Mark Weeks
Does anyone know if there is any insulation on the outside of the cool box in a parker 27? Ringing the sides of mine would indicate there is nothing but the moulding, likewise in the cover. Is there anyway of introducing insulation to the outside of the cool box? Having dismantled part of the furniture there appears to be no way of getting to the outside of the cool box moulding other than removing the entire sink/work surface (not for the faint hearted). Has anyone attempted to insulate outside or inside the cool box? I have a fridge plate in my cool box and have now fitted a solar panel to power it, but want to make the system as efficient as possible hence the addition of insulation.
Any thoughts or experiences welcome.
Hi Mark. I've been contemplating this for a while as I want install a fridge plate in my 275. There isn't any insulation around the cool box and I've drilled a hole and stuck a camera down the back to confirm. As you say, it's not easy to get at the outside of the coolbox and I was wondering about pouring PU foam down the hole but I'm not sure how evenly that will fill around the box. If you're doing this soon, let me know how you get on, otherwise I'll report back on my own experiences, probably over the winter.
Morning's Minion, Parker 275, No. 1
Mark Weeks
I concur that there is no insulation around the cool box and from my measurements there is little room on three sides (for, aft and to starboard). The only room seems to be to port and probably beneath.
I considered injecting insulation from a can but this can be tricky if you get it wrong as the expanding foam can distort structures if overfilled and besides with so little room around most sides it seems fairly ineffectual.
So my solution was to buy 30mm insulation board and 3mm kitchen hygienic wall board. I cur the insulation board to fir all sides and the base leaving the plate area clear. I dabbled it with no more nails where needed to get it to remain in place, but most was a tight enough fit without. I then lined the inside with the hygienic wall board. This reduced the capacity of the fridge by about 30% from approximately 56 litres to 40 litres. The box is still deep enough for 2 litre bottles (or wine etc.). I maintained a little sliding shelf that was fitted to my box.
Performance - I ran my fridge (Empty) down to near freezing (about 20 minutes) then turned the thermostat down to achieve 4 degrees adjacent to the plate and 8 degrees in the bottom of the fridge as measured with a fridge thermometer. At this setting my 50w solar panel managed to run the fridge and top up the battery to a float state within 30 mins with the compressor cycling on a 1minute on two minute off cycle. Very Pleasing i.e. effectively 1Ah draw. My fridge is a coolmitic 55 with the basic VD-01 evaporator plate.
Sorry but I didn't take any before and offer photos, but I could still take an after photo and you should be able to see the difference by comparison.
Hope this helps.
Martin Watson
Hi Mark, where did you place the compressor? Although I have a Dometic 22 Litre coolbox, I have been thinking of installing a compressor and using the built in coolbox. I don't know how much space there is around the outside of the box but if I did it, I would use vacuum sealed panels Which have an incredible R value, a 1 inch thick panel is equivalent to 8" inches of normal foam. They are not particularly expensive around £100 to do the whole box including the Lid. I did it on my 33 foot Tradewind 33 and to protect the panels which are quite fragile, I encased them in 20mm foam on each side so the total thickness was 65mm. I will try to dig out the name of the company I got the panels from (they will manufacture them to whatever size you want) They are normally used to make boxes to transport human organs hence they are highly efficient insulators. In the US, a company called Blue Sea markets them at a hugely inflated price, about 6 o7 times what they cost in UK if ordered direct from the manufacturer. The panels are made of some form of dense granular charcoal type substance that is then comprised and vacuum sealed in a mylar envelop. I know because I accidentally punctured one, it made an awful mess, hence it's a good idea to encapsulate them in normal blue foam which is closed cell, important so as not to allow water saturation from condensation. The foil backed foam boards are perfect and easy to cut to size with a bread knife! King board I think it's called or similar from any building Merchants. I definitely would not use expanding foam, firstly I believe it is not closed cell foam, but more importantly, the pressure exerted during the expansion process is tremendous, quite enough to split a bulkhead or the GRP enclosure, or even the hull on the outboard side of the coolbox. I haven't checked to see how much space there is around the toolbox but if it is 2" (50mm) it is quite enough to fit the panels with foam on either side, even if you have to go with 20mm panels with 20mm foam on each side, that's still equivalent to 210mm of insulation (8.4" inches) and since most boats only have three inches of foam at most, you are still going to end up with nearly three times as efficient a system. As a matter of interest, my Dometic toolbox runs about 1 minute in four to five, and since it draws 4.5 Amps, that pretty well equates to 1amp/Hr or 24Amps in 24 hours. BUT it's only 22 litres. the built in coolbox would be way better if I can figure where to fit the compressor. (don't want to compromise on the under cooker space which I am considering part sacrificing to fit an oven) I will still need storage for cookware.
