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Reduce compressor running time with up to 50%

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skipper View Drop Down
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    Posted: 16 April 2011 at 12:13

We do very seldom have shore power due to that we love to moor to islands in the archipelago (and I have a mindset of a Scottish person, the additional fees for shore power in the Swedish harbours are too high for me). After we installed a 75 W solar panel do we have a rather good energy balance but I want to improve the battery status even more to enable me to invest in new toys to the boatJ

 

Run the engine more time each day isn’t an option when we want to have a “green profile” and a wind generator isn’t an option for us in this stage.

When I understood that our refrigerator box was of a robust construction but without insulation did I realize what to do.

 

Why should you insulate your fridge box?

  • Mitigate the risk of condensation; on the wall towards the sofa which makes the fabric on the back wet and on the wooden shelf that the fridge box is standing on.
    (Even with an insulated fridge did we get condensation on the wall towards the sofa so I will put 1-2 cm of ventilation madras that are made for beds in the yachts).
  • Get a better battery status due to that the biggest power consumer on a sailboat is the refrigerator system so a cost efficient way to improve the energy budget is to reduce the power consumption.

 

What insulation to be used?

My recommendation is to use high quality products to achieve the best result when the space is very limited (20-30 mm on our 342, other galley’s may have more space) either as extruded polyurethane insulation (hard panels), armaflex (soft panels) or 2 part/components PU foam.

I considered several insulation options and finally thought it was easiest for us to use PU foam and we have been warned by professionals that never use 1 part PU foam to a fridge in a boat due to that it will capture the humidity in the air. So 2 part PU foam will give us a good insulation, it won’t capture water over time, it is rather easy to spray and after 15 minutes will it stop to expand (at 20 Celsius degrees).

 

Our high level plan

Insulate the black plastic tube for the heating system of the boat in the area around the refrigerator box and the compressor.

Increase the ventilation area behind the black plastic grid there warm air is supposed to came from the compressor into the saloon (the shipyard only makes 2 round holes through the GRP).

Prepare for future change of compressor and evaporator.

Use insulation tubes round the “copper connection” between compressor and evaporator.

Use insulation panels as a wall towards the sink and under the wooden shelf that the box stands on.

Use foam in the wall towards the sofa and the stove (20-30 mm)

Use foam in the space between the box and the hull (100-200 mm)

Preparation will be time consuming but the foaming will be a rather easy task to do

 

Minor enhancement

The ventilation grid between the compressor och the saloon have 2 round holes cut through the GRP made by the shipyard, I believe that my small improvement done by a rasp will make the transportation of warm air a little easier to pass the grid.
 
 

Preparations:

  • Empty the saloon and the galley  (no cushions close to the fridge area)
  • Remove saloon steps (easier to move the stove and when laying on the galley floor)
  • Turn of gas taps and disconnect the gas hose; fixed spanner 17 on the rotation nut and fixed spanner 14 on the non-rotating nut towards the stove.
    I used a marker pen to enable me to reconnect later on in the same position (maybe this is overkill to do?).
  • Remove the gas stove (clean it and be 2 persons doing this task and don’t have your newest clothes on).
  • Remove the wood hatch under the sink to the space below the fridge box
  • I used a saw to reduce the size of the wooden shelf (towards the sink) that the fridge box is installed on to make it easier to reach below the fridge/shelf.
  • Insulate the black plastic hose for the air-based heater system there it passes the cooling system.
  • Put round insulation on the copper pipe between the evaporator in the box and the compressor, my thought is that this could make it easier in the future to replace the Isotherm Classic Compact system.
  • Prevent the foam from filling all the space close to the hull of the galley and saloon. I put together 2 round insulation tubes to get something that could be pressed from the space below the fridge towards the hull. A double insulation tube put from below up against the hull to prevent the foam to spread behind the stove.

I removed the wood hatch behind the sofa to inspect how it looks between the hull and the backside of the sofa, the wooden plate/bulkhead behind the sofa close to the fridge will prevent the foam from being spread from the space between fridge-hull.

  • I put protection tape on all surfaces that could be damaged below the sink including the surface of the sink that will be hidden by insulations.
    If I in the future need to remove the sink it should not be glued by the foam.
  • I put panels of insulation that I got from work on other boats as a wall towards the sink which will enable me to fill with foam from the sofa and the stove.
  • I did also put panels of insulation below the wooden shelf (under the box) close as possible to the insulation tubes (round copper tube and as stoppers).
    This will make it easier to replace the cooling system in the future.

 

  • Drill holes with a size matching the hose on the foam bottle or if used the size of the extension hose or pipe, as extensions did I use ventilation hoses that were supposed to be used to ventilate batteries (the size and price was perfect). I used 2 different brands of foam; one 6,5 mm hose and one 8 mm hose.


