New freezer/fridge box -- 12V, 22Amps per day

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Back to Home ... s/v Stella Blue home ... Galley ... Projects

August 2007 to September 2008--

I never dreamed it would take me this long
to get around to this project, or that this page would end up so big. I think I'll split it up into sub-project pages, like I did with the rig.

Here's a picture of the ice box in 2001,
when I bought the boat. Stella Blue didn't have refrigeration, which is a good thing if one is planning to rebuild anyway.
I didn't have to replace an old installation, and didn't have to worry about bulkhead rot from condensation around the box
or around refrigeration tubes.

During the big 2003 haulout I installed a Frigoboat Keel Cooler, as I intended to build a well insulated ice box
within the next two years.

Five years later
it's time to do it.


After removing the teak trim and corner hand grab, I started the demolition phase.

Since the top of the existing ice box extends back to the hull, and forms the bottom of the cabinets, I'm going to cut it in half.
I don't want to disassemble the whole boat.

When the new top goes on, I'll cover the joint with a nice piece of teak trim.

It took a lot of destructive effort to figure out
how the whole thing was originally assembled.

This picture shows a major discovery. The ice box was screwed onto the counter top, then the formica laminate
was applied over the screw heads.


Yup, this picture confirms it.

What a drag. Since the screw heads are covered by formica, I'll have to chisel up the laminate to get at them.

I guess I won't be reusing
the old counter top.

After a lot of hammering, chiseling, and prying, the top is totally destroyed and
out of the way.

Now I can take a grinder
to the liner.

I tented the entire area with an old cotton bed sheet, which really kept the dust down.
I didn't feel like vacuuming fiberglass dust out of
the entire boat.

Been there, done that.
About five times.


I sure know how to make a mess.

This is going to be cleaned up, and the boat put back into sailing shape,
so I can play
while planning the next steps.

I know, conceptually,
what to do, but can't come up with a real plan until seeing the structural foundation.

Hammer and chisel.

There's no turning back.

By the way, use a cheap chisel for a job like this.
Don't ding up a good one.

Here's the air circulation fan for the freezer.

With this in place, I put the thermostat back where it was originally, to see if it matters.

I'll be playing with it over the next few months, to optimize temperature and
power consumption.

Before starting this project, I considered just leaving it all alone and sticking an evaporator in the existing box. After all, I'm pretty tired of projects.

However, after seeing this, the project is worth it. This is the original insulation.

There is about two inches of old foam board, disintegrating with age. This is to be expected in a production boat of this generation.

But I want a real freezer/fridge unit, so I can keep ice cream in Mexico and store frozen meats and vegetables, and don't want to spend 100 Amp Hours a day doing it. This insulation would leak horribly, and the outside would be constantly wet from condensation, which would promote rot and mildew.

So I'm glad I'm ripping it all apart.

The old ice box was suspended from the top, but the new ice box will be built from the bottom and sides.
So I need a good strong structure.

Here's a picture of the battens
that will support the bottom.
They're 1/8" thick fiberglass channels.
The design should promote strength and allow
air flow around the structure.

The braces are screwed into the bulkheads with epoxy, and the entire area was painted with epoxy to seal everything.
There was a thin layer of original finish on the bulkhead, but it was falling off. I didn't sand down to wood, but just painted with epoxy. Enough bare wood was exposed, so I'm sure it bonded well.

I don't want condensation to start rot or mildew.

Hopefully the box will be so well insulated that there'll be no condensation, but why take chances?

After painting the whole area with epoxy, and scrubbing the amine blush off with soap and water, I painted everything with Rust-o-leum.

If all goes well, no one will ever see this again. However, I feel better knowing that it's clean, and there's no place for mildew to take root if I get any condensation.

The old CNG line was screwed into the hull. I haven't finished the propane conversion, so I left it. However, the screws were reset in epoxy, and when I convert to propane I'll cut the line and leave it behind the box.

The interior will be constructed of prefabricated vinylester FRP from McMaster-Carr.

