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Date: 10 August 2015. Installing Refrigerator Fans.
Guest author Captain John on M/V Pairadice.

This piece is for The Writer's Block. It's written by Captain John and details the measures he goes through to please his Admiral Tracey. They own a 47' Selene named Pairadice. The article tells of the trials and tribulations of boat repairs and improvements to a refrigerator compartment.

As we boaters well know, each Good Idea impacts elsewhere, and sometimes a revision or two is required in order to successfully complete a project. I have certainly been there and done that, more than one time I might add. J.

John and Tracey aboard M/V Pairadice:

Day One: As a new owner of 4714 a Selene, one of my first tasks to make the Admiral happy was to check into why the refrigerator wasn't getting very cold. Early this month the temp in Portland got pretty high to mid 90's and the refrigerator was struggling to keep up. After pulling the unit out of the rather tight cabinet I found the problem.

Portland is in northwest Oregon.

My unit had two electric fans that cycle on when the unit starts up, only mine never shut down. Upon further investigation, I noticed the large fan (there is a small 2.5 inch and a larger 4.1 inch) wasn't turning on. This fan is directly under the condenser tank and is supposed to blow air across the condenser tank.

Now this fan looks just like the cooling fan that computers use to cool the cases. So much so that the mounting holes are in the exact location, so off to the local computer store in search of a replacement. I pick up two thinking it would be nice to have a spare.

This pair is in my ship stores. J.

Get back to the boat and start the de-packing process only to find that computer fans now a days are four wire with a connector plug and require it to be controlled by the mother board in order to operate.

Side Note from Janice: When in thrift stores I am always on the look-out for computer fans. The ones that work in our 12-volt world have just two wires. Leave the rest for the computer nerds. We need two wire fans.

Starting all over again, I get on the Norcold website and find that the
replacement fans are $72.00 each plus shipping but are not in stock.

Day Two: So off to the local chandlery for solutions. At Columbia Marine Exchange the owner, Kim (who by the way is great to work with) had about a dozen of these fans hanging on a wall so I pick the best 2 and she even tested them for me to make sure they worked.

The Columbia Marine Exchange is open Tuesday through Saturday.

 Located in Portland, Kim's phone number is 503-289-0944

Now these fans have the required 2 wires I needed and for 10 bucks apiece I figure I got a good deal.

Back to the boat, again. I install one of the fans and plug in the unit, It works great.

Picture this if you will. When the unit is out of the cabinet, it now sits between the cabinet and the galley counter. You have to climb over the counter to get to the other side.

By the way our galley is a center galley, passageway down to berths is on the port side, passageway up to pilot house is on the starboard with galley in between.

So now I'm thinking, if one fan works well, why not add an additional fan to help draw the air out of the rather tight cabinet. After all, the current draw on these fans is so light, it just might reduce cycle runs of the unit.

So I install the second fan on the inside of the port vent and wire this in series to the other fan. The reason for wiring in series is, I wanted to know if a future fan failed we would know right away. Test it and it works great!

Now I slide the unit back into the cabinet, after I taped up the Teak trim and grab rail with blue painters tape.

Trust me: tape before you attempt to remove the unit in the first place. I didn't.

Reinstall the new screws to retain the unit in place and make myself a cocktail for a job well done.

Now the admiral is so happy that she decides to make me a very nice dinner. Only she is having a problem getting the gas stove to light now.

So now Mr. Handyman has to fix the stove, only to find out that the extra fan is now blowing all that warm air from the cabinet directly onto the stove top and not allowing the burner to light.

I don't claim to be an engineer, but am rather handy with tools. But by this time Mr. Handyman is in no mood to pull the refrigerator back out again, so on to the second cocktail and fire up the BBQ.

Dinner was a success, and as I'm making cocktail number three, I'm getting ice from the Raritan ice maker that just so happens to be right behind the refrigerator cabinet.

I notice that the Ice maker is generating an awful lot of heat from its little cabinet that is directly under the watch berth in the Pilot House and right behind the refrigerator cabinet.

You guessed it, an "ah ha" moment.

Day Three: I again remove the refrigerator unit from the cabinet, after taping the wood trim again, and after a bit of carpentry work the extra fan is now located inside the Ice maker cabinet drawing air from the refrigerator cabinet and venting out the ice maker cabinet hatch.

Reinstall the refrigerator and make myself a job well done cocktail. So the end result is, the refrigerator now cycles on and off less often, the ice maker is running so much cooler and making ice faster.

And now it's on to the next project. Don't ya just love boat repairs?

The End

John on M/V Pairadice

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2015, 2023

Categories: Boats, Characters, Galley, Gear, Locations, The Writer's Block

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