This is Part 3 of the Galley Remodel Project that turned into much more than a project involving the Galley. If you’d like to get caught up, check out Part 1 and Part 2, then come on back over here.
When I was researching L’Attitude, I spent a good bit of time reading through the previous owners’ blog. They’d spent several years cruising the Caribbean on her, so I knew I could learn a lot from their experiences. One theme seemed to be the troubles they’d had with the fridge and freezer situation.
The boat had a fancy system by which the fridge and freezer ran off either a 120volt compressor or a separate engine driven compressor. In theory it sounds like a brilliant idea. In practice, it made for an insane mess of tubes and wires both in the icebox and in the engine room.
Flashback to the insanity of compressors and tubing in the engine room due to the old freezer/fridge before I had it all removed…
I made the decision early on to rip all that stuff out and find a more simple setup.
In discussing this with a few people at the marina in Sarasota, I ended up scoring an incredible deal on a combination drawer-style fridge/freezer that ran off of 12 volts (Vitrifrigo DW180). The only catch was, I’d have to tear up my entire galley to make it work.
That, and I wasn’t sure it would actually fit down the hatch to get to the galley to begin with.
With visions of popsicles dancing in my head, onward I pressed. Measurements were taken, cardboard mockups were fashioned, and cuts were made. With the diesel tank sealed back up, we were ready to build a platform for the new fridge to sit on.
If you look closely, you’ll see that I’ve also installed a 12v Engel drop-in deep freezer (Engel MB40v-h). It took some maneuvering to arrange it so that the top of the drop-in would sit flush with the bottom of the counter. This allows us to glue a piece of granite onto the freezer lid and make the entire countertop flush with the freezer lid.
We had to build a frame on top of the fridge for the granite to sit on. We had to leave it loose enough directly above the fridge to still allow for the fridge to slide out the front if we ever need to service the compressor. Also, to the right of the fridge, you’ll see a horizontal cutout. This is an intake vent to allow air to flow under the freezer and behind the fridge.
Once everything was installed and wired up, I had a few problems. The large fridge/freezer kept cycling as though it weren’t getting enough power. Turns out the wire gauge I was using was undersized for the draw it required when it kicked on. I had to up the wire size significantly.
I was also having issues with the Engel drop-in…it wasn’t performing the way I had hoped. I had heard great things about it, but it wouldn’t get below 40 degrees…my popsicles weren’t freezing!
When I finally got out the laser thermometer, I developed a theory. The air intake under the Engel was hovering around 105-110 degrees while the ambient air was 85. Hmm.
The air is supposed to flow in the intake under the Engel freezer, then go behind the Vitrifrigo fridge, and out into the wet locker under the companionway. But the air wasn’t flowing without help.
Enter the computer fan…
After wiring in these two low-draw, silent fans, both the Engel and the Vitrifrigo has been running beautifully. Popsicles for everyone!
Next Up: Galley Remodel Project- Part 4: We’ve got granite!