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Old 11-07-2008, 08:29 AM   #1
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I know some folks need the gas as they boon dock a lot. For many of us it would seem to me that by going to the 12 volt fridge as in boats we could get rid of the following, 1) vent in roof that sometimes leaks, 2) vent in side where bugs & dust comes in, 3)gas line that has to flex if the fridge is in a slide out, 4)ammonia gas that likes to eat itself thru metal to be free, 5)the fire danger that that little flame has when dust & bugs get in the vent. I see Tiffin is going to residential fridg in some models but going threw an inverter seems to defeat saving energy over having a 12 volt compressor in the first place. In all my boats never had a fridge problem but in RVs they seem to have to change them out a lot. The newer 12 volt ones are more efficient. Has anyone replaced a gas with an electric 12 volt one? What are your thoughts?
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Old 11-07-2008, 08:29 AM   #2
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I know some folks need the gas as they boon dock a lot. For many of us it would seem to me that by going to the 12 volt fridge as in boats we could get rid of the following, 1) vent in roof that sometimes leaks, 2) vent in side where bugs & dust comes in, 3)gas line that has to flex if the fridge is in a slide out, 4)ammonia gas that likes to eat itself thru metal to be free, 5)the fire danger that that little flame has when dust & bugs get in the vent. I see Tiffin is going to residential fridg in some models but going threw an inverter seems to defeat saving energy over having a 12 volt compressor in the first place. In all my boats never had a fridge problem but in RVs they seem to have to change them out a lot. The newer 12 volt ones are more efficient. Has anyone replaced a gas with an electric 12 volt one? What are your thoughts?
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Old 11-07-2008, 09:29 AM   #3
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Art:

I dont think the technology for a LARGE fridge exists. Most of those boat fridges are very small. Our new Monaco has a residential fridge and I would never go back to a propane fridge. With all the recalls and fires I am amazed they are still certified by the AGA. I was told by a senior person at Fleetwood that both Dometic and Norcold were working on some type of hybrid as they are losing sales to residential models. Of course that was before the severe downturn in the MH market. I would guess that more than 50 % of mid to high end units are shipped with residential fridges.
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Old 11-07-2008, 09:31 AM   #4
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I have done this (replace "standard" RV refrigerator with a "12 volt compressor" version).

Mixed results.

Details of the process with comments were posted on the Escapees forum
Install Experience
duplicated here at iRV2
Install Experience
where there is a link to my photo sequence of the process.

Installing an all electric refrigerator presumes (in my opinion) having a solar system already in place.

Basic idea is good, the implementation by Norcold needs some improvement.
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:45 AM   #5
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Old 11-07-2008, 03:11 PM   #6
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We can well relate to this! As former blue-water cruising sailors we were sort of stuck with 12V refrigeration due primarily due to cost. For marine use, there were basically two types of refrigeration: 12 volt and holding plate. 12 volt was simply a compressor driven by 12 volts. They were all small and at least as of a few years ago, none of them could support freezer temperatures. The best our well insulated (4" of sprayed foam) box could do was about 30 degrees or so.

Holding plate refrigeration consisted of a rectangular box in the cooler with a solution (freon circulated by a compressor through the solution) that would freeze at a very low temperature. Essentially this was a large, very cold ice block. The compressor could be either engine driven, or 110v operated. It was impractical for that size compressor to be operated by 12V.

As a former cruiser, I was astounded at the ability of ammonia gas refrigeration to get down to 0 to 10 degrees for an effective freezer. On the boat, we could never keep ice cream. One of my first questions about RV refrigeration was "can I keep ice cream?"
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Old 11-07-2008, 03:53 PM   #7
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Yes John I must have my ice cream so I will look very closely at the residential type fridge in my next RV. I was just hoping a break threw would come along in 12 volts without having to use a 12 volt starter motor.
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Old 11-07-2008, 05:00 PM   #8
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Our next one (if there is one) will have a residential fridge. I guess an auto gen start will be a must and good deep cycle batteries. Adequate solar panels would certainly be a plus.

It has been our experience that you can never fully trust the absorption RV fridge....sometimes your eggs get frozen or something spoils.
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Old 11-08-2008, 02:29 AM   #9
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Over ten years ago they were experimenting with thermoacoustic refridgeration using sound waves and helium. The power requirement was similar to that of a walkman type radio.

Check out:

http://www.purdue.edu/uns/html4ever/...au.refrig.html
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Old 11-08-2008, 04:15 AM   #10
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Back in the old days, read 70's, I had a TT with a 3 way fridge/freezer, full size by that years standards. Ran on propane, 12 volt or 120 volt. Worked pretty good, don't know why they stopped making them. Saved a lot of propane while going down the road and sometimes when boondocking. Don't remember who made them but think Dometic.
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Old 11-08-2008, 04:16 AM   #11
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smlranger:
You would be surprised at how energy efficient these fridges have become. We have a huge dbl. door in our Monaco. It has 6- 6 volts and one 110 solar panel. The solar should be much larger to do any good. I have had the unit run about 28 hours on the inverter and the temps in the fridge were still -4/38. But residential fridges are not for everyone. Serious boondockesr would not be happy. We run our genset a few times every 24 hr. period and all is good!
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:53 AM   #12
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Our old 79 trailer has a still working 3-way frig, propane, 120 vac and 12 vdc. So why can't this proven old technology be used again...we call this progress or in accountant talk...make it cheaper.

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Old 11-08-2008, 08:13 AM   #13
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Those large 12V fridges/freezers are probably all absorption gas - all you need to do is heat up the ammonia by any means and you have refrigeration. That technology doesn't work in the marine environment due to the requirement of the unit remaining fairly level.

I think there might be some small, portable 110V/12V freezers around, but I don't know how cold the freezers get.

After my earlier post about marine refrigeration, I remembered there was a company making a 12V powered holding plate system, but the motor was good size and drew quite a bit of current. With holding plate refrigeration, you only run the compressor long enough to take the holding plate(s) down to zero or -10 or whatever and then shut the compressor off, so the energy consumption is periodic.
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:20 AM   #14
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The "old" 12v refrigerator technology still exists and is used in smaller models. It simply adds 12v powered heater that can be used instead of propane as the heating agent - otherwise it is a standard absorption fridge. They don't use it in larger models because the 12v energy consumption is excessive for a large fridge, which requires a heat source in the 600-800 watt range (800 watts @ 12v = a 70 amp draw on your batteries!). Propane is much more efficient and very inexpensive to use.

The largest 3-way fridge in the Dometic line is only 7 cubic feet.
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