3-Way Fridge vs AC DC Fridge? - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 04-12-2016, 11:00 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Name: KRISTA
Trailer: Trillium
British Columbia
Posts: 24
3-Way Fridge vs AC DC Fridge?

We are on the fence about what kind of replacement fridge to put in our 1973 Trillium 1300. From our research, the 3-way fridges are prone to problems, and given the cost we're not sure if it is worth it ($900 new). Or we could get an AC DC Fridge and forgo the propane (which makes us nervous anyway) and just use the electric and battery (or a block of ice) instead. Any opinions or suggestions is appreciated. Thanks,
__________________

Krista is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 11:36 PM   #2
Administrator
 
Mary F's Avatar
 
Name: Mary
Trailer: Escape 21; (formerly Casita LD 17 & 16)
Texas
Posts: 10,361
Registry
We use ours on either 110 (when we have hookups) or propane (when we don't), but never on 12 v (because of battery depletion). Some people swear they actually work best on propane, which was our experience with the Dometic Americana in our 1999 Casita.
__________________

__________________
Mary F Fiberglass Rules!
________________________________
FGRV Forum Custom Search
Info on Adding Photos to a Post
RV Life Network FAQ
Mary F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 12:04 AM   #3
Junior Member
 
Name: KRISTA
Trailer: Trillium
British Columbia
Posts: 24
Thanks Mary. The AC DC fridges, I understand, are designed a little differently in that they are meant to run off the battery without fast depletion. They draw less power...(?)

Have you ever felt nervous running yours off propane, especially while sleeping? Glad to hear you haven't had problems with yours.

Not only is the fridge an expensive item, but also to get it installed, sealed up and certified is going to run us another $400 on top of a $900 item. We almost think it may be better to get a slightly less expensive AC DC fridge, forgo the need for certification, and instead buy a skookum Lithium battery.... decisions, decisions....
Krista is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 01:21 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Borrego Dave's Avatar
 
Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006 "Missing Link"
California
Posts: 3,739
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krista View Post
Thanks Mary. The AC DC fridges, I understand, are designed a little differently in that they are meant to run off the battery without fast depletion. They draw less power...(?)
Have you ever felt nervous running yours off propane, especially while sleeping? Glad to hear you haven't had problems with yours.
Not only is the fridge an expensive item, but also to get it installed, sealed up and certified is going to run us another $400 on top of a $900 item. We almost think it may be better to get a slightly less expensive AC DC fridge, forgo the need for certification, and instead buy a skookum Lithium battery.... decisions, decisions....
AC DC refers aren't any different than a 3 way unit, they just get their heat from a different source, the cooling is the same. A standard RV refer, Domectic for an example is not the same as say a Truckfridge (? sp) for 12volt usage. The standard ones will draw a lot of power, just how it is. Most tow vehicles can not keep up with the power draw for them. The refer is probably the most expensive item in most RVs. I've had many RVs, all standard refers and a number of them had 3 way power sources. I've never used the 12v on any. If I had to replace one I always bought a 2 way, LP/110. The use of LP is kind of a touchy subject here by some folks for whatever reason and I'm not going to comment on that. To answer your question of being nervous of using an LP refer, not at all. It's vented to the outside. I would be more concerned about the wall heater but that's where your LP monitor comes in. I, like all RVers I know, also travel with the refer running on LP (there's one of the touchy comments) with no problems. I will say that the few times I've ever heard of an LP mishap on the road was when the water heater was left on. The flame on the heater is huge during heating. While traveling down the road the flame was sucked to the outside and caught the wall on fire....not a good ending.
Bottom line, you have to be comfortable with whatever you decide is best for you to enjoy your TT.
Borrego Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 01:25 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
David B.'s Avatar
 
