Gasoline powered freezer?

Discussion in 'Energy & Electricity' started by horseman09, May 19, 2010.

  1. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone had any experience or thoughts regarding replacing the electric motor that runs your freezer compressor (if TSHTF) with a small lawn mower sized gasoline engine. Aside from the inconvenience of having to run it for ??? half a day ??? then shut it down, etc., it seems as though it should work.

    Any words of wisdom out there?
     
  2. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

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    I think you'll find you go through more fuel than what it's worth.

    My logic/thoughts are as follows.
    A small mower engine is in the 3-5 hp range.
    A fridge motor is 1/3 - 1/2 hp.

    A small generator (let's say 1200w) with that same 3-5 hp engine can generate enough electric to power that fridge as well as other things. Once the fridge is running, it's only drawing about 300w so you have 900 other watts to play with (to power other things) for the same amount of fuel.
     

  3. Woody

    Woody Woodchuck

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    There are propane refrigerators out there. Had an old ammonia gas one in an old truck camper I had. If you didn’t open the door at least twice a day everything froze. Never ran on more than just the pilot light too! Damn fine piece of equipment it was. You can buy new bottled gas refrigerators and freezers, check online.
     
  4. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, bc, but to be honest, I was going to use woodgas for fuel. I referred to a gasoline engine because that's what mower engines are designed for and for symplicity on phrasing the post. Our freezer is rated at 550 watts -- don't know what the startup surge is. Old 2 or 3 horse lawn mower engines are a dime a dozen, so I thought if I could run a freezer off of a Briggs using woodgas in a SHTF situation, that would be less wear and tear on a genreator which is a rather critical piece of equipment. My big generator is a trifuel, meaning it can run off gasoline, propane or natural gas. Natural gas is a close equivalent of wood gas.

    I figure that if TSHTF, I'd use the big generator for an hour every other day to run the water pump, recharge the various batteries, etc, and use the little easily replaceable Briggs to run the freezer. I'd have to rig up a clutch to get it started before engaging the compressor , tho.

    Also, by using wood gas to run the generator, freezer and the tractor, I'd be saving precious gasoline for the chain saw or emergency use of a car or truck.
     
  5. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Woody, for the input. I'd thought about a gas freezer, but per my post above, I don't think it will run on natural gas or wood gas. They are pretty darned cool, but also pretty darned expensive.
     
  6. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

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    OK, your elaborated description changes things.

    I can't help you one it comes to that level of refrigeration and clutches and such as well as dealing with wood gas.

    My backup fridges are 12v that I'd run off batteries.
     
  7. bunkerbob

    bunkerbob Supporting Member

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    I'm not sure if the compatibility of using a gasoline engine would be worth the effort, not only in fuel use but the engineering aspect. A lawn mower engine would be a overkill with shear power, the compressors use a very small electric motor to run. Not to say it couldn't be done though.
    I think a solar powered unit, although expensive would be more economical. Solar-powered refrigerators by Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #102
    How about this antique... http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/07/solar_powered_r_2.php
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
  8. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    I think MY back-up plan would be to keep the freezer cold with a generator off and on over the day/days, and have all my canners running round the clock getting everything in jars! I understand about freezers, though. Hard to make meatloaf or fried chicken from meat out of a jar. But if the power was never going to come back on...
     
  9. allen_idaho

    allen_idaho Well-Known Member

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    Fried chicken is an easy fix. Just raise chickens. Kill and pluck as needed. You can't beat that kind of freshness.
     
  10. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

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    Most refrigerators and freezers are expected to run about thirty percent of the time. The best way to start out would be to run your compressor or generator for one hour out of every three (one hour on, two hours off) until you see if that's adequate. A lot will depend on outside temperature, freezer temperature and location and how much is actually in the freezer/fridge.

    A home freezer/fridge has a sealed compressor/motor assembly and would be difficult to convert to a gas engine. A commercial unit designed for walk-in freezers or refrigerated trailers wouldn't be too hard to convert to a gasoline engine.
     
