Refrigerator conversion - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-07-2014, 06:42 PM   #1
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Refrigerator conversion

Hello! We have a new Hunter and the fridge only works when we are plugged in. We are camping in a lot of National Park/Forest sites that don't have electric. We use it as an icebox then, but we are full timing and going through a lot of ice! Is there any way to make the fridge run full time? We have a small battery for some lights and the water pump. Can we hook it up to that with an inverter? We bought a little solar charger to keep the battery charged.
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Old 07-07-2014, 07:16 PM   #2
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Is it AC only. What is the make and model number?
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Old 07-07-2014, 07:43 PM   #3
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If it is a three way, the fact that it works at all means that it can be made to work on propane. It probably just needs the lines cleaned. Apparently spiders love propane lines.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:50 PM   #4
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It's not a 3 way, AC only.


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Old 07-07-2014, 11:54 PM   #5
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And it's a frigidaire, not sure where to find the model number. It's not very old, though.


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Old 07-08-2014, 12:55 AM   #6
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Julie it looks to me that you are in for a new 2-3 way refer. You're kind of between a rock and a hard place. Solar or an inverter won't do it. With out park 110V your only option is a generator to run it. Personally, I wouldn't even think of a genny for anything more than coffee and the microwave. Not sure if you have LP but it is the way to go for boondocking. Sounds like your refer is a dorm style unit.
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:38 AM   #7
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Refrigerator conversion

It sounds like you have a dorm fridge if it just runs on 120AC. There is no practical way to use that except plugged in. Same situation I was in. You can put in a propane fridge and the propane system to support it ( most common solution) or get a 12v fridge, a good size battery (at least 200ah) and a solar panel. Probably looking at $1000 plus either way.

I chose the 12v path and couldn't be more happy with the results.

Dave's right, it will run on a generator but that's not a 24/7 solution plus a little Honda super quiet genny is still IMHO quite noisy, costs $900 and requires lugging its 53# plus a can of gasoline around.


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Old 07-08-2014, 07:54 AM   #8
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Post in the Classifieds here, Parts for Sale/Wanted, for a Dometic RM2191, DC/LPG, or RM2193, AC/DC/LPG or equivalent. You may luck out. be specific about your location, as you may want to check the unit personally to ensure that it works to your satisfaction, ei: try before you buy.

Of course I'm assuming you have LPG, but most do.

If you want to know more on what's involved, go to the top of the page, click on 'more', click on 'Document Center', click on 'Refrigerators'. You will find the manual for the RM2191/2193 there.