Name: Dave & Paula Brown
Trailer: Lil Snoozy
Arizona
Posts: 2,179
Registry
I had replaced our Dometic 3 way absorption refrigerator in our 13' Scamp with a NovaKool (made in Canada) 12 volt only danfoss compressor refrigerator. I liked it so much that when we changed trailers, I had another danfoss style refrigerator by Truckfridge installed in our Lil Snoozy. These don't require venting to the outside, cool very fast, do not have to be level, wind has nothing to blow out nor do spiders build nests in them, and they cost less than the 3 ways. If you usually camp off the grid, you will need to used a generator or solar to keep your battery toped off, as they will draw around 35-40 amp/24hrs. Best of luck with which ever type of refrigerator you go with.
Dave & Paula
David B. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 05:27 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
charlsara's Avatar
 
Name: Charlie
Trailer: 2014 Lil Snoozy
North Carolina
Posts: 663
Registry
I agree with Dave and Paula. You cant go wrong with a Truckfridge.
charlsara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 06:33 AM   #7
Commercial Member
 
tractors1's Avatar
 
Name: Charlie Y
Trailer: Escape 21 - Felicity
Oregon
Posts: 1,376
The backside systems ("workings") can be replaced on most propane fridges without replacing the whole fridge. Usually $300-$400 depending on your brand/model.

RVCOOL.COM - Supplier of replacement Cooling Units for Norcold and Dometic RV Refrigerators since 1994. We build brand new aftermarket cooling units as well as our industry leading remanufactured cooling units for Norcold and Dometic rv refrigerators
__________________
Charlie Y

Don't drill holes, try custom storage you design: https://RVWidgetWorks.com
tractors1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 08:43 AM   #8
Member
 
Name: Gerry
Trailer: Triple E
British Columbia
Posts: 69
Keep one important thing in mind if you do decide to run your fridge on DC. You must have two batteries. One for the trailer, and one for the tow vehicle. And, you must have an isolator, so that if your fridge draws down the trailer battery it will not also drain down your tow vehicle battery.

Personally, I have a two way fridge, 110 and propane, and have had very few issues with it. As long as the fridge is properly vented there is very little safety issue.

Also, as pointed out, you can replace the fridge workings.
Gerry Kiernan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 09:50 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Timber Wolf's Avatar
 
Name: Tim
Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
North Florida
Posts: 1,507
I installed a DC only Truckfridge in my old Scamp as part of making it suit my tastes and style of camping. I knew this would mean an upgrade of batteries and adding solar, both of which I wanted to do anyway (I need reliable electricity for other things as well). In the end you pays your money and makes your choices. Personally I chose to reduce or eliminate propane use in the trailer.
Timber Wolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 10:34 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
kirkman's Avatar
 
Name: Jason
Trailer: 2007 Eggcamper & Homemade Tear Drop
New York
Posts: 657
Registry
I have a danfrost swing compressor 12 volt fridge in my egg camper, I love it! We have a 95 watt solar cell on the egg that keeps the battery topped off, and the fridge stays really cold even when it is in the 90's
__________________
Jason
If you think you are to small to make a difference just try sleeping with a mosquito –- The Dally Lama
kirkman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 10:35 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
ZachO's Avatar
 
Name: Zach
Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
Montana
Posts: 2,177
Registry
Having the propane running in a fridge is basically like having a match lit. It's a very small flame. I completely understand the fear, but it's mostly irrational. In your home, you have at least one open flame, burning away. Pilot light for hot water heater (if gas), pilot lot for stove, pilot light for heater, etc.

It's only when we get in our campers that we suddenly start thinking about all this stuff. Campers are a little different in that they drive down the road and propane lines can, in theory, get vibrated loose where that wouldn't happen in a house. But really, so long as everything is in good working order, it's pretty darn safe. The fridge is the least of my worries. Just a tiny little flame.

But as other people have mentioned, you'll need to do the research and decide what sounds best for you. For me, propane is best. Without spending more on solar, it's the only way I can be out in the middle of nowhere for as long as I want and still have a working fridge.