Recommendation is to fill the foam from the lowest point of a wall, key is to have holes at the highest possible location of the wall so that air and at the "top foam" can get out of the space between the wall and the fridge box (no air pockets in the insulation with this method).

 

Insulate cooling tube and air-heating tube

The image below shows how it looks like before I insulated the black plastic heating tube and the white thin copper tube for the fridge. I removed parts of the edge on the wood shelf to make it easier to work below it.

 

 

Foam blocker

Foam pipe insulation did I use around the white copper pipe and as foam blocker between the inner liner and the hull at both side of the fridge box. I don’t want to fill the whole space (inner liner and hull) on starboard side.
The “blockers” did I mount from the space below the wooden shelf.

I tested to put a small foam pipe inside a larger one but I was not strong enough to push them in place. For me did it work better to combine 2 of the same size and push them in place towards the hull.


Sofa-Fridge
  • On the wall towards the sofa did I drill 1 low hole just above the height of the wooden shelf that the box is standing on.
  • 3 holes on the top of the area that will be filled with foam, one close the hull, one in the centre and one close to the wall of insulation panels towards the sink.
    If you drill several times with larger and larger drill a good tip is to add the protection tape before the last drill because otherwise will be tape start to lose grip around the hole.
  • I used 2 bottle of foams, each with 10 litres of foam. Pot time 5 minutes, curing 15 minutes.  

 

Stove-Fridge

  • The similar routine done from the stove side of the fridge box, here did I drill a top hole close to the hull so that I would be able to put foam behind the box towards the hull.
    I will this spring put a stainless steel plate besides the stove to mitigate the fire risk and that will hide the top holes. Maybe I will use a mahogany coloured wax to hide the holes that isn’t hidden by the stainless steel plate.

 

Lid/Hatch

I removed the screws from; the hinge at the back of the hatch, the stainless steel spring hatch holder and the flushed lift ring (the top is made of 12 mm thick wood plate).

The wood below the lift ring were removed with a Dremel so that I could see into the empty space in the hatch. I decided to drill one hole on the edge were the hinge were located (this hole won’t be visible when the fridge is in operation).

Use protection tape around the holes and were you suspect that the foam will come out from the inside.

The 3 screws holding the lift ring could be exchanged with shorter ones (metal transfer the cool…).

 

Execution time

Remember to protect everything because the foam is more or less impossible to remove afterwards.

I bought 9 bottles with 2 part PU foam and re-used leftover insulation plates from 2 other fridges:

  • 2 used from the sofa to foam that wall and part of the side towards the hull
  • 1 used for the hatch  and the leftover of the foam did I use in the wall towards the stove
  • 4 from the stove to foam that wall and towards the hull
  • 1 to complete towards the sink
  • 1 extra that probably will be used to add extra towards the hull and below the wooden shelf

Put the hose from the bottle at the lowest drilled hole and inject the foam.

Use a spatel to remove the foaming coming out from the top holes.

After approximately 15 minutes has the chemical process ended.

Acetone can be used to clean on the white walls but NOT on mahogany walls (the varnish will be removed as well).

 

I extended the hose that come with the foam bottle so that I could reach behind the box towards the hull (used 80 cm long plastic hoses that were planned for ventilation of batteries).

 

MEASURED AFFECT

Before I insulated would I say that the compressor were running 40% of the time during the Swedish summer period. In September (2010) did I measured that the compressor were running 10% of the time (running 1,5 minute and idle 12 minutes, 20 Celsius degrees inside in the saloon and seatemperature 13-14). I set the temperature control on 4,5  and got 1-2 Celsius degrees on the bottom/5-6 at the top in the basket.

I will update this thread when I have measured the coming summer.

Even with 20% running time have I improved the energy budget with 0.2 x 24 x 5 (rough estimation) = 24 Ampere-hours per day.

 

We have an Isotherm Compact Classic BD35F, need to verify in the boat.

