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Brian Berkhahn
05-04-2011, 03:53 PM
I'm thinking about putting a small propane freezer down at the mine this year, I was just wondering if anyone has any suggestions or have used them. I would have to keep it outside and heard good things about Cevell (sp??) propane freezers.. that they were definately bear proof but can't find any info on them, perhaps because I don't know how to spell the manufacture.


Steve Herschbach
05-04-2011, 04:33 PM
All I know is they are very expensive compared to a regular freezer. For Moore Creek I had the choice of a $1500 propane freezer or a $350 electric freezer, same size. You might be money ahead to just run an electric freezer off your generator, which is what we ended up doing.

We did have a propane refrigerator at Moore Creek that worked well. It came with the mine.

Brian Berkhahn
05-04-2011, 06:19 PM
Hmm.. that's an idea however I don't run the generator 24/7, only in the morning when I get up and then at night. Do you think they could remain cold during the day? With the current gas prices I'd rather save the gas for the dredge.

Steve Herschbach
05-04-2011, 07:01 PM
If you get a well insulated freezer you do not have to run it 24/7. The larger it is also you can put in big bottles of water to freeze which will then help keep everything cold when the generators are not running. The more frozen mass you have the longer you can go between generator runs. $1150 buys a lot of gas. And propane is not free.

You should only dredge in the winter then you could just leave stuff in a box!

Brian Berkhahn
05-04-2011, 08:42 PM
Good Idea.. Think I'll look into one. At 1500 an ounce I may go back to winter dredging, was my favorite time of year to dredge anyways.. no bugs, no bears & the water was low and clear.


05-05-2011, 12:19 PM
I use to have an old Servel propane refrigerator. It was a real propane hog compared to the newer models. I believe Servel has had a name change and is now Dometic. The new model is quite good.
We went to solar power years ago and I sold the old Servel. We now run a small freezer all summer off of solar panels.

Brian Berkhahn
05-05-2011, 04:45 PM
That's an interesting idea.. how many panels and batteries are you running? Is your freezer 12v or are you using an inverter?

05-05-2011, 10:15 PM
Well we run our whole house off of solar. Have about 600 watts of panels and a 700 amp hr battery bank. Mixture of AC and DC stuff, but the freezer is AC and runs off the inverter.
DC freezers are very expensive!
Just to run a small freezer would not require near the panels or battery bank.

Brian Berkhahn
05-06-2011, 04:30 PM
Yeah, I was looking at the 12v freezers and they are definately way to expensive. Thanks for the info.. maybe I'll add more panels to help out.

05-06-2011, 11:02 PM
AIH has solar panels on sale right now.

Steve Herschbach
05-07-2011, 09:37 AM
Saw some at Costco also.

Brian Berkhahn
05-08-2011, 11:36 AM
Stopped by Lowes and Home Depot yesterday and checked out the 5.0 and 7.0 freezers.. according to the info I could find it doesn't look like they draw very much so I wonder if I'd be able to get away with 2 car batteries a 300 watt inverter and a couple solar panels.

05-08-2011, 11:08 PM
I wonder if I'd be able to get away with 2 car batteries a 300 watt inverter and a couple solar panels.

I looked at my 5 cu.ft. freezer. It draws 1.69 amps at 115 v. Now this is running amperage. Starting current can be in excess of 3 times the running, so I don't believe a 300 watt inverter will start it.
If I was starting from scratch and just wanted to run a small 5 cuft freezer, I would get a couple of those 6 volt 220 Amp Hr golf cart batteries (series them for 12v, 220 AmpHr), a 1000 watt inverter and a couple of the 100-130 Watt panels.

Brian Berkhahn
05-09-2011, 08:40 AM
That works.. I already have the golf cart batteries, I just need to find out if they're still good or not. I also have a 3000 watt inverter but I don't like to use it as it screws up my AM radio but I'll try it again.

Thanks for all the help.

05-09-2011, 09:18 AM
Yes, the modified sine-wave inverters almost always wreak havoc with an AM radio. Every one that I have had, from Trace to cheap ones, made listening to AM radio impossible.
When I went to a true sine-wave inverter not only did the AM radio noise go away but also all the humming from "wall-wart" type power supplies.
Another issue is the charge controller. I have had a number of the newer controllers that caused terrible RF hash not only in the AM radio but my Ham radio also.

