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 > 12 volt only refrigerator

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nmhuntr

Las Cruces, NM

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Posted: 04/12/21 07:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A friend of mine just bought a new TT. It has a 12 volt only refrigerator. I am completely unfamiliar with this type refrigerator. Is this the new move on TTers? Is it better that a 120 volt/propane unit? My propane unit works great and it is 15 years old. I cool it down with 120 volts and then it keeps up just fine. I am asking because I am looking into getting a newer TT and I am now concerned that I won’t be able to get a propane unit.

Thanks for your insight and experiences.


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BFL13

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Posted: 04/12/21 07:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Seems like a typo thing. Lots of new RVs with 120v only fridge (called "residential").

On that, don't know if they give you a choice of a two-way instead on a new one.


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Posted: 04/12/21 08:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

12V-only is better than 120V-propane or 120V-only if you camp mostly offgrid AND have a substantial solar system AND your climate and terrain favor solar energy harvesting. Or if you have a big Li battery bank sufficient for a typical duration of your trip. Or if you're prepared to run a generator couple hours every day.

6 cu.ft 12V fridge with say, 2 cu.ft freezer, will draw 50-70 AH a day (compare this to 8-15 AH of thermostat draw in propane fridge). You don't want this extra burden unless the above conditions are met. For the same volume they tend to cost more than 120V-propane or 120V-only, and for people camping mostly on hookups they don't make sense compared to 120V-only or 120V-propane.

mr_andyj

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Posted: 04/12/21 08:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes, the new 12 volt only fridges are great... if it uses the Danfoss compressor. The Danfoss compressor is ideal for battery operated or solar rigs. It uses much less power than the less-efficient household compressors (even doing the math from AC to DC).
It has a lower power draw for start-up and sips electricity, so your batteries last longer.

Many brands all use this same compressor or use a clone of this compressor.

If it is best for you it all depends, as always.

DC fridges are perfect for many, while others cling to propane.

Propane is great for those lacking ability to get power either from generator (to recharge the battery), solar (maybe you dont have the needed hours of sun) or from plugging the charger in.

Propane has weaknesses Im sure you are aware of.

Strength of DC fridge is that it will cool down to the set temp and sun, outside temps, or angle will not alter this. It is free to run if you have solar, u never need to buy gas or pay for hookups as long as sun shines.
Keep in mind that with a dual battery set-up the fridge will run for 3 days with minimal solar (parked in shade) and typically you drive to a new location before 3 days pass which means the alternator will put charge on the batteries also (and driving probably in full sun at times), so consider how long you will be parked in shade or low light too...

DC fridges run on 12 or 24 volts, or 120 household current that gets changed to 24 volts.

The jury is still out if these will last 15-20 years like the no-moving-parts of an absorption unit.

**DC units gained popularity in the Jeep/offroad crowd, who use them in vehicles that are being almost abused off road, and all the bouncing and abuse the fridge gets in such a vehicle has never caused a problem with the mechanics of the fridge that I have ever heard of. They are robust.

* This post was last edited 04/15/21 09:39am by mr_andyj *   View edit history

valhalla360

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Posted: 04/13/21 04:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We just bought last fall and most are switching to 12V DC fridges. They have been common in the marine world for years (can't use propane when the boat is heeled over 15 degrees).

There are trade offs.

Pros:
- Cools quicker when you start it up.
- The mechanicals are much smaller resulting in a much larger interior for the same size space.
- If at a campground on shore power, works fine.
- Eliminated a roof penetration as it doesn't need external venting.

Cons:
- Ours came with a small solar system from the factory but you probably need to upgrade it a bit if you are doing extensive off grid.(we've only done a couple nights off grid so far)
- Unknown long term durability...In theory, it should be fine but hard to say.

So far, we like it but with only 6 months of use, we can't speak to the durability.


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theoldwizard1

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Posted: 04/13/21 06:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

nmhuntr wrote:

A friend of mine just bought a new TT. It has a 12 volt only refrigerator. I am completely unfamiliar with this type refrigerator. Is this the new move on TTers? Is it better that a 120 volt/propane unit? My propane unit works great and it is 15 years old. I cool it down with 120 volts and then it keeps up just fine.

Most people feel to propane (evaporative) refrigerators could be "better". They do not do well in very high temperatures (>90F).

"Compressor" refrigerators work well regardless of the ambient temperature.

TurnThePage

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Posted: 04/13/21 08:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'll be looking for the old school 120v/propane absorption for my next RV. You can go a loooong time on a tank of propane regardless of the weather, or 120VAC availability. Luckily they are still readily available.


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mobeewan

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Posted: 04/13/21 12:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The 12V DC refrigerators have been used for a long time in the Boating and sailing industry. There are many of them that are very reliable. A lot of the full timers and nomads who have enough battery and solar are running them successfully in their trailer or van builds. I am seriously looking at purchasing a 12 volt fridge for my trailer build that I am planning to build after I finish getting my work shop up and running.

n0arp

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Posted: 04/13/21 01:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We used a JC Refrigeration kit to convert the 2-way refrigerator in our truck camper to a compressor, and converted the fridge in our fifth wheel to a residential.

JC sells 12V and 120V versions, but we went with 120V because our inverter is on 24/7 and our battery bank is 48V, though we do still have a 12V system. We will never have an absorption unit again.

We boondock the majority of the time in both rigs.


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scottykrug

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Posted: 04/13/21 11:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Love our 12v fridge. Blows the doors off the propane/120vac version it replaced.


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