Refrigeration box

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Refrigeration box

Postby apropos43 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:33 pm

I have a typical referigeration box that is accessed by 2 panels on the galley countertop. The box is about 3' deep so accessing the bottom portion is difficult. Has anyone added an access door on the side? I was thinking about a small hinged door maybe 18" tall and 12" wide that provides easy acces to the bottom of the box. I'm looking for info about materials, proper insulation, etc if anyone has done this. Thanks!
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Postby edelweiss » Tue Feb 03, 2009 3:37 am

I suppose everyone has already done some of this so Ill try to be entertaining. I have considered cutting a front loading door for years... and deferred it. I did refurbish the top lid teak including carefully replacing most of the teak. I reinforced the edges with some 3/16 brass rods that are now hidden below some teak plugs. I finished the surface of the teak with a wipe on polyurethane that is good for interior wood ( read no UV protection ) and hardens up quickly so that you can put 3 -4 coats on a day ( I put 12 coats on ). I used 1 inch wide white referigator gasket material found at ACE hardware store. It looks nice ( I think)

Both my wife and I live aboard and are blessed with a short reach. I couldnt reach a orange on the bottom or clean the box without standing on my head. So I made a removeable rack of plexiglass that fits into the bottom and brings the functional floor of the chilly bin up about 6 inches. Another suggestion would be to fabricate a removable foam ( like pink insulation foam ) piece that would do the same and then coat it with GRP and paint or even try thick paint ( Like bilge coat ). This would make it easy to clean.

I recently installed a frigoboat unit to replace our dead adler barbar and made some useful modifications of the chilly bin that have dramatically improved its function. I observed that many satisfied livaboards isolated the evaporator from the rest of the chilly bin essentially creating 2 spaces. A box within a box so to speak. I did this with 1 1/2" pink insulation foam supported by some 1/2" thick white HDPE material. The foam divider in the front allows "spill over of the cold air into the rest of the box. The result was a REALLY cold area for ice and ice cream and a nicely cool chilly bin. I experimented with the height of the front edge of the evaporator containment area in order to optimize the temp in other areas. After locating the best place for the foam you can put some tabs into the wall of the box to keep the foam in place and yet be removable so that the entire box can be cleaned.

Which leads me to the entertaining part. The new frigoboat unit included condensor/evaporator/copper tubing with self sealing connectors( a really clever innovation by the way ). So I had to pull the old copper tubing out and discovered that the previous owner/installer had not been aware of expanding foam to seal off the box where the tubes pass thru as yet so he used the next handy item. In this case an old sock. I think the sock was originally white. After being totally grossed out by the notion that for several years our cheese was, well maybe more than special, I thouroughly clean and repainted the area. I ran the new copper tubing thru the access hole and filled the area up with expanding foam. I used a stiff plastic for a dam to contain the expansion on the chilly bin side.

In my case I relocated the condensor in the cabinetry to the left of the stove by cutting out the lower 2 small drawers. I fabricated a duct to vent the condensor fan thru the bulkhead under the port aft berth. I used this location to allow for the future installation of a keel cooler option to be placed in the bin under the stove.

If nothing else maintaining your boat can be weirdly entertaining.

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