Search Results for: freezer to fridge


Freezer to fridge conversion

Living off-grid, I get questions from time to time, mainly about how we live, some even think we must live in a cave and eat dirt and wear skins…  I said I live off-grid, but we don’t live that primitively! :) I do enjoy some of the modern conveniences of life, including having a place to keep perishable foods, aka a refrigerator.

When we first moved off-grid, in Dec ’07, we brought with us a small, dorm sized fridge, but honestly we didn’t use it much, only plugging it up on the occasions when I brought home a gallon of milk or a pound of ground beef, once the perishable food was gone, we unplugged the fridge. What I quickly found out was the standard type of fridge used up a LOT of power and they tend to be very inefficient.

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Freezers and fridges in Africa

One of South Africa’s largest producers of household appliances has announced plans to offer solar powered fridges and freezers to 600 million low-income African families.

Let’s hope they also manage to export a few hundred thousand in our direction.

The Defy group in Durban has signed a joint development deal with Specialised Solar Systems. Defy was the first company – way back in 1932 – to manufacture electric stoves in South Africa, and the company launched its solar-powered appliances, revealing it had spent R500 million since 2012 on upgrades to the East London and Durban plants, with another R450m set aside for plant and equipment investments by 2018.

Defy was acquired by the Turkish-based group Arcelik in 2011. Arcelik chief executive Hajan Kozan, who was in Durban for the company’s 110th celebrations, said the Defy acquisition was motivated by South Africa’s potential as a gateway to the continent.

He said the latest products were environmentally aligned with global best practice.

“When you open a tap in your house, in one minute you can use six litres of water. Our washing machines can do a full wash using just six litres of water.”

He added that new designs on the machines had also cut electricity usage by 25%.

“What we have to do now is educate the consumer on the importance of buying appliances that use less energy and water.”

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Kicked my freezer-fridge conversion out

2015-01-11 16.41.03

Not away, but outside, I’m still using it, but with the colder temps and the more overcast days, I decided to let nature work for me instead of against me. A couple of weeks ago, PB moved the chest freezer to fridge conversion out on the front porch, it’s right next to the grill, it seems my front porch is really turning into an outdoor kitchen minus the plumbing.

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Freezer-fridge conversion update

Had to clean out my fridge today, while that’s not such a big deal to most, to me it’s (almost) a pleasure to do because of the kind of fridge I have. Living off-grid, using solar panels and batteries, on limited power, one looks for ways to use as little power as possible, one of the things I found that really ate up my power was my little, tiny dorm sized cube refrigerator, the kind that opened in front, had a tiny tiny tiny freezer, in fact I couldn’t even put a full size ice tray inside it, they make micro-ice cube trays.

Most of the time I didn’t even plug in that cube fridge, we just learned to live without refrigeration for the most part, honestly it just sucked up too much precious photon juice from my system. So on the odd occasion when I brought home a gallon of milk, or some meat that didn’t get used up quickly, I would plug in the darned thing and wonder how much time it was taking from my surfing the internet…

With the cube fridge, it ran 15+ minutes at a time, a couple of times an hour, more if I actually opened the door, think about it, when you open the door on a standard fridge, all the cold air drops out of the box onto your feet, feels good for the moment but the compressor kicks in immediately to compensate for all that lost cold air.

I’ll not go into detail about this because I’ve written about it (in detail) in previous posts here… this is really just a follow up on how well I like (love) my chest freezer-fridge conversion. :)

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12-volt fridges

It’s the ultimate off-grid luxury – the sun is baking, dust is caking the back of your throat….. you reach into the DC Cooler for a cold beer. And it comes out ice-cold, not tepid.
Or it might be drugs you are storing- that just have to remain cold in order to be effective. Not as important as a cold beer, some might say, but mission-critical nonetheless.
The criteria to judge a 12-volt fridge are simple – how cold does it go and how much energy does it use getting there?

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Propane Fridge & Wind Power Experiment

I ran across this article today, I found it very interesting and informative, I hope you can get something out of it too.The article is about keeping your food cold when you don’t have much power.