But I didn't realize there were actual fully functional 12V fridges on the market that wouldn't drain the battery, so long as you have basic solar. If my fridge ever dies, I'll look into those. But for now, I have a working 3-way fridge. As you've found, they're pricey! You can get a small Dometic 3-way for under $600, though.
ZachO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 10:36 AM   #12
Junior Member
 
Name: KRISTA
Trailer: Trillium
British Columbia
Posts: 24
Tim...did you go with a portable solar panel or fixed? We too are thinking of going this route so our propane is limited to just the stove. Do you find it works well in keeping your battery topped up? We live in the (oftentimes rainy and cloudy) pacific northwest...but considering we'll mostly be camping in summer seasons, we hope the solar will be worthwhile investment.
Krista is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 10:45 AM   #13
Junior Member
 
Name: KRISTA
Trailer: Trillium
British Columbia
Posts: 24
Thanks Zach. Good points. The exchange rate is killing us right now
Krista is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 10:52 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
ZachO's Avatar
 
Name: Zach
Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
Montana
Posts: 2,177
Registry
Ah, yeah. I was lucky enough to be on this side of the exchange rate when I bought my Bigfoot from Alberta a few months ago
ZachO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 11:16 AM   #15
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,751
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krista View Post
Thanks Mary. The AC DC fridges, I understand, are designed a little differently in that they are meant to run off the battery without fast depletion. They draw less power...(?)
:lout I would not count on that! Yes the newer ones do draw less power but have a couple of friends with newish so called high efficent DC fridges who would suggest they are not as efficient with DC power as they would like ... even if one has 2 6v batteries and solar ...... in a tree covered camping spot they would trade it out for a 2 way AC/Propane fridge in a New York minute. ;-)

Suspect how happy one will be with a 2 way AC DC fridge comes down to the where you plan to camp. If you only ever camp in places with little tree coverage and lots of sunshine year round, you may well be a happy camper. But if you plan to do a bit more exploring of the rest of NA you may find that at times you are not a very happy camper and if history repeats itself it will normally happen at about 2 AM when the battery low alarms start going off & your camping in a place that does not let you run a generator (if you own one) at all (becoming common) or they restrict the times you can run one.

Forgot to mention: Being in BC means you can not expect to find many provincial parks with power and you can not expect to have a clear sky coverage for solar.
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 11:21 AM   #16
Senior Member
 
Radar1's Avatar
 
Name: Dave (and/or John)
Trailer: Scamp 16 SD std layout 6
Georgia
Posts: 988
Registry
We have just the propane/AC version of the fridge in our Scamp. For boondocking it works great with the propane and since we have two tanks we can always go fill up the empty one while leaving the full one running.
I'd be interested in one of those Novakool fridges with the Danfoss compressor if ours ever fails, but the company says it uses 4.4 amps to maintain temperature for an equivalent style to what we have now, so I would definitely want to upgrade my batteries and at least double my 90 watt solar panel to keep it running.
__________________
John-Dave and Marilyn
Sharpsburg, GA
04 Dodge Dakota V-8, 17 Dodge Durango V-6, 19 Ford Ranger 2.3 Ecoboost
radar1-scamping.blogspot.com
Radar1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 11:24 AM   #17
Administrator
 
Mary F's Avatar
 
Name: Mary
Trailer: Escape 21; (formerly Casita LD 17 & 16)
Texas
Posts: 10,361
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krista View Post
Thanks Mary. The AC DC fridges, I understand, are designed a little differently in that they are meant to run off the battery without fast depletion. They draw less power...(?)

Have you ever felt nervous running yours off propane, especially while sleeping? Glad to hear you haven't had problems with yours.

