Ice Box Upgrade
I love the work I do, but I can never go back to forty hours per week again. It’s one thing to work that hard for a ‘good reason’, or because one has accepted it as the way things are, which I think describes the mentality of most people. It’s another thing to know you don’t have to work that hard. To know that the quality of your life does not depend on working forty hours, when only twenty will do.
I’m ruined. I like being productive, but it does not trump other needs in my life like sailing, or walking in the woods, or being creative for the sake of being creative. Or blogging for that matter, which explains why this website has been so quiet.
To offset my programming marathon and just ‘unplug’, I decided to upgrade the insulation in my ice box. No programming necessary. The extra hours I’ve been working allowed me to purchase a gallon of epoxy, and I plan get some serious value out of it this summer, starting with my ice box. Last year I modified the ice box to separate an ice chamber from the food. I fiberglassed in a half-inch of insulation on each side of the ice chamber. It now holds less ice, but the ice lasts much longer. And also important, the chamber is still big enough to fit an ice block purchased at the store.The inspiration for this project manifested because my ice maker died. I had purchased the ice maker as an experiment. A $100 Band-Aid to my refrigeration issue. I was able to turn in my warranty and get my money back, but now I was back to square one.
My options are as follows: 1) I get a new ice maker and carry on, 2) I retrofit a condenser and refrigeration unit inside the ice box to turn it into a refrigerator, or 3) I buy an external refrigerator or Yeti cooler and stow it elsewhere on the boat. This last option is complicated by the fact that I have a small boat and a distinct lack of real estate for another bulky item aboard. Furthermore, I can’t think of an efficient alternative use for the space now occupied by the ice box. The second option is attractive, except that it would take up half or more of the space in my tiny ice box, and without an upgrade in insulation (taking up more space in the ice box) it wouldn’t be very efficient.
That brings me back to option number one: the ice maker. Thus, insulating the part of the ice box walls that touch the ice should make the system I have been rocking for the last year that much more efficient. Overall I’ve been pretty happy with that system. The entire ice box is insulated on the outside, but adding insulation directly to the ice chamber seemed like a good way to get the most bang for my effort. It’s only been a couple weeks, but I’m already encouraged by the results.
Oh, and the first ice maker died because I was running the generator on ‘eco mode’. When the condenser would kick on, it would load down the generator to the point that it would almost stall. The generator would immediately rev up, and I theorize this caused repeated voltage spikes which eventually fried the condenser circuitry. Since the condenser is just a welded metal ball, there was no opening it and no fixing it. The solution is to run the generator at full throttle or ‘normal mode’ to prevent another mishap.