The sides are 3/16" thick,
which is probably overkill.
However, the sides are going to be structural, and will support the entire box and
everything in it.

They were trial fit.

Cool. They fit.



This is the trial fit, before breaking out
the epoxy.

The bulkhead supports are prefab structural fiberglass parts from McMaster-Carr.


Then, I waited. . Six (1,2,3,4,5,6) Months.

I spent years thinking about this project -- listening, reading, and evaluating compromises.
My entire design hinges on vacuum panels, and there are two reputable places to get them:
Glacier Bay and Rparts.

After eight years of listening and reading, I decided on Glacier Bay, even though they cost twice as much.
The decision was based on construction materials, construction process,
and end user feedback.

So, great, I placed an order for "Phase One." Then I learned that Glacier Bay had a fire and had moved,
and had problems with city codes because building inspectors didn't understand the technology.
Then there were problems with Aerogel suppliers (that last part concerns me.)

I tried to be cool about the delay, but I did "blast off" a time or two, and almost switched vendors.
But, frankly, I was afraid to buy Rparts panels because every failure story I've ever heard
was with Rparts panels. They're good panels, but have a reputation for fragility.

I believe that I'll probably do something stupid and screw up the first time. It's a statistical certainty. (grin.)
I usually get it right the second time, but since I don't like to do things twice
I like to over engineer the hell out of it the first time and move on to the next job.
Thus, I spent the money and went with Glacier Bay panels.

Glacier Bay is based in the San Francisco Bay area,
so I drove over to pick up the panels. They were packed for shipment, in a big box full of biodegradable popcorn.

That's cool.
This stuff dissolves when wet, and doesn't create landfill problems or end up floating in the middle of the ocean.

I recycled it

Here's my
first look at
the actual

A quick check
to ensure the panels will fit.

They're undersized for
the fiberglass side panels.

The rest of the box
will be supported by
these two assemblies.

Thus, the actual interior will be about 3-1/2 inches in from the edges of these fiberglass panels.
The the insulation actually extends beyond the interior dimensions of the box.


I'm going to encapsulate the vacuum panels in foam.

Two reasons:

1) if someone isn't thinking and puts a screw through the box, I want to have an inch of foam to protect the vacuum panel.

2) Vacuum panels have a bad reputation for leaking, and I want to have a reasonably good box even if the worst happens.

This step may be extreme, but I'm glad I did it.

The folks at Glacier Bay tried very hard
to talk me out of using Polyisocynurate foam,
because it absorbs water. First, any condensation on the box exterior will soak into the foam, reducing insulation value to zero. Second, it actually will absorb water from the atmosphere. In both cases, when the freezer is on, the foam will freeze, the water will expand, and break down the cells.

The recommended material is Extruded Polystyrene, (*not* expanded polystyrene.) The white panels, that look like a cheap foam ice chest, are expanded, and they *will* absorb water. Extruded is harder to find.

But I wanted Polyisocynurate,
because the insulation value is highest.

So I rented a commercial dehumidifier.
This is the kind of unit you rent after a flood,
or when a water pipe breaks. I put it in a walk in closet, with the drain hose running under the door.
It ran for five days. The room was so dry
it was uncomfortable to enter.
My skin felt weird, and in about five minutes my contact lenses were irritating.

I think that process completely removed
any absorbed water vapor in the panels.

Glacier Bay recommends "Extruded Polystyrene" foam over Polyisocyanurate That's a valid point, and I really respect the opinion.

However, I want the extra R-Value
that I'll get with Polyisocyanurate.

The foam sections, to encapsulate the Glacier Bay panels, are cut oversized.

I used polyisocyanurate.

During my protracted discussions with the folks at Glacier Bay, they strongly recommended against polyisocyanurate foam insulation, because it absorbs water and will become useless over time.

However, they don't know how I build things.

The foil vapor barrier was lightly scored with a Ginzu knife. (It will still slice a tomato.)
This seems counterintuitive, but stay with me.

