Boaters Can Benefit From New Absorption Refrigerators
by Rick Butler
"...the ammonia solution moves through the cooling circuit..."
Many boaters have become dissatisfied with marine refrigerators, since they can be expensive to repair and noisy, and often lack adequate storage. Recently, a different technology has been applied to marine refrigeration that promises to solve many of these problems.
Absorption refrigeration uses a simplified cooling system that includes a boiler, condenser, evaporator, absorber and a circulating solution of ammonia and water. Because its only moving part is a small DC cooling fan, an absorption refrigerator offers superior reliability, inexpensive repairs and silent operation.
Without the compressor found on traditional systems, the ammonia solution moves through the cooling circuit strictly through evaporation and gravity. The boiler heats the liquid solution to a vapor state that rises into the condenser at the top of the system, where it becomes a liquid again. Gravity moves the solution through an evaporator, where it mixes with hydrogen gas, evaporates and extracts heat from the food storage area. The solution then passes to an absorber, which separates the hydrogen from the ammonia. The absorber also dissipates the gained heat, changing the ammonia back to a liquid, and returns the solution to the boiler.
With an absorption refrigerator, boaters aren't kept awake at night listening to the compressor cycling on and off. The absence of moving parts also eliminates a major cause of refrigerator failure.
When repairs are needed, they are inexpensive. By removing five screws on the absorption refrigerator, a boater can replace the one-piece cooling system quickly and affordably. Some repairs on ordinary refrigerators are so costly that a boater is better off buying an entirely new unit.
Most absorption refrigerators also have more storage space than conventional units, because a bulky rear-mounted compressor does not steal interior room. Some compact absorption units, like 2.2 cubic foot RM 4202 from InterCon Marketing, even have a freezer section, something not commonly found on refrigerators of its size. This particular model includes a microprocessor controller that monitors a low voltage cutoff program and more efficiently regulates internal temperatures.
Several major boatbuilders have approved absorption refrigerators and are installing them on their craft. Other builders, dealers, distributors and boaters should look into this new technology. With their many benefits, absorption refrigerators could be the way of the future.
From InterCon Marketing Inc., 1540 Northgate Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34234. Web site: www. interconmktg.com; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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