Author Topic: Coolgardie..... old tech / cold tech  (Read 320 times)

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Offline Owly055

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Coolgardie..... old tech / cold tech
« on: March 28, 2017, 11:15:07 AM »
    During the gold rush days in Australia the Coolgardie was a popular technology for keeping foods cool.   The principle was the same as a canvas water bag.   A fabric covering was submerged at it's lower end, and wicked water upward.  Any breeze caused evaporation and resultant cooling.   There were a number of manufacturers and many home built versions.  Coolgardie was the "frigidair" of evaporative cold safes, and became the generic name.

     This sort of primitive technology could actually work fairly well in a sailboat I suspect with a suitable shaded location and airflow.  It won't yield ice cold beer, but could go a long way toward extending the life of foods without significant energy input.  In the tropics, even the water can be in the 80's so the bilges don't offer a great improvement as far as food preservation.   Something as simple and low power as a small computer fan pushing air through damp cloth and through a space between the insulated wall of a cooler and an inner wall, or right through it might keep temps in the 50's.  Refrigeration is after all evaporative cooling.    A little old fashioned American........ or perhaps Ossie innovation could yield useful results.    I remember as  a child using the spring house to keep eggs, veggies, and meat cool.   A small stone structure covered with earth, with a wooden door.    It covered a bit of sand where a spring bubbled out of the ground, and fed a pipe that led to the house where it kept the cistern full.  Some of it fell out an open pipe at the spring house and flowed into the stream bed.  This was where I always went for a cold drink in summer.   The tin cup hanging on a nail got a LOT of use in the summer.
     Sailing itself is ancient technology......... We have the advantage of much modern technology, but old or ancient technology should not be discarded........... Setting aside the sextant, and not learning to use it and paper charts because of GPS and chart plotters, for example is a mistake.............

« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 11:17:19 AM by Owly055 »


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Re: Coolgardie..... old tech / cold tech
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2017, 01:30:47 PM »
I might try this this summer.  I bet you could make a little collapsible one pretty easily using a folding crate/basket turned on its side in the cockpit. 


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Re: Coolgardie..... old tech / cold tech
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2017, 01:53:04 PM »
On the other hand, I just found this chart of the temperature you can achieve with evaporative cooling in different conditions.  Down on the Texas coast today it's 85 with 65%  humidity.  If those charts are right, a perfect cooler would get you down to 75. 

For many folks on small boats, a reduction to 75 might not be enough to justify the space consumed by a cooler.