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  1. #1

    Is this feasible??

    Hello,

    I've been pondering an idea for quite some time now and am finally looking to gather some information to see if it could work. Although this is a DIY question, I'm just looking for information at this point and will obviously require the services of a shop to deal with the refrigerant when the project gets under way. If I'm mistaken and this goes against forum rules, I apologize.

    I'm an avid camper and regularly pack a cooler with ice, food and drinks. It's a Yeti, a very good cooler. In an effort to maximize the efficiency of the cooler I throw a bag of ice in the night before heading out to pre cool it. What i'm looking to do is take this one step further and actively cool the cooler and some of the contents with a refrigerant type device.

    The only product that i've been able to find is a cooler for a marine application, used to make your own built in fridge.

    The compressor and condenser are mounted on a little frame and the unit is available with a single flat metal plate as the evaporator. The theory is that i could half load the cooler and lay the plate on top, close the lid and let it chill for a night, getting everything as cold as i can. Here is a link to the product i'm referring to:

    http://www.novakool.com/products/Pre...nformation.htm

    There are two problems. The first: The evaporator is plumbed with copper tubing and is thus not suited for repeated movements. Here is my question for the professionals. Is it possible to use a flexible connection for the evaporator? I'm thinking stainless steel braided lines covered with insulation. A shop could cut the existing lines off and solder or braze on fittings to attach the lines to.

    The second problem is the price. The product I linked to is very expensive. I'm wondering if a small cheap fridge could be bought and used in the same manner? The small fridges have the freezers made out of a very similar looking cold plate that could be prepared as described above. If not, are there other products that I may be unaware of that could work better?

    Any information that would help me on my way to a cooler cooler would be greatly appreciated.

    Blair

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Lancaster PA
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    67,875
    Coleman thermoelectric cooler.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    Put a chest freezer in your basement or garage. Put the cooler in the freezer the night before and it's ice cold in the morning. Simpler, cheaper and you can use the freezer for other food storage as well.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Woodbridge Twp, NJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Coleman thermoelectric cooler.
    Do they still make absorption fridges? I've seen some old ones that are propane fired and work just like a large absorber.
    Every customer you take for granted today will be someone else's tomorrow.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    67,875
    Quote Originally Posted by DLZ Dan View Post
    Do they still make absorption fridges? I've seen some old ones that are propane fired and work just like a large absorber.
    I don't know if Coleman does or not.
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  6. #6
    Thanks for the advice,

    A large freezer would work very well but takes up a lot of real estate that I would not like to give up, plus i've got a feeling that it would end up full of food which would eliminate it's purpose. I have a propane absorption fridge at the cabin and it works well but is not what i would call portable or more importantly, durable. The cooler is a necessity. I've thrown the thermoelectric cooler idea around but they aren't nearly large enough and I wouldn't call them overly durable as well. If your wondering, the unit gets a beating strapped to the back of a quad runner. I purchased a couple of the thermoelectric coolers (Peltier coolers) that those coolers operate on in an effort to make a completely electrical version of what i'm asking about here but was unsuccessful. They would require a direct path to the outside of the cooler for the hot side to be cooled. This would involve me either using a complicated heat pipe setup or cutting a hole in the lid of the cooler. This is why i'm here.

    Is the possibility of flexible lines to a evaporator realistic? If it is, i would have a small but powerful cold plate I could throw into my cooler before use.

    Blair

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    67,875
    Not sue if automotive lines would remain flexible. But, even if they did, they would be rather thick.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,547
    Depending on the size, you CAN get flexible control lines.

    They only come in 1/4" and 3/8", though, making sizing difficult.

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