Question: We’re thinking of installing the Glacier Bay MicroHPS unit on our 45-foot sailboat; air cooled, using a 390Ah AGM battery bank. I noticed you have installed a Glacier Bay system and have had good luck with it. Can you enumerate further? Any complaints or problems? Did you use the Vacuum Insulated Panels (VIPs)? I’ve read a bunch of negative stuff on Glacier Bay being temperamental, but yet they still seem to have a good reputation overall.
Answer: I have no experience with the MicroHPS system. What I can say is that we fitted the Glacier Bay, 12volt DC, water cooled system in 1996 and it has been great. The only problems we have had are:
- We had to get a professional refrigeration technician to find a small leak and tune the system up after two years. The problem was caused by a leaking compression fitting. We also had the same type of fitting leak at one of the plates a few years later. We were able to fix that one by tightening a half turn. Since then we have soldered all the connections and removed all the compression fittings.
- In 2000 we had a vibration isolator rupture and lost the whole charge. Since we were in a remote place, Glacier Bay walked us through a temporary repair and recharge. They were very responsive.
We did not use the VIPs since we already had a fairly well insulated box. If I were building a box from scratch I would look at using the VIPs, although the substantial cost would make me look at other alternatives too.
So in summary, our Glacier Bay system has run just about daily for ten years (with a few gaps for lay-ups) with relatively few problems. (Note that refrigeration systems are notorious for reliability problems.) Also, when we bought it, it was far and away the most efficient system on the market. Finally, whenever we have had a question or a problem, Glacier Bay have been responsive and helpful.