AC/DC refigerator - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-25-2013, 01:01 PM   #1
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AC/DC refigerator

Has anyone installed a marine AC/DC refrigerator, I do not need propane as I do not boon dock. I have a AC only refrigerator but does not stay cold over a 6-8 hour trip, would like to have 12v for travel.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:49 PM   #2
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There are a number of manufactures of compressor fridges that run on 12 VDC, and 120 VAC. Most use a Danfoss compressor. Norcold comes to mind.
They use very little power on 12 VDC. Typically in the 2A area.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:06 PM   #3
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I have a 50 qt ARB that I like a lot,works as a fridge or freezer has the Danfoss compressor, cheaper than the engle which uses the swing compressor but likely more expensive than a similar sized norcold or Chinese clone. I researched a bunch really liked the national Luna from South Africa but the $2000+ price tag was too much. UN uses it to move vaccines around in Africa.
My 2 cents.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:50 PM   #4
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If it's only longer trips that are a problem there are several options I might consider:

1. Before leaving, freeze about twelve 1/ 2 liter bottles of water and put them in the bottom of the refrigerator. As they thaw you will have cold drinking water.

2. Buy a block of dry ice and use that to keep the box cold. Not cheap, but a lot cheaper than a new refrigerator.

3. Install a 12VDC to 120VAC inverter to provide 120 volt power when driving, but you will have to remember shut it down when parked.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:55 PM   #5
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As Bob suggested, we had a traditional dorm fridge that worked very well, much more volume in the same space. We used a 1200 watt $59 inverter to run it when driving, sourcing 12 volts from the tow vehicle via the trailer connector.

We rarely ran the fridge while driving, only if it was very hot or we were driving more than four hours. The night before we would run the fridge cold to help it make it thru the next days drive.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bscout View Post
Has anyone installed a marine AC/DC refrigerator...
We installed a Norcold in place of the ice box in our scamp. We love it and would do it again. Fairly simple installation. No holes/vents in the outside of the trailer. Reasonably roomy for the size. It held food for a family of 5 including a couple of teenagers for a few days using our style of camping. Works great in a variety of weather. We tend to travel, stop, travel, camp overnight (sometimes with power). We let it sit in Las Vegas in the summer sun for 12+ hours and had no issues. I am thinking about doing more testing of how long it will run on battery, but I have not done so yet.

Let me know if you have other specific questions.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:43 PM   #7
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Personally I love them. They're a great idea if you're going to install solar. Without solar you're pretty much tethered to 110v or driving every couple of days to keep your batteries charged. You could purchase a generator but that kind of defeats the purpose.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:17 AM   #8
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I installed a 12 volt/24 volt danfoss refrigerator/freezer by NOVAKOOL (out of Canada I think). It was my impression that if you wanted a 110 volt option it is nothing more than converter added. I chose to install a 100 watt solar panel and a very good battery charger. I always run off the battery and never even came close to running down the single group 27 battery without shore power most of the time. We stayed in the Scamp 13 for 2 months this past summer, logging in over 9,000 miles from Arizona to Michigan, to Colorado, Las V, California, Oregon, Wa.,Canada, Idaho, and back home. I really liked not having to level the trailer as it can handle 30 degree angles (boaters use these) and the food is always kept cold, even here in sunny Arizona.
Dave & Paula
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:23 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
As Bob suggested, we had a traditional dorm fridge that worked very well, much more volume in the same space. We used a 1200 watt $59 inverter to run it when driving, sourcing 12 volts from the tow vehicle via the trailer connector.

We rarely ran the fridge while driving, only if it was very hot or we were driving more than four hours. The night before we would run the fridge cold to help it make it thru the next days drive.
Sounds like a inverter and switch would work, cheaper than replacing the refigerator.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:55 AM   #10
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We changed out our propane unit to a Novacool 12v with good results. Danfoss compressor is ultra quiet and efficient and keeps the temperature much more under control. If you have a battery or a converter all you need is the 12v.

For boondocking we added a 100w solar panel with a MPPT controller and we were good to go.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:13 PM   #11
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The Dometic compressor fridge I looked at was very clear that venting, either outside or into the trailer was required and yet no one seems to do that. Is venting unique to Dometic? Raz
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:21 PM   #12
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...Is venting unique to Dometic? Raz
I followed the Norcold instructions and it did not have exterior venting requirements, but it did have interior venting requirements. Given that they are designed for marine use it makes sense that they are designed for interior venting only.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:22 PM   #13
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Compressor refrigerators usually have to have some airflow over the condenser coils, usually on the back of the box. If you operate it in a tightly enclosed area it can sharply reduce it's cooling ability.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:51 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ericw View Post
I followed the Norcold instructions and it did not have exterior venting requirements, but it did have interior venting requirements. Given that they are designed for marine use it makes sense that they are designed for interior venting only.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
Compressor refrigerators usually have to have some airflow over the condenser coils, usually on the back of the box. If you operate it in a tightly enclosed area it can sharply reduce it's cooling ability.
That's what I thought. With the Dometic you could install with a 1" space at the bottom into the trailer or put a vent out the back. Stands to reason as your home fridge needs space. Thanks, Raz
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