I think I just went over to the Dark Side... - Fiberglass RV


View Poll Results: Is it cold IN THERE?
OFF, with frozen ice packs inside 24 27.91%
12 volt DC (Yes, I have a 3-way) 25 29.07%
12 volt DC (DC Compressor Fridge) 0 0%
GAS (Come to the DARK side, Luke) 28 32.56%
I don't have a refrigerator 9 10.47%
Voters: 86. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-06-2007, 10:38 PM   #1
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Labor Day Weekend was extremely HOT. It took me over 2 days to cool the fridge down from being turned off while the trailer was "in storage". In addition, we were spending the weekend in Palm Springs, where the mid afternoon temperatures got up around 116* at 12% humidity. (can you say "spontaneous combustion"?)

To help my 29 year old fridge stay cool under those conditions, I have installed a .6 amp 12 volt "computer fan" in the fridge's exhaust vent to pull heat out of the compartment while I am either plugged in and using the converter or connected to the tow vehicle's "charge line". My 1st computer fan was only .15 amp, and while it ran OK on battery, the converter burnt it up.

In the past, I would drive with my TWO WAY refrigerator turned off; ice packs keeping it "cool". However, a weekend is not enough time for a fridge to re-cool down after traveling in that much heat, and the ice does not keep it below 40* during the entire trip.

This past weekend, I did not turn the fridge off while driving. I left it running on GAS and left the computer fan running, and had the little blue battery operated (2 D cells) fan running inside also. I had fueled the car up before hitching up and did not need to refuel before arriving at our destination. The fridge stayed cold (40*) all weekend. I did not have a disaster.

Previous Propane Discussion I think I have gone to the Dark Side of the force.
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Old 09-07-2007, 12:59 AM   #2
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Frederick:
I've been left out (again). I run it on 120v AC from an inverter. Works much better than my 12v option, and the gas blows out.
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Old 09-07-2007, 04:36 AM   #3
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I run the fridge for about 3 hours before leaving home off 120 then set it on 12v and run it off the TV alternator.
Gerry the canoebuilder
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Old 09-07-2007, 04:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Frederick:
I've been left out (again). I run it on 120v AC from an inverter. Works much better than my 12v option, and the gas blows out.

HMMM does an inverter drain the battery more then just useing the battery alone, for the same results?
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Old 09-07-2007, 07:22 AM   #5
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Hi: I must be related to "The Ice Man" as our fridge works great on 12v. while towing... Keeps the ice cubes frozen just don't stop long enough to drain the batteries
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 09-07-2007, 09:14 AM   #6
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Gerry:
I have spent way too much time over the last few years trying to get the 12v option to do a decent job. Something keeps it from doing reasonably well, so I installed baffles and sealed the outer compartment from the inside (Dometic's install instructions), put in an external fan, etc. but to no avail.

The heating element is about 123 watts for the 12v and 175 watts for the 120 volt, and the difference is dramatic. It keeps the unit easily in the low to middle 30es now. But, the rest of the electrical system has been upgraded: 6 gauge wiring from the battery in the tug all the way back, the alternator is stock Honda, 105 amps, two group 31 batteries (260 amp-hours available), and a battery minder tells me exactly what is happening.

Typically, after a 3-day boondocking stint the batteries are at from 73 to 82% capacity left, depending. During the usual 2-4 hour drive home the alternator is capable of recharging the batteries into the 90es while at the same time running the refrigerator. At one time I ran the towel warmer as an experiment (43 watts) in addition to this and still got a respectable recharge into the batteries.

I'm not much of an expert on these systems, but if I were to guess I'd say the difference is the 6-gauge wiring. The voltage drop is not much, so the alternator is able to push more charge into the system. There is a little loss in the inverter, but it does not seem to be breathing hard (300w).
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Old 09-07-2007, 11:39 AM   #7
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We usually connect to house current {110v} for a day or two before leaving on a trip. That way we precool the fridge and it's not as hard on the tug. On arriving we'll switch over to propane unless we have hydro on the campsite and then we use the 110 from the post. We also take a 12v cooler which can be run from a battery or a converter.
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Old 09-07-2007, 12:30 PM   #8
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I have a 3-way, but honestly don't know if the 12v works.
I just freeze Ice blocks in milk jugs in a Coleman Cooler for transporting the food. We pre-cool the fridge 4 hours before leaving then get it running first thing at the destination on Elec or propane and it doesn't take but about 1-2 hrs to be ready to transfer the food. The ice-cold food and drinks transferring into the fridge from the cooler really helps to get the fridge fully functional as well. It is nice to have the cooler capacity for drinks while camping anyway.
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Old 09-07-2007, 12:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
This past weekend, I did not turn the fridge off while driving. I left it running on GAS and left the computer fan running, and had the little blue battery operated (2 D cells) fan running inside also. I had fueled the car up before hitching up and did not need to refuel before arriving at our destination. The fridge stayed cold (40*) all weekend. I did not have a disaster.

Previous Propane Discussion I think I have gone to the Dark Side of the force.

WElcoooome to the daaaark side Frederick.
I have been doing this dastardly deed for 40 years with no problems.

John
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:06 PM   #10
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After going back and forth for a minute, I checked "12V", because that's what I most commonly do, but I have also run it on propane, having become frustrated with the cooling capacity on 12V, the risk of running the battery down when parked for extended periods, and the annoyance of re-lighting the propane (it's hard to see when the flame is going) on arrival at a non-powered campsite.

I always pre-chill it before a trip, normally on AC power for convenience, but sometimes on propane to make sure that's working. It's on AC power now, having been turned on for the trip we were supposed to take this week, and yesterday even the refrigerator compartment was below freezing (and it's not that cold outside).
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:13 PM   #11
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I think Per is seeing a performance improvement in two ways from the inverter-fed approach: in addition to the higher-output heating element (the big effect), the AC power will be at 120V (so the element will heat at its nominal rating) even if the DC supply voltage is a little low (the inverter takes care of that), while the DC heating element would be running below its nominal rating.

The inverter approach certainly will use more power, because more is being delivered to the refrigerator, and there is the inverter loss on top of that. That's not a bad thing, as long as the tug-to-trailer wiring can deliver enough (which Per's can).

In another topic, the idea of running a home-type 120VAC compressor-type refrigerator on DC power was raised. Per's configuration, while a different type of refrigerator, uses about the same amount of AC power, and thus proves the home refrigerator/inverter combination workable, at least while driving.
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Old 09-08-2007, 08:27 AM   #12
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I didn't vote. I run mine on 12V when driving, but I only have a two way - gas and 12V.
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Old 09-08-2007, 10:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Frederick:
I've been left out (again). I run it on 120v AC from an inverter. Works much better than my 12v option, and the gas blows out.
Quote:
I didn't vote. I run mine on 12V when driving, but I only have a two way - gas and 12V.
I learn new stuff all the time.
Actually, I was aware some were using Per's method. I just forgot to include it in the poll.

I wasn't aware that there were two way fridges out there like SUZ's.
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:01 AM   #14
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I learn new stuff all the time.
Actually, I was aware some were using Per's method. I just forgot to include it in the poll.

I wasn't aware that there were two way fridges out there like SUZ's.
Like Suz, Suz' Casita is unique. It even came with a brake controller mounted on the tongue, eh Suz?
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