05-09-2011, 10:43 AM
You could use solar panels but most of the ones you can buy off the shelf or 40 or 50 watt , and they cost anywhere from 225 to 300 U.S.D .
And the more efficient ones are in the 300 and up range . Cost that is.
Your starting amps will on most motors take about three times the amperage to start as it takes to run. If the unit has a high efficiency motor then it will be about double . You should be able to see that rating on the label or tech sheet. And when using DC you have to take into account of the length of the run of wire that you are sending the voltage over .
If you get your run to long then it will take more amp to push the voltage and hold it at the level that you want. But this is only an issue with longer runs of wire . You just need a heaver gauge wire.

As to the noise that you are hearing it is from the inverter , that is the cheaper inverters that do not keep a stable cycle of50/60 HZ and that do not have a filter in line . You can buy one and put it inline yourself but you would have to match what you have as to size . That would not really be hard.

The better deep cycle batteries do last quite a while and they will not burn out by running them below a percentage that they are rated at on the drain side . Some are not to be pulled below 45% , and that rating can run all over the scale as to the type and quality of the battery .

But doing like Dick said and running them in series will take most of that issue away for what you are trying to power .
We used solar cells to charge DC systems and we also used the extra power off of a generator to charge also when we had it running .
We had 12 , 12 volt batteries running in series , this ran all that we needed and lights for the area .
And at a later date we took an old DC generator and made a water wheel to turn it off the creek water flowing by, I bought one salvage for $30 . This worked really well , but I do not know the laws there yet and do not know if you are allowed to do something like that in the creeks . Some places will not allow any type of water wheel in the live water creeks or rivers .

I am sure that I have over done what you are trying to do here , but it is to give you some ideas on ways you can get this done that you are trying to do. You may already know this as it goes .

If I can be of any help just let me know and I will do what I can.

Brian Berkhahn
05-09-2011, 03:39 PM
At the time I was trying out my inverter idea I had my camper plugged into it.. I thought maybe that was the reason it was causing havoc on my AM radio but maybe not. I'll have to give it another try this spring, I've got a few weeks to get camp togethor before the water starts to clear up and I can get to work.

I am actually permited to run a water wheel at my place so any idea's you have let em rip, I know we've touched on this subject on this forum before but it's always good to hear new ideas. Living off the grid or without constantly being stuck to a generator is nice but its just so darn expensive to get everything going.


05-09-2011, 06:52 PM
If you really are wanting to try some kind of micro-hydro project let me know. I have a bunch of components for a project I was working on when I mined on 45 Pup. Since I sold the ground the project is on hold and my new location is not going to work for a micro-hydro project.
I have a 30 Amp low RPM alternator built for hydro, a pelton wheel, rectifier...etc.
One caution though, nothing is as maintenance free as solar power. Hydro requires constant fiddling, in my experience.

Brian Berkhahn
05-09-2011, 07:39 PM
As much as I would love to try a micro hydro system I have absolutely no head pressure on the 2 creeks that surround my place. An old school pelton wheel (water wheel) might work. I thought about trying to rig a water wheel up on a set of dredge floats so I could remove it during the winter time but the whole thing just ended up costing to much.
I appreciate that, if I can figure something else out I'll definately let you know.


08-15-2011, 06:09 PM
good thread, i am no expert but i made the jump this year to solar for the camp. i did this because trying to keep everything cold with ice was getting to be to expensive and time consuming. i am in the lower 48 so in the summer 90+ for a week or more is not uncommon. i spend about 2 months a year prospecting in remote loactions so ice is a ways away. couple of hints. 1, buy solar panels from a wholesaler. brings the price way down. i paid 210.00 for one eighty watt so i bought 2 for 160watts. btw saw the same panel at a online rv store for 750.00 for one. 2, i tried to run one of those cheap refers from home depot off my inverter. didnt work those are so inefiecient, dont believe the label. so i went with the 12 volt engels, got two, draw 2.5 amps each. wow should have done this sooner. 2 months in the field no ice. went to town every two weeks, for food and beer. beats every 2 to 3 days for 20.00 of ice that just melts.

Brian Berkhahn
08-20-2011, 08:10 AM
Good info.. thank you.