[C38] Refrigeration compressor location

Steve Smolinske SSmolinske at rainierrubber.com
Wed Nov 18 22:40:02 EST 2020

I agree with all that Chuck said, when I did Peregrine I put in a cold plate and insulated the ice box all around.  I put thicker insulation inside the box near the engine and then covered all of the insulation with plain white panels.   Insulated the engine for sound and as Chuck mentioned it was a huge and pleasurable difference.  The one area sound still escaped was aft of the fuel tank and into the engine compartment but the reduction in noise with that opening was still considerable.   For the compressor I installed it on the shelf in the port cockpit locker near the start battery and fabricated a guard to protect it from shifting gear.    Attached picture shows the ice box upgrade.   

Steve Smolinske

4M Company, Inc.  
15660 Nelson Place South
Seattle, WA  98188

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-----Original Message-----
From: Listserve <listserve-bounces at catalina38.org> On Behalf Of Charles Finn
Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2020 7:59 AM
To: listserve at catalina38.org
Subject: Re: [C38] Refrigeration compressor location

I installed a Dometic/Norcold fridge from Defender back in 2007. Cut out part of the icebox space next to the engine wall and the unit just fit in with room to put a layer of real insulation (sound down) on the engine wall.  I was shocked to discover the original insulation had long ago deteriorated into dust and my ice box was being heated by the engine!!!  I have 200 watts of solar and am able to turn the fridge on in the spring and off in the fall with cold food and even some ice cubes.

If you are going to cool the icebox...  you will first need to insulate it!  My thought was to insulate inside the box and then finish inside with plastic shower panels (don't forget to put a drain in).   I would also go with the cold plate even though it is a bit more.

Location for the compressor is also a challenge.   First and best location is in the sail locker, but it gets warm if there if you have not insulated your engine compartment.  After finally getting around to installing the Sound Down this year...  I have to say this was one of the dumbest things that I didn't do for years! You cannot believe how much nicer it is in the cabin and cockpit underway with the insulation!!!
Second location is under the sink location or under the port settee, but as we know this is the wet side of the bilge and that can be a problem. 
It is also a bit noisy in the cabin at night.

IF I was to do this again... I would go with the conversion of the icebox with the cold plate.  A bit more work, but I think a better long run solution.  On the other hand, installing the fridge only required a sawsall and and afternoon!

Let us know how it turns out!
Chuck Finn
Mighty Quinn  #114
Lake Superior

On 11/17/2020 10:17 PM, Max soto wrote:
> Planning to install a refrigeration system soon.  Would like to know which are the most common places were compressors are installed on other 38s.   So far my two options are: on the shelf inside the sail locker (available on 1980 and later models), or below the sink.
> Pics would help!
> Regards
> Max Soto A.
> C38 Estancia #198
> Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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