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Author: Subject: Truck camper fridge questions
PaulW
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 08:21 AM


BTW, No mater how you manage the power for you electric frig/freezer please get a jump start device for backup. If you are alone and have dead battery it is not a good thing.
Your experience will vary and solar is good as is dual batteries. It all comes down to what if?
The cost for the top power units go from $160+ down to 67+. Compare the battery power of the Lithium Ion battery and get one with that has the best power to dollar ratio. Forget about options like reserve power like Consumer Reports likes to rate highly. All you want is max cranking power.
Very good insurance for back country use.
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aguachico
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 10:16 AM


Running house devices off of starter battery is a bad idea, period. Deep cycle batts are cheap, charging them is very easy and cheap.
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Hook
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 07:01 PM


Whatever you do, DO NOT RUN AN ABSORPTION (PROPANE STYLE) FRIDGE ON THE 12V SETTING, IF IT HAS ONE!!!! I am not talking about the 12v current that is supplied to the control panel. I'm talking about using 12v to cool the fridge. Even with current supplied by your vehicle's charging system, it is unlikely that enough current is getting through the small gauge wiring that connects your truck to the camper's house battery. The draw is something like 20 amps at 12 v. And if you forget to switch to propane when you stop for lunch, you can do your house battery serious damage unless you have something that cuts off the power at about 11.5 volts.

12v COMPRESSOR fridges are great, but you better have enough battery capacity and solar generation to support it.
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aguachico
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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 06:17 AM


The new 12 volt fridges have sensor protection build in. I'm lusting over the Dometik or the ARB

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PaulW
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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 07:38 AM


True the RV absorption frig's do not have a 12v low voltage cutoff. A serious omission in the design. I always stop for lunch with the thing on 12v and have no issue with the house battery. I guess because the frig is already cold. Of course if the house battery was old it sure would be an issue.
The portable frig/freezers do have the low voltage cutoff settings. However I let mine sit 4 days with the frig on and car parked and the result was no start. I had the voltage cutoff set at the mid point. So constant cycling at that cutoff point was enough to lower the battery so the thing would not start.
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Hook
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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 07:46 AM


Quote: Originally posted by aguachico  
The new 12 volt fridges have sensor protection build in. I'm lusting over the Dometik or the ARB



Those are probably not absorption fridges. It's the older, 3-way absorptions fridge's 12v setting that is the real power robber.

I have found the best of both worlds in continuing to use my 6 cf absorption fridge with my 40 qt Norcold compressor fridge. The absorption works SLIGHTLY better on 115v than propane, but I can go a long time on two, 7.5 gallon propane tanks. I am rarely plugged in to grid current when camping. Not a fan of RV parks. So, all foods go into the absorption fridge and all beverages go into the compressor. I can keep beverages in the low 30s and not have to worry about damaging produce. The small absorption freezer keeps the few frozen things frozen, but also makes ice each night for mixed drinks. I leave home with a gallon ziplock of cubes and make more each night in camp, when necessary.

However, I am not able to make enough to take any kind of sizable ice chest out in a boat. That requires a purchase and is the only ice I have bought on the road in the last 5 years of travel. Nice not having to deal with melting ice.

The problem I find with the compressor fridges is that you have to buy the larger ones to have a separate refrigerator and freezer section and that gets expensive fast. And then you have reduced your refrigerator section to a very small amount. Beer is a big space hog. Did I mention that beer is a necessity?

You can rebuild the "guts" of an absorption fridge for much cheaper and keep the increased capacity. There are also lots of decent Dometic absorption fridges from the early - mid 2000s out there that simply have a defective control board that owners never replaced. Dinosaur makes great after-market control boards that fix the problem and give you more control over the cooling process. Leveling has never been much of an issue for me; I dont want to sleep in the camper on an uneven surface that would make an absorption fridge inefficient, anyway. That's what the orange "legos" are for.
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PaulW
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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 08:09 AM


Hook,
Of interest for day trips I have a Dometec CDF11 (1.5 liter) compressor frig/freezer. Works like my 50 liter one I use for camping. The CDF11 is targeted for the cross country trucker segment as it is a 12v only unit, For precooling I use a 110/12v converter. It has the 3 voltage cutoff like the big one. It has the dual compartments deep one for coldest and upper small one for warmer things. Holds a large quantity of 12 oz cans or typical water bottles. Wide range of pricing so be sure to shop around for the best price.
Sure nice to get rid of buying ice. Obviously it would work on your boat depending on your electrical system and battery size.
BTW, the cup/drink holders are not cooled, just for convenience. I see some off road rigs that are using this unit to replace their console.
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chrishaynesusa
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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 10:17 AM





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mtgoat666
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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 10:30 AM


Quote: Originally posted by chrishaynesusa  





looks fancy!

but it seems a bit impractical as it leaves no room for luggage, kids and dogs




Make America Decent Again
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chrishaynesusa
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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 10:35 AM




Roof rack for luggage, front and rear seats for passengers.
trailer for gear :grin:





[/threadjack]

[Edited on 10-18-2017 by chrishaynesusa]
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aguachico
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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 01:16 PM


:o Bad ass looking rig.
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Hook
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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 03:36 PM


Mr. Haynes, thanks for the pics of your incredible rig.

Not being too familiar with ARB fridges, do you set one for freezing and one for 35+ ?
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blackwolfmt
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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 04:05 PM


yeah really NIICCCCEE Rig for sure:bounce:



So understand dont waste your time always searching for those wasted years
face up and make your stand and realize that your living in the golden years
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chrishaynesusa
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[*] posted on 10-19-2017 at 10:33 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Hook  
Mr. Haynes, thanks for the pics of your incredible rig.

Not being too familiar with ARB fridges, do you set one for freezing and one for 35+ ?


Yes , one for freezing stuff and one for cool stuff. :)
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Hook
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[*] posted on 10-20-2017 at 10:45 AM


I didnt mention that I do have a Kyocera solar panel on my camper. I have seen it put out (reading at the charge controller) as much as 8 amps @ 14.5 volts. For my purposes, preferring to camp off grid, I dont think I would consider using a compressor fridge without one. We will sometimes be in one location for 7-10 days, so no driving to charge the house battery. If you are moving every other day, solar might not be necessary.

My 40qt Norcold compressor fridge draws 2.1 amps @ 12v, according to the spec sheet. I have no idea if that is 2.1/hr or 2.1 amps while the compressor is running. On a fridge setting, it probably kicks in about once every 10 minutes in an ambient temp of 80-85 degrees F. Probably runs for 3-5 minutes.

I also have a battery separator between the truck batteries and the house battery that allows charging (in either direction) when voltage in either location exceeds 13.2 volts. The charge controller is a two-bank controller that allows you to send 50/50% or 90/10% of its charge to the house/truck batteries, respectively. I use the 90/10 setting.

It also isolates the two systems below that 13.2 threshold, so while it could be possible to run down your house battery (low sunlight for multiple days, high draw for some reason), the truck batteries are protected.

I actually did make up a jumper cable that bypasses the battery separator, if I wanted to combine the battery systems below 13.2 volts. But so far, the solar panel has made that unnecessary.

The jump start units really arent an option for most diesel trucks. Just not enough CCAs. My truck uses two GP 27 sized batteries as starting batteries.

This is all basic stuff for owners of most types of RVs with solar. But I thought I would write it up for those with conventional vehicles who are considering adding a compressor fridge and a solar panel and controller. If there is some way you can shoehorn in a "house" battery and isolate it, it's real peace of mind.
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