Martin Watson
Mark Weeks
I didn't fix the Fridge Plate or compressor. It may have been the previous owner Richard Watson or even the owner before that.
Anyway the compressor is fitted in the prop shaft bay on a board glassed level (I think as I have not investigated) to the hull just aft of the access hole in the port cockpit locker and on the port side of the shaft. There is loads of room here as my exhaust runs on the starboard side of this space. The pipes from the compressor are led along the locker inboard fore and aft bulkhead passing though it just forward of the locker access hole and thence through the bulkhead behind the cool box directly into the box. The pipes are of a similar diameter to the old micro-bore pipes that were used in domestic heating systems and are lagged with what looks like domestic pipe foam lagging.
Martin Watson
Thanks for the info Mark, I may well speak to Richard, to get more information. I have my starter battery in that location, as I have a much larger house battery set up (2 x 130 Ahr batteries) that take up the main battery box. behind that I have a box with the hydraulic pump for the hydraulic lift keel system and above that is the Eberspacher. I could move the start battery box a bit further aft to make space for the compressor if it is the compact (square base type) rather than the long tray type, which is what I fitted on my Tradewind 33. I presume from what your saying, that the pipes run inside the engine compartment until they reach the main bulkhead and then turn into the under sink (seacock) locker and across the bulkhead before disappearing into the toolbox 'hole'? Otherwise it would require moving the fuel tank out board about 1~2" inches to accommodate the pipework and insulation? Think I would prefer it ran in the engine compartment. The other option I guess would be to put the pipework into the sail locker, around the outside of the tank and straight through the bulkhead behind the toolbox, might be a shorter run and easier access, the downside being the vulnerability of the pipework to locker clutter 'rash'! Could be done with suitable protection to the pipework though. (run it inside some plastic tube before covering with insulation, similar to gas pipe runs). Anyway, it's given me some more things to consider for this winters lift out! Would free up some space inside by getting rid of the Dometic coolbox and I think would be more efficient despite the larger capacity.
Martin Watson
Martin Watson
Further to your question on getting to the outside of the coolbox to insulate it, I would expect you would have to remove the joinery under the hob, as well as the worktop, to enable you to slide the coolbox in to the hob space (you won't be able to lift it out due to the bulkhead projecting over it. It may not be as bad as you think. A lot of it is just screwed together and in fact the engine box bulkhead, which forms the forward face and front of the sinks/worktop support, just slides out once the steps are out of the way. The worktop under the hob is I believe just screwed in again, so once that is off it should be a case of removing the shelf below that and unscrewing the plywood that creates the forward face of the coolbox space. The sink and worktop should be removable by finding the screws and possibly having to break it out. I would consider putting in a new piece of ply for the worktop with som fresh upgraded formica top and, as I have already done, put in a larger deeper sink while your at it, especially if you still have the sink that does not have a plug as such, just a circular flat stopper that sits on top and leaks like crazy unless you are scrupulous about making sure there is nothing under the stopper (daft idea). Once the box is out, it should be a doddle to insulate the outside, checking to see how much space you have around the box, especially between the box and the hull. I might be inclined to drill a two inch hole through the side of the ply at the back of the pan locker under the hob, to check that the box isn't hard up against the hull which would be a game changer. It shouldn't be but you never know. It's not insurmountable, just requires a bit more work in making the box about 2" inches shallower which will probably mean re glassing a new flange on the top or carefully cutting the existing flange off and reglassing it on two inches lower down the box and then cutting off the excess 2" inches. It all depends on how confident you are at GRP work. I remoulded my coachroof ( got rid of those four up stands for the winches) and also made and fitted a combined hatch garage and instrument binnacle so am pretty confident in that respect.)
Martin Watson
Mark Weeks
My fridge pipes run along the foree and aft bulkhead which separated the bay aft of th eenfgine form the port side deep locker. They then run up to the top of this near the access hole from the locker into the bay aft of the engine and then up and over my fuel tank which is a tech tanks specific 40+ ltr vertical tank mounted against the fore and aft bulkhead already mentioned. The pipes then enter the cool box from directly aft through the companionway bulkhead. Having measures the inside of the cool box from it's opening and then measured then from the outside to the relevant structure I find as I said previously that there is less the 20mm on threes sides so I didn't think it any use to try to fill it.
I did look at removing the work top but it would mead complete disassembly of the cooker and surrounding structure, port side shelving and the worktop. I did consider this but when I looked up under the sink the cabinet work had been glassed in as well as screwed together. I didn't fancy that much work so went for the inside insulation instead.
My compressor being the coolmatic 55 is a square, the installation manual gives dimensions of 220mm x 220mm x160 high.
