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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Absorption vs. Residential refrigerator

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obiwancanoli

Napa

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Posted: 08/24/21 08:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My current rig - a 2017 Newmar Ventana LE - has a 12 c.f. 4-door refrigerator/freezer. Runs on 120 or propane, and simply does not keep the ice cream cold enough, and even at the highest setting, previously frozen foods begin to thaw, though only slightly. Temporary solution to this was the acquisition of a Dometic portable cooler (75DZ) that does a much better job of keep the ice cream in an acceptable state.

The issue for me is this: I'm considering trading up to a new MH, and my research suggests most if not all new coach's come with residential all-electric fridge. Since I boondock often, and will continue to do so, I also plan to move my current Battle Born Lithiums to the new coach (100Ah each, 4 total). I currently also have about 600 total watts of solar, and have room for another 600 watts (3 panels), and it's a given that I'll probably have an equivalent wattage output for solar on the new rig.

I'm attempting to learn as much as I can about the differences between Residential vs. Absorption fridge's, and why I would want one over the other. Capacity isn't a big issue for me, but I wouldn't want to go smaller than what I already have... To be sure, I'll be spending time at traditional RV parks with shore power, but again, there's the ice cream thing... I'd very much appreciate your insight and experience in guiding me toward the knowledge level I seek to make an informed decision - TIA! 

Michael

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Posted: 08/24/21 08:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'll never go back to absorption and primarily boondock. Usable space and cooling are superior in all conditions and at all elevations. You don't have to worry about being even remotely level and they're far more dependable/ less finicky.

I replaced the 7.5cu. ft absorption fridge in our truck camper with a 9.8cu. ft. apartment fridge and it uses 1.0-1.3kWh/day.

I replaced the 13cu. ft. absorption fridge in our fifth wheel with a 17.5cu. ft. counter-depth residential. It uses 1.6-1.9kWh/day, and we use the ice maker extensively as well.

I'd consider more solar and a larger battery bank... but don't like having to depend on a generator. 600W of panels might yield 3kWh if you're extremely lucky in the winter. Probably under 2kWh. Each Battleborn is roughly 1.2kWh, so not accounting for any charging, your fridge will deplete 1-2 batteries each day. Assuming you don't want to deplete your batteries each night and you want to be able to sustain through at least some inclement weather, you probably want a bank of 6+ batteries and triple the array.


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Vintage465

Prunedale CA.

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Posted: 08/24/21 08:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm thinking cause it's such a large absorption fridge that there is some reason it won't keep up? My set up, which is a smaller 6 c.f. Norcold with a separate freezer compartment has no issue keeping everything cold in the fridge and frozen hard in the freezer. Actually we occasionally freeze the lettuce in the fridge if we're not watching things.....that would be our biggest grump about our Norcold. For this reason, I hope to never go to a compressor fridge, though I do see that it is the way things are going. I like using my 12v power for other things and not thinking about my batteries at all. Does seem like most who make the jump to compressor fridges say they'd never go back, so there must be something to it.


V-465
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Second Chance

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Posted: 08/24/21 09:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We spent our first 4-1/2 years full-time with an Norcold absorption refrigerator... nothing but problems with it including replacing the complete cooling unit once. Our new rig has an 18 cu. ft. counter-depth residential refrigerator. We only have two BB 100AH LiFePO4 batteries and 300 watts of solar. We don't boondock, but even on long, overcast travel days, we arrive at our destination with the batteries at 13.4V or above. We couldn't be more pleased with the setup. Oh - 38 deg. in the frig and -2 in the freezer... never varies.

Rob


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(Previously in a Reflection 337RLS)
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pianotuna

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Posted: 08/24/21 10:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When my absorption fridge dies, I will replace it with an electric unit.

See if the maker uses a Danfoss compressor in their unit.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, soon to have SiO2 batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 08/25/21 03:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:

See if the maker uses a Danfoss compressor in their unit.

Danfoss has been bought and sold a couple of time in the past 15 years of so. I don't know if they still use that brand name or not.

wa8yxm

Davison Michigan (East of Flint)

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Posted: 08/25/21 05:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Absorption has the advantage of running on propane. this can be a boon when you are not hooked to power but.... With modern solar systems. not as much

Compressor (residential) come in a couple types.. The standard one like you have at home draws 100s of watts when running.

At one time both Norcold and Dometic have what I call "Danfoss" class (Danfoss is one of the companies that make the compressors, there are others)

These draw LESS THAN 50 watts running with the door closed and do a fine job.
They are 120/12 volt only.


Home was where I park it. but alas the.
2005 Damon Intruder 377 Alas declared a total loss
after a semi "nicked" it. Still have the radios
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valhalla360

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Posted: 08/25/21 05:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Never had an issue with absorption other than slow to cool if you put in warm stuff.

If you have a good solar/battery system, consider 12v fridges as they are now becoming common place in RVs and are more efficient.


Tammy & Mike
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theoldwizard1

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Posted: 08/25/21 07:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thinking about getting back into Raving. Two things I don't want in a new RV are propane and a black water tank. There are much better alternatives that provide the same functionality at lower cost or at least less maintenance.

Lwiddis

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Posted: 08/25/21 07:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With your batteries and solar situation I believe you are well suited to switch fridges.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watt solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL flag pole. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist14 yr. Army vet-11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


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