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 > Why consider 12v fridge for boondocking?

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Vintage465

Prunedale CA.

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Posted: 01/15/22 09:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So I want to offer up this question out about 12v compressor refrigerators. I'm going to post this on other forums too, so your "forum tramps"(like me)may see this spread around some other pages. Not interested in thoughts regarding space savings, preferance due to fear of propane gas or performance of a 12v vs. propane fridge. Taking all those criteria out, we are left with why or why not. Having said all that this is the base of the question: I keep seeing people use the words "boon docking" and "12v compressor fridges" in the same sentance as though there is an advantage to having a 12v fridge while boon docking. I believe that an absorption fridge is the best boon docking choice because propane nearly lasts forever(at least a month) compared to 12v fridges that are dependent on recharging the battery bank daily. When responding...........not interested in anything other than energy sustainability while boon docking. I also am not interested in peoples opinions on performance between the two as I've never had any issue with any absorption fridge keeping things cool event in 110 degree temps. Just energy sustainability while boon docking.

Thanks!


V-465
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Gdetrailer

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Posted: 01/15/22 09:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your camping in a RV, right?

Your RV NEEDs a 12V battery for basic functions like powering the control board in your propane fridge, right?

Your battery charge does not last a month, right?

You must recharge the battery periodically anyways, right?

Since you obviously must recharge the RV battery, you must have solar, gen and or a huge battery bank to last more than a long weekend, right?

So, where is the "advantage" of a propane fridge if you already have a battery, must have a gen and or solar and recharge the battery daily or every couple of days?

ktmrfs

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Posted: 01/15/22 10:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gdetrailer wrote:

Your camping in a RV, right?

Your RV NEEDs a 12V battery for basic functions like powering the control board in your propane fridge, right?

Your battery charge does not last a month, right?

You must recharge the battery periodically anyways, right?

Since you obviously must recharge the RV battery, you must have solar, gen and or a huge battery bank to last more than a long weekend, right?

So, where is the "advantage" of a propane fridge if you already have a battery, must have a gen and or solar and recharge the battery daily or every couple of days?


advantage of a propane fridge is I can go 4-6 days before i need to recharge even with no solar or generator. No way could I go for that long with a 12V compressor fridge. If the sun is out much at all I can keep the batteries fully charged easily. With a compressor fridge, nope, I'd still be bringing out the generator even with full sun every few days.

Propane advantage over batteries is propane energy content/gallon or energy content/lb is orders of magnitude higher than a battery. Now I will agree that a compressor fridge cools down faster and is less temperature sensitive than a propane fridge. So if you camp with power handy it makes sense.

With LED lighting & propane fridge in nice weather battery draw is pretty low. Even in cold weather we still can go several days in cloudy weather before needing to dig out the generator.

So if we had a compressor fridge when we boondock for 2 weeks I'd need to bring along more gas for the generator. As it is I seldom even use all the gas in the generator, still have lots of propane left. For us have no desire to have a compressor fridge for the type of "off grid" camping we do. If most/all our camping was at places with available 120V, then a compressor fridge would likely be high on the list.

* This post was edited 01/15/22 10:20am by ktmrfs *


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Skibane

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Posted: 01/15/22 10:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ktmrfs wrote:

advantage of a propane fridge is I can go 4-6 days before i need to recharge even with no solar or generator.


Yep - and when you do need to recharge, the power required to do it is just a small fraction of what would be required to recharge a battery bank that was sized to run a DC fridge that long.

time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 01/15/22 10:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What is the run time per 100 ah battery on this 12v fridge? Annual kWh?


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carringb

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Posted: 01/15/22 10:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Compressor fridges have become almost standard on camper vans, because they rarely stay stationary for many days at a time. Even a short drive will restore much of the battery bank if you have something like a Transit with dual 250-amp alternators or a Sprinter with an aftermarket 2nd alternator.

Trailers tend to be more little stationary when boondocking, because when you leave for the day, you only drive the TV. That's how I use mine. It just becomes "home-base". So absorption fridges still make the most sense, unless the trailer has enough solar and is only parked in sunny locations.


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Gdetrailer

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Posted: 01/15/22 11:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ktmrfs wrote:

Gdetrailer wrote:

Your camping in a RV, right?

Your RV NEEDs a 12V battery for basic functions like powering the control board in your propane fridge, right?

Your battery charge does not last a month, right?

You must recharge the battery periodically anyways, right?

Since you obviously must recharge the RV battery, you must have solar, gen and or a huge battery bank to last more than a long weekend, right?

So, where is the "advantage" of a propane fridge if you already have a battery, must have a gen and or solar and recharge the battery daily or every couple of days?


advantage of a propane fridge is I can go 4-6 days before i need to recharge even with no solar or generator. No way could I go for that long with a 12V compressor fridge. If the sun is out much at all I can keep the batteries fully charged easily. With a compressor fridge, nope, I'd still be bringing out the generator even with full sun every few days.