The foam has been in a warehouse for a long time, during the wettest, most humid time of the year. In the next step I'm going to remove all the absorbed moisture.

Moving as quickly as possible, I made a sandwich of the three panels.

The polyisocyanurate panels were painted with epoxy to seal them up and temporarily prevent atmospheric
water absorption.
The vacuum panels were also well painted, to seal them up as well.

Glacier Bay already sealed them well. However, this can only help. If I were to have used Rparts panels, this step would have been critical, because the Rparts panels don't have the external polypropylene protective case.

The foam is there for two reasons: First, if the vacuum panels fail, I still want to have a reasonably well insulated box. Second, if someone hits the insulation with a drill or a screw during the next 20 years, I want the vacuum panels to be well protected from penetration.

Here's one of the reasons
I waited for the Glacier Bay panels.

Note the sturdy polypropylene case.
Vacuum panels have a reputation for fragility, and for leaking over time. Glacier Bay mitigates that using more expensive materials, and when the panel is finished it is fully encapsulated
in a protective case.

The panels from Rparts don't have this, and I've heard you can put a pinhole in them very easily. Rparts sells good panels, but you have to be super careful when using them. I'm not always super careful.

Using the fiberglass panels for patterns, I cut some oversized pieces of 8 oz fiberglass fabric.

The fabric will totally encapsulate the final construction, protecting it from damage and
water penetration.

This approach seemed to work the best, use the least amount of foam and make the smallest mess.

It was tough to make it stick, since the whole assembly is covered with wet epoxy.

It continues to expand for an hour or so,
and then starts to skin over.

The next day, the excess foam was trimmed off with a Ginzu knife.
(It will still slice a tomato.)

Then the whole assembly was sanded very smooth, and shaped a bit to remove sharp edges.

Of course, this also removed the epoxy sealant on all the edges,
so the polyisocyanurate is
again exposed to air.
But, only for 10 minutes or so.

The gaps in the edges were packed with epoxy, thickened up into a heavy paste with colloidal silica. This will eliminate air pockets, and ensure that the fiberglass shroud will go on without problems

The 8 oz fiberglass fabric was set into place, thoroughly wetted out, and all air bubbles worked out.

Special care was taken with corners, and the bond between the fiberglass panel and the fabric.

I want this thing sealed up well enough that I could throw it in the ocean without fear of water
getting into the insulation.

Finally, the excess was trimmed off, the whole thing cleaned up and sanded, then painted with Rust-O-Leum.

I really don't think I have to worry about water penetrating
the insulation.

Prior to setting them into place, I stuck little shims on the back with some quick 5-minute epoxy. This will keep the whole thing 1/4" away from the bulkheads.

In a worst case scenario,
condensation might form on the
outside of the insulation.
I hope not, because that
would mean I screwed up.

But I still want a small gap
to allow for air flow around the freezer.
The bulkheads have been sealed with epoxy and painted, but I still don't want moisture
to collect on them. Rotten bulkheads suck.

Everything fits perfectly.

I had planned for the end panels to be 3-1/2" away from the bulkheads, but during construction had become convinced that I'd made them too thick and was going to have a problem fitting the top hatches in.

Somehow, when I measure, the inside edge is exactly
3-5/8" inches away
from the bulkhead.

I can deal with that.

Where possible, the end panels were tabbed to the bulkheads using Knytex (X-Cloth with mat.) This stuff is incredibly strong.
The bottom edges were just tabbed down using 4 oz tape, because I don't want to build up any thickness there.
Gee, I have epoxy drips on my newly painted hull. So what.

I picked this stuff up at the hardware store.

This is not a recommendation, but for some reason I though it might be great stuff.

Since I'm filling a big gap, I made sure to get stuff designed for big gaps.

It takes about eight hours to fully cure.
I'm pretty sure that it continues to release gas during that time, so that was the
end of the project for the evening.

June 2008 -- So, finally, the phase 2 set of Glacier Bay panels are done.
Waiting was very frustrating.