We might be getting a propane refrigerator, I have been learning more about them, they sound like a really perfect way (for us) to keep our food cold, we have been using a small, cube fridge, it’s pretty small, and doesn’t use THAT much power, but it is our biggest power drain, if we can get a propane powered fridge, it would help us conserve the power we generate each day for use on other things, like surfing the internet! :) Ever since we got internet access, we use the laptop much more often, surfing the internet for hours each day, more at night, so we pretty much use up our batteries, the inverter starts complaining each time the fridge powers up, if we don’t shut down the computer, the inverter will eventually continually beep and shut down. When that happens, nothing works until the next day when the sun comes up.

Our Newest Test Project

Bob has been experimenting with a smaller windmill style generator. We found out that you can use a cordless drill motor, it contains a permanent magnet motor, combine that with a fan and a tail, set up in a windy spot, and you get electricity.




Yes, that is a Ryobi drill mounted there, this is the test model, the wire isn’t really hooked up to anything, though Bob just walked through with a 12 volt (?) led light, we are going to test it. We had had it hooked up to a volt meter, with a fairly light wind, the highest we have seen is 6 volts so far.

Bob got this put up yesterday, it’s been windy for the last few days to a week, once he got this up, the wind just died… typical huh… anyhoo, there is light and variable wind today, so we will be putting our test model through it’s paces.

Update, the led lights do light up, woo hoo!



anon16-rounded-5661787 seth said…

you might want to consider a chest type fridge, more efficient than stardard type. just food for thought.

May 12, 2008 6:23 PM


b16-rounded-4008479 Wretha said…

Thanks Seth, we have considered that, would probably have to make one though, the few that are available to buy tend to be expensive.


May 12, 2008 9:28 PM


anon16-rounded-5661787 seth said…

I did read of a fellow that took a standard chest freezer and turned it into a very efficient fridge by adding an external thermostat. www.treehugger.com/files/2005/07/man_retrofits_f.php thermostat
interesting reading

May 12, 2008 9:51 PM


b16-rounded-4008479 Wretha said…

Thanks, great minds think alike, I’ve seen that one already, good site though, food for thought! Keep ’em coming… :)



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Going old school batteries

The Achilles’ heel of every off-gridder has got to be the battery bank. It is generally the most expensive part of the system, especially if you are going big, but for even those of us who run a small system, the batteries are the part that are the most problematic as well as expensive.

I am hard on my batteries, I freely admit it, I run them down on a regular basis, I have gone though 3 sets of deep cycle batteries in 9 years. I have never had a large system, 2-4 batteries at most, fortunately we have never needed a large system, we run a few lights, radio, laptop, tablet, cell phone, router and internet antenna, a 12 volt water pump, a few fans and the biggest energy eater is our converted freezer to fridge unit. There are the occasional power tools that are used, but for the most part, on a daily basis, it’s just the first set of items listed.

I am on the poor side of the financial scale, I am in fact considered at poverty level, but since we have so few bills, the property and vehicle are paid for, we do pretty well on not much money. I generally don’t have the kind of money to put out all at once to get a bigger battery bank, I would also need to upgrade our solar panels (bigger and more) before even considering getting more batteries.

I did a search on YouTube for off-grid batteries just to see what would come up, I know that battery technology is getting better and better as well as cheaper to buy, but to my surprise, an old technology came up in the search, Edison batteries. From what I have read, they are pretty indestructible, it’s even claimed that they would be the last batteries you would ever need to buy.

There are a couple of companies that are making and selling those batteries now, of course they are not cheap, especially since they claim to be essentially forever batteries. Watch this video and let me know what you think.

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Twenty seventeen


I am not believing it’s 2017 already, in just 3 short years, it’s going to be the year 2020, now that will take some getting used to! People traditionally pick the New Year day to make their resolutions, I’ve never been one to stand on ceremony, I don’t do resolutions. I prefer setting goals, big and small. I will admit that I haven’t been setting goals for a while and I need to start doing that again. I think one thing I need to do is save more money, since we live very much on the cheap it should be easy, right? Well not so much but it’s something that has to be done.

