Whats the best refrigerator?

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Capt. Sam
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Whats the best refrigerator?

Hello all, My adler Barbour frige is out. Doing funny things that I put in previous thread. After much diagnostic sluthing, I'm sure I have a gas leak and probably a power problem getting enough juice to the controller.
when I look at what its going to cost at a minimum to have a pro come aboard (min service call at my marina $140 plus 3 lb gas charge @$70/lb)
of $350. So, I'm thinking that if I spend that money, then something else is likely to go out like the compressor or controller and I might as well just bit the bullet (I've bit a lot of them since I got the boat) and buy a new unit.
So, has anyone got any favorites. I would appreciate knowing of other's experience and what the concensus is about best make model etc.
Mine is the air cooled, continuos run type. I want to cruise the boat extensively and be anchored out for several days at a time.
Also does anyone know what the cu.Ft volume of the frig box is on my 1994?
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks
Sam

Capt. Sam Murphy
1994 Catalina 36, Hull 1327
Shoal draft, two cabin model.
Panama City, Florida

cappy
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Capt. Sam
I have a 1983 MKI so my comments may not be helpful necessarily to you. I thought my coldbox was about 5.5 cubic feet, only because I heard it somewhere along the way and that seems reasonable. The insulation in 1983 was all but lacking. I have an EZ-Kold 12CPA supposedly capable of handling up to a 5 cubic foot box. Not the case with the original insulation. The EZKold unit is supplied with a cold plate which is probably a better option for long term cruising. The unit would run constantly with my original cooling box. I recently added 2in. pink polystyrene foam r-10 to the inside of the box and covered it with FRP panals sealed with white silicone and wow what a difference. The box is considerably smaller but now with the cold plate I can even turn off the fridge for several hours of cruising and still have an acceptable less than 40 degree temperature in the box. I'm certain this could spark a debate between an evaporator unit and cold plate, but cold plate with a well insulated box could be your answer for long range cruising.

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Capt. Sam
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Thanks Cappy,
I'm thinking about the cold plate system as they are advertised to be much more power efficient. I also would like to know if everyone else's condenser units are mounted in the same place, i.e. in the port side cockpit locker? Is there a better place. it seems fine except for maybe insufficient circulation?
Thanks
Sam

Capt. Sam Murphy
1994 Catalina 36, Hull 1327
Shoal draft, two cabin model.
Panama City, Florida

neilroach
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Posts: 126

I had the same problems in my 92. I did a ton of looking, reading, talking to dealers etc. In the end I went with the updated version of the same unit. Same freezer, condenser, and the mating compressor, I believe it had a 50 in the model#. It is possable to order the separate parts thinking that they will match or that you are putting together a better or cheaper unit but in the end they only go together one way, so make sure that the condensor matches the compressor. I moved my compressor to the aft end of the port side locker as that is sort of open all the way down to the bilge, circulation wise. I also put a stainless mesh screen to separate that unit from all the stuff in the locker. The only trouble I had was hooking up the freon lines. It is supposed to be easy, but as they are fragile I was a little timid with the wrenches and ended up having to have a tech come out and final tighten the fittings and top off the refrigerant.
It all works well. I run it full time and it keeps very consistant temps. On a really hot day I will some times keep the locker open for circulation if it is convenient. I got the best price at Defender.

Neil Roach
"Crewless"
1992 36, Mark I
Hull # 1174
Seattle

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Steve Frost
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I have been very impressed with my Technautics Cool Blue unit, it takes about three hours to cool the plate and the contents of the box, after that you need to move your beer away from the cold plate to keep it from freezing. Very quite, no problem would like to someday remount the cold plate to the top aft part of the box to make the rear section a freezer section.

Cepheus dream
C36 MK I # 825
MK I Tech Editor No Mas

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Capt. Sam
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Hey Steve,
With a name like "Frost", I know I can trust you to know about refridgeration. I'm ready to rip out my old Adler Barbour unit and either buy a new one or move up to the CoolBlue unit that you have. My question is where did you fit that 24" cold plate that it comes with or did you get another size?
Thanks

Sam

Capt. Sam Murphy
1994 Catalina 36, Hull 1327
Shoal draft, two cabin model.
Panama City, Florida

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Steve Frost
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Sam,

The unit was installed by the P O against the forward outboard wall. If I were to do it, I would cut a slot in upper aft wall of the box and build a small enclosure on the back of the box to house the aft few inches of the cold plate, and mounting the cold plate to the top of the box just aft of the end of the rear of the lid. I would leave a couple inches between the top of the cold plate for air flow. A small fan would enhance circulation. The thought being the shelf just bellow the cold plate in the aft section would be the freezer section and the deeper forward section would hold more beer. I need to turn mine off after about four hours now if I put the beer in the forward section next to the cold plate to keep from making beercicles.

