How To Isolate Section of 12 V Freezer To Use As Refrigerator?

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magentawave

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I have an ICECO VL60 Dual Zone 12 volt chest fridge / freezer. The VL60 has two separate compartments with two top opening doors. Most of the freezer compartment is empty because I usually only use about 1/3 of it. Before I start experimenting, I was wondering if anyone has sectioned off a part of their freezer so they can use it as a refrigerator? (My fridge compartment is set to 38 degrees and the freezer side is set to 18 degrees.) I would like to section off part of the freezer so it is about 38 degrees. Whatever material I use to create this space must be easily removable.

Have you done this successfully? If so, how did you do it and what materials did you use?

Thanks😀🤙🏼
https://icecofreezer.com/products/63-4qt-vl60-dual-zone-portable-fridge-with-cover
 
The link shows that the two compartments are not equal in size, and not dedicated to one use or the other. One section is smaller because the compressor is mounted on that side.

If the "freezer" section is larger than the "refrigerator" section, use the larger section as refrigerator and the smaller as freezer.
 

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So as that model is already divided are you asking about adding an additional partition inside the section you are using as a freezer? Also asking about what type of material to use for a partition. Plus you are actually hoping to have some way to control freezing temperatures in those two DIY divisions?

Controlling the exact difference in temperatures in your DIY partition scheme is not practically feasible. You will just get what you get when dividing that area and that is the best you can do. You will have to test with a thermometer to find out the result. The result may vary depending on how much food is in which partition.

Finding divider material is not difficult. Go to Harbor Freight or Home Depot and buy some of the interlocking puzzle floor mats. They make good, thick, semi ridged, waterproof insulators. They are made of EVA foam and are easy to cut to size. Size the divider slightly wider so it is held in place with compression. And/or you could use a bit of food safe silicone caulk as an adhesive. But having them removable is better for easy cleaning of the interior and the dividers.
 
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I would imagine they you could probably use a small foam ice chest and seal it well. Not really sure though.

It's cheap to test lol
I think I will try that. I have a digital thermometer that I can place the probe inside to check it. Thanks.
 
The link shows that the two compartments are not equal in size, and not dedicated to one use or the other. One section is smaller because the compressor is mounted on that side.

If the "freezer" section is larger than the "refrigerator" section, use the larger section as refrigerator and the smaller as freezer.
Freezer side is much much smaller. I use the big side as a fridge and need PART of the freezer side as a fridge.
 
So as that model is already divided are you asking about adding an additional partition inside the section you are using as a freezer? Also asking about what type of material to use for a partition. Plus you are actually hoping to have some way to control freezing temperatures in those two DIY divisions?

Controlling the exact difference in temperatures in your DIY partition scheme is not practically feasible. You will just get what you get when dividing that area and that is the best you can do. You will have to test with a thermometer to find out the result. The result may vary depending on how much food is in which partition.

Finding divider material is not difficult. Go to Harbor Freight or Home Depot and buy some of the interlocking puzzle floor mats. They make good, thick, semi ridged, waterproof insulators. They are made of EVA foam and are easy to cut to size. Size the divider slightly wider so it is held in place with compression. And/or you could use a bit of food safe silicone caulk as an adhesive. But having them removable is better for easy cleaning of the interior and the dividers.
Great idea. Thanks. I think I’ll try some styrofoam sheets first. Probably repurpose the foam they use in packaging. I can just tape it together while experimenting.
 
Actually, you might be surprised if you just use a piece of foam (cut to size) and place it ON TOP of the items in the bottom that you want to keep frozen, and place the fridge items on top of that foam, just below the lid.

In other words, the foam divider should be horizontal, not vertical. This will allow the sub freezing air to stratify and 'sink' to the bottom of the compartment.

Most of these units have refrigerant coils along the walls of the compartment (not visible) so there will still be some cooling effect in the 'upper' compartment. You may have to experiment with the position of the foam, and a small round finger opening for lifting it might be just right for proper 'airflow' between the two sections.

Let us know what works for you.
 
