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Old 04-07-2020, 09:35 AM   #1
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Newer AC/DC Refrigerator

We just bought a 2019 Winnebago View in February just before all this virus thing came to haunt us and we locked down at home. We haven't had a chance to even go out yet and I was wondering how long these AC/DC refrigerators can run without hooking up to shore power or running the generator? It came with two 100 watt solar panels and the standard battery bank that came with the RV. I know over time we will have to up grade the batteries (maybe add panels) but till they go bad, I was wondering how much electric these new units use to keep things cold. Thanks
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Old 04-07-2020, 10:07 AM   #2
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What size/type were the coach batteries? My Navion came with 2 dual purpose GR24 Napa 8240 maintenance free batteries. Under your scenario, no shore power, they would be completely dead by now. And I added a 3rd 100W panel up top.
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Old 04-07-2020, 10:29 AM   #3
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You probably have this fridge?? If so, the spec says 3.2 amps. On other threads, most folks have said that they can run overnight easy enough. Without solar or other charging method that's about it IIRC.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/norco...99?recordNum=1

I plan to replace my 13-year-old "working" Norcold absorption unit with one of these this season. I am a "pole to pole" camper so the power consumption is no problem in my case.

Good times, and safe travels.
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Old 04-07-2020, 11:34 AM   #4
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I think those are the ones, I figured they wouldn't last long but I was wondering how long they would last as it stands now. If you are driving it should charge the batteries for overnight being unplugged. If you added one more solar panel, the batteries must have been good enough to last over night like Youracman stated.
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Old 04-07-2020, 11:45 AM   #5
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Member Kayak73 has been posting about his 2018 View and the compressor fridge. He's had issues with power, installed new batteries, tweaked his converter, etc.

I don't know all of his posts on this subject. But here's a large one. You can read up on this and see some of his other posts. I think he has a '18 View 24D.

https://www.winnieowners.com/forums/...le-354516.html
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Old 04-07-2020, 11:59 AM   #6
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Newer RVs have dc compressor fridges. Some may have the one noted above, but some have a taller fridge with a lower freezer compartment.

The 3.2 amp fridge is probably a 4 cu ft model and the bigger one is 6-7 cu ft and draws 5 amps when the compressor is running.

I think that both will run at about a 50% duty cycle in normal warmish climates. That means the smaller one will draw about 40 amp hours each day and the bigger one 60 amp hours. Some have reported as little as 25% duty cycle but that depends on a cooler climate, little door opening and no warm food added.

The standard batteries supplied by Winnebago on the View are Group 24 AGMs and have about 60-70 Ah each or a total of 120-140 Ahs. You should be able to run the smaller one for two days as well as other minor DC loads like lights and water pump use. The bigger fridge will get down to half capacity (the most you should pull down a battery for decent life) in a day and a half with similar other loads.

There are a couple of solutions. Some have reported that the battery compartments on both sides will handle Group 31 batteries. Those are rated at about 100 Ah each. So replacing the G24s with G31s should let even the bigger fridge run for two days.

Another solution is Firefly or Lithium batteries. Either can cycle deeper than the 50% limit of the AGMs and can provide another day or so of use before recharging. The virtues of Firefly vs Lithiums can be debated ad nauseum but Fireflys cost about $500 each and most Lithiums are closer to $1000 each, both for 100 +/- Ah G31s.

Whatever you do consider rewiring your converter with heavier gauge wiring to let you recharge faster either on shorepower but more importantly with the generator to reduce run time. You can even upgrade the converter to 80A for a few $hundred and if so increase the wiring even further. The bigger converter and bigger wire can cut your generator run time to 1/3. But don't do this unless you switch to either Fireflys or lithium batteries. 80A is too high for 200 Ahs of AGMs.

David
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Old 04-07-2020, 12:48 PM   #7
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Thanks DavidM. This is our first MH and there is a ton to learn all over again. We always had trailers before and never boondocked either.
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Old 04-07-2020, 01:32 PM   #8
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Yes the concept of a 12V compressor fridge on RVs is new to most. But I lived with 12V fridges for 20-30 years on boats, so I understand them well.

Advantages over LPG absorption fridges:

No leveling issues
Quicker cool down than absorption fridges
Work ok in very hot climates that affects absorption fridges more significantly

Disadvantages:

Uses 40-60 Ahs daily, more in warmer climates, less in cooler ones or with little door opening or warm food added.

