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Old 07-25-2014, 03:47 PM   #1
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Need a new refrigerator

I hesitate to bring this up because I know the stars are the limit of the types folks swear by but I need to get some ideas. We presently have an old side by side house refrigerator that is on it's very last legs. It is a total power hog on our inverter, 24 amps DC with just the fridge on. We would like to get something much more efficient, probably just DC so we don't have the losses of the inverter. I have searched many of the marine fridges. We live in the Florida panhandle, ie hot and humid and we often are on the hook without air running and people opening the fridge. The opening is 70 high, 31 wide. Cant really make it any wider but we could make it narrower if need be. I really would like to get it down to about 5 or 6 amps draw when running. What is the best fridge for the job? I know that some fridges work better up north in the dryer and cooler climate and others are designed around the tropics. I expect we will need to go smaller but we dont want to loose to much space. I know this is not anchors but probably just about as bad
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:07 PM   #2
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Is your DC power to the inverter 12, 24 VDC? Doing the math without trying to guess/calculate power loss in the inverter I don't think you can get a fridge with that low power use. IE 24 amps @ 12 VDC without loss would come out to 2.4 Amps on the 120 VAC side. As others will quickly chime in to point out losses from the DC to AC and step up voltage will occur. We just replaced our old AC fridge on our Mainship to an apartment sized fridge with freezer compartment. AC is rated around 3 amps ( have not clamped amp meter around it to prove or check ) We show 20 or so DC amps from the inverter. Our solution to door openings is to ice down drinks in a cooler to decrease door openings. Do you have propane system on your boat? The marine and RV fridges seem smaller but have other options to power them other than electricity. Google Appartment sized refrigerators to get models that may fit. Our opening was 50 x 23 inches. found one on the planet that would work. Home Depot online. Good luck , Lets hear it cruisers! What say ye?
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:14 PM   #3
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They make full size DC fridge/freezers but they're not cheap.

Solar & DC Appliances, 12V & 24V Appliances, 12V & 24V Refrigerators Freezers
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:44 PM   #4
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Capt.Bill11, I had been looking at Sun Frost and was interested. But then I saw that they were 34 inches wide. Unfortunately that will not work for our width of 31 inches. Thanks for your input though.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:08 PM   #5
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Does anyone have experience with the Sun Frost in the hot climates?
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Old 07-26-2014, 06:53 AM   #6
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I would opt for a std size hole filling pure DC unit that vented to the front , into the cabin.

The better pure DC units will operate with far less electric as the compressor speed is matched to the load .

This high efficiency is never cheap , but the Danfoss units on a Sun Frost or in many of the best marine/RV units is worth it to the non electric boat > cooks with propane <.

A home cheapo 120v unit and $100 inverter is fine for the folks that anchor out infrequently , so need not bother with efficiency or battery life.

For all , a SOC meter still would be the best first investment.
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Old 07-26-2014, 07:19 AM   #7
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Thanks for your inputs. We do have the SOC meter, and yes it is a valuable tool. If the Sun Frost can keep up with the heat of the south, then I guess I need to figure out a way to cut up our galley to make it fit. I was hoping to find one similar quality/efficiency that would fit in the 31 inch wide space we have. Any ideas????
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Old 07-26-2014, 07:20 AM   #8
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I am hoping that my grandchildren yet unborn will live long enough to see the refrigerator debate settled with new technology.

To summarize the strong arguments on either side of the household (110 volt) vs marine (12v/110v) discussion. If you anchor out a lot it makes sense to go with a 12v unit using a Danfoss compressor. If you marina hop the household units are cheaper.

If you anchor out a lot and are looking at a danfoss compressor arrangement give thought to going with the 12v/110v units. That way in a marina or when your generator is operating you will not be drawing on your batteries and causing more cycles of use

As to the specific unit to buy which fits your space, you have the option of buying separate refrigerator and freezer units and stack them. The Isotherm units are 24" wide and would total about 60" in height.

Also give some thought to whether you can exhaust the heat to the rear as opposed to in the galley. Made the Admiral very happy (and that is good) when the new units took the heat out of the galley and into the pilot house.
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Old 07-26-2014, 01:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogerh View Post
then I guess I need to figure out a way to cut up our galley to make it fit. I was hoping to find one similar quality/efficiency that would fit in the 31 inch wide space we have. Any ideas????
That's the downside to built in fridge/freezer. I shopped around hunting for a unit that would fit in the old Norcold hole and everything required substantial remodel. Ended up buying another Norcold which was close in size and only required minor cabinet remodeling.

I was happy to see that Norcold has switched to a real compressor with a fan cooled condenser. Larger freezer compartment and is very quiet and efficient. A little pricey but we're happy with it so far.
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Old 07-26-2014, 01:55 PM   #10
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I've got a Dometic 110/Propane unit that works well, but I've had my eye on the Sun Frost as a replacement once my solar package is finished. I'd also have to modify the space for the wider fridge....doable but not without cutting finished cabinetry or extending into the companionway. Exhausting the heated air to the pilothouse is part of the plan as well. My Dometic works well, but it's true that it is not very tolerant off frequent openings. I do have the space for a top opening freezer....might do that too. Money, money, money.
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Old 07-26-2014, 02:04 PM   #11
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Multiple Engles, 2 for frig one for freezer, 2.5 amps at 12 volts, 3/4 amp at 110., when you plug in they go 110. Never ever heard anything bad about them. I have 3. With 20" width might be a little small for you though.

https://www.engel-usa.com/products/f...n-refrigerator
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:03 PM   #12
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Nova Kools are well regarded in this part of the world....

