Any thoughts or experiences welcome.
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.
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.
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.
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.