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Yeti style coolers are expensive and heavy.  Anybody out there do a cooler with pink foam from home depot wrapped with carbon?   I'm not sure how to do the top, but surely it would not be hard...

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I do not think Yeti coolers are magic. Just thicker insulation than Coleman, insulation in the lid and good gaskets 

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Apparently you can drill holes in a cheap cooler and fill between the layers with spray foam. I have never tried it but 100 youtube videos show it so it must work!

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34 minutes ago, steele said:

Apparently you can drill holes in a cheap cooler and fill between the layers with spray foam. I have never tried it but 100 youtube videos show it so it must work!

So if you drill holes in it and inject it with foam it will keep the remaining .01 in² of capacity cooler. Is it that important to keep one chicken wing nearly cold?

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6 hours ago, Ishmael said:

So if you drill holes in it and inject it with foam it will keep the remaining .01 in² of capacity cooler. Is it that important to keep one chicken wing nearly cold?

alot of cheap  coolers dont have foam in the lids

 

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9 hours ago, Zonker said:

I do not think Yeti coolers are magic. Just thicker insulation than Coleman, insulation in the lid and good gaskets 

Please tell me where good gaskets are to be found... Certainly not in box stores, and while I can google, I’m not wanting to experiment by performing several installations 

TIA

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Yeti and their clones do have nice tough cases and gaskets but apart from that are equally poorly designed as the cheap ones. We lived with one of the big yetis for 2 months delivering my son and his girlfriends boat home and I grew to hate coolers in general. Always looking for ice, food floating around in water etc, horrible design. If you must use ice you could do much better building your own cooler, 2" pink foam would be fine sheathed with glass or carbon if you wanted to but keep in mind that the bond of epoxy to the foam is not very good so the skin would need to be thick enough to be self supporting, maybe an actual structural foam such as divinycell or corecell but in a lower density than the H80 we typically use for boat construction, then you could probably use thinner skins. I would glass both sides of the sheet and then cut out the panels and after assembly, glass tape the outside corners and just filet the inside. Gasket material can be had from Mcmaster Carr, I would use an EPDM foam gasket in a D section with a PSA. They have lots to choose from. The most important thing though is to build a shelf up high in the box at one end to place the ice, a deep watertight tub really with a drain to the outside with a spigot. It would be about halfway up the end so you can fit your glass under it and use the ice water as it melts instead of wasting it. If you build it this way you take full advantage of the fact that cold air falls and the food can be kept in the bottom without getting wet. I have built a few large fridges over the years and the last one I built was 6ft3 and I used 4" of pink foam and lined the inside with that pebbly finished white fiberglass panel you can get at the big box stores and bonded it with the blue adhesive in a caulk tube they sell for this purpose, Pl 300 or something like that, and glassed and awlgripped the outside. We used a Danfoss compressor to cool it. Polyisocyanurate is another foam the big box stores sell which has a higher r value. Block ice lasts a lot longer  than cube ice but you would need an ice pick to get ice for your cocktails.

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Surgical tubing makes a nice gasket material. It can be secured in a a half round recess. Any gasket you want to seal has to be hollow and clamped firmly in place. Look at refrigerator doors and car doors. 

I think pink EPS foam is ok if lined with a couple layers of say 9 oz cloth. Just don't drop 30 lb blocks of ice into it. Or salvage and old cooler for the liner and build out from there with a foam + glass exterior. 

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I'm not as big a fan of the polyiso foams because they can absorb moisture as air condenses on them. They are sold sealed in foil layers and you have to keep them virtually airtight for long term effectiveness. In the real world with a homemade box, EPS is a more robust long term choice. 

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7 hours ago, Steve said:

Yeti and their clones do have nice tough cases and gaskets but apart from that are equally poorly designed as the cheap ones. We lived with one of the big yetis for 2 months delivering my son and his girlfriends boat home and I grew to hate coolers in general. Always looking for ice, food floating around in water etc, horrible design. If you must use ice you could do much better building your own cooler

On the boat I limped for a few seasons w just ice when my compressor blew. I’m in a slip and close to ice so it was no big deal. I’ve since replaced the compressor and it is now top of any checklist to have beers chilling prior to arrival. Anything less and standards are slipping.