  11. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

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    The unit we plan on modifying is an older spare chest freezer that has the motor/compressor unit accessible through a removable grill on the right rear.

    We can lots of stuff, but there are lots of cold weather veggies that are not canable, e.g. brocolli, caulaflower, b. sprouts, etc. The only way I know of to keep them long term is the freezer. Hence, a freezer that would run off wood gas -- of which we would have a more than ample longterm supply.

    The other reason I wanted a wood gas-operated freezer is the possibility of having access to large quantities of meat. If a few dairy farms in the area suddenly had no electricity and had to dispose of some cows, they could be butchered and boned out, popped in the freezer until we could catch up with the canning and jerky-making process. (Just try milking 125 head of cows twice a day by hand, then have to dump most of the milk because there is no way to cool or ship it.)
     
  12. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

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    We've dehydrated broccoli, celery, etc. It's okay for stews and soups but not a good way to do it if you like them fresh or frozen. Canned brussel sprouts are okay.

    If you do it let us know how it turns out.:)
     
  13. longtime

    longtime Well-Known Member

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    These are on my list, just have not gotten around to them yet. Both look very promising for refrigeration without electricity.

    Home Built IcyBall
    Mai Pen Arai
     
  14. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

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    The fueled motor freezer is an interesting idea, I have been bouncing a similar plan around in my head for a while, But more of a "room" with a large freezer area at the bottom and then a refridgerator area higher with adjustable insulation "plates in between. (perfectly clear in my head)
    The idea is to have the freezer area below the bottom of the enterance door to prevent the cold from escaping each time the door / air lock is opened.
    I plan on using 2 independant refridgerant systems each large enough to operate the "freezer" each removable from the outside for service if nessicary
    As well as a weather loop cooling circuit to take advantage of winter cold here in the north
    Building a system like this would be a fair bit of work but in the event of a financial /grid/war/..../ crash having a good working knowledge of the system and how to repair it would be huge, Right now it would be cheaper to buy made in china freezers and gens , but what value would you get?? :beercheer:
     
  15. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    wouldn't buying a small used genset (with a blown engine perhaps ;) ) & putting the lawnmower engine on it be a better use of the engine? you could power much more than just the freezer then...

    just my 2 cents
     
  16. OldCootHillbilly

    OldCootHillbilly Reverend Coot

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    Does this unit have a belt driven compressor? If not the motor an compressor er totally enclosed in a can.

    If it is a belt drive, yeah ya can run it with anything ya can put a belt on.
     
  17. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

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    I liked the idea of using a 1 or 2 horse on a direct drive to the compressor because omitting the gen would be one less link to break down and lawn mowers engines are a dime a dozen.
     
  18. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

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    No one wants to think outside the box
    A conventional chest freezer has the evaporator (cooling ) seperated from the condenser (removes the heat of compressing) seperated by a wall of insulation
    If you took the condenser outside of the housing and cooled it with a fan driven by your Salvaged motor which would also drive a belt driven compressor , also salvaged somewhere maybe small car? , by only using the freezer's origonal evaporator ,you prolly increase the efficiency several fold and can run the engine for one superfreeze cycle a day or if you add insulation maybe every second day.
    If you modify it your self , you can fix it your self and that is key in a post shtf or just self suficient world Where sweat / research equity pay back instead of feeding a group of middlemen(women):2thumb:
     
  19. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    I've pickled/canned cauliflower (delicious) before, but idk about broccoli...
     
  20. HozayBuck

    HozayBuck Well-Known Member

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    Canned Brussel Sprouts???????????:eek: Dude them lil cabbage balls ain't food! they's small rifle targets!.. I'm forced to eat them once in a while so's not to be a bad example but I'd rather eat Ham and lima beans outta the green can for a month!

    GS yer gonna have to start censoring his posts!! :club: there could be kids reading this stuff!!:sssh: