We plumped for the Shoreline RL5010W, which claims to use an average of 0.8Ah per hour, i.e. 0.8A. That's if you never open the door! I committed to the purchase at 1600, just one hour before the show closed. After asking Crick Marina if we could pick the fridge up from the wharfside the Shoreline man wheeled the fridge to the service point, then I went to get the boat and pick it up. I managed to get it onto the well deck on my own, then I moved the boat to a more convenient mooring. I was itching to connect it up and see how it performed, so I emptied the contents of the old fridge into cool bag/other bags and with Jan's help got it relatively out of the way. Manoeuvering the new fridge into the galley went without too much difficulty, then all I had to do was switch it on.
Well, no, actually. I discovered that, although nice fat cables had been left for a 12V fridge, they weren't long enough. I didn't have anything of the right size, so I paralleled up a few pieces of mains cable and used "chocolate blocks" to join it all up. The extra bit added in is only a couple of feet so it won't introduce any significant voltage drop. And it works! The compressor is nice and quiet, the food is all in, and the inverter doesn't have to be on - hooray!
Much of the wiring up was done while entertaining
The inverter is actually on at the moment to keep the phone charged so I can write this. The fridge cabling was previously being used to feed a small 200W inverter which will charge phones etc; now I will have to connect it somewhere else.
So that was one big chunk of money; the other major expense was a new set of batteries. I am so convinced that the old set - only 13 months old - is on its last legs that I have ordered four more sealed lead acid batteries from Midland Chandlers at the show price of £70 each. Before installing them I have to do something permanent about regulating the alternator. Although it now works, and charges up the batteries, it allows the voltage to rise to 14.7V which is not good for sealed lead acids. They prefer no more than 14.4V so as to avoid gassing. I believe the existing batteries have suffered because they were never getting fully charged, owing to the previous alternator dying and the dubious way the Sterling ABC was installed, but I don't want the new batteries to suffer from overcharging. A grabbed conversation with Mark Langley, Waterways World's technical editor, pointed me towards an Adverc external regulator, so I shall have to look into that.
For now, though, it's time to recharge my own batteries and get some sleep.
edited to correct a name and remove typos