With regards to coolers, I was forced to get serious about things last summer in advance of an epic road trip when my 40 year old retro steel Colemans was deemed unacceptable due to some kind of rust or something.

I immediately viewed the Yeti with scepticism. I was in the midst of a whirlwind romance with not one but two of these:

AFE83CF1-7C49-41BC-996F-B3923760E79A.thumb.jpeg.3fa8808b3a499884302ab64a28726c03.jpeg

These are great. If you blow up the air membrane that is through out the pack, you’ll lose a little volume but ice will last til the next day. They’ll hold a bag of ice and twelve cans of beer.

To augment the dual mule set up I went for two ‘half size’ Colemans coolers. Much better than one ‘full size’ for carrying singlehanded when full of ice/beer/food.

This gave me 4 separate food/drinks/ice storage units, easily scalable and zero chance of a soggy beer label messing w the foie gras, all for just over half the price of the overweight Yeti.

As for ice, I don’t care what label the cooler is...you’ll need more of it  soon enough...especially if it’s being opened and closed all day long. With the quad cooler set up, dedicating one Ice Mule to be just for ice and distributing amongst the remaining three seemed to get some extra mileage.

Now back to regular diy programming.

 

 

 

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I would think that the lid should be a molded fit without a gasket. If the upper edges of the box were chamfered inwards, the lid could be made to roughly fit and then made to fit perfectly by plastic taping one or the other and inserting the lid with thickened epoxy between, busting it loose and trimming, etc. I have found that the cheap styrofoam coolers hold ice the longest and there are lots of others who will say that they work better than the Yeti or other flashy coolers. I throw two frozen liter bottles in my styrofoam chilly bin and it stays cold for a least 4 days (did last week). It seems a worthwhile and doable project to make something even better than a cheap foam cooler. What foam to use?

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Saw a blurb about a German cooler made by a manufacturer of vacuum insulation panels, called Qool. Not represented in NA so far, but appear to far outperform the overpriced/overmarketed Yeti goods. Now to add an Engel-type LG linear compressor unit or a cold plate...

https://newatlas.com/outdoors/qool-box-vacuum-insulated-cooler/

The insulation panels alone might be promising.

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4 hours ago, rattus32 said:

Saw a blurb about a German cooler made by a manufacturer of vacuum insulation panels, called Qool. Not represented in NA so far, but appear to far outperform the overpriced/overmarketed Yeti goods. Now to add an Engel-type LG linear compressor unit or a cold plate...

https://newatlas.com/outdoors/qool-box-vacuum-insulated-cooler/

The insulation panels alone might be promising.


this guy is boring as batshit, but you get the idea...

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Pro tip: If you freeze a ton of water bottles, they will keep the food cold but not wet and then you can drink the cold water when it melts ;)

Anyone ever try one of the Engl (sp??) 12 volt coolers?

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55 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Pro tip: If you freeze a ton of water bottles, they will keep the food cold but not wet and then you can drink the cold water when it melts ;)

Anyone ever try one of the Engl (sp??) 12 volt coolers?

Had one years ago, worked well but the case tends to rust..

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54 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Pro tip: If you freeze a ton of water bottles, they will keep the food cold but not wet and then you can drink the cold water when it melts ;)

Anyone ever try one of the Engl (sp??) 12 volt coolers?

I have one in my pop up truck camper. Pretty sure it's basically the same compressor and parts as the stand alone coolers just as a built in. Works awesome.

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Vacuum panels in a boat, or especially in a portable cooler, seem to me a liability.

@kent_island_sailor: I have three Engels aboard: two drop-ins and a chest. All work very well, in my fourth year full time with them. But the lids are dismally designed, hence my query regarding gaskets. The chest lives in the pit for drinks only.  I don’t have it set all that low and the chest is also covered with an insulating cover.

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I suspect that a lid gasket is helpful only for use outdoors in the wind. The stratification of air is an effective insulator. A reasonably tight fit is all that is necessary. Efforts to insulate the lowest volume will have far greater payoff. Figuring a way to eliminate the drain plug heat leak would be a huge benefit, for example.

