Replace Old Ice Box with 3-way Fridge in 1975 Scamp - Fiberglass RV
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Old 08-02-2017, 11:19 AM   #1
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Name: Lydia
Trailer: 1975 Scamp 13 Ft.
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Question Replace Old Ice Box with 3-way Fridge in 1975 Scamp

After camping with friends who have refrigerators in their campers, I have fridge envy and am thinking of trying to replace my old ice box with a fridge. I'm wired for solar (have a portable panel to keep my deep cycle battery charged), can plug in to electric, and have propane. I'm tired of fishing food out of melted ice water in my Coleman max cold cooler, and / or trying to keep enough ice in the ice box to keep dairy cold. Any ideas or suggestions?
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Old 08-02-2017, 11:26 AM   #2
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Take a look at https://www.dometic.com/en-ca/ca/pro...erator-_-30914
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Old 08-02-2017, 12:27 PM   #3
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Thanks Sergey...I'm going to check it out!
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Old 08-03-2017, 09:15 AM   #4
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I was thinking about a refrigerator also - with school starting Walmart has dorm units really cheap. I thought one of those would let me see how I like having one. But I wonder about letting it "sit-up" between trips. Any one have experience with the electric only refrigerators?
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Old 08-03-2017, 09:41 AM   #5
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My Campster has a dorm fridge. I left it without power through the winter with no problem. I have not been successful running it off the battery with an invertor. It may be that the invertor I was using is too small.

My conclusion is that it works if you have electric available at your camp site to keep it cold. It will keep things cold during transport. We keep a frozen blue ice in the freezer to help, then it refreeze when we get plugged into AC.
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Old 08-03-2017, 10:12 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dave Fish View Post
My Campster has a dorm fridge. I left it without power through the winter with no problem. I have not been successful running it off the battery with an invertor. It may be that the invertor I was using is too small.

My conclusion is that it works if you have electric available at your camp site to keep it cold. It will keep things cold during transport. We keep a frozen blue ice in the freezer to help, then it refreeze when we get plugged into AC.
This approach using a small dorm fridge will work, but really only from a generator or campground with electricity. There are fridges that use an electric compressor that can run off of batteries, but conventional fridge such as the dorm ones draws too much power.

We too have used blue ice packs in the freezer to maintain temp while traveling. Does work well.

In the ice chest we use those large mouth plastic cat litter jugs. Freeze them at home, then refill with ice cubes when they melt. Jug means no water in cooler. Mouth is large enough to dump ice into.

For the low price of a small dorm fridge it might be worth taking one along when going to a park with power and just setting on some table or stand (like milk crates etc.) next to the camper. Sort of depends on how you camp and where.

Not sure I would haul a generator and fuel along to the national forest just to run a small fridge. For that stuff propane or low power 12 volt compressor seem the best candidates.
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Old 08-03-2017, 10:49 AM   #7
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A portable Fridge Freezer would work for your needs. They come in many different sizes. They are more efficient than a fridge with a side opening door as cold air does not "fall" out of the door when you open it. They have top opening access doors.

You can take them indoors in the off season for storage if you wish to. You can also take them along for car travel without the trailer. There are mounting plates available for securing them in place.

Look for one with a "Secop" compressor, also historically known as "Danfoss". Those are very reliable compressors with good energy efficiency. The company was Danfoss has been going through ownership and name changes since 2010. https://www.secop.com/about-us/who-we-are/

The Engel units are also excellent and efficient in terms of energy use but they take longer to cool down than the Secop compressors which can be an issue with last minute travel decisions.

These types of AC/DC fridge freezers will run nicely off of solar power stored in a battery and they have protection built into them to prevent over draining your batteries.

Lots of good brands of the portable fridge/freezers around. Be sure you pay attention and do not purchase a portable cooler that is not rated for freezing temperatures as it won't reliably keep your food cold enough for safety. Avoid units that state they are a cooler and warmer, those are the wrong kind to buy. Do not buy a wine cooler, they are also not cold enough.
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Old 08-03-2017, 05:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Lydia W View Post
After camping with friends who have refrigerators in their campers, I have fridge envy and am thinking of trying to replace my old ice box with a fridge. I'm wired for solar (have a portable panel to keep my deep cycle battery charged), can plug in to electric, and have propane. I'm tired of fishing food out of melted ice water in my Coleman max cold cooler, and / or trying to keep enough ice in the ice box to keep dairy cold. Any ideas or suggestions?
We have a 3 way fridge and I wouldn't change it for the world. On 12V when driving it keeps cold unless it is 100 degrees then we run it on propane. The 12V just doesn't keep up with high heat. The propane works wonderful and so does the shore power. We have been the ice chest route and never again. Seems a 110V only fridge would be useless unless you can rush to the campground and plug in. If you wanted to stop and see stuff and spend a day or tow boondocking a fridge would not work out unless you put a lot of ice in it and dry ice in the freezer. Why go to that much trouble if you can get a fridge that will work on propane. If it is hot out the fridge would get just to hot even with ice packs. The freezer would thaw and it takes a few hours for one to chill down. We have a Dometic RM2454. It has an auto change over if the electric goes out then it starts on propane and then when the electric is restored it goes back to electric. For 12 volt you have to put it on 12V and there's no change over. The draw back is the cost of one but it will increase the value of your trailer and the desirability of the trailer should you ever sell or trade it. Hope this helps with your decision. We also have a motorhome and it has the propane/electric fridge. I can boondock in either vehicle for a lot of days until I run out of propane. A 20lb tank lasts us all summer and sometimes 2 summers. We also use our hot water tank and cook stove a lot.
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:35 AM   #9
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Name: Lydia
Trailer: 1975 Scamp 13 Ft.
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Thanks for all the great advice! I'm talking with my local camper guy (Happy Camping RV Sales in Vermontville, NY) who had done most of the work on my Scamp - I'll probably get the Dometic RM2193 and have him install it.
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