Actually, you might be surprised if you just use a piece of foam (cut to size) and place it ON TOP of the items in the bottom that you want to keep frozen, and place the fridge items on top of that foam, just below the lid.
I like this this^^

I didn't see this mentioned before (having read this thread in bits and pieces):

You need to determine where the freezer temperature sensor is. This must be in the freezer section, not blocked by insulation or in the non-freezer part.

You need to determine which walls (or floor is best) the cooling coils are in. These walls might need to be blocked by insulation in the non-freezer section (testing is needed).

There will need to be some trial and error in determining what works.

I would never put anything in the above section that can be damaged by freezing.
 
As pointed out above, some experimentation (and a couple of thermometers) will be needed, to see if any of our ideas will work.
 
I have a 12v fridge that I'm using as a full time freezer. I set it as low as it can go, and it works great. That being said, the cooling coils that go around the space don't go all the way to the top the cold storage area.

They stop about 5-6 inches from the top. How do I know? Because there are items that get packed there that don't always freeze it stay as solid frozen as items under that line. Ice cream goes below the line. Above the line it might still be ice cream, but closer to soft serve. If I were to put a small partition of foam at the 5 or 6 inch mark from the top, it would probably be like a fridge on high. Almost frozen.
 
Actually, you might be surprised if you just use a piece of foam (cut to size) and place it ON TOP of the items in the bottom that you want to keep frozen, and place the fridge items on top of that foam, just below the lid.
If that works, that would be pretty nice. You could make a foam-bottomed basket, so you could easily lift out the refrigerated items to get to the frozen section.

As pointed out above, some experimentation (and a couple of thermometers) will be needed, to see if any of our ideas will work.
A digital IR thermometer is cheap and so useful for many things. In this case I think you'd be able to stick a waterbottle in each section, and pop it open and measure them.
 
Actually something opaque and dark with decent thermal mass would be best... like a rock? But you'd readily tell if water was frozen or not.
 
The portable fridges I have see do not have coolant tubes in the bottom, they are only along some of the sidewalls. The end near the compressor will be the coldest. It is going to be interesting to find out if inserting an additional partition is going to actually mess up being able to keep foods at food safe temperatures. Basically you are messing with what the engineers have designed and tested as the best options. I am not saying do not experiment. Just saying be sure to test the results of what you choose to do when you do it. Not just in the freezer section but also in the refrigerator area as well. I have no idea how the coolant tubes are arranged in your fridge and am too lazy tonight to research it.
 
This image is an example of the cooling plates used inside a portable fridge. This particular one is from a Dometic Waeco CF-18 which is a small portable. While it is not essential to know how such things are built it can help with understanding that there is no coolant on the bottom side or of course the lid. It is just around the sides but not on the side with the compressor in a chest style freezer. You can see the raised areas of the tubes the refrigerant circulates through. I do not know if those divided dual zone fridges have two cooling plates or just one. I have not seen any replacement parts for them so I do not know their standard design configuration scheme. 81245D04-9937-41BF-A922-FB3C08C1E886.jpeg
 
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Interesting. Any idea where the temperature measurement is?
 
My Engel fridge has the cooling plate tubes on all 4 of the vertical sides.
 
Initially I will see what the temp difference is between the upper and lower freezer compartment using a couple digital thermometer. After that I will experiment with vertically and then horizontally placed sheets of foam.
 

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I have an ICECO VL60 Dual Zone 12 volt chest fridge / freezer. The VL60 has two separate compartments with two top opening doors. Most of the freezer compartment is empty because I usually only use about 1/3 of it. Before I start experimenting, I was wondering if anyone has sectioned off a part of their freezer so they can use it as a refrigerator? (My fridge compartment is set to 38 degrees and the freezer side is set to 18 degrees.) I would like to section off part of the freezer so it is about 38 degrees. Whatever material I use to create this space must be easily removable.

Have you done this successfully? If so, how did you do it and what materials did you use?

Thanks😀🤙🏼
https://icecofreezer.com/products/63-4qt-vl60-dual-zone-portable-fridge-with-cover
Aluminum foil.
 

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