I also want to, need to, start working on upgrading and replacing my solar system. I will keep my old stuff and use it in other locations around the Sky Castle, I really want to have my refrigerator (chest freezer to fridge conversion) on its own system, separate from everything else, I’ll most likely use my current setup for that and have the new hardware for everything else.

The reason I like separate systems is as a backup in case something should fail, having redundant systems is something I recognized as very important from the very beginning. Speaking of redundant systems, I have 2 separate on demand water heaters, one in my kitchen over the sink, the other in the shower. A few months ago, the one in the kitchen started acting strangely, when you turn on the hot tap, the tank clicks a piezo starter and ignites the propane, I noticed that when the water coming through was warmer (from the water tank), it worked just fine. But if the water coming through was really cold, the piezo clicker would continue clicking after the fire was lit, then it would shut off the entire thing. I thought something was failing on the system. We went the whole summer like this because it would work while the water coming through was warmish, not a problem in the summer. But once winter started in earnest, I knew we had to figure out what part needed to be fixed or replaced.

On a whim, I changed out the batteries for the piezo clicker and voila! It worked again, well duh! It was needing fresh batteries, what threw me was the fact that it worked when the water was warmer, then it would stop working if the water was icy cold, it would work in the daytime when the temps were mild, but once it began to get cold at night, it would stop working right. So now I have both of my water heaters working again.

As I said above, I don’t “do” resolutions, especially not ones based on an arbitrary date, I set goals, big ones, small one, and even achieve many of them, we all need …

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Kids and off-grid can work


Got kids and want to live off-grid? Think it’s not possible? Maybe you should check out this family in Canada,  they are doing it very much on the cheap.  One suggestion I would make is to ditch the upright fridge and replace it with a chest freezer to fridge conversion (https://off-grid.net/kicked-freezer-fridge-conversion/) it is so incredibly efficient, they could cut down tremendously on their power outlay.

Other than that,  I think they are doing a fantastic job!


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Small is the new large


Since moving off-grid, many of my day to day things have had to be downsized, my fridge for one, I went from having a full size, side by side with ice maker to a small chest type freezer to fridge conversion. The large fridge and even the small dorm size units used too much power for our small system. One thing I discovered along the way, when I had a full size fridge, I tended to store leftovers in it until it was time to throw them away, I am forced to be more frugal with the smaller box now.

But the biggest thing I have downsized on is my computer. I used to build computers as a hobby, a serious hobby, I could tear down and rebuild a tower from the ground up. I knew we wouldn’t have the power necessary to run all the computer equipment I used to have so I went to a laptop, that was mentally difficult, guys think going from a Harley to a kid’s bicycle, that’s what it felt like to me.

I did eventually embrace my laptop, even though there was very little I could do to it to improve it, short of adding a bit of memory. I have gone through 3 laptops since moving out here. I am looking at getting #4 soon.

Last year, I discovered the joys of tablets. I wouldn’t have gotten one, except that I needed one to do my job in merchandising. I quickly discovered I could do most of the things I did on my laptop each day but the really great thing is they use so little power! I generally only boot up my laptop 2-3X a week now, preferring to do most things on my tablets.

I can go to bed with my tablet next to me, falling asleep watching Downton Abbey via Amazon Prime without worrying about draining my small solar system. In fact, I generally leave the internet running 24-7 now, something I never did before. I’ll turn it off if no one is going to be at the house, but that is a rarity.

That tablet is an 8 inch Samsung Galaxy Note 8, I purchased it factory refurbished, paying a small percentage of what they cost new. I love the size, bigger than a phone, but still portable, with a screen that is comfortable to view.

I have since acquired a larger tablet, a 12 inch Galaxy Note Pro, I use it for some photo editing and such, but honestly I prefer my smaller tablet for day to day use. Yes, these are older technology, but for me they work just fine.

Now I’m asking those who have gone off-grid, what and how have you downsized? Do you like it, does it work for you? I’d love to hear your ideas :)

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