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colmac

Electrical consumption

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Can anyone explain, in layman's terms, if I would be able to run a 12 v fridge on my boat. I have 3 leisure 110ah batteries, no inverter and only one alternator. We cruise from April to September and run most days. We presently have a gas fridge but it has packed in so would like an electric one. As you can probably tell from this post I am not the most electrically minded of people so be gentle with me. Thank you.

 

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4 minutes ago, colmac said:

Can anyone explain, in layman's terms, if I would be able to run a 12 v fridge on my boat. I have 3 leisure 110ah batteries, no inverter and only one alternator. We cruise from April to September and run most days. We presently have a gas fridge but it has packed in so would like an electric one. As you can probably tell from this post I am not the most electrically minded of people so be gentle with me. Thank you.

 

I'd fix the gas fridge. Is it an old Electrolux? Usual trouble with them is just that they need a good clean out, sweep flue pipe, remove and clean burner, Clean and probe the gas jet. Make sure the thermo-couple is in the flame. Might be just the thermo-couple thats faulty.

  • Greenie 1

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Without getting too technical it’s important to understand that the size of the battery bank has little bearing on your ability to run any appliance. What’s more relevant is your ability to generate the power used on a daily basis in order to replace the power used. Batteries don’t make electricity, they just store it  

Without any maths, cruising daily will probably be quite sufficient. But what about from October to March? Either you’ll have to run the engine just for charging, or use a generator and charger, or have a shore line and charger. 

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I'm with Bizzard if at all possible.

To answer your question with any certainty we need a lot more info about running time and other electrical loads and alternator size. However with a 70 amp alternator I have no problems with an electric fridge (12V) but I always run for a MINIMUM of 4 hours a day and often for a lot longer.

 

 

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55 minutes ago, colmac said:

Can anyone explain, in layman's terms, if I would be able to run a 12 v fridge on my boat. I have 3 leisure 110ah batteries, no inverter and only one alternator. We cruise from April to September and run most days. We presently have a gas fridge but it has packed in so would like an electric one. As you can probably tell from this post I am not the most electrically minded of people so be gentle with me. Thank you.

 

There is enough info - just - to give the information needed, ie "can you generate the same power as you'll need for the fridge"? Without quantifying the amounts of energy/power consumed and generated, if its a fairly normal 12V fridge as fitted to narrowboats, and a fairly normal day's cruising, ie 5-6 hours or more, then it would work out. As evidenced by the fact that tons of boats have exactly this setup, and do this, and it works. 

If you cruise less (than say, 5) hours per day, then it becomes somewhat marginal and you might need to look more closely at doing a power audit, and/or battery monitoring. For example, say you liked a spot and wanted to stay there another day? You might need to run the engine while moored (not brilliant....but people do it) to 'feed' the fridge of its power it wants. Or if you wanted to have a lazy morning and set off in the afternoon instead, and do just 3 hours cruising. etc etc

Without getting too technical and going into the figures, add a bit of solar power and the scenarios in the above paragraph become much more achievable. But then that's a different topic......

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Choose your fridge carefully and go for the most efficient you can afford.

We run an Engel 12v fridge from our 2 105ah batteries. 

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You could add some solar panels say 200 watts and they will power the fridge, on most days anyway, in the summer, so not much different to your current system except for the £500 spent for the fridge and the £250 for the solar. If you can fix the gas it will be cheaper.

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3 hours ago, colmac said:

Can anyone explain, in layman's terms, if I would be able to run a 12 v fridge on my boat. I have 3 leisure 110ah batteries, no inverter and only one alternator. We cruise from April to September and run most days. We presently have a gas fridge but it has packed in so would like an electric one. As you can probably tell from this post I am not the most electrically minded of people so be gentle with me. Thank you.

 

Yes.

3 hours ago, bizzard said:

I'd fix the gas fridge. Is it an old Electrolux? Usual trouble with them is just that they need a good clean out, sweep flue pipe, remove and clean burner, Clean and probe the gas jet. Make sure the thermo-couple is in the flame. Might be just the thermo-couple thats faulty.

Agreed.

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3 hours ago, colmac said:

Can anyone explain, in layman's terms, if I would be able to run a 12 v fridge on my boat. I have 3 leisure 110ah batteries, no inverter and only one alternator. We cruise from April to September and run most days. We presently have a gas fridge but it has packed in so would like an electric one. As you can probably tell from this post I am not the most electrically minded of people so be gentle with me. Thank you.