Cepheus dream
C36 MK I # 825
MK I Tech Editor No Mas

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Ciscocat
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Posts: 244

Hi,
I'm curious, I don't currently have a refrigerator installed in my boat, just poorly insulated ice box. has anyone either considered or used the dry storage area for a reefer and the ice box for dry storage? since the dry storage area is a much easier shape to work with seems like it would be easier to insulate well. i measured the dry storage and it seems to be about the same cubic footage as the ice box area, at least in a mark I???
regards,

Mike Hogan
s/v Ciscocat #226
Mark I XP25, std rig

jmontani
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Posts: 143

Mike,

That is a great idea, and a lot easier to get to stuff. Not sure how much work would be required to route copper from the unit in cockpit to get there or what you would trade off in cooling/battery for the extra distance. It would be a better location in my opinion.

Sam,

Chick Lasser did an upgrade to his fridge and posted the project in the technical section, it might help...

It is in the member's section.

[url]http://www.c36ia.com/node/555[/url]

There are other threads in there as well.

Jack
Solstice
Hull #1598
1996 MKII/TR/FK - M35AC - 3 Blade MaxProp
Lake Texoma

www.texomasailing.org

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Capt. Sam
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Thanks for the link Jack. I read it and Man! what a project. I'm afraid I would rather be sailing than taking that on. I'm just trying to get things back to where they were. Has anyone got a SeaFrost BD aircooled system?
Its much like the Adler Barbour but supposedly more efficient. Cost about a hundred more. Would appreciate any comments from someone with experience with this unit.
Thanks
Sam
:o

Capt. Sam Murphy
1994 Catalina 36, Hull 1327
Shoal draft, two cabin model.
Panama City, Florida

Alex
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Posts: 38

When our refrigeration system needs to be replaced I was planning on looking into a unit that isotherm makes that is supposed to be quite efficient.

You replace a thru-hull fitting with a special fitting that the refrigerant tubes run through, and it uses sea water to cool the refridgerant. Similar (but not as efficient) as a true keel cooler, likely a fairly easy install, and more efficient then air cooled units.

Sorry I have no first hand knowledge of these, but I know a guy, that knows a guy. If you're interested let me know and I'll get in touch with him.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has experience with these?

Alex & Caitlin
S/V Windswept
Vancouver, BC
1985 C-36
SR/FK M25

 

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Steve Frost
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OK, I am going to take an oportunity to do a Refer Rant here.

I think I am going to rip out my Cool Blue on the boat and take it home.
Our refer at home went beserk last Friday, I woke up about six AM went to the head, stepped into the bathroom with a squish. I thought one of the dogs had taken a leak on the rug, they never do, they are Labs, took another step and it made me think they peed there as well. Woke up a bit and realized we were flooded. Opened the laundry room door saw water dripping from the water heater and thought that the source. Noted water dripping from the ceiling and went up stairs to find water on the kitchen floor and a burn't electric smell in the air.
The water despenser on the fridge had fried and started running water some time during the night.

When I built the house, we were scrimping finacially, we had a hand me down Harvest Gold GE fridge, it was probably twenty years old when we got it, worked like a champ, would not die. After recovering from the cost of building
the house and raising kids, fifteen years later, the bride says she wants a new fridge, a pretty white one. We ordered up a new Maytag, wrestled the old one up and out of the the house, we live on a hill, lots of stairs. After install the bride was happy. Ice maker quit in six months, replaced under warranty, quit again would not dispense ice through the door six months after that. We gave up on the dispenser, just grab it out of the ice maker. Two years later the freezer started to fail, two service calls later tech found a failed defrost control PC board. This reoccured and the technician replaced it again three months later. I could defrost the condenser with a hair drier after gaining access to it and make it work for a few weeks at a time if it was not too damp outside. Got pretty good at it, could disassemble and defrost and reassemble in less than an hour without bleeding too badly. This got old, went through one hair drier, I have no hair but had to buy the wife a new hair drier. I replaced the failed defrost PC board myself, failed in eight months, replaced it again, failed in another six months, lasted a year, I replaced it again. Now the water dispenser issue, and the freezer is not working again, time to put this Maytag, Ratbag, Oldhag down.

