12 volt refrigerator? - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 10-24-2013, 08:44 PM   #29
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I had pretty much made up my mind to put in a Nova Kool R2600 12 volt fridge with the Danfoss compressor before this thread came along. This thread has not changed my mind.

My old Dometic RM211 was toast. I could have purchased a used unit or a new 3-way RM2193, but the cost difference between the Nova Kool and the Dometic was not that great and I liked the reviews, newer technology, power efficiency and interior size of the Nova Kool. Also, the depth of Nova Kool R2600 fits the available space better than the Dometic Rm2193.

It may not be for everyone, but for me, it seemed to make sense.


Trilliums Rock!
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:57 PM   #30
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I quite agree. The downside is that is must use electricity, but it is so low powered that assuming solar (off grid) it is just a win!

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Old 10-24-2013, 09:32 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by jwcolby54 View Post
Mike, I'm pretty sure this is not the case. I have the smaller unit but I turned it all the way cold and was getting low 40s when it was in the nineties out. It can struggle to cool a full fridge of new (warm) stuff, but once cold it says pretty darned cold.

Which is not to say a compressor type won't outperform it.
Results with absorption fridges seem to vary wildly. Perhaps it's because conditions vary wildly. A thing or two not working optimally on the unit can throw performance off quite a bit. Heat element out of spec, some dirt on the coils, sun shining on the fridge side, trailer not quite level enough, air flow on rear of unit insufficient, partially plugged condensation drain, etc.

My unit worked just tolerably well for the first 2 summers, and worse for the 3rd summer. I talked to the service guy at the dealership where I bought the trailer, and he said they see it all the time in the 3 cubic foot Norcolds and don't really know what to do about it. I'm not much of a fixer-upper, so when the techs scratch their heads I figure it's time to look for something better. YMMV.
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Old 10-24-2013, 10:01 PM   #32
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One thing to remember when using a DC fridge and charging with solar, when your fridge cycles on during the day it will diminish your charging amps. For example, if your panel puts out 4 amps and your fridge cycles on using 2.4 amps youíre now only pushing 1.6 amps into your batteries. The big issue here is that most panels never output their maximum amps because most wonít have perfect placement of the solar panel, not to mention cloud, time of year, panel quality, etc.

This issue drove me nuts last year so I upped my watts from 75 to 215. Not everyone can do that but it fixed the problem. This season when my fridge cycled on it rarely mattered. However, bad sun is just bad, and thatís a whole other issue!
Where weíre going, we donít need a plug-in.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:28 AM   #33
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I guess I am the oddball. I have a portable Coleman Power Cooler/Freezer. Uses a Stirling motor. Doesn't use much juice. Very light compared to Norcolds ect. Downside... Doesn't hold as much food.
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:02 AM   #34
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I know most of y'all are familiar with Harbor Freight. Is their 100 watt solar setup ok or is it crap?
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:53 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Lorelei L View Post
I know most of y'all are familiar with Harbor Freight. Is their 100 watt solar setup ok or is it crap?
I have had their 3 panel 45 watt system for several years now.....still in the box(unused) because of the large "foot print" needed. I was going to use them on our 25' toy hauler, but now we have a 13' Scamp. Our 100 watt single panel Ramsond panel is almost the same size as one of the 3 15 watt Harbor Freight panels.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:03 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Lorelei L View Post
I know most of y'all are familiar with Harbor Freight. Is their 100 watt solar setup ok or is it crap?
Lorelei, I havent seen their 100 watt setups - I looked at their online catalogue and couldnt find it but if like the others set ups I have seen I agree with David that their panels tend to be on the large size.

I purchased my panel 6 years ago and I know that today I could get a panel with 3 times the wattage at half the size and cost. The smaller panels are easier to find a safe spot to store in the trailer if you do not plan on permanently mounting them.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:20 AM   #37
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FWIW, I compared the HF 45 watt package to a 45 watt package from Northern Arizona Wind and sun and the HF package was 2.5 times larger (area). Plus, from the HF manual I wasn't thrilled with the following warning from the manual:

9. This product may occasionally produce more current and/or voltage than its rated output. Increase output ratings by 25% when determining component required voltage and amperage ratings. Refer to Section 690-8 of the National Electrical Code for an additional multiplying factor of 125 percent (80 percent derating) which may apply.

That's 25% in addition to what NEC recommends.

Not to offend anyone's sensibilities, but anything I buy at HF I consider disposable. YMMV.
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Old 10-26-2013, 12:18 AM   #38
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Ever heard of Engel?

Originally Posted by Lorelei L View Post
Anyone install a 12 v fridge? How is it working for you? Do you use solar panels?
If you're looking for a good 12V fridge, you should check out what the overlanding guys use. These are the people who do EXTREME camping, where they go on expeditions to third world countries and drive 200 miles off road to find a campsite. You'll see a fridge that looks like this on almost every rig.

They are built exclusively for 12V power, but unlike the Dometic fridge that Scamp sells, these have a VERY low power draw (0.5 to 3 amps at 12V), and work well enough to make ice in the desert. Your average group 24 battery can power one of these for 2 or 3 days, and with a good solar panel you can power it indefinitely.

Most of them open from the top, like a cooler. But I found one that opens from the front, and is roughly the same dimensions as the Dometic fridge that comes with the Scamp. It's the Engel SR70, and based on the installation guide, it should fit in the same cutout as the factory refrigerator if you widen it a half inch. I plan on getting one in the spring.

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Old 10-26-2013, 06:26 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Spanke View Post
Danforth 12 volt compressor refrigerators are no more expensive than a new 3-way ammonia type frig and are far more efficient. You can buy a 2.4cf for $639 + shipping here: Nova Kool R2600 68L Single Door Refrigerator (R2600) DC Only

This frig is pretty much a direct physical size replacement for the old Dometic rm211.

Since there is a compressor, they work much better than ammonia technology and you don't need propane or large vents on the side of your trailer. Only uses 3 amp when running. Easily can run a long time with only solar to replenish your battery.

If you have a generator to recharge you're golden. On shore power, if you have a converter, it only takes a 3 amp circuit to make it work.

Just more food for thought!


David, I'm probably missing this, but I don't see where Nova Kool uses a Danfoss compressor . I do know that a lot of these 12v fridges don't use Danfoss like Engel, but are still an excellent fridge/freezer. Then there are others who aren't as efficient as Engel or Danfoss. I have a small Dometic chest type fridge/freezer and it does have a Danfoss in it, and is a great little fridge/freezer.

Ahh with more investigating I did find some more specs and the Nova Kool does have a Danfoss compressor, good find.
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Old 10-26-2013, 07:52 AM   #40
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Thanks for the Engel & solar panel info. I go to HF to stock up on basic tools & little LED flashlights for the kitchen tool drawer, because when somebody goes into mom's tool drawer, I know I will likely never see THAT screwdriver or flashlight again! LOL
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Old 10-26-2013, 09:13 AM   #41
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Norcold (Sidney, OH) and Waeco are also using Secop (formerly Danfoss) compressors. I think this is a recent change for Norcold.


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