Not only is the fridge an expensive item, but also to get it installed, sealed up and certified is going to run us another $400 on top of a $900 item. We almost think it may be better to get a slightly less expensive AC DC fridge, forgo the need for certification, and instead buy a skookum Lithium battery.... decisions, decisions....
Hi, Krista. We always sleep with a window open, even in cool weather. As others have said, the fridge is vented to the outside, so should be okay. Also as others have said, you get a propane detector for inside your trailer and be sure its battery is fresh (unless it's wired into your trailer's power grid, as is the case on our current Escape).

For what it's worth, the father of a friend was asphyxiated in a trailer when we were in high school. My friend woke up in time, but could not save his dad. My understanding was it was a faulty heater, but I have no knowledge of its style, much less brand, etc.

Different subject, but, even though it is also vented to the outside, we never sleep with our furnace on. If we're boondocking, its fan uses too much power, and if we're camping with hookups, we use an electric space heater (ceramic element).
__________________
Mary F Fiberglass Rules!
________________________________
FGRV Forum Custom Search
Info on Adding Photos to a Post
RV Life Network FAQ
Mary F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 11:47 AM   #18
Senior Member
 
Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
Posts: 1,794
My Norco swing compressor fridge draws about 4 amps when the compressor is running but it averages less than 20 watt hours (closer to 17) so it runs less than 30% of the time.

12 volt Xbox 4 Amps = 48 watts.

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Fiberglass RV mobile app
redbarron55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 11:59 AM   #19
Senior Member
 
David B.'s Avatar
 
Name: Dave & Paula Brown
Trailer: Lil Snoozy
Arizona
Posts: 2,179
Registry
John, the 4.4 amp/hr is what it takes while running, but remember it cycles on and off, so it actually uses less/hr. I have a meter installed and found we use around 50amps/24 hrs (All 12volt electrical use in the trailer...LEDs, TV, recharging phones/laptop, water pump, etc.). In our 13' Scamp with the NovaKool refrigerator, a single 100 watt solar panel on the front was more than enough to keep our group 27 battery topped off, even when we traveled up the pacific northwet from California to Washington, to northern Idaho, southern Colorado, and on to Michigan. The solar panel was a rigid style and moveable, while our present two 100 watt panels are flexible and perm. mounted to the trailer shell with VHB tape (without an air gap), so they do not preform as well.
Dave & Paula
Attached Thumbnails
DSC01213.jpg   DSC01214.jpg  

DSC01215.jpg   DSC01449.jpg  

David B. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2016, 12:21 PM   #20
Moderator
 
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Michigan
Posts: 3,427
Propane stores more energy for less weight and space than the battery can. For extended or extensive boondock camping you can't beat a 3 way absorption fridge running off of propane. There is a reason they are pretty standard in RV's.

The 12 volt compressor refrigerators have some advantages provided you have the battery storage and ability to recharge those batteries, through solar or generator if the solar comes up short.

One thing I have not seen mentioned is that the 12v - 110v fridge is always a 12 volt compressor, they just have a transformer built in that automatically cuts in when AC power is present.

For 12 volt compressor fridge it really is a math problem on how much power you use, which determines how much you need to put back. Battery capacity sufficient to provide x number of days worth of your use as buffer if for some reason you can't recharge.

Also sort of makes a difference how much cold stuff that requires the refrigerator you normally take. Small fridge with a bit of meat in the freezer and some condiments can switch to a cooler pretty easily if you had too many days of rain/clouds in a row and had to conserve batteries.

Just make sure you have an on/off switch on the 12 volt line. With door closed it can stay cold for a good while even without power.
__________________

RogerDat is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
fridge


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Can a 2-way fridge become a 3-way fridge? Rob Carmody Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 13 06-24-2016 10:54 AM
7 way plug to 4 way plug back to 7 way plug immrbill Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 3 08-10-2015 11:08 AM
2 way compressor fridge vs 3 way propane aimeelightsey General Chat 9 05-20-2011 05:56 PM
Way Way up North Al V Rallies, Get-togethers, Molded Meets (Archive) 23 06-23-2006 02:30 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:51 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
×