12-volt marine fridges with the Danfoss compressor - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-02-2008, 07:19 PM   #1
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Bar none, I would not have installed a propane / evaporative refrigerator. When I removed the icebox, I installed a Dometic 2-way fridge, which required cutting large vents into the fiberglass shell. The vent covers never do fit well to the curved fiberglass body, and there is no way to install a 2 or 3 way fridge to comply with Dometic's specs.

Some time later, I discovered the high-efficiency 12-volt marine fridges with the Danfoss compressor, and switched out the fridge. It doesn't require anything significant for venting, and certainly not to the outside. It will run for days on a 12v battery and is virtually silent. With the optional power supply, it will also switch over to shore power whenever it is available, automatically. It also cools down much, much faster than the standard RV fridges.

This fridge eliminates any potential safety issues with towing on propane, and there is no pilot to light. Best upgrade I made! Unfortunately, I still had those big vents cut to the outside...

How large a fridge did you get?

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Old 04-02-2008, 10:23 PM   #2
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What brand frig do you end up getting? I find lots of 12v marine frigs listed but I don't see one that specifically states it has a Danfoss compressor. Also, where did you find this frig.? Thanks!
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Old 04-03-2008, 12:07 PM   #3
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There are, as mentioned, several brands of these refrigerators available. I installed one from Tundra. Specs on some various models are available here.

I put in a TJ22AC, which is 2.2 cubic feet, and was an easy replacement for the size of my cabinet. Note that the current draw shown in the specifications is for running power consumption. My owners manual stated, and experience confirmed, that the compressor only runs about 20 minutes an hour once it has cooled down. So, you can divide that power consumption essentially by three for "real world" power consumption. You can begin to see how long it can run on a decent battery.

Somebody will hopefully correct me if I'm wrong, but if the fridge draws 3.2 amps while running, and runs 1/3 of the time, that would mean it needs about 1.1 amp\hours of battery power to keep it going. That is about 26.4 amp\hours per 24-hour day. Divide that into about 1/2 of the rated capacity of your deep-cycle battery, and you get approximate days of running on battery. I don't know if that is exactly correct, but my experience says it's not too far off. It also seems that, at this rate of discharge, it would be pretty easy to keep a battery sufficiently charged indefinitely with a solar cell.

I got my fridge from a local boat manufacturer, where a friend works. The link above takes you to one vendor of these units. I know nothing about them, so I can't endorse them, but there is some good information available on their site.

These refrigerators are not particularly cheap (neither are regular RV fridges, as far as that goes), but I would highly recommend them to anyone looking to purchase a fridge for their trailer.
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Old 04-03-2008, 12:17 PM   #4
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This sounds interesting. Would you mind sharing the price, the website requires you to call for price.

Thanks,
Sharon
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Old 04-03-2008, 02:21 PM   #5
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Since I am blessed to have a friend with the appropriate connections, the price I paid is not in the least representative of what others would likely pay, nor is it something I'm probably at liberty to disclose. That said, however, here is a link to one website with prices. Gack! I don't know if these are representative of real market prices or not. This website also shows the Norcold line, which looks maybe less expensive.
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Old 04-03-2008, 02:51 PM   #6
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Eggcamper has a Norcold 0040 refrigerator which draws only 2.7 amps (1.7 cu. ft.)
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Old 04-03-2008, 06:43 PM   #7
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What I got from the company today. DC only in two sizes and stainless steel.

Listed below is the pricing you requested. Shipping is extra from Fort
Lauderdale, FL.

TJ18 flush $777.80
TJ18S surface $741.25
TJ18SS flush $925.55 stainless
TJ18SSS surface $915.85 stainless
TJ22 flush $818.65
TJ22SS flush $960.55 stainless

http://www.emarineinc.com/products/r...on/tundra.html
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:10 PM   #8
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wow... i really like the TJ18AC & TJ22AC but why are they more expensive that a full-size home fridge...?
are all rv fridges as expensive...?
--- steven
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:34 PM   #9
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are all rv fridges as expensive...?
--- steven
In comparison, yes. The 3-way for my Scamp costs right at $900, and it's less than 5 cubic feet... my home refrigerator/freezer is 26 cubic feet and I paid somewhere around $1,300. But it only runs on 110volt.
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:09 PM   #10
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I saw these exhibited at an alternative energy expo in Asheville last year. The link takes you to a distributor; I believe he was from Chattanooga:

http://www.bigfrogmountain.com/engel_products.htm

What I like about these is that they open from the top, so when you open the door, all your cold air doesn't whoosh out to the floor. I am thinking of taking out the Dometic fridge, and putting one of these on slider tracks in the same space. They don't seem to be as expensive as the RV-dedicated units y'all are talking about.

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Old 04-03-2008, 11:12 PM   #11
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Correct that...I just looked at the prices and they are pretty expensive for a comparable model.
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:13 PM   #12
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Some great prices on sale at PPL on the Norcold Marine/RV fridges with Danfoss compressors.

Fridge
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:44 PM   #13
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Last I looked; yet it was a good bit ago...., the three way fridges from the likes of say dometic were half the cost of Norcold type units. That is why RV builders use them. the 3 ways use Amonia in a heated system to produce cool. I know its confusing. Thats how Ice rinks are kept frozen too so I' ve been told.

Norcold etc. uses a freon type stuff and compressor just like a home fridge. A more complicated set up but more efficient.

Ild gamble your just got to search good to find the lower 3 way prices.

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Old 04-05-2008, 06:27 PM   #14
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I haven't looked in a long while, but RV fridges are expensive.

If I were mounting something like the top-opening Engel (Angel in German, BTW), I would try to mount it in the usual place under the counter, but set up to tip out before opening if dimensions permit.
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