Requires solar, genset running or driving to replace that charge. Genset running probably uses more propane than the equivalent absorption fridge if that is the only source

I believe that a boondock camper needs all three: solar for sunny days in the open, running the genset for an hour or so when the batteries get low and use of the chassis alternator to recharge when traveling to another site. Plus more battery capacity to carry you through cloudy days.

David
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Old 04-07-2020, 03:16 PM   #9
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That is very good information, thanks. I agree with the need of having all three but it would really be nice when we can actually get out and use it to get familiar with the whole rig. We do have a diesel generator so the propane usage won't be all that big, just heating, cooking and hot water.
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Old 04-08-2020, 08:31 AM   #10
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David, the Firefly battery is popular in boating, but is almost unheard of in RVs. I’m not sure why that is. Is it just because LiPo batteries are close enough in price and bring more advantages or is there some other reason?
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Old 04-08-2020, 09:34 AM   #11
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David, the Firefly battery is popular in boating, but is almost unheard of in RVs. Iím not sure why that is. Is it just because LiPo batteries are close enough in price and bring more advantages or is there some other reason?
I suspect that the main reason for low use of lithium batteries by boaters is the reports of fires with a lithium battery. A fire on a boat is almost always a disaster for those on board if you are anchored out or underway when it happens.

I realize that LiFePO4 batteries are mostly immune from this problem but the reputation persists. That immunity depends on a robust BMS and who knows how good the BMS is on the batteries you are buying. I would even question well known suppliers such as Battleborn.

I think that the price advantage of Firefly vs Lithium batteries ($500 vs $1,000) makes them worth investigating.

David
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Old 04-08-2020, 12:15 PM   #12
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As you said, fire hazard for LiPo batteries is NOT a serious consideration. Maybe years ago with LiCoO2 batteries, sure, but not with the LiFePo4 batteries that are sold for RV usage now.

I don't see very much real advantage of Firefly batteries over regular deep cycle AGMs. There are a few advantages, but not enough for the 50% increase in price. They don't even weight less. Longer potential duty life and a little less concern about the 50% draw.

Good deep cycle AGMs will cost $300 for 100aH. Fireflil batteries will cost $550 for 100aH and Lithium average around $900 for 100aH. Boats are not as weight sensitive as RVs and the the longer life and lower power draw-ability along with approx 1/2 the weight goes a long way toward making the LiPo battery a serious contender over Firefly batteries.
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Old 04-12-2020, 07:45 PM   #13
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DavidM: Good post. You know your stuff. My 7 cu. ft. Amish-converted Norcold runs about 70% duty cycle, 6 amps. I recommend (need) 400W of solar and 300ah of lithium battery for this larger fridge in order to boondock comfortably. "Accipiter's" RV seems configured "bare bones" and would definitely benefit from Lithium upgrade and probably another 100W solar panel for a more comfortable margin. I also concur with the beefed up charging system if converting to lithium.
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Old 04-14-2020, 10:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidM View Post
Yes the concept of a 12V compressor fridge on RVs is new to most. But I lived with 12V fridges for 20-30 years on boats, so I understand them well.

Advantages over LPG absorption fridges:

No leveling issues
Quicker cool down than absorption fridges
Work ok in very hot climates that affects absorption fridges more significantly

Disadvantages:

Uses 40-60 Ahs daily, more in warmer climates, less in cooler ones or with little door opening or warm food added.

Requires solar, genset running or driving to replace that charge. Genset running probably uses more propane than the equivalent absorption fridge if that is the only source

I believe that a boondock camper needs all three: solar for sunny days in the open, running the genset for an hour or so when the batteries get low and use of the chassis alternator to recharge when traveling to another site. Plus more battery capacity to carry you through cloudy days.

David
That has been my experience with the Norcold DC0061 in our Fuse.

I much prefer the compressor refrigerator to the absorption models because it is both faster to cool and more reliable in warm weather, but it does eat a lot of power. It is the prime reason we are planning to switch to Lithium batteries because running the fridge overnight drops our AGM batter voltage from 12.6 or so to 12.1 or so, even in cool nights. it is worse in hot weather and we can not make it through 2 days dry camping without a lot of sun, running the generator or driving someplace.
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Old 04-15-2020, 12:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidM View Post
Yes the concept of a 12V compressor fridge on RVs is new to most. But I lived with 12V fridges for 20-30 years on boats, so I understand them well.

Advantages over LPG absorption fridges:

No leveling issues
Quicker cool down than absorption fridges
Work ok in very hot climates that affects absorption fridges more significantly

Disadvantages:

Uses 40-60 Ahs daily, more in warmer climates, less in cooler ones or with little door opening or warm food added.