I ordered the second set after the side panels were completed, so I could have really accurate measurements. The rest of the panels will butt up against the side panels, and I want to minimize gaps
between the vacuum panels.

The evaporator has copper tubing for the refrigerant, so of course there must be a hole in the side of the box for the tubes to pass through. I set a piece of 1.5" pvc pipe against the interior fiberglass liner, and epoxied it into place with some five minute epoxy.

To ensure that the pipe was lined up right, I cut the pvc and then joined the two pieces together. That way it could
sit in perfectly straight.

Then the whole thing was
sanded into shape.

Note that the sides are square, so they'll fit tight
against the side panels.

The pipe is extra long.

It will extend through the bulkhead next to the freezer, and be filled with spray foam. This will prevent condensation from forming on the tubing and rotting the bulkhead.

Finally, this assembly was covered in a layer of fiberglass cloth, and painted.

Note that the sides were not covered. When it's installed, I know I'll be sanding the sides back a bit to make it fit tightly into place.

I used System Three epoxy for this job.

I like this epoxy. It has a simple 2:1 mixing ratio,
so you don't need pumps. More importantly, it has no amine blush, so you can just scuff the cured epoxy up a bit and move on to the next layer.

I'm going to seal all exposed foam edges with this epoxy, so it won't absorb moisture from the humid air. Eventually, everything will be sealed in fiberglass, but in the meantime I want everything well sealed.

The finished panel was set into place.

I used 5200 to glue it in, using an entire tube on either side.
The panel fit tightly enough to push the 5200 back along the entire edge, creating a good bead of sealant.

Before installing the front panel, I cut a hole in the bulkhead to allow the PVC pipe to pass through.

This bulkhead goes into the cabinets under the sink, where the compressor will be located.

The hole was painted with epoxy to seal the edges of the wood. Condensation around refrigeration lines is a classic cause of bulkhead rot, and I want to avoid that.

Then, a small fillet of epoxy and strip of two inch tape made the corner smooth and strong.

The bottom insulation panel received the same treatment, but with thin cloth.

Here's how the back panel looked before wetting out the X Cloth and epoxying it to the bottom of the galley cabinet.

With the fiberglass firmly attached to the cabinet, the corners were packed with a putty made from super thick
epoxy and colloidal silica.

The bottom panel was also set into place,
and the cloth wetted out to epoxy it to the outside of the back panel.

A strip of two inch tape was set into place along the edges, and left to sit for a couple of hours.

I wanted the epoxy to kick and keep the tape semi-rigid so that it wouldn't move around, yet I wanted the epoxy to be green and tacky to form a good chemical bond with the insulation.

Then two more layers of foam were epoxied into place. I didn't use a vacuum panel up here, because it would be pretty small and expensive.

So, the top will only be about R27.
I can live with that.

I put a strip of four inch Knytex (X Cloth with Mat) tape along the top of the back panel. It was only wetted out on one edge, and that was allowed to kick off.

This fabric is very thick, which will make it hold shape and position
during the curing process.

All edges were sealed with epoxy.

The bottom, top, and back side are to be assembled in the boat. So the outside insulation panels were
covered with cloth and epoxy.

A very thin paste of epoxy was painted onto the outside foam panel, and the vacuum panels were set into place.

The vacuum panels were painted with epoxy, set into place, and the cracks around the edges were packed with canned foam.

While I was able to bevel the edges of the outside polyisocyanurate foam panels, the vacuum panels are square.

So the small gap in the corner was also packed with canned spray foam.

The polyisocyanurate panel
was surrounded by a
medium-thin putty of
epoxy and colloidal silica.

I'm convinced that no condensation, or spray from hosing the hull down, will penetrate into the insulation.

In this project I tried two kinds of spray foam. I learned that
both are good, but
for different purposes.

The "Great Stuff" foam that says "Gaps and Cracks"
is best for gaps and cracks.
Gee. Who 'da thunk?

