up with it, reefer and other boat loads during the summer season. Bought it used for $400, so no complaints.
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Old 09-14-2018, 10:29 AM   #7
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I have an 8 year old 12v freezer that the PO bought for the boat. It is branded as NovaKool but it is a Chinese made unit that is private labeled. The ARB freezers are simply a newer version of what I have.

The freezer works really well. A single 365W solar panel on my boat will keep up with the freezer (sitting in the aft cockpit), the fridge/freezer in the galley, and the battery charging as long as we arenít using the inverter for anything.
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Old 09-14-2018, 10:36 AM   #8
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We have a Domestic CF50 purchesed 2 yrs ago after borrowing units the two previous years.
We use it only as a fridge.
This last spring bought 2 80w panels. That's all the space I have for them.

The panels keep up with the CF50 and our fridge when the sun is out. Both are Danfoss BD 35.

If the sun is questionable we still get an extra day or so with both fridges at which time we usually fire up and move anyway.

The CF50 is dark grey which gets hot so I had Sunbrella cover made to protect it from the sun and weather. The unit lives on the back deck so needs the protection. The cover though must not be tightly fitted. Air movement is needed and the cover sloped to roll rain off.

My previous borrowing taught me ,AND my friends that moisture in the controls will damage the control panel when , not if, it leaks.

They fitted a tight, snug cover which trapped condensation moisture between the cooler and the cover allowing that moisture to collect and damage the panel. In their case the cooler was on a totally enclosed back deck where NO rain could get at it. It was the tight fitted cover that caused the damage by trapping that condensation.

I was able to repair the damaged control board but avoid that problem with a good loose cover large enough to keep the weather and sun off and keep moisture from accumulating

Otherwise for two years of our own and the previous two years of borrowing it has been a great addition..
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Old 09-14-2018, 11:23 AM   #9
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Thank you everyone! Great input.

Before next season I plan to put in new house bank [current HB is 9 yrs. old - getting long in the tooth, so to say - lol]. Also plan to add more solar panel. Will keep info from this thread in mind as I move toward having AC/DC/SP fridge/freez cooler like unit.
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Old 09-14-2018, 03:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Art View Post
Thank you everyone! Great input.

Before next season I plan to put in new house bank [current HB is 9 yrs. old - getting long in the tooth, so to say - lol]. Also plan to add more solar panel. Will keep info from this thread in mind as I move toward having AC/DC/SP fridge/freez cooler like unit.
Art-

I donít know what Vmp your panels have so that could limit you future panel selection. I went with 32Vmp panels that I have connected two in parallel that connect in series to another parallel pair. Yes, the distribution voltage can be hazardous if exposed (about 64-70V) which I happily put up with to enjoy the benefits of #10 wire. Heck, I could probably install #14 wire without losing much in the power distribution. I had half of the boat already wired with #10 from when I had lower voltage panels rated at 600W which I never saw.
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Old 09-14-2018, 06:30 PM   #11
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We have an Engel MT-80 we bought about 10 years ago. We use it as an additional freezer until we finish the contents then turn it off. I just plugged it back in to check the draw, it pulls 2.8A on the 12V circuit, I didn’t try the AC.
At a temperature of 0 F it runs about 90% of the time, maybe a little higher. We back the temp off to 20 F for a reduced cycle time.
This trip is the first with a solar booster, the nominal 120W panel produced a peak current of 4.6A in full sun up on the South Coast of BC. The highest per-day amp-hours we got according to the controller was 28, so it may have offset the Engle.
It was enough to make me plan on a solar installation.
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Old 09-14-2018, 06:52 PM   #12
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Yes, by all means solar! It is the gift that keeps on giving
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Old 09-14-2018, 06:59 PM   #13
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Initially I was excited by Art`s post,thinking the fridge was solar powered by built in panels. But it`s not, it`s a conventional portable fridge.
We`ve used a similar Waeco/Dometic for years. I can pull it down at home on mains power, run it on 12v in the car from home to marina, and easily feed it by the solar panels on the boat. Obviously at night it uses battery. Although temp is adjustable, the problem is stopping it freezing things than keeping them cool.
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Old 09-14-2018, 07:08 PM   #14
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Solar

Art,
I too use a Waeco freezer (12v) and have a solar array. The freezer is about 10-12 years old and still works great used for about 4 months each summer.

If I may suggest, over size your solar capacity as much as you can (reasonably). Remember you will have cloudy, rainy, or up here this year, smokey days where a smaller array may not meet your needs. Go with higher voltage and an MPPT controller for best efficiency.

I have 2 - 285 watt panels and an MPPT controller, with 6 golf cart batteries as a house bank (630 aH). My batteries made it back to 100% charge almost every day with no need to run shore power or the gen set.
Good luck,
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Old 09-15-2018, 01:19 PM   #15
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Power is important , but insulation is the key to low power consumption.


Yes, adding insulation to the outside of the box does help, but at the cost of space in the boat.


www.sundanzer.com , might work for you.
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Old 09-15-2018, 04:08 PM   #16
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I have a ARB 60 quart, I have used as a freezer on my boat for 3 years. It is a very rugged built unit and keeps ice cream rock hard. It has a safety feature that is owner adjustable to shut off to keep from running down a battery, a useful option when using on a 4x4 start battery when off-road.
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