Posted by: Dan Sprague | February 17, 2013

New Boat Refrigerator Box

New Boat refrigerator.

The refrigerator box in the boat had been replaced once but when that died ice chest and coolers were put in to use. The refrigerator box became a storage area and or an ice chest.

When we decided to replace the box we thought we would upgrade the complete system. I was told that the size of the box that was in the boat had been patterned with an important requirement: It needed to hold two cases of beer. That is a good requirement, but there was room for a bigger box and still be well insulated.

Removing the old box was not all that hard. Once it was removed we designed a larger box that would fill the space we had better. The only problem was that the box was going to have to be made in sections, put in to the space through the counter top hole and assembled in the space through the hole in the counter.

I made the box from recycled stainless steel sheeting. I found working with it was a nightmare…It did not cut easily, It was hard to bend, and hard to drill. The best thing about it was the sheeting had been free.

The box was made in 3 pieces. Each piece folded in on itself to get it through the hole, but once in the hole opened back out to the pre assembly shape. Once the 3 parts were through the hole and fitted together, the pre drilled assembly holes of the pieces were lined up and screwed and pop riveted together. This had to be done by leaning through the hole in the counter. This was the hardest part of the project. I had thoughts of letting my wife crawl on and do that part, but with my luck and hers her hips would get stuck and she would not been able to get out. 😎

Once the seams were screwed and riveted the seams were sealed with silicone. Last, expanding foam  was squirted in, behind and around the box for good insulation. The cooling unit was a stand-alone 12 volt run compressor unit that could be run off just the batteries. We did not want to have to run the motor every few hours like you had to do with the old setup. On paper the boat’s solar panels and wind generator could produce more than enough output to run the unit without running the motor to keep the batteries charged.

When everything was done it worked great. The box freezer would make ice and the box, once cooled off kept everything much colder than the old set up. What was even better there was room for our food as well as 2 cases of beer. 😎

Note the refrigerator unit we used was from Adler Barber.



  1. We were ask what type of cooling unit we used. It was an Adler Barbour unit and it takes up a space out side the refrigerator box on a shelf near the box. The unit is about 1 cubic foot in size.

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