However, it over expands and one must wait at least two hours, preferably overnight, for it to achieve full expansion. For big gaps, it's great. For small areas that just need to be packed quickly and then covered with fiberglass, it sucks. It pushes through the fiberglass as the epoxy cures.

For those *small* areas
that need to be packed with foam quickly, this DAPtex stuff works best.
It applies slowly, requires patience and visible line of sight for every spot, and the entire area must be filled 90 percent. It does not over expand.

Each product is appropriate for a specific application.
I figured it out as I went along.


Finally, another inch thick panel of polyisocyanurate foam was epoxied into place, and panels of prefab vinylester fiberglass from McMaster-Carr epoxied on top. Small fillets of epoxy fill the corners, covered with
two inch fiberglass tape.

Note that I did not build a drain into the box. That would be crazy, as it would let
all the cold air out.

However, the bottom is built at a slight angle, so that the lowest spot is in the front corner. That should make it easier to clean.

Here's the top corner, where the back meets the top.

At this point, only a single foam panel is installed on the top, and there's a significant gap in the corner.
It was packed with canned foam.

The back corner was cleaned up, and a four inch strip of X-cloth with Mat epoxied across it, to make a nice smooth corner.

After it cured, I drilled some 1/4 inch holes every few inches, and packed it with spray foam.

Then it was cleaned up, sanded down, and the holes covered with a strip of fiberglass tape.

The Evaporator needs to be set an inch
off of the sides, but I didn't want to use the supplied shims. They were just nylon bushings, that required one to drill holes into the side of the box. That would be an opportunity
for water to get into the foam.

Instead, I epoxied little fiberglass blocks to the side panel, and will put screws into them

I'll make a shelf or shelves, that will slide
back and forth in the box.

They're supported by fiberglass brackets,
made from the scraps leftover from
those braces that support the whole box,
and are now hidden forever.

I covered a flat glass table with waxed paper, and wet out a layer of X-cloth with mat. The fiberglass was set with the mat side up, and the foam panel set onto it.

I created a dam on all sides with scraps of foam, and sealed up the joints with thick epoxy putty. Once the putty started to set, I filled up all the spaces with epoxy, thickened up with colloidal silica.

Then another layer of fiberglass was set on top.

Note the cutout for the spillover fan hole.

The foam panel will be covered in fiberglass.

First, it was cut down 1.5" on all sides.

Finally, it was cut back into shape, sanded down and trial fit.

It will be sealed on all sides with neoprene foam tape.

On the top, I epoxied a wide flat lip. That is because the refrigerator compartment is about twice as big as the freezer compartment, and will extend about an inch past the hatch lid opening.

The lip will keep the refrigerator compartment sealed up when the freezer is open.

This should make more sense later, when you see the
finished pictures.

Small bits of fiberglass angle iron are epoxied into the box.

The panel will be bolted to them.

The panel is not permanently installed because I want to be able to move it. There may come a time when I want a small freezer and large fridge,
so the panel can be slid over to the far right side, making the entire box a refrigerator.

The freezer side will be separated from the refrigerator side by an insulated panel, with a spillover fan.

I'm making the panel out of a piece of 1/2" polyisocyanurate foam.

I'll need to seal it up really well, so it doesn't get wet inside.

The pipe was masked off to keep epoxy from getting inside, and the bottom edge sealed up with thick epoxy putty.


Then, a thin epoxy putty was injected from the top, filling the void and sealing the pipe in place.

I wanted to use the DAP foam to pack the void from inside the box, but the nearby Home Depot didn't stock it, and I didn't want to spend all day driving around looking for it.

So I used the Great Stuff Window and Door foam.

It doesn't expand as aggressively, and the "Gorilla Tape" that I sealed the hole with was able to keep it from expanding inside the box.

Okay, here's the fiberglassed foam panel, with spillover fan,
ready for installation.

Note, it would be far more efficient to have separate fridge/freezer boxes,
but I'd need a bigger boat for that.

I'll just have to live with the extra frost in the freezer.


The inside corners were taped over with two inch
fiberglass tape.