Requires solar, genset running or driving to replace that charge. Genset running probably uses more propane than the equivalent absorption fridge if that is the only source

I believe that a boondock camper needs all three: solar for sunny days in the open, running the genset for an hour or so when the batteries get low and use of the chassis alternator to recharge when traveling to another site. Plus more battery capacity to carry you through cloudy days.

David
Hmmm ... your listed advantages of 12V refrigerators over propane refrigerators are not universal when applied to RVs. Boats may be different.

We have been very happy with the Norcold propane refrigerator for 14 years in our current RV, and with the one that we had in our first 1969 model motorhome:

- Yes, propane refrigerators like to be reasonably level when camping ... but so do we when walking around inside the RV and sleeping in it ... so we always level the RV. When driving going up/down grades are way too short of time periods to affect a propane refrigerator's lifespan or average interior cooling temperatures.

- We only turn on our propane refrigerator when about to take trips, and we do it about 6 hours ahead of time. We'd even turn on a 12V refrigerator about 6 hours ahead of time when getting ready for trips.

- Our Norcold has 5 coldness settings. Setting 3 is all that's needed in up to around 90 degrees outside temperatures. Above 90 degrees, we have two more settings above 3 to insure that the interior temperatures stay where they're supposed to be ... 0-10 degrees in the freezer section, and 34-38 degrees in the refrigerator section. We can read interior temperatures remotely so we don't have to open the door to check a thermometer inside.

In my opinion there must be one or more of these things "wrong" with modern propane refrigerators as they are currently, or were, offered in RVs:

- The propane refrigerators themselves may be more cheaply made than earlier ones.

- In large cubic footage sizes, propane refrigerators may not be as efficient ... unless interior air flow distribution fans are always used.

- In recent years, RV manufacturers may not be installing propane refrigerators correctly with respect to air flow in behind the refrigerators. i.e. Installing a propane refrigerator in a slide is probably not a good idea due to the times that the slide is not extended severly restricting decent air flow in behind.

- The cost of propane refrigerators in newer RV builds cuts too deeply into manufacturers' profit margins.

Of course as everyone knows, propane refrigerators are legendary in that they only sip battery power and propane ... and hence are excellent for camping without hookups regardless of how much sun there is or how much one must use a generator.
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Old 04-15-2020, 01:33 PM   #16
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When I look at the list of up/down aspects of the various frig types, I often see "millennial thinking" written all over the place. Does EVERYTHING have to be done quick or does doing just a bit of preplanning solve the issue. Like plug the frig in the night before heading out really does away with the question of how quick the frig cools down.
Part of it is also the way different folks think. Some actually do like to spend lots of money but complain about not being able to pay the cable bill!
Quote and definition?
noun
plural noun: millennials
a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century.
"the industry brims with theories on what makes millennials tick"

Worth noting that some don't seem to reach "young adulthood" until about 50-60!
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Old 04-15-2020, 02:01 PM   #17
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When I look at the list of up/down aspects of the various frig types, I often see "millennial thinking" written all over the place.
I couldn't disagree more, Richard.

It's common for the older generations to deride the perceived short comings of the younger generation as some kind of failing. I guarantee the generations before you would be more than happy to point out your obvious lack of maturity and common sense, too.

So, let's not fall into that trap here. We have LOTs of millenials here as members and they are universally fine folks that are more than plenty mature acting and thinking.

I'm 70... "OK Boomer" age for sure, and have been RVing for nearly 20 years. After 5 RVs, four with RV Fridges, I wouldn't buy another with that inadequate contraption on board. In fact, when we bought our last RV nearly 3-years ago now it was between two very nice very expensive RVs. One had an RV Fridge and the other a Residential Fridge (aka Compressor Fridge). They were equal in all other ways. We chose the one with the compressor fridge just for this reason.

My wife will tell you I'm pretty immature - but she'd wrestle you to ground if you tried to take away the compressor fridge from our rig.

Nothing "millennial" about it.
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Old 04-15-2020, 03:05 PM   #18
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Hmmm ... your listed advantages of 12V refrigerators over propane refrigerators are not universal when applied to RVs.
Hardly anything is universal. Perhaps this issue is like others, there are pluses and minuses for both propane and DC refrigerators. For us we have found that the DC fridge in our RV works better than any propane fridge we had before. We also start our compressor fridge 6 or more hours before even though we don't have to do that to have it cool, but our preference is centered on the fact that the compressor fridge just seems to keep cooler than any of our propane fridges ever did, especially when it is hot as it often is in southern Arizona.