Martin Watson
Hi Mark. I have now done a lot more in removing my cool box and insulating and fitting an Isotherm refrigeration unit. The coolbox when removed had about 40mm of space at the back and inner side and 45mm along the front. the outside has about 300mm towards the hull side so no problem there. This meant the critical space is fore and aft. I repositioned the box slightly forward a nd slightly out wards so giving me at least 40mm all round. I then ordered so 25mm VIP panels from a company called Kevothermal. They have the same insulation value as 200mm of Bluefoam (Celotex or similar) so very efficient. I first had to remove the old spray foam which varied in thickness fro as little as 20mm to 50mm. The easiest way to do that was to just run a panel saw down each side which gave me flat surfaces to work off. I first put a layer of mylar space blanket on the box taped on real tight with aluminium tape and 4"inch wide double sided tape, then used double sided tape and alloy tape to stick the VIP panels on ,again as tightly as possible to avoid any gaps (made a stepped arrangement to fill the angled base) then a layer of 6mm underfloor foam panels taped on as above, mainly for protection of the VIP panels which are quite 'delicate' (mylar film backs, vacuum insulated) and then finally another layer of tightly wrapped mylar space blankets. It was a sub fit to get it back in even with the worktop completely removed ( I had to saw it into bits with a Feinsaw to get it out). I removed a large panel in front of the coolbox, where the cooker sits, to be able to get it out and in, and then replaced that panel with a 5mm thick GRP sheet which I had lying around first fitting alloy angled supports, bolted through for the shelves that support the new built in oven and in built grill (SMEV FO211GT) and then the shelf above it that is under the gimballed two burner hob. I made a new worktop out of 15mm marine ply that has a 100 round projection forward to then allow me to fit a 30cmm round deep sink that gets it out from under the companionway step. The projection is only about 20cm deep, the depth of the sink plus a piece of 15mm which forms the round box in which the sink sits. The outside and underside of the projection is covered in 1.5mm teak faced ply over 3 layers of 4mm thick flexiply which form the sides of the housing. I made the lid and opening for the cool box the same size as the top of the box (35cm x 40cm ) which simplified the insulation issue for the top of the box, and I made a GRP insert into which another VIP panel is snugly fitted, which forms the underside of the lid. I fitted 10mm x10mm pieces of white UPVC bolted through the outsides of the box that form a projection about 40mms below the top of the box and on which the sticky backed 'D' section soft rubber draught strip seats to former a seal when the lid is closed (it's actually stuck to the bottom of the lid moulding. I used recessed double pin hinges for the lid that allows a bit of movement to get the lid open which is otherwise a very snug fit. I put the controller (which I modified and put into a different housing containing two 12v temperature indicators) inside the storage locker on that side which are still visible through the sliding plastic doors. So now I have two sensors inside the box, one near the evaporated plate and one at the bottom of the box to help give me an idea of relative temperatures inside the box.

Whilst I was at it, I upgraded the gas line from 1/4" to 5/16" (1/4 is too small for an oven) and incorporated a solenoid valve adjacent to the gas locker in the cockpit, and with a switch on the bulkhead above the sink, adjacent to the companionway. There is also a further link from that switch to the igniter circuit on the oven, since I am never going to need it switched on unless I am lighting the oven or hob. (the switch is a combined breaker switch).

The locker for the cookware was deepened by removing the GRP moulding that formed the original base of the under cooker stowage and then cutting the ply for down to fit, utilising the original drop down door. The Cutlery drawer will be repositioned to under the chart table. I managed to make the housing for that by recycling the plywood from the original under sink facing which was replaced because the door to the under sink stowage (where the engine raw water inlet lives) needed to be made shorter to accommodate the sink projection. At some stage I will be putting the whole chart table assembly on a pivoting leg bolted down to the cabin sole, which allows it to swing out from its present position on the PORT side (adjacent to the other side of the galley/cooker divider) and into the central position. I will be manufacturing the swinging arm arrangement myself out of 20mm Stainless pivot rods through Delrin bushes in 30mm x 60mm which wall stainless box section and supported on a 50mm OD stainless leg into the fixed base. The pivot arm will be 35cm long between centres 40cm OAL The plate on the base of the table to which the pivot is attached, needs to slide about 85mm so will be made of a 25 deep double angled plate arrangement in 1mm and 2mm stainless steel which slides in two 8mm x 25mm brass bar with grooves machined as tracks, they will be bolted to the bottom of the table and will be about 28cm long and just over 100mm apart.

Most of the prep work has been done and about 75% of the fitting has been completed. Will keep you posted with photos when it's all complete.
Martin Watson