Regular Mini Refrigerator Question - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-20-2018, 11:08 AM   #1
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Regular Mini Refrigerator Question

I have a 2003 16' Scamp with an icebox but want to replace it with just a normal mini fridge. The prices of those 2 and 3 way ones are outrageous really. Is there just a normal fridge out there that is a good enough option to fit that space?
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Old 06-20-2018, 11:37 AM   #2
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I have a 2003 16' Scamp with an icebox but want to replace it with just a normal mini fridge. The prices of those 2 and 3 way ones are outrageous really. Is there just a normal fridge out there that is a good enough option to fit that space?



What is a "normal" fridge??
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Old 06-20-2018, 11:42 AM   #3
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The answer is highly individualized, I think. Not in my opinion. However there are plenty of people who buy all electric trailers. You can always stay where there is electric, pack everything in coolers for longer driving trips, or buy your perishables once you arrive, or load up on batteries and an inverter and a high efficiency fridge ($$$), assuming you can find a fridge that fits your icebox area.

For my preferences, an icebox is better than a dorm fridge. In broad terms, if there were a good alternative for most people it would already be out there in trailers.
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:22 PM   #4
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I had a dorm fridge in a Burro. It would be close to room temp after 2 or 3 hours. And I needed velcro tokeep the door from popping open, btw. A plain cooler with ice works far better.

To keep it cool, you would need lots of battery power and a good inverter.
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:57 PM   #5
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"Normal" meaning all electric, nothing fancy.
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Old 06-20-2018, 03:21 PM   #6
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Make sure that you pay attention to the difference between a compressor refrigerator and a Thermoelectric or Semiconductor Refrigerator. They look very similar, but the latter two will not cool much below 30 degrees from room temperature. The result is that on a 90 degree day, the refrigerator will be at 60 degrees.

You need to get a true compressor refrigerator to maintain cold when the room temperature is high. They look very similar on the store shelves.
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Old 06-20-2018, 03:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by lmckay View Post
I have a 2003 16' Scamp with an icebox but want to replace it with just a normal mini fridge. The prices of those 2 and 3 way ones are outrageous really. Is there just a normal fridge out there that is a good enough option to fit that space?
Yes, it just means you'll either need to always be plugged in, or only "boondock" for one night at a time, or have a large battery bank and solar array. But the easy answer is yes.

I've heard from people who make it work because they're either on the road or camped in a campground with electricity. If they don't camp in a campground, it's just for one night, max, on their way to the next campground. And their tow vehicle is charging the battery as they drive. It works great for them. But any more than one night or so drawing from the battery and you need a way to recharge it.
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Old 06-20-2018, 10:40 PM   #8
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The tow vehicle will add some charge, but it will not keep up with the fridge power draw.
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Old 06-20-2018, 10:56 PM   #9
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After a year and a half, we decided to take the dorm fridge out of our Campster. As stated, it can work depending on your camping style, but for us we still needed an ice chest. We have a couple of the thermoelectric coolers, which work ok most of the time in the Pacific Northwest. We will also add a blue ice pack when we start out but that only helps for a day or so.
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Old 06-21-2018, 12:27 AM   #10
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"Normal" meaning all electric, nothing fancy.
but normal household fridges are AC only. not much use when you're driving, or otherwise not plugged in at an RV park. RV battery power is 12VDC
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Old 06-21-2018, 04:14 AM   #11
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but normal household fridges are AC only. not much use when you're driving, or otherwise not plugged in at an RV park. RV battery power is 12VDC
Yes, but... If one were to go all electric you would probably invest in an inverter which would allow you to run some 120vAC devices, for a little while anyhow. I suspect many/most tow vehicles would have trouble running a fridge via an inverter. There are things that can be done to facilitate this, assuming your tow alternator has enough excess capacity. Vehicles these days can provide a pretty heavy load all on their own.
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Old 06-21-2018, 06:31 AM   #12
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...I suspect many/most tow vehicles would have trouble running a fridge via an inverter. ....
I tried that as an experiment with a 2-way fridge.
Hooked up the tug with charge line active and got a little over 2 amps going into the trailer battery.
Added a 400 peak, 200 watt continuous inverter to run the fridge on 120 volts (thats 120 at about one amp, or 120 watts).
120 Watts is roughly 10 amps at 12 volts, so as expected, the net charge / discharge to the trailer battery went from positive two to negative eight.
That is less than six hours until the trailer battery is a maximum safe discharge.
Sometimes you have to do an experiment to verify what you already know.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lmckay View Post
I have a 2003 16' Scamp with an icebox but want to replace it with just a normal mini fridge. The prices of those 2 and 3 way ones are outrageous really. Is there just a normal fridge out there that is a good enough option to fit that space?
Since you consider the price of 2 or 3 way (propane absorption model) fridges to be outrageous I will not suggest the Truck Fridge / Indel B fridges (with 12 volt Secop formally Danfoss compressors). They are expensive also but so are all fridges that operate off shore power as far as I know.


I just bought a portable type from Indel. It is only one cubic foot of food storage but I expect it will get me through days when I am on the road or stopped for only a few days without the need to use propane, instead using shore or solar. Still, even this small one uses about 240-760 watts a day (24 hours). Indel B is an Italian company but it seems that have have outsourced the manufacturing to China. From what reviews I have seen, this does not seem to affected the quality but there was a cosmetic flaw on my unit.
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Old 06-21-2018, 07:04 AM   #13
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So did I. Two ways.


My battery monitor sums up amp-hours used as well what's going in and out of the trailer battery. It showed a net loss to the trailer battery. Later, as a winter project, I made up a test box that plugs in between the trailer and tow that tells me voltage and amperage passing over the 7 blade wire. (Shown at a fast idle and the fridge on DC.) As you mentined, the fridge wants about 10 aDC (120 watts), only about half of it (4.2aDC) is coming from the tow. But I left some wiggle-room in my response because the web likes to jump on exceptions.


There are aftermarket devices to isolate the trailer battery to fool the alternator into providing more current to the charge blade of the tow connector and some vehicles have tow modes that provide more current. My tow, although it has the manufacturer's tow package, has neither.
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Old 06-21-2018, 07:34 AM   #14
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So did I. Two ways.


My battery monitor sums up amp-hours used as well what's going in and out of the trailer battery. It showed a net loss to the trailer battery. Later, as a winter project, I made up a test box that plugs in between the trailer and tow that tells me voltage and amperage passing over the 7 blade wire. (Shown at a fast idle and the fridge on DC.) As you mentined, the fridge wants about 10 aDC (120 watts), only about half of it (4.2aDC) is coming from the tow. But I left some wiggle-room in my response because the web likes to jump on exceptions.


There are aftermarket devices to isolate the trailer battery to fool the alternator into providing more current to the charge blade of the tow connector and some vehicles have tow modes that provide more current. My tow, although it has the manufacturer's tow package, has neither.


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