European RV fridge problem - Fiberglass RV
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Old 05-06-2021, 08:23 PM   #1
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Name: Anne
Trailer: Sprinter
TX
Posts: 1
European RV fridge problem

Hi. I bought a Sprinter imported from Europe to the US. I have a Electrolux 3 ways fridge which stopped getting cold. I would like to replace it with a US Domestic but the whole van is set on 240v. I read in some previous threads that I could just change the heating wire in order to adapt it to my camper. What are my solutions beside getting a transformer. I would love to have it fixed but I heard it might be complicated because it's on ammoniac and not freon. Thanks for your help.
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Old 05-07-2021, 07:26 AM   #2
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Name: You can't call me Al
Trailer: Scamp
Massachusetts
Posts: 264
I would think you could replace the heating element with a 120 Volt AC one easily enough.

Here's a video showing the replacement:
https://youtu.be/XoryMLBZueg?t=207

There are many 120 Volt elements for sale on the Jungle website for like US$40

I don't know anything about the control electronics. I think they run on 12 Volts DC, but you'll need to make sure.

Now how to make sure it doesn't get plugged into 240 Volts since the rest of the van is 240 Volts is a more difficult thing.
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Old 05-07-2021, 02:48 PM   #3
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Name: CalCop
Trailer: Casita
California
Posts: 116
I’m wondering what you plan on doing in order to supply power to the camper
I doubt you’ll find very many camp sites fitted with 240volt outlets
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Old 05-07-2021, 03:40 PM   #4
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Name: Bonnie
Trailer: Casita
Massachusetts
Posts: 77
An easy, but electrically inefficient, solution is to add another equal resistance in series with the 120 volt fridge heater element.
If the US market fridge element heat output is 120 watts when powered by 120 volts input, the current is 1 ampere (watts equals volts times amps). Calculating the resistance (ohms equals volts divided by amps) for that theoretical heat element works out to 120 ohms.
Connect that 120 ohm resistance 120 volt heater to the 240 volt supply in the camper and the doubled voltage will push double the amperage through the heater element. Double voltage at double amps is 4 times the heat output.
Adding another 120 ohms resistance either before or after the US heater's 120 ohms resistance will cut the apparent voltage at the heater to 120.
The inefficiency is that the added 120 ohm resistance is also a heat source and is also producing 120 watts of heat. That additional heat will need to be kept away from the ammonia tubes.

Be aware that the European 240 volt AC mains is different than the North American 240 volt AC in that the European supply is zero volt, +240 volt, and earth/ground, whereas North American 240 volt supply is +120 volt, -120 volt, and earth/ground. The potential is 240 volts for both (European zero to +240, or North American -120 to +120), but the one “hot” lead, and two neutral / ground leads in Europe versus two hot leads, one ground in NA, may be another issue.
Unless you convert all the camper's AC appliances (roof air conditioner, microwave, and such) to North American 120 volt, you'll still be using the camper's 240 volt system, probably supplied by a 12 volt DC to 240 volt AC inverter installed in the camper in Europe. You'd not be plugging into a North American campground's 120 volt power source anyway.
Since you need the camper's 12 volt DC circuit to run the other 240 volt AC items, just run the new fridge on 12 volts DC. Buy a large capacity battery charger, plug that into the campground's 120 volt AC, connect to the camper's battery to keep it charged, and use the camper's battery to run the on-board 240 volt inverter.
Not elegant, but workable.
Jon MB, the pretend electrician of the pair
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Old 05-07-2021, 09:13 PM   #5
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Name: CalCop
Trailer: Casita
California
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Seems as though I recalll Europe uses 50 cycles while we use 60 cycles
I’m not sure how that would affect the European appliances
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Old 05-08-2021, 05:29 AM   #6
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Name: Bonnie
Trailer: Casita
Massachusetts
Posts: 77
For resistance loads (heaters, incandescent lights, and such) the alternating rate is of no consequence.
For inductive loads (motors primarily) there'd be an operating speed difference. A motor rated at some speed on 50 Hz would run 20% faster when connected to a 60 Hz supply. My, how time flies!
Transformer powered appliances (laptop, digital clocks) run on the DC provided by their power supply, so those are not affected by the cycle rate of the input power.

A 240 volt, 50 Hz inverter, if that's what is used in the imported camper, would create the 50 Hz power that would be correct for the included appliances.

Without actually having seen the camper to confirm the equipment, I am still of the opinion that creating enough 12 volt DC to keep the battery topped off, and using whatever DC to AC inverter that may already be installed to run any of the AC powered appliances, is the way I'd go.

Get the North American market three way absorption fridge, and run it on just the 12 volt DC or on propane.
Alternately, get a 12 volt DC compressor fridge if you will have access to campground power when the camper's engine is not running.
Jon MB
P.S.: Check the television if equipped. North America uses NTSC. I think much of Europe is PAL. Also the camper's radio. The broadcasting frequencies are different. There might be some stations at the far ends of the spectrum here that the Euro tuner might not be able to select.
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Old 05-21-2021, 07:42 PM   #7
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Name: Darrell
Trailer: Scamp 16ft
Alabama
Posts: 247
Europe spec's

A few points yes Europe runs 220-240 v 50 cycle, that effects clocks and microwave ovens mainly, electric motors ran slightly slower.
TV is typically PAL but some a European TV's have both.
I didn't have any problems with a American radio tuning in radio stations in Europe "but it would scramble" when I was near a traffic radar 😁👍👍👍 my replacement car stereo from Europe worked fine here and tunes 95.1, 95.2, .3 ECT ECT unlike US 95.1, 95.3, 95.5 skipping tenths.
Now my American spec Motorola cell phone didn't work there and my phone from there wouldn't work in USA. 🙄
Now them details are from the 89-91 / 95-98 / 99-00 years living in Europe. So slightly dated info.
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Old 06-03-2021, 12:00 AM   #8
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Name: Susan
Trailer: Currently Shopping
Michigan
Posts: 27
Question

Oh my, how did you get a Sprinter over here to the US that is originally from Europe? And how did you end up on the Fiberglass forum to try to get information?
Most interesting.
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