Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Norcold Cold Plate Install

Figured I would keep the momentum going and install the Norcold cold plate that came in from Defender today. A cold plate converts and existing icebox into an actual refrigerator using a compressor and a metal plate that's installed in the ice box. That plate gets very cold and works just like a normal refrigerator eliminating the need for ice. (If you don't know, Defender is truly the cheapest place around to buy anything marine and is where I have gotten just about everything for Skylark. Their customer service is outstanding and delivery time is usually only a few days. Check them out.)

The first thing that needed to happen was the removal of the stove so I could get the new shelf in for the compressor. The old unit was more on the horizontal, where the Norcold compressor is taller on the vertical, so the shelf had to be dropped. Since everything was out anyway, I went with 3/4 inch marine ply instead of the 1/2 inch stock that was there. I was also able to move it back to the hull a bit so the swing of the gimbled stove picked up a few more inches. Even with the new placement, there is plenty of room for the compressor to breath and keep itself cool.

The holes were already drilled from the water tank project, so running the copper tubes and the thermostat under the sink and behind the shelves wasn't an issue at all. The system is pre-charged, so all you need to do is attach the quick connect fittings to the compressor and you are set. The thermostat has about 12 feet of cable that runs from the compressor to the ice box. I installed the thermostat controller at the top of the ice box, as the cold airs sinks to the bottom. This should allow for better temperature control.

In addition, the cold plates themselves needed to be installed along the side of the icebox. This wasn't too hard as the box is square and the plates are bent at a 90 degree angle. Along with plastic spacers between the plates and the box, screws are used to mount the plates snugly. It was a pretty straight forward install and went in as expected.
I still need to fill a couple of old holes and find some insulation to fill in the hole where the copper tubes leave the box. The better insulated, the fewer cycles of the compressor.

With everything mounted and installed, the last thing that needed to happen was connecting the power leads to the house battery bank. The compressor came with a 10amp in-line fuse, so for the meantime, that should be just fine. I might add something else in the future, but for now that should work. I have some more electrical to do to integrate the fridge into the panel to make everything perfect. But in the meantime, all is well, and beer is cold.

Amen, another major item off the list.


  1. Looking good man, now when that FL heat kicks in things will be nice and cold to help deal with the heat ha ha. Wel deal with sounds so untrue so let me say enjoy the hot weather and a nice cold beer ha ha


  2. We agree about the service at Defender. The cold plate will be a great addition! Are you going to add another solar panel?

  3. Hi Gremlins. Yes, the cold plate has been a great addition. No more trips to the ice bin or wet food from the cooler!
    The plan right now is to add 2 75watt panels that will bring in close to 10 amps. As well, I am going to bump up the house bank capacity to about 430 amp hours which should keep the cold plates and the few other electric items I need humming along happily. If I find I am still short, I would probably go with a wind generator, but I was never a fan of the noise and vibration. Will let you once it's all in place.