The cursed cooler


Anyone who has ever spent more than 5 days on a sailboat knows what I’m talking about; coolers that don’t cool, coolers that freeze over, coolers that think they’re freezers, coolers that don’t cool and freeze over at the same time, plus many other variations on the theme. The common denominator for all of them is that they use electricity, a lot of electricity. So also with our cooling box. When we bought the boat in 2014, the then owner told us that the cooling box was capricious and did not work as it should. At the time, I knew little or nothing about coolers, so I shrugged my shoulders and thought that it could probably be solved in a simple way.
In 2020, i.e. 7 years later, the situation around the cooling box was not much better. It rumbled and ran 24-7 and never stopped, so about every ten days the box had managed to produce a nice little glacier around the cooling element, which ruined the cooling effect. So then it was just a matter of starting with defrosting, which was solved with the help of a hairdryer and chopping with a knife. When we were mostly out with the boat on weekend trips and a four-week trip every summer, we accepted this, but when a long trip of 6 months was discussed, we quickly realized that the problem around the cooler had to be addressed.
We tried changing the thermostat and we read up on the internet where others struggled with roughly the same thing, but no matter what we did, the cooler didn’t work any better. One day around Christmas time 2020, I stopped by an English-language forum where a group of people passed the time throwing insults at each other about various cooler box suppliers. There was one person who thought he had solved the problem. He had posted a picture of a blue “gadget” a thermostat and a wiring harness. He claimed in his post that he had now got the fridge in order by making the fridge smart. I had no idea that there was an unintelligent being hiding down in the fridge, had I seen it I would probably have been more careful when using a knife and hair dryer. I wondered for a moment if my behavior had irritated the cooler, but dismissed it rather quickly. I found the product quickly on the internet. Isotherm smart energy control. I read up, here was both a computer processor and many other things that were supposed to help the greatly offended cooling box to a better and more efficient life. Admittedly, it cost a bit of money, but what the hell, if this could fix the cooler it was worth it anyway. We had the blue, somewhat mysterious box installed. And just like that, without further ado, the cooler was like new! Fantastic! The cheers were at the ceiling, something so wonderful. 

The joy lasted for just over three years, then the cooling box decided to become stupid again, the box rumbled and ran all day and the power consumption was sky high. So then the question arose, was it the blue box that was broken, or was there something with the compressor or the thermostat? We couldn’t come up with a good answer, so we decided to replace the entire system, compressor, cooling element, thermostat, i.e. the whole thing. We chose an Isotherm Classic Compact 150 cooling unit with ITC. It took us a whole day of disassembly and assembly. When we fired up the wonder, the excitement was palpable. Complete refrigerator equipment does not come cheap and we hoped that the investment would pay off. Long story short, the cooler works like a dream. It is extremely stable and has its own external display that shows the temperature inside the box as well as the option to change between three different modes, all depending on whether you are at anchor and need to super save on power or if you are on shore power and have all the power you need. Our box is in normal mode and is very energy efficient. Well worth all the money. You know what they say; happy wife, happy life