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Chris Carl

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since May 18, 2018
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Recent posts by Chris Carl

Chris Carl wrote:A "simple" solution is rarely cheep or universally applicable, here's mine.  I built my own top-opening refrigerator and freezer.  They are solar powered, between them they consume about 40amp-hr/day, 12v, in Florida.  OK, my application is different than in an 'earth berm', mine is on a sailboat.  Both fridge and freezer are low volume, fridge about 3 cuft, freezer 1.8 cuft.  They have been running non stop (despite 5 hurricanes) for about 10 years.  Claim to fame ... 'I have never been without ice or cold beer', that works for me.  The secret, "Engle, swing motor 12 volt compressors".  I use one for the fridge and another for the freezer for built-in redundancy and better control.  This  system and the rest of the boat is powered with 500 watts of Kyocerra solar panels and 1000 amp-hr battery bank.  It has worked flawlessly for 10 years.  The power system also provides lights, fans, instruments, radio, SSB communication and occasional 'movie nights' with an inverter.  I'll stop bragging and get back to the point; efficient refrigeration is achievable with a few sheets of petrochemical foam insulation and some kind of manufactured compressor/cold-plate.  My fridg is insulated to about R-30 (5 inches of polyiso), the freezer to R-50 (7 inches of polyiso).  So the walls are thick, the outside volume large and the inside volume small but it's been essentially free refrigeration.  And you can do this!

"Engle" https://www.engelcoolers.com/ is an Australian company and only maker of the "swing motor" compressor, a particularly efficient little unit, uses about 3 amps at 12v when running.  I used two "icebox conversion kits", with separate thermostats.  These units can be located up to 8 feet from the box itself or installed underneath.  My compressors are remote mounted but I have installed units under the insulated box too.  (Disclaimer: I am a dealer for Engle, it got me better prices, no other affiliation)

Favorite from Albert Einstein, "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits"
1 year ago
A "simple" solution is rarely cheep or universally applicable, here's mine.  I built my own top-opening refrigerator and freezer.  They are solar powered, between them they consume about 40amp-hr/day, 12v, in Florida.  OK, my application is different than in an 'earth berm', mine is on a sailboat.  Both fridge and freezer are low volume, fridge about 3 cuft, freezer 1.8 cuft.  They have been running non stop (despite 5 hurricanes) for about 10 years.  Claim to fame ... 'I have never been without ice or cold beer', that works for me.  The secret, "Engle, swing motor 12 volt compressors".  I use one for the fridge and another for the freezer for built-in redundancy and better control.  This  system and the rest of the boat is powered with 500 watts of Kyocerra solar panels and 1000 amp-hr battery bank.  It has worked flawlessly for 10 years.  The power system also provides lights, fans, instruments, radio, SSB communication and occasional 'movie nights' with an inverter.  I'll stop bragging and get back to the point; efficient refrigeration is achievable with a few sheets of petrochemical foam insulation and some kind of manufactured compressor/cold-plate.  My fridg is insulated to about R-30 (5 inches of polyiso), the freezer to R-50 (7 inches of polyiso).  So the walls are thick, the outside volume large and the inside volume small but it's been essentially free refrigeration for 10 years.  And you can do this!

"Engle" https://www.engelcoolers.com/ is an Australian company and only maker of the "swing motor" compressor, a particularly efficient little unit, uses about 3 amps at 12v when running.  I used two "icebox conversion kits", with separate thermostats.  These units can be located up to 8 feet from the box itself or installed underneath.  My compressors are remote mounted but I have installed units under the insulated box too.  (Disclaimer: I am a dealer for Engle, it got me better prices, no other affiliation)

1 year ago

I have been researching this topic from a perspective of efficiency and total life-cycle energy expenditure (mine and dead dinosaurs).  I'm leaning strongly toward MGO SIP construction for it's simplicity, flexibility and durability.  MGO SIPs are virtually waterproof, rot-proof, insect proof and can be ordered as a 'kit house' with almost everything included to rise from a foundation to weather-tight on a single truck load.  Why this, because Carpenter bees and termites have decimated my original site-sourced cabin in only a few years.  You can investigate this option at:  (I have no affiliation)

https://innovaecobuildingsystem.com/

They are located in Miami Florida, ship mainly to Central and South America, are aligned to supplying small, highly efficient housing to third-world countries and disaster areas.  The buildings are made of panels and can be assembled with minimal tools by 4 people in only a few days.  (though some kind of crane to place roof panels would sure help).  

This is the least expensive (but not cheep), most efficient, fastest self-build option I've found.  Both panel faces are almost impervious to water and don't require outside siding or interior drywall.  The roof doesn't even require shingles or cladding.  The company offers a water-based (really gooey) paint that can be used to finish the outside and roof, like what is used on mobile-home roofs or new commercial buildings.  As much as I'm against using petrochemicals, this system should last 100 years (though that is still unproven) with minimal inputs for heating or cooling.  That said, ain't nothing "natural" about it.

Sorry, for all the 'qualifiers', think I'll shut-up now
1 year ago