Blog

disgusted face

How’s everyone been out there? Hopefully, all are well and still kicking and screaming. I’m still lying low and pretty much operating under the radar, but I’ve been badgered lately to get fingers tapping on the keyboard again.

With winter approaching, and with the thought of storms and power outages energizing my little gray cells, I got to wondering just how long I could power up some essentials in the house using my Chevy Volt sitting in the driveway as a power plant.

Oh yes, it’s totally possible, there are tales from those who have done so on the internet, and there are even kits available.

power tower and elecric carMy Volt has a 17 kW-hr, 300v traction battery along with its DC generator plus a 12v battery for all the other normal loads. This 12v battery is charged by a DC-DC converter between the two batteries, so if I were to hook up an inverter to this battery I could supply 110v AC mains power to my household essentials during a power cut, or maybe power up an outdoor event, or fire up a blender and mini-fridge at a beach romp.

Possible? Yes, but for how long?

people jumping off boat 2

Some people would like to have their boat’s refrigeration run both air and water cooled, feeling that two methods of heat exchange is better than one. Well, yes and no.

If your refrigeration system needs both to get your box down to set point, then yes, you need to use both, or get a new system.

However, if your system works fine using either one method or the other, then no, you don’t need both to run at the same time, but you still may want both methods available on board your boat.

If you want the flexibility of choosing which heat exchange method to use, then yes, having both in a single unit is good. But why would you want that choice and when would you choose one over the other?

Family enjoying ice cream onboard boat

The debate rages on. Which is best: air cooling or water cooling for marine refrigeration systems?

A refrigeration system doesn’t “make cold”, it removes heat from one area and transfers it to another. There is actually no such thing as “cold”, just heat at different temperatures: cold heat, warm heat, hot heat, etc.

In our small marine refrigeration systems, this heat transfer is accomplished using a compressor and a refrigerant to collect heat from inside an insulated space and disperse it somewhere else via the magic of latent heat. The evaporator is the “heat collector” inside the insulated box while the condenser is the component that disperses that heat elsewhere. While the evaporator is specific for the size and configuration for the application, there are choices to be made regarding condensers and the medium they disperse the heat into.

But first, let's watch a demonstration of how a Frigoboat Keel Cooler System works in extreme tropical water conditions. Then we will discuss how this can be.

Air Conditioner Flicka20 Sailboat

18 Helpful Tips to install air-conditioning on your boat

As a lad I once took flowers to a girl I fancied when visiting her in hospital. Her mother shook her head and immediately removed them from sight, just as the poor thing in bed started sniffling and sneezing. How was I to know that she suffered from hay fever?

I once accidently filled an almost empty 40 gallon diesel tank with water on a sailboat after a race. No fun for me that night, having to drain and dispose of that much stinky, milky water in the exclusive playground of Puerto Cervo, Sardinia. I blame the boatbuilder for not putting the filler in the wrong place.

Mistakes. We all make them. Some more than others ...

So, when contemplating the installation of an air conditioning system on a boat, it’s well worth taking time in the planning stages to minimize the possibility of mistakes, because inevitably some will happen. Installing air conditioning on a boat as an after-market exercise is about the most invasive and disruptive thing you can do to your floating dream palace, and there are few short-cuts available when doing it correctly.

However, there are a number of logical steps you can take, and many potential pit-falls can be identified during the planning stages.

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