My 2 Cents on Refrigerator - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-11-2018, 01:32 PM   #1
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Name: Tony
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My 2 Cents on Refrigerator

First Basic Info:
2017 Scamp 13
Dometic RM2193 120v AC, 12v DC, LP Refrigerator

We have had our Scamp since we picked it up in Backus May 15, 2017 and camped in below freezing to over 90F weather.

My personal experience has been that the refrigerator only cools about 40F below ambient air temperature, regardless of power source.

If anything not pre-chilled (drinks) are put in, the temperature goes up and takes a long time to come back down.

As a result, we travel with a cooler and ice to pre-chill drinks before placing them in the refrigerator.

So my personal opinion is that if I have to have a cooler and ice to pre-chill drinks before putting them in the refrigerator, what is the point of having a refrigerator?

I am thinking about calling Scamp to see how much it would cost to have the refrigerator removed and the vent holes glassed shut and gel coated.
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:43 PM   #2
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Putting a fan on the back of the refrigerator helps, i don't usually keep any or very many drinks in the refrigerator. Its strictly for perishable food items. A soft sided cooler works fine for drinks. Whether using a cooler or a refrigerator its usually better to use a separate one for drinks as the drinks cooler gets opened a lot more often than the food cooler. I once rented a camper van in Iceland and it had a small 12v compressor refrigerator that looked like a cooler, with a lid that opened on top, that did a great job of keeping the cold air from coming out when you opened the lid. Unfortunately, there is no where to incorporate this type of system in the scamp unless you get rid of the cook top.
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:45 PM   #3
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Yeah, crappy RV refrigerators. 99% of them are bad in higher ambient temperatures. Dairy, protein and left-overs need to be kept below 41 F to be considered 'safe.'

There are things you can do to assist the refrigerator. First, don't over pack it! Refrigerate food as you buy it. For instance you don't buy lettuce, apples, potatoes, onions, etc. out of a refrigerator case at the store. Many foods need to be kept cool, but not cold. Put those in a cooler with blue ice, frozen water bottles, etc.

Make certain there's air space around all the food in the refrigerator. But PACK the freezer full. I travel with 3 heavy duty juice bottles that I freeze. I put one of the frozen bottles in the refrigerator section next to a battery operated cube fan. Because there's air space around the food, the frozen bottle and fan moves cold air around.

Too, park (if you can) where the refrigerator side of the trailer is shaded. It works more efficiently out of the sun and heat. Where that's not possible, I've seen owners make a sunshade that is hung to create shade, hanging it from the roof refrigerator vent. Think a long, about 3' wide piece of reflectix.

Good luck!
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:14 PM   #4
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Dave and Donna,

Thank you for the input.

I do not have a freezer in our refrigerator. On a 4 week road trip there is no way to freeze water bottles.

If I have to have a cooler for either produce or drinks why have a refrigerator in the first place.

I would rather have a storage cabinet.

Tony
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:38 PM   #5
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Just ordered a Coleman Steel Belted 54 quart cooler.

[URL="https://www.amazon.com/Coleman-Steel-Belted-Portable-Cooler-Quart"]
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Old 07-11-2018, 03:55 PM   #6
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If you want to remove the fridge, it's probably best to leave the vents, etc intact and store the fridge somewhere. The next owner will likely want a fridge.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:49 PM   #7
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compressor fridge option

It seems that FGRV manufacturers would get a lot of takers if they offered 12vdc/110vac compressor fridges (and maybe a solar package) as an option that could be installed in the same location that LP/electric fridges are currently installed. The compressor fridges perform as well as home fridges, i.e., much better than LP/electric.
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Michigan View Post
It seems that FGRV manufacturers would get a lot of takers if they offered 12vdc/110vac compressor fridges (and maybe a solar package) as an option that could be installed in the same location that LP/electric fridges are currently installed. The compressor fridges perform as well as home fridges, i.e., much better than LP/electric.
The problem - as I understand it is that compressor fridges are efficient in the cooling sense (ie they work) but not in the power sense (take too much juice to run)
Absorption fridges are the reverse - efficient in the power sense (they sip propane) but not terribly good at cooling.

If you get the chimney effect going properly though - they work great (ie put the top vent out the roof)

Its all a trade off.....
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by widgetwizard View Post
The problem - as I understand it is that compressor fridges are efficient in the cooling sense (ie they work) but not in the power sense (take too much juice to run)
Absorption fridges are the reverse - efficient in the power sense (they sip propane) but not terribly good at cooling.