It was all done by feel,
and I had to check my work using a mirror.

We're getting close
to the finish now.

A hole was cut into the top of the box for electrical connections.

A long piece of PVC pipe will extend through the hole. The coupling on the top will help to keep it aligned vertically.

The counter top and hatch construction has it's own page, as that was a big project itself.

Before final installation, I finished the electrical and plumbing connections, and turned the system on.

It ran for about fifteen minutes, then quit.

The compressor control module died, and was replaced under warranty.

Also, the system needed to be charged up. All the components come pre-charged, but the keel cooler had sat there for five years and I think the
refrigerant leaked out.

To insulate the counter top,
I'm just going to pack it with spray foam.

I masked it off well, and drilled 1/4" holes
around the top edge.

Then, foam was injected into the holes.

The counter top was built with a hard bottom panel, cut slightly undersized so that the counter could be installed easily.

Here, you can see the gap between the counter top and the sides of the box.

Since the counter top will be insulated with spray foam,
it's important that it be
sealed up well.

I set neoprene foam tape all around the edges, then smeared a thick epoxy putty all over it to seal up any gaps.

It began to expand
back out the holes.


It's a good thing I sat and watched it all day.

The foam takes about eight hours to cure.

I should have masked off the counter top better, but since I was watching it I could keep pushing the foam away from the edges and clean it off the formica before it cured.

The PVC pipe
for the refrigerant tubing
was packed with foam.

Once the foam was cured, I removed the masking tape from the hatches and took a look inside.

Well, this is a screw up.
I was worried about the foam expanding inside the box and making a problem, and over compensated. The foam never expanded to the end of the pipe.


The wiring pipe was also
packed with foam.

I added another section of pipe above the coupling, so that the pipe extends up to the top of the cabinet behind the fridge.
So, the pipe is actually about fifteen inches long.

Here's a view inside the fully assembled freezer.

Now, you can see why I put that two inch wide flat lip on the top of the panel separating the fridge from the freezer. Without it, the fridge would be exposed every time the freezer was opened,
and cold air would escape.
Also, there wouldn't be any way to seal
the top of the panel against the counter top.
A good strip of neoprene foam tape
is stuffed in there.

I cut out the solid bottom of the evaporator,
and made a fiberglass bottom that can be removed.
A small shelf will rest next to the evaporator, effectively closing off the area underneath.

So, the freezer actually has four sections.

Underneath the evaporator is a "deep freeze" area. Accessing it will require removing items that are on top, so it will only store items that need to be
well frozen and stored for a long time.

Inside the evaporator is a traditional freezer space.
Between the evaporator and the panel is a three inch wide slot that is perfect for frozen pizzas
or vertical ice cube trays.
The last section is behind the evaporator.

The internal, moveable panel was set in place,
and the edges sealed using neoprene foam tape.

The seal doesn't have to be perfect, since the refrigerator side is cooled using the spillover fan. There must be a patch for air to return to the freezer side. Of course, that return path should be controlled, so I left a gap in the foam tape
up at the top, opposite the fan.

If I ever want a smaller freezer and a huge refrigerator section, this panel can slide all the way to the right, and the spillover fan turned off.

Note the paint job. I painted the box using Interlux Perfection, a two part paint.

For some reason, after two coats, it still didn't want to cover some parts of the bottom. I probably didn't prep and prime correctly.

I'll live with it.
It doesn't bother me at all.


After the foam inside the counter top was fully cured,
I drilled back into the holes
for about 1/4 inch, and
packed the hole with 5200.

When smoothed down and cured, you'll never even notice it.

I discovered one immediate glitch.

The spillover fan will get smashed
by the shelf's contents, as the shelf slides right underneath it.

Also, that temperature knob is easily moved out of adjustment when the refrigerator's contents are shuffled around.
Maybe I can take the knob off once it's set at the perfect temperature.

I made this shelf out of scraps of prefab fiberglass from McMaster-Carr. It's seven inches wide, which is the size of a standard gallon of milk.

