Saturday, November 27, 2010


Well, almost free. While we were in La Paz we ran across Mike, the owner of Mexicolder based out of Mazatlan and he offered to again sponsor the rally. Just like last year Mike offered to provide free on-line consulting and troubleshooting of your refer system for the rally entrants. He says that he can solve most problems in two or three emails if you are willing to perform a few simple tests. He will also tell you what parts you might need and what to tell your repair guy.

His email address is or if he’s off the dock it’s and yes he can use ham email as it’s a complimentary service to cruising sailors, but you will need to contact him on the hotmail address so as he can put you on his white list.  So when you are in the middle of nowhere (where else would it fail?) at least you can find out what is wrong with your system....for free!

A predominant problem amongst boaters is refrigeration either not working or using way too much electricity so we took the opportunity to learn something from Mike.

He pointed out that aboard virtually any vessel the major consumer of energy is the refrigeration system and for that reason the system should be the most energy efficient as possible. The key to this is a balanced or tuned system and Mike can tune an already installed Danfoss system (like Alder/Barber, etc) to gain 15 to 20% more performance, which equals: efficiency.

Twelve-volt refrigeration parts are difficult to find in Central America so if you are dissatisfied with the performance of your system or want to have it checked before heading south to be sure it is running as efficiently as possible you should contact Mike. His tune-up consists of removing the potentially leaking quick disconnects, vacuuming, and refilling the system, tuning the electronics to make the compressor run more efficiently and analyzing the power supply. Mike can do this for about $350.

If you are thinking about completely replacing your system you should seriously consider purchasing one of Mike’s Mexicolder systems. Here is what Mike told me about his product:

“Aboard ship we need to make the energy to power our stuff. Now to me it has never made sense having to run the engine or a diesel or gas gen-set to do so. First you have to source and pay for the fuel and then you have to get it to the vessel. Then you have to maintain and pay for all that machinery whilst it puts tremendous amounts of heat and noise into your otherwise peaceful environment.

For this reason my boat TORTUE runs on solar power alone and yes we have all the luxuries of ice cubes and rock solid frozen meats and seafood thanks to the Mexicolder system.

For over 33 years I have been cruising, repairing and upgrading systems I always had folk ask me “Why can’t I have fridge/freezer just like home that doesn’t go wrong?” So I took a blank sheet of paper and years of hands on experience. Then I wrote down all that was good and all that was not good of all the systems available on the market in the mid 1990’s. I kept the good stuff and then tested aboard TORTUE in the severe heat conditions over several summers in the Sea of Cortez Mexico. I then removed all the excess moving parts that were “fluff” but doubled up on the stuff that kept the compressor or “heart of the system” beating nicely. I chose the finest quality materials to build a simple, lightweight, and efficient answer to the sailor’s needs and dreams. Other systems on the market have user installable "Quick Connects" between the evaporator plate and the compressor. The selling point is that you can install your own system but this is short-term thinking because over time the vibration, heat, and constant motion on a boat in the tropics take their toll on user installable "quick connect" fittings. These "Quick Connect" fittings begin to leak, which allows the compressor to suck in moist hot air, which destroys the compressor.  Also, when I install a new system I do it starting from the battery bank making sure that all the wiring is properly sized and graded.”

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