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5 minutes ago, El Boracho said:

I suspect that a lid gasket is helpful only for use outdoors in the wind. The stratification of air is an effective insulator. A reasonably tight fit is all that is necessary. Efforts to insulate the lowest volume will have far greater payoff. Figuring a way to eliminate the drain plug heat leak would be a huge benefit, for example.

Our drain hose goes up from the bottom so it doesn't gravity drain. We pump it out into the galley sink. If there is any water in it it will block heat leakage.

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No drains whatsoever. Condensate is mopped up periodically. With better gasketry, I hope to reduce the frequency of mopping (defrosting in the freezer’s instance)

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4 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Pro tip: If you freeze a ton of water bottles, they will keep the food cold but not wet and then you can drink the cold water when it melts ;)

Anyone ever try one of the Engl (sp??) 12 volt coolers?

We used one on our long Sea of Cortez shoreline camping trip via Eurovan. It was terrific, even during 100°+ days, and didn't come close to draining our dual-battery setup. FWIW.

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We have both a Yeti and an ARB 12V fridge (similar to the Engel).  Yeti is fantastic on our boat for a long trip.  We freeze some proteins and premade stuff and pack it with a block of ice in a dry bag in the Yeti.   We store it in a cockpit locker and keep it closed for 4 or 5 days.  All is super cold/partially frozen.  After this point, we use the Yeti as a place to store veggies.  A small block of ice in a dry bag keeps it nice and cool for good veggie storage.  Dry bag is the best way we have found to store ice.  We also use one in our boat fridge to keep a bag of cubes.  Keeps the fridge dry and when packed against a plate in the fridge, it lasts for days.

We have the ARB in a VW Westy.  As said above, we have a simple 2 battery system and it draws very small current to keep our food/drinks nice and cold.  For a minimal cruising set-up, these 12V fridges are a really viable choice.   Rugged, energy efficient, portable, etc.

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On 7/6/2020 at 12:50 PM, Zonker said:

Surgical tubing makes a nice gasket material. It can be secured in a a half round recess. Any gasket you want to seal has to be hollow and clamped firmly in place. Look at refrigerator doors and car doors. 

I think pink EPS foam is ok if lined with a couple layers of say 9 oz cloth. Just don't drop 30 lb blocks of ice into it. Or salvage and old cooler for the liner and build out from there with a foam + glass exterior. 

This is absolutely true.  You can get different wall thickness surgical tubing - the thin wall will be more compliant to bumps and turns.  You can glue it in place (which is how all the gasket material is installed in my boat).

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19 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

There is no magic to these coolers.  The reason that the igloo and most other coolers have no foam in the lid is because the lid sees both the lowest temperature differential between the inside air and the outside air (which is the key to heat transfer) and also the lowest thermal mass (because only air is usually touching the lid and air doesn't conduct heat well).  The sides and bottom both see the biggest temperature differential from the ice and also the most thermal mass (from the ice / water) and therefore you get the biggest bang for the buck by insulating the sides and bottoms.  Many, many built in boat coolers only have a wooden lid with no foam for the same reason.  Adding more foam is really getting diminshing returns - if you put your hand on the outside / bottom of your cooler and it doesn't feel significantly colder than the surrounding air, then it's insulated about as well as it needs to be.

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How about adding a Peltier effect cooling pad so you can plug it in when power is available and save your ice.

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1 hour ago, Wet Spreaders said:

How about adding a Peltier effect cooling pad so you can plug it in when power is available and save your ice.

Peltiers are incredibly inefficient - like 10% of a normal fridge.  Even in cars, cooled seats are done by passing AC air through beathable foam in the seat instead of using peltiers.

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I’m a chronic fan of SailLife, a DIY boat restoration project featuring the worlds most pleasant nerd. 
 

Mads is building his own fridge, and nicely documents his thought process and sources in this video: he swears by Nigel Calder’s books and is always giving them shout outs.

O glorious sanding!

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On 7/7/2020 at 4:22 AM, kent_island_sailor said:

Pro tip: If you freeze a ton of water bottles, they will keep the food cold but not wet and then you can drink the cold water when it melts ;)

 

This also works if you freeze juice, Gatorade or other beverages in plastic containers.

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