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Old 06-16-2016, 03:57 PM   #1
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Cooling for custom fridge and freezer?

All,

I'd like to build my own fridge and freezer but am unsure how to cool the box and would welcome any advice. I would prefer not to spend a boat buck or two just on the cooling.

We've got two Edgestar 83qt chest style units, one as a fridge and one as a freezer. They're a PITA because of the chest style and a terrible use of the space. See the photo. https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bw...W5pbl9GY3ZEam8

I'd like to build something that makes better use of the space, goes up to the window sill, and has front opening doors (maybe top as well). I'm comfortable with building the box but would appreciate advice as to the cooling. Ideally it will be 12v but 110v running off a 3000w inverter is also possible. Power consumption isn't a huge issue because of the generator and solar.

What are your thoughts on how to cool a custom fridge and freezer? Has anyone built their own from scratch? Thanks!
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Old 06-16-2016, 04:21 PM   #2
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If you want to build the boxes yourself and just need the refrigeration unit, check out SeaFrost. We used them when we converted our sailboat icebox into a fridge. They were great to work with and will make custom modifications to the cold plate and lines to fit any install.
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Old 06-16-2016, 07:05 PM   #3
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Nigel Calder wrote an entire well illustrated small book on refrigeration, starting with designing and building the cabinets, and everything else after that. Doesn`t cost much and will surely be helpful. From memory, mine came from Amazon.
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Old 06-16-2016, 10:59 PM   #4
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http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Sear...ortby=17&sts=t
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Old 06-17-2016, 07:28 AM   #5
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"Power consumption isn't a huge issue because of the generator and solar."

Dont think that for a second , the reefer is the biggest power hog on the vessel.

The hard part of a box is having the top opening lids well insulated and sealing tightly.

Cold plates are great and if the box is well done will hold for a day or two (if large) with no power.

When you finish the box , before installing anything plop in a 40 poubd block of ice.

Wait at least a day and weigh it. After 2 or 3 more days weigh it again.

If the ice melt is under 5lbs a day DC refrigeration from a big batt set will do OK.

If its over 5 lbs a day either an engine driven compressor or a large 120V unit will be required to do the cool down.

Purchased 4 inch freon blown foam seems about right if the space for the box is large enough.

Poured in place foam sucks as insulation.
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Old 06-17-2016, 08:37 AM   #6
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Thanks! I'll check out Calder's book. FF, thanks for the ice block tip.
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Old 06-17-2016, 11:29 AM   #7
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I don't know this guy from Adam but I really enjoyed reading his blog detailing his refit of an old C&C. He built a custom ice box from scratch and documented the project in good detail. He used custom vacuum panels to construct his box and built one hell of an efficient system.


http://www.wbryant.com/StellaBoat/Pr...lley/index.htm
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Old 06-19-2016, 09:15 AM   #8
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Gdavid, wow. That's a sweet system...
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:11 AM   #9
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" He used custom vacuum panels"

These have had huge reliability problems .

They are very efficient , but build the box so they can be replaced if required.
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Old 06-20-2016, 09:56 AM   #10
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He went into pretty good detail about the shortcomings of the vacuum panels. Rather than making them easy to replace, he insulated around them to have a pretty efficient system even if they failed (making them extremely difficult to replace). Personally, I would lean toward a less redundant set up that allowed easy access for replacement.


I have noticed a growing trend of guys buying really high end coolers that can withstand bear attacks or keep ice for days. They typically use them for beer at backyard parties or day fishing trips where they are opened up every 3 minutes. The walls are so thick they have substantially less interior volume. The high R value and high performance seal is totally negated by all of the warm air introduced by frequent openings. When you have a bumper sticker or tee shirt endorsing your $500 cooler, it amuses me. Tends to be the same guys with 3/4 ton souped & jacked up diesel pickups that never tow or haul anything. (rant over).
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Old 06-20-2016, 10:00 AM   #11
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I applaud this guy for all the work he did on this cold box ( I built a similar.. but way less complicated one years ago for our cruising sailboat )... but wouldn't it be easier, faster, cheaper and just way less of a p.i.t.a. to just add a solar panel.. or two and live with a inferior box?
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Old 06-20-2016, 11:52 AM   #12
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Solar is fine till it is cloudy for a couple of weeks.

Then the hassle of generating 200AH a day to feed to the batts to feed 100AH to the ice box becomes a hassle.

The 2000W Honda seems easy choice.
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