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 > Residential vs Gas/Electric Fridge?

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StirCrazy

Kamloops, BC, Canada

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Posted: 05/25/22 08:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

if you going to be caping with the rv plugged in all the time then get a residential fridge, if your going to be "camping" and depend on batteries and solar for power just look for a big adsorbtion fridge. with the propane fridge and thoes two 100amp batteries if your carfull with your power usage you should be able to camp a week with no solar at all. I run a 40 foot 5th wheel that has a deicent size fridge (propane) four 6V batteries so about 200 usable AH and 480 watts of solar, power is never a concern, my issues are stuff like how long can we make the 60 gal of fresh water last.


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Second Chance

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Posted: 05/25/22 08:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have experience with both RV absorption refrigerators and 120VAC/compressor refrigerators. Our first 4-1/2 years full-time were with a Norcold 1210 absorption refrigerator. We had nothing but problems with it and had to have the entire cooling unit replaced once (in addition to other failures). Even when it was working correctly, it did not do a good job of keeping food frozen in the freezer. The last 2-1/2 years have been with a Samsung 18 cu. ft. "residential" refrigerator. Our new rig has 300 watts of solar on the roof, to 100AH LiFePO4 batteries, and a 2,000 watt inverter. We don't boondock and have no expectations of running an AC without shore power, but the solar/battery combination will run the refrigerator indefinitely... as long as the sun shines every day. More batteries and solar would overcome that situation. We have had very long (12-hour) travel days with overcast and drizzle and the batteries were still almost fully charged on arrival at the next destination. There's no way we would go back to an absorption refrigerator. Of course, there are those who are fully on the other side of the fence - it all depends on how you use your RV and your expectations.

Rob


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BurbMan

Indianapolis, IN

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Posted: 05/25/22 11:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

valhalla360 wrote:

....only issue with keeping ice cream more than a few days in our prior propane units...had to do with eating it not keeping it cold...

Right there with ya on that one!

valhalla360 wrote:

12v DC fridges are not a new technology. They have been in use in the marine industry for years. Similar power limitations as RVs but when sailing, the boat is often heeled over 15-20degrees making a propane unit not so functional.


Also, propane is never allowed in boat galleys because it's heavier than air and can settle in the hold if there is a leak. Most boats run a genset that powers the fridge, cabin a/c, and electric stovetop.

FootSoldier

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Posted: 05/25/22 02:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Second Chance wrote:

...We don't boondock and have no expectations of running an AC without shore power, but the solar/battery combination will run the refrigerator indefinitely... as long as the sun shines every day. More batteries and solar would overcome that situation. We have had very long (12-hour) travel days with overcast and drizzle and the batteries were still almost fully charged on arrival at the next destination. There's no way we would go back to an absorption refrigerator. Of course, there are those who are fully on the other side of the fence - it all depends on how you use your RV and your expectations.

Rob


I think this will be us. The 5er we are gravitating toward actually has 3 A/C units and I'm not really interested in running a big generator. So it's plug-in and have A/C, or there won't be A/C.

I don't see us pulling this rig out into the woods somewhere, it will probably always be in some kind of developed facility. Somewhere along the way I got old and this rig is going to be all about convenience and ease.

We do have a few favorite Forest Service campgrounds that we'd fit into, but getting a hookup won't always be possible. So I am thinking a combination of a little more battery, solar, and my little Honda gen to top things off or handle coffee in the morning will work for stays without a hookup?

Our little Rockwood Roo has a propane fridge that has served us pretty well. It won't freeze food, but it will keep it frozen to semi-frozen for a week. Ice cream is not going to make it more than a couple days.

If we chose the residential fridge, the trailer comes with a small solar package and a 2000w inverter. I think that will get us as close to the best fit we could hope for, at least to start.

valhalla360

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Posted: 05/26/22 06:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BurbMan wrote:

valhalla360 wrote:

....only issue with keeping ice cream more than a few days in our prior propane units...had to do with eating it not keeping it cold...

Right there with ya on that one!

valhalla360 wrote:

12v DC fridges are not a new technology. They have been in use in the marine industry for years. Similar power limitations as RVs but when sailing, the boat is often heeled over 15-20degrees making a propane unit not so functional.


Also, propane is never allowed in boat galleys because it's heavier than air and can settle in the hold if there is a leak. Most boats run a genset that powers the fridge, cabin a/c, and electric stovetop.


Actually, propane is by far the most common option in boat galleys. Electric is actually the outlier, though it is becoming more common as big solar/battery systems become more practical and cheaper. There are some special considerations using propane on boats but very common.

We had a propane fridge on one of our boats (original equipment) but it was a catamaran, so no heeling to deal with. The others we 12v (one had a 2nd compressor directly powered by a belt on the engine but it was an antiquated system.)


Tammy & Mike
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valhalla360

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Posted: 05/26/22 06:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

FootSoldier wrote:

If we chose the residential fridge, the trailer comes with a small solar package and a 2000w inverter. I think that will get us as close to the best fit we could hope for, at least to start.


How big is the solar package?

Our current rig has a "solar package"...all of 50w solar and a single trolling battery. Great for storing the rig over the winter but not much else.

Added a second battery and a portable 100w panel to keep the 12v fridge running (still have to be careful of other 12v loads). Plus if it's actually hot, we pull out the generator. If it's cool out, the fridge takes less power to keep cold.

FootSoldier

Scottsdale, AZ

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Posted: 05/26/22 08:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

valhalla360 wrote:

FootSoldier wrote:

If we chose the residential fridge, the trailer comes with a small solar package and a 2000w inverter. I think that will get us as close to the best fit we could hope for, at least to start.


How big is the solar package?

Our current rig has a "solar package"...all of 50w solar and a single trolling battery. Great for storing the rig over the winter but not much else.

Added a second battery and a portable 100w panel to keep the 12v fridge running (still have to be careful of other 12v loads). Plus if it's actually hot, we pull out the generator. If it's cool out, the fridge takes less power to keep cold.


The trailer solar package is 190w roof top panel and a 2000w inverter wired to the fridge and selected outlets, including the entertainment center. I think the 2000w inverter will do what we need, but I would add at least another 200w panel and 200ah of lithium battery.

Cptnvideo

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Posted: 05/27/22 10:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The key to planning using a res fridge/solar power and boondocking is amp hours consumed overnight. You have to have enough solar power and battery reserve to make it thru the night.
We have a 20 cf res fridge and we can boondock indefinitely (our limitation is holding tanks). See signature for equipment.
Our consumed amp hours last night - 230 ah. About 10 minutes of microwave, normal evening TV, LP furnace blower, etc. We're currently at 7850' elevation on the Mogollon Rim in AZ, so nights get pretty chilly.


Bill & Linda
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StirCrazy

Kamloops, BC, Canada

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Posted: 05/28/22 08:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Cptnvideo wrote:


Our consumed amp hours last night - 230 ah. About 10 minutes of microwave, normal evening TV, LP furnace blower, etc. We're currently at 7850' elevation on the Mogollon Rim in AZ, so nights get pretty chilly.


wow, thats a lot of power usage. I use about 80-90AH at -5C (23F) with using the kurieg in the evening for coffee, some times a movie, but no fridge draw would be the difference I guess. what do you do if you hit 4 or 5 days of no sun?

Steve

Cptnvideo

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Posted: 05/30/22 09:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

No sun for 4 or 5 days in AZ is highly unlikely. But we do have a 3.5kw inverter/generator - just in case.

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