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Lots of people on the Forum ask about methods of keeping food cool on the homestead particularly if you are off grid. I found this post on a building forum I belong to and thought folks might find it of interest. Its about an old product called a Crosley IcyBall. It tells all about it and there are links to plans to make one on your own. Its a fairly simple mechanism and even a kid who flunked high school chemistry(me :haha: ) can understand the chemistry involved. Anyone ever heard of this gizmo?

http://www.ggw.org/~cac/IcyBall/crosley_icyball.html
 

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Yes, some people make them out of old propane cylinders. You can even use very basic solar to heat them or put them over a wood fire, then cool the fridge. I've never tried to make one tho I've done a lot of reading on them. Wonder if someone that is handy could make some to sell? Be a good homesteading type thing to do for extra cash.
 

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Yes indeed Cyngbaeld. I wish I were more mechanical as I think they would sell like hotcakes to campers and folks just setting up a homestead. Sounds like the sort of contraption old Hoot would be good at making. Maybe I should send him a pm about this thread. HOOT you reading? :) Heres a money maker for you.
 

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Seen that site before. Propane refridgerators work on similar method. The heat input for ammonia refridgeration doesn't seem to be great. I would think it would be an easy conversion to solar or even wood burning.

I want a wood burning refridgerator. :haha: :p
 

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There was an article in MEN about 30 years back that listed the water amonia used as a cooling method. The heating tank was outside of a regular refriderator box which had a 1 1/2 copper tube up to the top, inside the freezer area was a condensation tank which captured the amonia. There was a drip valve which was gravity fed to a tube of copper which 'snaked' down to the bottom of the unit takeing out the heat as it flowed down. It could be fired by wood, charcoal, any source of heat. This was before MEN went yuppie, have they straightened out yet?
 
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Heres an article that I bet no one has seen. A chap in India makes refrigerators out of clay....they hold water in the top and as it evaporates thru the pores in the clay it cools down the inside and keeps the contents cool. Very low tech, very economical and pun intended...very cool! Id like to see a review of this technology in Backwoods home mag. Wrote to the distributors for pricing to USA but got no response. Heres the link http://www.siliconindia.com/shownewsdata.asp?newsno=24813&newscat=Technology If interested in more info, type in clay refrigerator in your google search and find out more; there's even a video clip from Indian TV. Have a new servel and it works great keeps really cool...main problem though its pretty small for a big family.
 
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Moonpups - MEN has their first 10 years available now on CD - with a searchable database.... current mag is getting better, but its still on the yuppie side.
 

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www.motherearthnews.com/.../ 035/035-114-01.htm

I put 'wood burning refrigerator' into google and got this as one of the 'image' portions of the article. The link does not work but the address is what was displayed. There was warnings of copyright infringements.

Does anyone know the water to ammonia ratio?
 

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I clicked to read this thread because I have always been interested in alternative refrigeration since 1991

That year I spent some time in Tanzania with temps up into the 120s

We had a small kerosene fridge that was wonderful at refrigerating, but small

I was curious to see that my housemate - a fellow teacher who had been there for 2 years already - kept our fresh eggs on the kitchen counter

Could anyone explain to me why or how they did not spoil?
I have never had any idea and have always been curious -

We got a batch of fresh eggs 1x/week from a local boy who would deliver on his bicycle, so the eggs on the counter lasted at least a week - maybe 1 or 2 eggs lasted a bit longer - I don't remember exactly

Great thread

I vote for dunking everything in the creek! Including me! ;)
 

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Eggs don't have to be refrigerated unless you plan to keep them a long time. I have lived without a/c or refrigeration for years at a time and kept chickens. So the eggs didn't get refrigerated. Most of the world doesn't refrigerate eggs. They don't change sheets every saturday either, but I never could convince my mother of either fact. :haha:
 

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UK grocery stores don't keep the eggs in the store refrigerated. They are on the isle next to the cereals. It's an Americanism to refrigerate eggs for the most part.

J
 

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ive been looking for an icyball for a couple years now, just to satisfy my curiosity of what one looks like and have had no luck.... with so many built and sold even though it was 70 years ago, i would think someone had one out in an old chicken coop even after all these years that would be a model to rebuild one with.....

I understand that there are a couple companies that are looking into offering such a unit as a room cooling device in 3rd word countries and not here cause it would cut into the lectric utility profits to much.... and give extra freedom to the people.....

William the cynical
 

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Solar Ice maker, enjoy!

http://homepower.com/files/solarice.pdf#search='solar%20absorbtion%20refrigeration'

Hmmm, how do you make those tiny url's??
 

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Grrrrrr!

Yahoo search solar absorbtion refrigeration and it'll be the first one. 20pdf.
 

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Similar to the principal behind the clay refrigerators are the clay butter dishes folks keep/kept on their tables to keep the butter cool.

Also, they used to put pies and other foodstuffs in their pie safe and drape muslin or cheesecloth over the pie safe. The fabric was long enough to hit the floor and they put big tubs of water on the floor and let the tails of the fabric hang into the water. The water was wicked up the fabric and as it evaporated, the pie safe and its contents were kept cool.

Not refrigeration, but cool.

There are also ice houses, where folks harvest ice from the lakes or ponds in the winter and store the blocks of ice in an ice house, well insulated with straw. Ice can last in the ice house all summer long (that blows my mind). As you need ice, you get a block out of the ice house and put it in your icebox where your milk etc. are stored.

My grandparents had a weekend cottage and they kept their things chilled by putting them in a spring house. The water came up out of the ground and into a stone house that was built around the spring. There was a metal "trough" that the water came up into, and they'd put milk and maybe a watermelon in there in the cold water. Outside the water trough but in the stone house they could keep veggies and fruits and whatever they wanted kept cool but not icy cold. I remember getting milk and watermelons out of the spring house in the summertime when I was a little kid.
 

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Westwood said:
Solar Ice maker, enjoy!

http://homepower.com/files/solarice.pdf#search='solar%20absorbtion%20refrigeration'

Hmmm, how do you make those tiny url's??
Cool article,Thanks.
Imagine it used for home airconditioning and refrigeration,what an energy saver.
Hybrid with gas or electric backup?

Another low tech solution with solar power that could displace a huge amt. of fossil fuels.

BooBoo
 
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