 

Checklist

Paper towels

Spatel

Carry bags for waste

Acetone

Gloves

Protection tape

Extension hoses to the foaming bottles

2 part/component Polyurethane foam from Danalim

http://www.danalim.com/produktkatalog/byggeri/fugeskum/2c-polyurethane-foam-596/

2010 did the foam cost roughly 11-12 Euro/bottle, 10 litre foam/bottle

 

 

References:

http://www.spray-insulation.co.uk/

http://www.kollmann-marine.com/insulation.html

http://www.yacht-sailboat.com/marine-refrigeration.html

http://www.maringret.110mb.com/articles/refrigerationFAQ.html

http://www.myhanse.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=4812&PN=1

 
Cindy's Island, Hanse 342, the most insulated box I ever had read about, search for refrigerator down on the web page
http://cindysisland.wordpress.com/category/boat-projects/galley/

 

Foam agent in Sweden:

Berteco in Stenkullen, outside Göteborg. http://www.berteco.se/

 
Refrigerator parts
If you plan to totally rebuild the fridge box from scratch, this is the source to get a professional result, check out the great lids


Edited by skipper - 15 October 2013 at 18:01
Cheers,
Skipper
Hanse 342 2005 (Sparcraft mast, white hull, wheel steering, deep draft keel, short rudder)
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gizmo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gizmo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 April 2011 at 11:00
Well done Skipper. Thats a big saving on battery draw I will take a look at mine this year.
 
Ken
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote samuel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 April 2011 at 07:14
My experience with these foam products is  that if you exclude air from the material when applying they tun to mush
For instance I poured some in a plastic bottle ( to make a float for a particular model project) & the stuff just did not work.
You must have had lots of air round it so it cured properly or you had a better foam product
For those that do not want to go to this expense & where you can get access to an item being insulated there is a product I have used in the building trade for some years with succes
It is Trio Iso super 10 ( google it for details)
It is a cloth like product 20 mm thick but because of its design it is equivalent to 230 mm of glass wool
It can be squeezed to less than 10mm ,easily wraped around  things & stuffed into voids. does not seem to absorb much moisture & could be useful for insulating areas on a boat
You have to buy a roll but what you do not use will serve well in the loft !!
If you have some friends who also could use some then the expense is not so great
 
Daydream Believer
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CharlesP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 April 2011 at 09:16
Thank you Skipper for showing us in detail how to do this work. Excellent.

Charles
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote holby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 April 2011 at 09:34
Skipper, Good clear information especially for me. I have no experiance of this kind of expanding foam spray. Out of interest if your fridge has to be removed for repair/replace, how will this affect this ?
Cheers
Dave


Edited by holby - 18 April 2011 at 09:34
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johan Hackman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 April 2011 at 09:54
Dave, if you are a lucky sod to being able to remove the fridge you won't even have to use foam. In a 342 you will have to remove the deck from the hull to remove the fridge. That's how they are built.

Skipper, thanks for sharing this excellent information. Good job!

Johan

Edited by Johan Hackman - 18 April 2011 at 09:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Gregor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 April 2011 at 14:31
Nice job!

I did some work on the fridge too. Beside installing foam around the thin isulated box, I also added a fan to get cool air from under the gouge (water tank is installed there) and blow that onto the compressor. This keeps the compressor much cooler and it gives a better air circulation. Due to a cooler compressor, less heat will float along the fridge box. See fourth picture of the link showing the pictures on my site.
http://www.uisge-beatha.eu/index.php?mact=Album,m54235,default,1&m54235albumid=58&m54235returnid=63&page=63

Gregor 
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Previous boat: Hanse 311 #80

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote holby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 April 2011 at 14:40
Johan, I am no expert on things like this, as I am sure you are aware, but it seems to me that the cool box should be able to removed, and the compressor for the "coolbox" is under the starboard bunk with a fan into the saloon to keep it cool and circulate the air.  The cooling plate in the coolbox, i think was added as a later item.
Out of interest is the compressor as one unit with your fridge or as extra equipment under a bunk?
Dave
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote skipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 April 2011 at 15:21

Thanks for the feedback, in most cases is the hard thing to figure out how to do it, not to execute the plan. This forum is a great place to share and I know from face 2 face meeting with other Hanse sailors that many are doing things that could be shared here as well.

------------------
Regarding the question how to replace the compressor and the evaporator in the future. This is something I have tried to prepare by initially put a round grey insulation pipe around the white copper pipe between the compressor and the evaporator. I wrapped both the white copper and the black electric wire with a foam pipe, pushed it from below which means from the space under the wooden shelf. My idea is that this shall prevent the PU foam to get in contact with the white copper and the black electric wire.
 
By using insulation panels below the wooden shelf will it be easy to remove them the day I have to switch cooling system.
 
I hope my explanation in broken english is possible to follow, if not let me know.
-----------------------------------------------
From the Swedish forum do I know that the space around the fridge box can be very different. So if there is bigger space around the box insulation plates could be the best choice.
 
This is a rather easy job to do and from a cost perspective can I really recommend it as the first step to get a better energy budget.
Fridge insulation combined with use of LED lamps are the initial improvements, if not enough solarpanel is always good to have to recharge the batteries.
 
 


Edited by skipper - 18 April 2011 at 15:42
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chris G Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 April 2011 at 06:51
WoW!
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