My research starts, do not want another Maytag, the repairman retired and I am tired of doing his job. I find that there are about fourty brands out there, but only about three manufactures putting different names on the units. Find a Kitchenaid that we really like, find out it is made by the same company as the Maytag. GE, LG and Samsung all get spotty reliability reports. Consensus is any new ENERGY EFFICIENT refer has an average life of about five to seven years, expect to need to make repairs in the first six months to two years. They are full of features and electronics to control those features, the electronics do not like voltage spikes or moisture, they live in a kitchen and the refer is a great condenser, what would you expect. The ENERGY EFFICIENT motor and compressors are tiny and run all the time using less energy but, it is like putting a VW engine in a Mack truck, it will not last long.
I am not convinced of the long term efficiency of these new units, filling our land fills with short lived appliances plus the hassle of replacing them does not seem that efficient to me.

Found a larger Kitchenaid that we really like, they do not make it in a 33 inch size that we need, I find the same refer with a Maytag name on it in the 33 inch size. Can not convice the bride to let me go out and find a nice Harvest Gold or Avacado Green antique to bring back, guess I we are getting another SOB Maytag, it gets good reviews for new efficient short lived refers. I will keep my tool bag ready. Should I mount the Cool Blue cold plate on the back wall and the battery and charger on the counter or put them on top of the fridge where the lazy suzzy goes like those 1940's radiator top units?

Thank you,I feel better.

Cepheus dream
C36 MK I # 825
MK I Tech Editor No Mas

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Capt. Sam
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So I've been working with the SeaFrost Tech guy for two weeks to design an improved evaporator plate system for my existing fridge box. I wish there was someone out there who has tried something similar. Its a lot more expensive at about $1,850 than just replacing the Adler Barbour unit at about $1250. We are planning to use two 8" x 20" cold plates (not holding plates) positioned on either side of the area where the previous evaporator box was located. There will be a drop down door that separates this larger freezer area from the rest of the fidge. The 20" length of the cold plates will stick out past the door against the sides of the box to help chill the rest of the box. If it works, I will have a much larger freezer compartment, better cold flow to the rest and not consume much more power as the SeaFrost claims to be much more efficient than the Adler Barbour unit. I'd appreciate any comments or advice before I write the check.
(also see the great isometric drawing that Catalina supplied - great support from those people.)

Capt. Sam Murphy
1994 Catalina 36, Hull 1327
Shoal draft, two cabin model.
Panama City, Florida

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cmhuber
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We used seafrost in Maine. We installed a BD cold plate in the middle of the box on the starboard side of the box. Seafrost can easily make a cold plate to the sizing you need. The compressor  unit is mounted in the lazarette on the same shelf where the older Adler Barbour was installed . We have Ice trays that mount to the cold plate. Otherwise, there is no  longer a freezer section of the box. We also use a battery operated fan in the bottom of the box to keep air circulating  since the cold plate will develop some frost without the air circulation . Whatever unit you use, keep in mind the access you will need to the compressor - adding coolant in the future or adjust compression fittings.

Chuck Huber
Sugaree
C36 MKII 2000
#1887
Tall Rig, Wing Keel
Boat Location: Saugatuck, MI

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alfricke
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Posts: 65

Sam...as you can see, many before you have suffered making refrigeration decisions. We had good luck with isotherm systems in a Valiant 40, but it had a smart system that could outsmart the smartest of us. Hopefully they have updated. Our air cooled AB has been flawless for 12 years now, with heavy use, but mostly in cooler waters. It cycles on and off in roughly 15' intervals at a little over 4 amps...so it consumes about 50 amps a day. No problem keeping and making ice. I'm sure you would use a lot more in tropical waters, hopefully you have a good solar set up. Water cooling helps, but it is another electric draw and another seawater strainer to get clogged (voice of experience here). 

Good luck and keep your sanity if possible 

Al Fricke
S/V Jubilee
Catalina 36' MkII  #1867

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KevinLenard
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Posts: 190

Our '91 Adler Barbour packed it in last week.  Compressor started drawing too much current and couldn't get up and running.  After reading many comments about the cold plates vs. original freezer box, we just replaced the old one with the same box since the Admiral likes to keep frozen items inside and when needed we can put a block of ice or a bag in there and it really lowers the amp draw while on the hook.  The old compressor ran constantly and would drain a battery inside of a couple of hours.  This new one running on the lowest setting keeps ice frozen and draws MUCH less amperage.  Nova Cool RT4 model made in Canada, $1,250 CDN.  MUCH smaller sized compressor unit tucked in much tighter to the fore port lazerette wall.  We'll see what it does to one of the 12 v house batteries overnight on the hook this weekend....

Kevin Lenard
"Firefly"
'91 C-36 Mk. "1.5" Tall Rig, Fin Keel, Hull #1120, Universal M-35 original (not "A" or "B")
CBYC, Scarborough, Lake Ontario, Canada

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