35-3 icebox conversion

seagill

Junior Member
Considering adding refrigeration to our 35-3... does anyone have experience with this and is it worth it?

Thanks!
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Matt's boat is a "ten" in many ways, so do consider his installation.

And as for whether this added gear is "worth it", only your experiences have currency....
We installed our first refrigeration system almost 15 years ago and it was one of the best upgrades we ever did. It changes the experience from "camping out" to "living", IMHO.

I have blogged about the replacement of the original conversion here. The current system uses even less power and is quieter. These are great little bits of engineering prowess.

Some might say that I did this to please the Admiral, bit in truth it's just a major upgrade in our on-the-water lifestyle.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
For a long time I contended that refrigeration was for sissies, block ice was fine, and the Royal Navy served warm rum.


But now that I have a refrigerator, I don't even know who that other me was.
 

woolamaloo

Member III
I've had several people tell me that refrigeration will make my boat more comfortable. And, I'm sure I'll get around to it. I have two problems. 1. I can buy a LOT of ice for the price of the refrigeration conversion. 2. What do I put in my wife's cocktails when we use up the one small tray of ice I'll be able to make at a time? I can drink my Bourbon neat with no hardship. She won't be as forgiving.
 

toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
There seem to be 2 - 5 used refrigeration units down at the marine exchange at any given time. Less than half the cost of a new conversion kit. Of course, you have to figure that maybe somebody got rid of them for a reason. I tried to go even cheaper than that, and bought the separate pieces from eBay. Wow, it turns out that the zero-dead-volume fittings cost more than a complete used system! I really should have cheaped out and just used swageloc fittings I have on hand, at the price of not being able to remove components without losing coolant. Oh well. It's a journey, not a destination, yada, yada.

Next step is how to avoid paying exorbitant prices for those vertical ice cube trays... :rolleyes:
 

p.gazibara

Member III
Depending on which way you go, it's as simple as srewing in a cold plate and drilling a hole for the copper lines to enter the icebox from. I ended up mounting the compressor on a shelf I made for the bulkhead. The install took maybe 4 hrs, but being a liveaboard it is probably one of the best things I did.
Oh ya, and I had to run some 12v wires to it. If you have an option to go 12v and 110 or just 12v, I would opt for the 12v. It's a bit cheaper.

-P
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
I asked my boat electrician if running my 12v only refrig off the batteries in the slip, with the shore side charger constantly recharging them, wouldn't shorten the life of the batteries.

Quite the contrary, he said, although not in those words. In point of fact, he said, although not in those words, it lengthens their life by reducing/preventing buildup on the plates.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I've had several people tell me that refrigeration will make my boat more comfortable. And, I'm sure I'll get around to it. I have two problems. 1. I can buy a LOT of ice for the price of the refrigeration conversion. 2. What do I put in my wife's cocktails when we use up the one small tray of ice I'll be able to make at a time? I can drink my Bourbon neat with no hardship. She won't be as forgiving.
FWIW, when we are planning to have available some cubes for drinks, we take a bag of cube ice from the store and put them into a large lidded Tupperware container. At 38 degrees ambient that ice will last with no appreciable melting for over a week (or until we run out of rum).
:)

We have not tried the ice cube tray that clips onto the evaporator, but friends that have used that method say it works fine but takes a while.

Loren
 

seagill

Junior Member
I have one followup question... has anyone considered/tried removing the guts from an inexpensive small fridge and repurposing for a marine fridge? Seems like that could be a way to save a ton of money...
 

p.gazibara

Member III
I have one followup question... has anyone considered/tried removing the guts from an inexpensive small fridge and repurposing for a marine fridge? Seems like that could be a way to save a ton of money...
It has been done before, but the real question is, where are you going with it, and how much will you be relying on it? I have seen many conversions in the brewing world, but they don't move. The hardest part is keeping the systems charged and not breaking a line when you disassemble the the fridge. I don't *think* you can recharge most of them. I had a mini fridge on my boat for about a year before it up and quit and I was unable to recharge it. I would sure hate to spend all that time taking it apart to install it and have it give up on me.

Another though, can you find one that runs on 12v?

I ended up refitting my icebox last year with the baldor system. It is pretty great, simple install and I haven't had any issues. Though it was $700 compared to a $40 craigslist minifridge...
 

Darrel

Member I
I have one followup question... has anyone considered/tried removing the guts from an inexpensive small fridge and repurposing for a marine fridge? Seems like that could be a way to save a ton of money...
I am an HVAC-R technician in Texas and work on refrigeration a systems. Professional speaking if you found the correct components to work it is possible but your reliability will not be what what you would hope for. The main issue is your condenser coil sizing to work in the enclosed environment of a boat. Let alone the issue of building the condenser and getting all the controls to work correctly. I have found there is a reason things are inexpensive and that is usually because they are built with cheap parts.

I usually have have friends at the marina I'm in bribing me with cases of beer and or rum to look at they refers or AC systems. And I have no problem taking their gifts for helping them out.

You will be much happier with an engineered system designed to work in a bout verses trying to build your own.

Just my professional $.02 worth
 

Kinder65

New Member
I installed a Seafrost BD system on my 1984 E35-3. Boat still under shrinkwrap so cant really give you a good review yet. Should be able to give it a good test by 1st week in May... It was relatively simple to install. I ended up putting the compressor on a shelf inside the lazarette as it gets plenty of good airflow back there. I also added a second G27 deep cycle battery and ended up putting this in the stowage locker under the stb settee. This actually made it very easy to run the cables straight back from the laz. Of course the other part of this is that I am also going to be installing 2 x 100W rigid monocrystalline pv panels atop a new bimini. I have already pre-wired the controller which I also put inside the same locker where the 2nd battery is. I cant wait to see how it all works!
 

RaymondS

Junior Member
I installed a Seafrost BD system on my 1984 E35-3. Boat still under shrinkwrap so cant really give you a good review yet. Should be able to give it a good test by 1st week in May... It was relatively simple to install. I ended up putting the compressor on a shelf inside the lazarette as it gets plenty of good airflow back there. I also added a second G27 deep cycle battery and ended up putting this in the stowage locker under the stb settee. This actually made it very easy to run the cables straight back from the laz. Of course the other part of this is that I am also going to be installing 2 x 100W rigid monocrystalline pv panels atop a new bimini. I have already pre-wired the controller which I also put inside the same locker where the 2nd battery is. I cant wait to see how it all works!
And how did it all work? I also have an 84 E35-3 (171). Looking to make all kinds of modifications; this is one of the most important
 

Hagar2sail

Member III
Totally worth it. We just replaced the P/O’s alder barbor unit with a new one, the old one had a leak. We didn’t reduce the size of the box like Matt did, though seeing that we might retrofit. Works great, seems to run about 50% duty cycle here in Maine at about 7amps. We power it with 200 watts of solar on the Bimini.

I prefer the alder barbor because it creates a small freezer which we leave ice in.
03824CDC-85B0-4C4F-BEA3-87A39E36EDCA.jpeg5BE6CA30-7C92-4E8C-AA30-9DF807523D1A.jpeg
 

seagill

Junior Member
Totally worth it. We just replaced the P/O’s alder barbor unit with a new one, the old one had a leak. We didn’t reduce the size of the box like Matt did, though seeing that we might retrofit. Works great, seems to run about 50% duty cycle here in Maine at about 7amps. We power it with 200 watts of solar on the Bimini.

I prefer the alder barbor because it creates a small freezer which we leave ice in.
View attachment 34522View attachment 34523
Hey, we're in Portland! Thanks for the advice!
 
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