 

The answer is yes or no.

If you are working to a budget, or looking to buy second hand be very aware !!.

Be very careful when looking to buy a 12v fridge, there are two types (basically 'cheap' & 'expensive')

The cheaper ones do not have a thermostat and are running continuously, they are designed for caravans and are only run on 12v whilst the car engine is running (and there are warnings to disconnect it if you stop at services for any length of time as it will flatten the car battery), they are then switched over to mains voltage or gas on arrival at the camp site.

I took one of these out of my boat - it was using over 200Ah per day.

One of these will flatten your boat battery bank in a matter of hours.

 

'Expensive' ones (around the £600 mark) are well insulated and thermostatically controlled and will consume around 30Ah per day.

 

You will also need a competent person to wire up your boat and run new cables from the fuse-box to the new fridge.

 

Suggestion - get a quote for having the fridge repaired / serviced.

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The small 12V fridge on my boat is the greatest single  draw on power . In warm weather it becomes even more significant.

From practical experience One leisure battery in good condition comfortably allows  24hrs stopped and needs 3 hrs running to charge it fairly well with a 40 amp alternator. 

Two batteries last twice as long stopped ...........but need twice as long running to replace the charge ....

If you run 3 hours every  day and otherwise have modest electrical demands you should keep pace .

A portable petrol generator and a fitted battery charger may be worth having for occasions when the fridge gains on the battery bank.

 

  • Greenie 1

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Sorry should have expanded a bit more. The only other electrical consumption we have are a few cabin lights,  the TV of an evening and the domestic water pump as required. We have no white goods and cook with gas. The budget is no problem and we have looked at a fridge costing around £400, no further details as yet. Hope this explains a bit more. Thank you.

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Modern TV's don't use a great deal of  power and  the domestic water pump is only used intermittently. Cabin lights can be fitted with LED bulbs  - which does make a worthwhile difference .

£400 sounds cheap for a 12V fridge .

 

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 The budget is no problem and we have looked at a fridge costing around £400, no further details as yet. Hope this explains a bit more. Thank you.

That is very cheap -what make and model is it ?

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Thank you all for your replies. Has helped to arrive at a decision at last.

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All sounds pretty much the same set up as me. 3 batteries, no inverter and 1 alternator. I do have a fridge, all I know is it’s an Engel. I rarely use it. As others have said, if moving daily for 4 to 5 hours at time, it should be ok.  

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4 hours ago, Goliath said:

I do have a fridge, all I know is it’s an Engel. I rarely use it. 

Where do you keep your milk and beer?

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4 hours ago, Goliath said:

All sounds pretty much the same set up as me. 3 batteries, no inverter and 1 alternator. I do have a fridge, all I know is it’s an Engel. I rarely use it. As others have said, if moving daily for 4 to 5 hours at time, it should be ok.  

We also have an Engel fridge fitted. It is a decent piece of kit and not cheap to replace. Very efficient. Doesn't bother our two batteries at all during our usual cruise every day pattern. We can stop for a few nights without running the engine and still keeping the fridge running.

Why don't you use it?

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33 minutes ago, MartynG said:

Where do you keep your milk and beer?

In the cratch. :)

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3 minutes ago, Goliath said:

In the cratch. :)

I don't have one of those. 

Edited by MartynG
.

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22 minutes ago, Naughty Cal said:

We also have an Engel fridge fitted. It is a decent piece of kit and not cheap to replace. Very efficient. Doesn't bother our two batteries at all during our usual cruise every day pattern. We can stop for a few nights without running the engine and still keeping the fridge running.

Why don't you use it?

If I know I’m going to move daily then I might use it. 

Without using it I don’t need to run my engine for a week or maybe10 days. If I’m 14 days by a town then I shop fresh most days and therefore  don’t need the fridge on. If I’m 14 days out in the sticks I tend to go without certain stuff.

 I’ve a small metal ‘meat safe’ which works well for a week in all but the hottest weather. 

 

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7 minutes ago, MartynG said:

I don't have one of those. 

Its that part that stops you getting 'chubby-rub' on your thighs during hot weather.

Ooops - sorry mis read it - CRATCH.

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52 minutes ago, MartynG said:

Where do you keep your milk and beer?

Anyway beer don't go in a fridge! 

:o

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