Fridge for a cruiser?

Canal Boat - - Back Cabin: -

QWe have just bought a small mo­tor cruiser, which has a hole for a small fridge and a gas sup­ply. Read­ing up on safety, we have de­cided to use a 12v fridge, but are find­ing it dif­fi­cult to de­cide which type (com­pres­sor or ab­sorp­tion). Do any 12v mod­els have con­trol ther­mostats? The ones we have seen so far seem quite ex­pen­sive. We only have one bat­tery for start­ing and light­ing and we do not want to use 240v. BRYN GOODALL, via email

ATONY REPLIES: I’m afraid that for you any type of elec­tric fridge is im­prac­ti­cal be­cause a mod­ern com­pres­sor type will de­mand at least 200Ah of bat­tery ca­pac­ity (all cal­cu­la­tions es­ti­mated). All com­pres­sor 12v fridges have ther­mostats but few ab­sorp­tion or Peltier (solid state) cool­ers do.

The old Elec­trolux ab­sorp­tion fridges with gas/12/240 volt op­er­a­tion drew about 8 amps when run­ning on 12v and had no 12v ther­mo­stat, so us­ing one of those would im­ply over 700ah of bat­tery ca­pac­ity for re­li­able 24-hour op­er­a­tion.

As this is a diesel boat I would have no great wor­ries about fit­ting a gas fridge. Oth­er­wise, it might be work­able if you only turned it on when the en­gine was run­ning.

The full an­swer is to do the power au­dit and charg­ing cal­cu­la­tions (you’ll find them at tb-train­ and im­prove the charg­ing sys­tem with two in­de­pen­dent bat­tery banks, so even if you flat­ten the do­mes­tic bat­tery you could still start the en­gine for recharg­ing. I think a do­mes­tic bat­tery bank of 2 x 110 Ah would run a com­pres­sor fridge 24/7 with ad­e­quate recharg­ing times.

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