Fridges - any differences in make?

neil1967

Well-known member
Joined
28 Nov 2007
Messages
1,124
Location
Cascais, Portugal
I will be replacing the fridge in our yacht this season. All makes seem to use a danfoss compressor, so is there any real difference between Waeco, Isotherm and Frigomatic? On the limited research I have done, the first 2 seem to be less expensive than the Frigomatic - are they less efficient or less reliable?

Thanks

Neil
 

vyv_cox

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
25,306
Location
France, sailing Aegean Sea.
My experience is that it's the plastic internal parts that make the difference. I have repaired several on my Waeco, which seem particularly fragile. Defrosting it is a long, tedious job due to the design of the tray beneath the freezer compartment. There must surely be a better way?
 

Tim Good

Well-known member
Joined
26 Feb 2010
Messages
2,797
Location
Bristol
Unsure of the differences but I just upgraded to a Frigoboat system which uses a Danfoss. In fact I got an air cooled compressor but it has the Frigoboat quick connectors which allow them to be decoupled without loosing pressure so next time I lift I'll put a keep cooler in and bypass the air cooled system for more efficiency.
 

syfuga

Member
Joined
21 Mar 2005
Messages
310
Location
Back in UK waters
Our boat came with a Waeco fridge fitted. We changed it last year, because it was getting tired, for the current equivalent. The original gave us and Fuga's previous owners 19 years use with absolutely no problems at all. The later Waeco seems a bit more efficient, and the internal fitting sturdier.
 

Billjratt

Active member
Joined
9 Sep 2004
Messages
2,963
Location
Firth of Clyde
I like the idea of the Frigoboat self-seal connectors, Once a Waeco is in you can't do anything without losing the gas, which is a pain for self-builders. As far as I know, all the marine compressors are danfoss - I have been warned off the chinese ones but have only seen them in domestic appliances.
 

vyv_cox

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
25,306
Location
France, sailing Aegean Sea.
I like the idea of the Frigoboat self-seal connectors, Once a Waeco is in you can't do anything without losing the gas, which is a pain for self-builders. As far as I know, all the marine compressors are danfoss - I have been warned off the chinese ones but have only seen them in domestic appliances.

The self seal connectors leak slightly over time. When son Owen built marine refrigeration and A/C units he used to cut them off and braze the connections.
 

aluijten

New member
Joined
26 Oct 2004
Messages
1,158
Location
Dordrecht, The Netherlands
I will be replacing the fridge in our yacht this season. All makes seem to use a danfoss compressor, so is there any real difference between Waeco, Isotherm and Frigomatic? On the limited research I have done, the first 2 seem to be less expensive than the Frigomatic - are they less efficient or less reliable?

Thanks

Neil

As you rightfully say from compressor point of view very little difference. We have a Isotherm. Isotherm has added it's own electronics to the compressor (piggy-bag module) that changes the behavior of the system depending on running from battery or mains/engine. They also offer some choices in the way heat gets dispersed. Ours has a water cooled system that is combined with the sink-drain skin fitting. That works very well in our part of the world and is more energy efficient then air cooling. They also offer a choice in cooling plates, including a "cold-accumulator" that is particular useful in combination with the sail/non-sail regime for the compressor. They are more expensive though as you can expect.
From reliability I'm not sure how much difference there is across the board.
 

Trundlebug

Active member
Joined
4 Jan 2007
Messages
2,440
Location
River Trent
As you rightfully say from compressor point of view very little difference. We have a Isotherm. Isotherm has added it's own electronics to the compressor (piggy-bag module) that changes the behavior of the system depending on running from battery or mains/engine. They also offer some choices in the way heat gets dispersed. Ours has a water cooled system that is combined with the sink-drain skin fitting. That works very well in our part of the world and is more energy efficient then air cooling. They also offer a choice in cooling plates, including a "cold-accumulator" that is particular useful in combination with the sail/non-sail regime for the compressor. They are more expensive though as you can expect.
From reliability I'm not sure how much difference there is across the board.

To add to the above, the cold accumulator or eutectic plate is now being superseded by Webasto Isotherm's "Smart Energy Controller" which is considered more efficient. Effectively it uses the contents of the fridge as the cold store, and when the engine is running or the batteries are on charge it senses the increased voltage and cools the contents down to 1 deg C.

The rest of the time it maintains them at a (user configurable) 4 deg C to save energy. They reckon it saves about 30%, and from my experience it certainly works although takes some fiddling around with the several variables to get it just right. Edit Note: Waeco don't offer this option although I reckon if you were adventurous enough the Isotherm controller could be fitted to a Waeco Fridge. Although your freezer probably wouldn't reach minus 18 any longer (see below).

One other major difference between Waeco and Isotherm (I don't know about Frigoboat, sorry) is that although they both have the same compressor, the freezer compartment is bigger in the Waeco and is rated at proper freezer temp of minus 18. But that comes at a cost of increased energy usage of course.

The Isotherm has a smaller freezer compartment and is mainly a fridge with freezer. Perfectly effective and in my view more practical for a boat unless you're a live-aboard, but the freezer not being minus 18 isn't rated for keeping food in for 3 months. For us that wasn't an issue because we're not on board for that long and don't need a big long term freezer compartment. Maximum space in the fridge, and minimum energy consumption were our main priorities.

Isotherm are fitted as OE by boat manufacturers.

Ultimately choice of fridge is determined as much by physical dimensions (what will fit in the hole available) as by the other criteria of energy efficiency, reliability, inside space and layout.
 
Last edited:
Top