The sides are fiberglass angle iron, and the bottom slats are just 1/8 inch pieces.

You can see four screws, which attach a bar of polyethylene under the shelf.
That allows it to slide easily back and forth on the supports.

I put the fridge circulation fan
on the same side of the box.
That project has it's own page.

This location will prevent the shelf and contents
from hitting the spillover fan.

However, I'm not sure that this is the optimal place
for the fan, since it's right next to the slot
where warm air from the fridge
spills back into the freezer compartment.

Or, perhaps that's best, since the air spilling back into the freezer would be the coldest from the fridge, and thus
might reduce frosting around the evaporator.

Who knows. I'm still thinking about it.

Finally, I turned it on.

After waiting about 12 hours for it to get down to temperature,
I made sure the batteries were fully charged, and turned off all charging sources.
Then I left the boat for 72 hours, with nothing on but the refrigeration.

I wanted to see what the power consumption was.

To my shock and horror, it was sucking up 52 Amp Hours a day.
That's about three times what I was hoping for.

So, I went to a local hardware store and picked up a couple of freezer thermometers.

Sure enough, even though the thermostat was set for 26F, the actual temperature inside the evaporator, and at the bottom of the box, was -5F.

Well, that explains
the power consumption.

Clearly, the thermostat sensor is in the wrong location, or I need a circulating fan in the freezer, or perhaps both.

Well, the instructions for the Frigoboat system said to put the sensor on the evaporator.
The instructions for the digital Carel thermostat said to put it on a wall opposite the evaporator.

I'd followed the instructions for the thermostat, and put the sensor opposite the evaporator,
on the back wall. That was clearly wrong for this installation.

The installation of the compressor, thermostat, and
Smart Speed Controller
has it's own page.

The thermostat is digital,
and the Smart Speed Controller will
optimize compressor speed
based upon feedback from the thermostat.

Fortunately, I'd considered that
I might have to move it,
and had left some
extra wire inside the box.

I don't want it to directly touch the evaporator, or get coated with frost,
as that would mess up the readings.

Temporarily, it's inside this plastic syringe, and stuck next to the evaporator.

This kept the evaporator and bottom compartment at 26F, but the back section (where the sensor used to be)
is about 34F. Not good.

I guess I'll need to make a circulating fan for the freezer, too.

After a couple of weeks, the seam between the lids split open.

The pressure from the expanding foam overcame the 5200 that I'd used to
seal the seam.


I should have roughed up the back edge and put a layer of fiberglass tape over it.

After a couple of weeks,
I decided the foam had to be fully cured, so I plugged the holes in the lids with 5200.

So, I took a small hand saw and removed the offending foam, using a shop vac to keep the mess down.

Fortunately, the original teak trim for the front and sides could be reused, as well as the old aluminum handhold at the corner.

So, the whole thing will look like it's original construction.

I'm waiting on the bungs until a few other wood projects are complete, and
I'll have a bung day.

Then it was time to replace the teak trim. The piece on the back was destroyed when I removed it, so I made a new one and fastened it down with Life Seal.

I packed the resulting groove with a thin epoxy putty, and clamped it back down.

The wood braces ensure that all the surfaces are flat, so that the seal on the lid is maintained.

This worked.

The lids are latched down with serious cabinet latches.

I bought some flush ones, and then realized that the flush mounts require a 3/4" cut into the counter. That won't work, since the counter is only 1/2" thick. Oops. So these stand proud of the counter,
but I've learned that it's
not that big a deal.

A piece of teak trim hides the ugly cut at the back edge of the counter. The hatches slip under the trim, and then latch solid.

It provides a really good seal.

So, I could keep working on this page for a while, as I play with thermostat sensor locations and temperature settings, but the project is basically done.

Power consumption has been constant between 19 and 23 Amp Hours per day,
and the solar panels can easily keep up with that. So, I know I can leave the boat on a mooring with refrigeration on for a week, even in really hot sunny weather, and the batteries will be fine.
That was the goal.

On to the next thing.