I’ve been a live aboard for 30+ years. That’s my resume. IN the beginning, there was ice – screw that.
I’ve used quite a few different refrigeration systems over the years. I like my cold drinks. I love ice cream. Once even had a goodly size Crosby. That sucked down the amps. Then along came Frigoboat. It’s not perfect, but damn well near enough. Reefer/freezer, and it can easily keep ice cream. My box is ~12 cu’ total. One plate in the freezer section, with spillover for reefer. Low power drain, seemingly using – call it 40-60 amps /day, depending of course. Air temp, water temp, and box insulation. The unit uses a submerged heat-exchanger, the keel-cooler, hull mounted near the compressor. All that’s required is sufficient water volume for the continuous heat exchange.
Next is the obligatory haul out. Problem is, how to use the system on the hard. Unit requires submersion in water of sufficient volume for proper cooling. Frigoboat makes an add-on, allowing air cooling and therefore one more thing to possibly go wrong which if it did, not so easily dealt with nor is air as efficient. Not as cheap as I did it either, and personally I think my system is better, far more cost effective, and easily repairable. Did it for ~30 bucks or so. I’m a boater. Do it cheap if it works well.
This is a pic of the water box. Tupperware; with a meaty edge – a lip if possible. This one, my second, has seen a few haul-outs. I’m using a boat stand to hold the box in place. The other parts used are my originals.
Trick here is the seal. 3M Strip Calk (autozone, NAPA, etc); another name used is Dum-Dum. Makes a great seal. There’s also the two installed nipples. The return nipple is set as needed; at the highest point depending on how box sits against the hull. Want the box to fill as much as possible. The exchanger is now submerged. Water is kept in a bucket hung down from the rail; the needed circulatory volume. I use fresh. Bucket pictured is smaller than I prefer (6 gal), but it’s doing the job. The pump is a small submersible fish tank pump (holding up in pic). It’s not fast but quite sufficient. Can be run off the inverter. Add in some solar / wind power and one could stay on the hard with reefer indefinitely. Just check water level daily.
I add some white vinegar to the water; cleans the exchanger.
It works like a charm, even hauled out in August. The unit has sat, working, through a hurricane running off the inverter.
And that’s all there is.
If you use Frigoboat and find this useful, might you give my ebook, NIKKI MAGEE, shown at top a look? A 4+ star rated novella for those quiet evenings or the upcoming passage.