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Date: 17 September 2015. Securing a Refrigerator (fans too)

For years I've been unhappy with my small Haier cube refrigerator. Oh, the thing works okay. The problem is me. I love cantaloupe and one will not fit inside without being cut into pieces. It's a little enough thing but has been a source of irritation. And now it's not.

You see I've got a new refrigerator and if I'm very fortunate a friend will accept my old one for a project he has in mind. If I remember correctly, he wants to convert an A/C powered reefer into a 12-volt one. And I want the old cube gone. This could be a good thing for us both.

However, in the meantime I've got to get my new cubby ready for the new refrigerator/freezer. Gosh, doesn't that sound just snazzy?!? I'm thrilled.

Of course nothing is quite as simple as imagined originally. And this project has suffered with a couple of hiccups as detailed in the Job Creep article. Plus it's a boat, so nothing is straight, square or even from side to side -- at least not on my boat.

You see, I am tucking the new refrigerator in the corner by the door to the cockpit. Everything that was there is gone now and the reefer fits nicely in its spot.
 


A friend, Douglas on S/V Guanahani, has a similar unit and his keeps ice cream, makes ice and more. Plus it stores food nicely. He said the power requirements weren't too bad though I did not pin down a definition of "not too bad" in amp hours.

First things first however. Like Pairadice, as described in the Installing Refrigerator Fans piece, I too wanted fans in my refrigerator compartment. I added two. One blows on the compressor and the other pulls hot air out of the area.
 

 

As always, wherever there are two wires together on my boat the RED POSITIVE IS ON THE RIGHT while the NEUTRAL/GROUND is on the left.

In the photo, the screw holding the ground side had not been tightened down. Mid-way through I tested, to make sure both fans came on.

Like Cap'n John on M/V Pairadice, I opted for small computer fans. The one shown blows on the compressor. The other one (at the end of that *sheathed wire running to the right) powers a second fan that pulls hot air out of the compartment.

 


*A sheathed wire is a term that means the positive and ground wires are inside a covering.
The wires are protected and that's called sheathed in the nautical world.

Shielded wire has a wire wrap around the outside of the positive and ground wires. It is then covered in a plastic sheath. The deal with shielded is this: it's a lot more expensive. However for folks with electronics issues (interference from wiring/power) then the shielded wire can be one component of a fix.

 


The second fan pulls air out and is set in the gap between the hull and in the inner liner.


Once the refrigerator was placed in its new spot, it became apparent that I had another issue. I wanted to ensure the reefer stayed in place. I did not want the refrigerator to slide forward into the companionway.

At the front of the unit there are two adjustable legs with rubber feet to balance the reefer. They are 1 1/8" across. Of course I had a 1" and a 1.5" drill bit. I did not have a 1.125" bit. So, since those rubber feet had ridges around the outside edge, a bit of surgery with a pocket knife removed 'em. Voila: the legs are now 1" across.

Advice: Do not mess with a woman who knows how to use a knife.

The next step was to take a piece of wood 1/2" thick and cut it to the width of the locker and about two inches wide. Using the jigsaw, a board was cut 22" x 2.5". That will be my brace and should keep the reefer from moving into the galley companionway.

I placed it in front of where I wanted the reefer to sit. Next I tilted the reefer back and painted the bottom of the two rubber feet in red nail polish. Then I put the legs down on my bracing board. The paint gave me the exact placement of where my holes needed to be.

For those of us who have ruler issues, the nail polish trick works like a charm.
I use polish to mark stuff. Toothpaste works the same way and is easier to clean up.

Next, I drilled 1" holes through the board. The legs fit into those holes. Tucking the reefer back into its slot, I saw where the bracing board needed to be secured. Three screws later my refrigerator cannot move out of it's new home. The brace is screwed to the *sole.

*Sole is the floor inside your boat. Outside, it's called the deck.

Side Note: I can with effort pick up the front of the reefer to free it from the board. It's Good Enough and that's what I wanted.
 

 

I also needed to install a switch for the fans at the back. I had already chosen a board to cover the ends of the cut edges of wood and to make the reefer cabinet area a little spiffier. (It's a girl thing.)

 

The switch needed to be easy to mount (avoiding cabinet support structure) and high so I wouldn't have to bend over to turn it on or off.

The nail polish came out. I dabbed a bit on the end of the switch. Then I placed the unit against the vertical board it needed to butt up against. Voila: a paint mark made, in the exact spot I needed to drill.

Switches are funny things. There is the guts of the unit that sits behind your facing board, and then a protrusion about 1/2" wide that you stick through your wood. Basically the "guts" are hidden and only the switch shows. Perfect. Almost.

 


It's a boat, right? So stuff doesn't always go just the way we imagine it. My board, 3/8" thick, was too thick for that switch throat. Great. The perfect solution would have been to pull out some wood chisels and get rid of the excess thickness.

I do not have any chisels aboard Seaweed. I do have a small Dremel gifted me by Mabe and it worked like a champ. My slot is not pretty, but it is Good Enough.

 

 


And the switch fits perfectly now.


I have added a couple of tie-down loops on the support board. The decision as to how to lock down the reefer so the doors won't open when underway is still not finalized. I've got a bungee cord leftover from when Butch the boat mover [http://haganland.com] brought my Seaweed here, so that may be a part of the solution... I'm just not sure as of yet.

Of course there is more. Like all projects, they evolve and Job Creep certainly rears her head. I want a counter top too, and that's yet another project. But not today. Today I'm reveling in having ice cubes and cantaloupe. What a treat!

Is cantaloupe a favorite of yours or do you prefer a different fruit?
What fruits do you keep regularly this time of the year?

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