Someone else familiar with Norcold could guide you to the Norcold equivalents of these units.
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:22 AM   #9
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I am in the same boat and am researching one of the 12V compressor refrigerators. They are pricey but I consider it an investment in my long-term plans for boondocking utilizing solar panels to charge the battery(ies). There is Engel, Norcold, and I think one other that escapes me right now. $600 and up. I just can't see spending the money to go with a new 3-way (120v, 12v, propane) with solar as cheap and available as it is these days.
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:11 AM   #10
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I camp 50/50 on and off of power and personally wouldn't want a fridge that didn't run on propane. Even though I have solar I want a fridge that uses as little power as possible for those times I am camping in a heavy tree canopy (which is fairly often) or in rainy weather with little sun. I like to save what power I have for the furnace on cold nights etc. Have a couple of friends I camp with who have the Norcold 12 v compressor fridges - both fairly new and they struggle with the power consumption when we are dry camping for more than a couple of days in less than ideal weather.
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Old 07-08-2014, 10:02 AM   #11
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Different strokes, I live in Florida (don’t need much heat) and don’t want (any) propane in the trailer. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. It is a personal phobia but one that will certainly not kill me so I live with it. I am not an expert and don’t know for sure but suspect that properly sizing the solar system and batteries would go a long way to solving any energy drain problem. Committing to a 12V refrigerator may mean there will need to be more engineering of other systems to accommodate it. For example, I am considering upgrading (modernizing) the converter in my trailer and wonder if I should go with a 60 amp rather than the more traditional 45 amp version since I am planning on adding a dedicated 12V refrig.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:00 PM   #12
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A 12vdc fridge takes on the order of 2-3A:
DE-0041/EV-0041
A 45A converter is already overkill. In fact, about 100W of solar cells, and a group 27 battery will run a typical 12 vdc fridge. No shore power required.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timber Wolf View Post
Different strokes, I live in Florida (donít need much heat) and donít want (any) propane in the trailer. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. It is a personal phobia but one that will certainly not kill me so I live with it. I am not an expert and donít know for sure but suspect that properly sizing the solar system and batteries would go a long way to solving any energy drain problem. Committing to a 12V refrigerator may mean there will need to be more engineering of other systems to accommodate it. For example, I am considering upgrading (modernizing) the converter in my trailer and wonder if I should go with a 60 amp rather than the more traditional 45 amp version since I am planning on adding a dedicated 12V refrig.
NOTE---- Scamp wiring is designed for 20 amp maximum. A larger converter with a big load like you're talking about requires rewiring Scamp with bigger wire.
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Old 07-08-2014, 06:22 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
In fact, about 100W of solar cells, and a group 27 battery will run a typical 12 vdc fridge. No shore power required.
Assuming you have some sun/daylight
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Old 07-08-2014, 06:25 PM   #15
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Granted. Winter, north of the arctic circle, might present a problem.
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Old 07-08-2014, 06:28 PM   #16
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Or camping in the rain forest on the west coast in the middle of August
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:02 PM   #17
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They need a reasonable priced combo model of the new 12 volt style and Propane. Most times where I camp in shady areas...sure i get some sun but how well will it recharge my batteries after 2 or 3 rainy days? Then switch to propane. Sure if I was camping in an area with lots of sun it makes a lot of sense to go 12 volt. So they need to combine the 2 lol.
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:12 AM   #18
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Julie:
We faced a dying 3-way Dometic, and were not very impressed with its capabilities even when it was running properly. Poor cooling, wide temperature swings, etc. Only good thing was that it would run on propane.
Went for a Novacool 12v compressor type. It cools down super quick and remains accurate within a narrow range of temps. It is also seriously quiet, so we have to go outside and listen carefully to confirm it is running.
With two group 31 batteries we can use just the batteries and still camp for 2-3 nights, even without sun, drawing the charge down to about 60%. With sun our 100w solar panel keeps it running indefinitely.
This is an expensive fix, probably only good as a long term investment, but it is a fix.
Overall we are quite satisfied by this solution considering our camping and traveling patterns.
If it were not for the horrendous expense I would consider an EFOY fuel cell as the ultimate solution, but that would probably only make sense in a full timer or long term boondocking scenario. Widely used in Europe it gives you power night or day and runs seemingly forever and automatically and quietly on very little fuel.
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Old 07-11-2014, 11:03 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Per Walthinsen View Post
With two group 31 batteries we can use just the batteries and still camp for 2-3 nights, even without sun, drawing the charge down to about 60%. With sun our 100w solar panel keeps it running indefinitely.
This is an expensive fix, probably only good as a long term investment, but it is a fix.

This is very interesting and I am glad somebody with actual experience with this set-up posted. I am curious about two things: 1) Why did use two group 31 batteries over two 6V batteries? I have my own theory why the two 31s may be preferred but would like to hear your reason. And 2), there are several people posting to this thread saying that 2-3 days of partial Sun makes a 12V refrigerator or Solar system impractical for them. You seem to state the opposite (based on your actual experience) that your system can run 2-3 without ANY Sun. This seems to dispute their position. Would you agree?
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:02 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Per Walthinsen View Post
Julie:
We faced a dying 3-way Dometic, and were not very impressed with its capabilities even when it was running properly. Poor cooling, wide temperature swings, etc. Only good thing was that it would run on propane.
Went for a Novacool 12v compressor type. It cools down super quick and remains accurate within a narrow range of temps. It is also seriously quiet, so we have to go outside and listen carefully to confirm it is running.
With two group 31 batteries we can use just the batteries and still camp for 2-3 nights, even without sun, drawing the charge down to about 60%. With sun our 100w solar panel keeps it running indefinitely.
This is an expensive fix, probably only good as a long term investment, but it is a fix.
Overall we are quite satisfied by this solution considering our camping and traveling patterns.
If it were not for the horrendous expense I would consider an EFOY fuel cell as the ultimate solution, but that would probably only make sense in a full timer or long term boondocking scenario. Widely used in Europe it gives you power night or day and runs seemingly forever and automatically and quietly on very little fuel.
Per,
Where can you buy Novacool equipment in America?
thanks,
Carl
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