Propane advantage over batteries is propane energy content/gallon or energy content/lb is orders of magnitude higher than a battery. Now I will agree that a compressor fridge cools down faster and is less temperature sensitive than a propane fridge. So if you camp with power handy it makes sense.

With LED lighting & propane fridge in nice weather battery draw is pretty low. Even in cold weather we still can go several days in cloudy weather before needing to dig out the generator.

So if we had a compressor fridge when we boondock for 2 weeks I'd need to bring along more gas for the generator. As it is I seldom even use all the gas in the generator, still have lots of propane left. For us have no desire to have a compressor fridge for the type of "off grid" camping we do. If most/all our camping was at places with available 120V, then a compressor fridge would likely be high on the list.


Your forgetting the mere fact that unless you have a very, very small (2 cu ft or smaller) propane fridge which doesn't need 12V for the control board your RV fridge is using battery 24/7 and when it opens the gas valve, the gas valve consumes additional battery..

I can go 24 hrs on one single pair of 6V GC2s (215 Ahr) and use less than half of that capacity. GC2s life cycles are based on using 80% of the capacity which means I can go as long as 1.5 days.

If I added an extra pair of GC2s I have the capability of 3 days with no charging.

If I added about 200W-300W of solar and had two pairs of GC2s I would be right at 6 days without the need for a gen.

Now, to add some insult to injury to the idea that propane is "superior" I am doing this with a 120V home fridge with a inverter.

12V fridge compressors tend to be a bit more energy efficient which means 200W of solar and 4 GC2s would give you easily 7-8 days without the need for a gen. If I remember correctly 12V compressor fridges tend to only use about 25 Ahr per day which is only twice what a propane fridge with electronic control board.

Granted, with my inverter I cheat a bit, it has a "power save" feature which turns the inverter on/off. When the fridge T stat calls for the compressor the inverter snaps back to life powering the fridge, when compressor shuts off, the inverter goes back to sleep. That in it's self saves me a good 24 Ahr of battery per 24 hrs.

You may as well get used to the idea that propane fridges are slowly being dropped. Given the fact that compressor fridges over the yrs have become very energy efficient, battery capacities and solar are improving and the cost to build compressor based fridges are much lower. It really will not take much to adapt to a 12V or even a120V compressor fridge.

You might wish to consider that propane costs have increased greatly, they are not going to get cheaper and with the all out attempts to banish everything that operates from any fossil fuel sources (propane is carbon fraction extracted from crude oils and natural gas via refining processes) it too will be in the cross hairs of extinction..

JRscooby

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Posted: 01/15/22 11:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have had very limited experience with 12 V fridge. A friend had 1 installed in 99 when he bought his new Pete. About '06 he had to grab a bird to get home. Truck sat in truckstop outside Dallas (Summer sun, no shade) for over 3 days before I got there. I worked on the truck knew he had only same starting batteries I did. I expected to jump start his truck. When it started, I parked mine, grabbed a trash bag to MT fridge. Stole a ice cream bar, and put it in the wind for home.

Lantley

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Posted: 01/15/22 11:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I can easily go a week with my propane fridge. With a baic factory RV set up with 2-12 volt batteries. No solar , no inverter, no sun requied just stock lp fridge.
From a simplicity standpoint "carringb" is spot on.
a 12 volt compressor fridge has advantages if there is a engine and travel involved. However if just sitting stationary a LP fridge is a simple versatile solution.
I understand solar is the wave of the future. A modern solar set up can do the impossible now days.
However if you just want to run the fridge off the grid without a lot of aftermarket investment/stuff, LP is still the simple solution.


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Gdetrailer

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Posted: 01/15/22 12:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lantley wrote:

I can easily go a week with my propane fridge. With a baic factory RV set up with 2-12 volt batteries. No solar , no inverter, no sun requied just stock lp fridge.
From a simplicity standpoint "carringb" is spot on.
a 12 volt compressor fridge has advantages if there is a engine and travel involved. However if just sitting stationary a LP fridge is a simple versatile solution.
I understand solar is the wave of the future. A modern solar set up can do the impossible now days.
However if you just want to run the fridge off the grid without a lot of aftermarket investment/stuff, LP is still the simple solution.


Well until you factor in dragging a bunch of propane cylinders around with you.. They do get heavy to carry, even "20 lb" weight just under 40 lbs when full..

Most off grid homes and cabins now days employ a few solar panels a couple of batteries and a electric fridge and they run those for yrs without gens or refilling tanks. Dragging a bunch of heavy propane cylinders out into the bush is so 1800's in thinking..

I would rather have a electric fridge with solar and battery than drive an battery powered vehicle.. I have plenty of time to camp and wait for batteries to recharge via solar than wait for half hr or more in a parking lot to get a 20% charge for a vehicle just to get to the next power station.

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