Nova Kool, refrigerators, freezers, Marine, RV, Truck
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:14 AM   #13
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The reason the Sun Frost is hard to install is the built in insulation is 2x to 5x as thick as most units..

This is a great help in keeping the power required to cool as low as possible.

Beware of the home cheapo fridges as the imbeciles at EPA do not count the heating elements built to attempt to dry the thin insulation and door seals .

Before buying a home cheapo copy down the ID numbers and go online and look at replacement parts.

When you see a variety of heating elements , you will know why the unit draws far more than the door sticker would suggest.

Caviat Emptor!

>I've got a Dometic 110/Propane unit that works well, but I've had my eye on the Sun Frost<

I love the propane units BUT the cooling method is not as efficient as a variable speed DC unit.

On propane its no problem as a month for a 20lb bottle is far cheaper (and quieter) than any other refrigeration method.Glue insulation on the sides and a tank will last even longer.

The 120V element is for dockside where unlimited power is supplied at the dock or camp ground.
The 12V element is for underway , again power is no hassle.

To operate cruising the 12V or 120v element could only be operated by a wind generator (or with an operating engine )as it requires power long term .
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:55 AM   #14
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Thanks everyone for your inputs. They all help in our decision process. Sun Frost would be my first choice but two issues that come up with it are pretty hard to get through. The 34 inch width will not fit in our galley without major cabinet and layout modification. The admiral would really like to have an ice maker in the fridge. I did not see a ice maker option in the Sun Frost. So with the issues I have moved on to look at others.
We really like the idea of three individual units as mentioned by Mule. Lots of redundancy and ease of defrosting while leaving the others operate. We are concerned that the Engle units will not give us enough room though. We would like to see some of the units to get a feel for the space. Another advantage of this approach is when a door is opened you are not exposing the food and beer in all three fridges.
I saw one yesterday that got my eye but then I lost the page when I checked on Dauntless and cant remember who it was. But they had a unit or maybe it was three separate units that had a side opening fridge on top with two drawers below. The drawers could be arranged in any combination of fridge or freezer. This really looked interesting. I think the overall draw was about 9 amps but that is still 1/3 of what we have now and I am sure they would be much more efficient than the household unit that we have now. Is there anywhere that we might go in the Florida Panhandle that we could look at some of the various manufacturers units. Something like a Marine fridge outlet...
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:30 AM   #15
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When we bought Hobo she had a ~ 5 cft Sub-Zero fridge and a ~5 cft Sub-Zero freezer with ice maker. The first 24 hours at anchor 400 plus amps, Yikes . We replaced both with a SeaFreeze custom, (4" of insulation), combination 6 cu ft fridge and 3 cu ft freezer. The fridge runs off a Danfoss BD35F compressor and the freezer uses a DB50F. We have a 1100 amp house bank. We have left the boat for 4.5 days at anchor and still had over 50% of the house bank remaining when we got back.

If you're a weekend cruiser, the AC fridge off the inverter makes some sense. We have met many cruisers with Grand Banks, Selene's, Nordhavns, Krogens, etc. who can't leave there boats unattended for more than 24 or 36 hours. In 4.5 +years we have never turned them off (except to defrost the freezer) or have we had any compressor issues. If we lose the freezer we still have the fridge or if we loose the freezer we can turn up the thermostat and have a fridge and a few barbecues. Danfoss utilizes the same electronic module in the both units so if you are into spares you only need one. Our only complaint is we do get some condensation around the door seals when the temperature and humidity are high. Since ours was custom built, I have no idea if this is a regular problem.

Sea Freeze of America - Custom Refrigeration


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Old 07-27-2014, 10:33 AM   #16
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Quote:
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My Dometic works well, but it's true that it is not very tolerant off frequent openings. I do have the space for a top opening freezer....might do that too. Money, money, money.
Larry... on our 40'er, my dad made a modification that kept the cold in our reefer. Each shelf in ours was wire. Daddy cut pieces of fiberglass that covered the shelf opening and hung from the one above.

Picture an upside down "U" shape thru-bolted onto the panel. Each panel extended a bit over the top of the shelf above it so that if we rocked stuff could not slide off the upper shelf.

Open door, remove panel for the shelf you wanted, then put it back. He thought it helped keep the cold in the refrigerator.

Originally the panels were leftover Formica but mother wanted opaque. And basically we knew where stuff was so no hunting around. On mine I've used scrap blue board to cover the area between the ice section and the top shelf. Not sure if it helps or not but it's there. For the blue board I've cut out a place for my finger to fit through. It's not fancy, but it's there.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:20 PM   #17
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I second Larry M's recommendation on Sea Freeze - Sea Freeze of America - Marine Refrigeration - Refrigerators

They will give you exactly what you want but it won't be cheap. Quality and custom built costs money. I'd be interested in the price they quote you.
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