If you get the chimney effect going properly though - they work great (ie put the top vent out the roof)

Its all a trade off.....
As I understand it. A 12 VDC fridge uses about 3 A on about a 50% duty cycle. That is about 36 Ah / day. If you have 100 W of solar cells, getting 50 W of power then you should get enough power to run the fridge in about 9 hrs of sun.

The advantage to a solar powered compressor fridge is no consumables at all.
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyJanet View Post
My personal experience has been that the refrigerator only cools about 40F below ambient air temperature, regardless of power source.
<snip>
I am thinking about calling Scamp to see how much it would cost to have the refrigerator removed and the vent holes glassed shut and gel coated.
Tony,

You have a side-wall vented absorption refrigerator. It does have limitations. It will operate with 'full capacity' on propane and 120VAC. The 12VDC operation offers much more limited cooling ability.

Zacho started a thread and we compiled quite a bit of information on absorption refrigerators. I had a Dometic refrigerator similar to yours in our Casita 17 and I managed to improve its performance considerably. However, I failed Zach, a fact which still bothers me.

Fridge Performance Survey

In brief, I believe the sidewall venting arrangement places an absorption refrigerator at a serious disadvantage. Dometic makes a tropical service kit which is only available in the Australia area as best I recall. However others have emulated that approach by facbrticating with some copper pipe. Various threads on Casita forums have addressed this issue; check out WebMaster Gene's posts on this subject.

As to electric refrigerators, there are some very good, though expensive, units out there. These can run on the order of 25 amp-hours of usage per day more or less. I have posted a chart from Engel showing their projected runtimes and average draw under different conditions. Well-regarded brands of these compressor refrigerators include ARB, Whynter, and Engel. I also noticed some less expensive and much less well-known new brands popping up last year.
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:47 PM   #11
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All of these tips and hints are great; some work, some don't
I think more to the point is, Why would we as customers have to alter the engineering of an installed appliance?
Maybe someday a great rebellion will happen and result in appliances actually functioning properly. Until then we, the consumer, will continue in our attempts to alter something that supposedly engineered to work properly without alterations.
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:44 PM   #12
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If all our great ideas were really practical and inexpensive, I think an industry competing for sales would like have adopted them.
But, carry on.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:30 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Michigan View Post
It seems that FGRV manufacturers would get a lot of takers if they offered 12vdc/110vac compressor fridges (and maybe a solar package) as an option that could be installed in the same location that LP/electric fridges are currently installed. The compressor fridges perform as well as home fridges, i.e., much better than LP/electric.
Some of them are now only offering that type instead of gas powered. It is certainly less expensive to install if you don't have to run gas lines and cut openings to put in exterior vents. Solar power panels have changed the game


Unfortunately what the USA companies have not caught onto is installing the chest style refrigerators. Those are fairly common in the Australian RV industry. When you open it the cold air does not fall out. That means a lot of energy savings Also you can stack up a lot more insulation around the box as the compressor can be remote mounted away from the box. You can however buy that style of chest fridge from Marine Supply sources such as Sure Marine in Seattle. But in a tiny FGRV that is short on countertop area that means you will be at a crunch to also fit in a stove and a sink. But for those who are remodeling and like to do all the cooking outside it is an option.

I am opting to put in a chest style portable 12v/110v fridge/freezer on a slide out drawer under my counter. That means I conserve the counter space. More time to get it open but I am not in a screaming hurry so an extra 30 seconds is not a big deal to me. But I am not in need of a large fridge as I travel solo most of the time. Lots of different needs out there. But if I wanted to I could set it up as a freezer and keep blue ice packets in it as well as some frozen foods. Then have a Yeti cooler that I cycle the blue ice packets into as needed. Just rotate a few of them back and forth each day.


There are a lot of options around for how we handle refrigeration and that is very nice. There is no one best solution for everyone, we are a cross section of styles of camping in this forum. I know some people who have installed 12v icemakers and they use that generate ice for a Yeti cooler.
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:00 AM   #14
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......park (if you can) where the refrigerator side of the trailer is shaded. It works more efficiently out of the sun and heat. Where that's not possible, I've seen owners make a sunshade that is hung to create shade, hanging it from the roof refrigerator vent.
Yup. When the temperature starts to rise in my fridge I usually use a small muffin fan to cool the condenser. Unfortunately on our last trip South the fan failed. Some cardboard, tin foil, and duct tape worked far better than expected. Temps in the fridge were below 40 within an hour. Click image for larger version

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