We constantly had a problem with all of our propane fridges in that the refrigerator section would be in the mid to upper 50s or even low 50s when running during the Arizona summer. When the outside temperature was above 80 the fridges would just not cool down properly and it was impossible to keep ice cream in the freezer. The compressor refrigerator fixed all of that.

Of course there is a down side to it as well as we have found out that we barely have enough battery power to get through the night unless it is cool outside, and I am having to upgrade our batteries to allow us to dry camp for a couple of days where there is not enough sunlight to recharge the batteries. That will be expensive but I still prefer the cold fridge to the warm one.

Of course YMMV.
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Old 04-15-2020, 03:17 PM   #19
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I couldn't disagree more, Richard.

It's common for the older generations to deride the perceived short comings of the younger generation as some kind of failing. I guarantee the generations before you would be more than happy to point out your obvious lack of maturity and common sense, too.

So, let's not fall into that trap here. We have LOTs of millenials here as members and they are universally fine folks that are more than plenty mature acting and thinking.

I'm 70... "OK Boomer" age for sure, and have been RVing for nearly 20 years. After 5 RVs, four with RV Fridges, I wouldn't buy another with that inadequate contraption on board. In fact, when we bought our last RV nearly 3-years ago now it was between two very nice very expensive RVs. One had an RV Fridge and the other a Residential Fridge (aka Compressor Fridge). They were equal in all other ways. We chose the one with the compressor fridge just for this reason.

My wife will tell you I'm pretty immature - but she'd wrestle you to ground if you tried to take away the compressor fridge from our rig.

Nothing "millennial" about it.
Hmmmm ... I"ll bet that your experience(s) with propane refrigerators was mostly with high cubit-footage RV models?

Our little 6.3 cf Norcold propane refrig has been spectacular. It's a complete non-issue on camping trips. We can get by at least two weeks living out of our Norcold - and can do it when on full hookups or when drycamping out on the Far Side of Beyond. I think that our carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and smoke detectors probably use more battery power than what the Norcold's control board and propane valve do.

P.S. One doesn't have to be anywhere near the millennial age-range to be caught up in millennial thinking. ... or maybe it's not millenial thinking ... maybe it's "First World" thinking by us type folks who partially grew up when the U.S. wasn't quite yet fully in the First World.
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Old 04-15-2020, 03:51 PM   #20
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AJMike and others:

I have been reading your posts/threads over the last few weeks and it has helped to crystalize my thinking. We are considering buying a late model Class B, probably a Winnie Era which we will use for mostly dry camping. From about 2017 to today they were made with DC compressor fridges and the model I like was only made with compressor fridges. So to get the model I like I have to have a compressor fridge.

I think I am ok with that and like I have said here before I have extensive experience with compressor fridges on boats, the only kind that work on a rocky/rolly boat.

Here is what I think I know and what I am going to do about it. Would appreciate your confirmation of my suppositions and any comments on my approach.

The fridge in the model I am looking at, the Winnie Era 70/170M is a tall (just enough room above it for a microwave) 6-7 cu ft two door compressor fridge with the freezer down. I don't know the model, but I think it draws 5 amps when running. At a 50% duty cycle in moderate 75 degree days, that is 60 Ahs. We will only use another 15 amp hours for other DC loads, but probably more if I add a satellite TV system which will bring it up to almost 100 Ahs daily.

Most of these Sprinter based coaches only have space for two G31 batteries behind the rear wheels. I am not ready for the complexities of Lithium so I am leaning heavily towards replacing the existing batteries with two Fireflys.

The 100 Ah Fireflys will give me 160 Ahs usable if I start from 100%. Our typical camping trip has us moving every 2-3 days- arrive about 3-4:00 and leave at about 9-10:00 the second day. So maybe 40 hours between running the chassis engine. So I can just make it with no solar but if we camp in a sunny spot (and I try not to) the 200 watts of solar could add 60 Ahs daily and let me extend it to 3 days, but that would not be the norm.

So I probably would have to run the genset for an hour or so every other day at camp. I would upgrade the existing 45 amp converter to 80 amps and increase the wire size to the batteries to minimize generator run time.

When we pack up and drive to the next campsite it usually takes 4 hours of driving. I would install a 40A Renogy B2B charger to limit current from the Mercedes alternator but also keep that current up as long as it is needed for charging the batteries. I should be able to just about charge up the batteries fully by the time we reach the next campsite.

Running the generator every other day is a PITA and burns a fair amount of propane, about 0.4 gallons per hour according to Cummins data for half load on their 2,500 watt propane generator. This means filling up the on board 9 gallon propane tank every other week, also a PITA.

So what do you all think?

David
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