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Old 12-13-2009, 10:38 PM   #1
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Isotherm fridge

Does the Isotherm (in particular, the 130 or the 85) come in both 12V and 110 versions? Also, what site can I find prices on?

Thanks, Rick
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:11 AM   #2
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Re: Isotherm fridge

I don't recall if the 130 has the ability to plug into 120v and I can't see behind it to see if it is plugged into 120v or not. According to a .pdf sheet linked to the Isotherm 130 page, Isotherm has a converter which can be ordered to have this ability.

Isotherm refrigerators are sold by one company in each region. I initially tried to purchase ours from an on-line dealer somewhere back east and they won't take the order. In fact, they told me who the dealer was in our area and then called that dealer to follow up with me. It turned out that the dealer was only about 30 minutes from our house which worked out well.

BTW, we are really pleased with our 130. Be sure and purchase the ASU. The unit is very quiet and efficient. However, you should install the cut-off switch Charlie mentioned to power down the ASU if needed (we have never needed to so far). You'll also need to solder the wire connections to the ASU as Charlie mentioned and come up with a way to keep the wire terminal connected to the ASU. I described my solution in a previous post. (Charlie copied my design for this unit and reported to me after his Death Valley/Diablo Dropoff trip that it worked perfectly...that could have been his first trip with his Isotherm that he didn't need to pull it out sometime during a trip. )

Our 130 with the ASU was about $1500.
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:04 PM   #3
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Re: Isotherm fridge

raising this thread from the dead

I have a 12 V only isotherm cruse 85 with ASU. I wanted the ASU so a 12/110 was not an option. My house battery has worn down in 2 years. I believe that using the 12 v refrig almost 24/7 has contributed to this. Being plugged in does not increase my battery reading unless I turn on the battery charger which I have done often when it probably was not necessary.

I have talked to Frank at ext 32 at Indel Marine in FL (who makes the frig). I can get a converter for $259, part # 2999-561 by calling 866-209-6132. There is a web site but he looked up the part for me.
The battery would connect to the converter and the refrig would connect to the frig. When I am plugged in the frig would run off 110 but the ASU would not work. I would need 2 switches. When I plug in , I switch off the ASU because it would be looking to the 12 V battery to run and I switch from 12v to 110.
When I unplug, I switch the ASU back on and switch the frig to 12 v.

He said any converter from 110 to 12V with at least 6 amp min. would also work.

Does this make sense? Does anyone have a converter for their 12V refrig? If so, who installed it and does it have switches? Within 5 miles of my house is a factory authorized service dealer for Isotherm refrigerators. He was surprised it was in an RV and not in a boat but he said he thought could install a converter in a RV. 15 miles away is a good RV repair place I would trust to do it. What about SMBW? I am afraid they might have problems if it was a first time to install a converter.

What do you all think?
Angel
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:09 AM   #4
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Re: Isotherm fridge

Yes, it does make sense to a degree. The ASU is only there to protect the house battery from being drained so some switches would be needed to connect it to 120v. But some questions:

Do you already have an inverter, i.e., 120v outlets in your van? If so, it seems simpler to get a 12v transformer which plugs into one of the 120v outlets and connect the refrigerator to that when you are on shore power. A switch would still be necessary to switch between the 12v coming from the transformer/120v outlet and the 12v coming from the house battery.

You mention "turning on the battery charger" when plugged into shore power. What is that? When I plug into shore power, it automatically recharges my house battery (and automatically powers up the 120v outlets). Are you saying that shore power doesn't automatically recharge your house battery? When I'm plugged into shore power, our Isotherm still runs off of the 12v house battery but that battery is being continuously recharger so there isn't a drain on it from the refrigerator.

You mention using your refrigerator 24/7...when you are not plugged into shore power and not driving, how is the house battery being recharged? Do you have solar? If not, the problem might not be the refrigerator but too many deep drains of the house battery. Two years is a little premature for a house battery to go but not completely unexpected. If you don't have solar, I'd invest in that first....
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:25 AM   #5
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Re: Isotherm fridge

yvrr, thanks for your input,
Yes, I do have Kyocera 130 watt solar panel with a Blue Sky controller.

Yes, I do have a Xantrex pure sin wave 2000 watt inverter and 120V outlets.

The transformer sounds like a great idea!!!!!!!. I will have to learn what one is and what it does. Do you know a good web site with that info?

I did not think the house battery was charged unless I switched it on. (on the inverter panel where I can switch on the inverter). My frig went turned off last night. I plugged in around 11pm and turned the battery charger on. The battery was down to 10 V. BUT I did not think to make sure the battery was up before I turned the frig on. I was only thinking that I had cooled the frig down to 39 degrees with ice so I could turn it on.

I am leaving today and will be camping where I can plug in. I am going to watch everything and keep track to what is happening. I want to make sure the refrig is working as it should. I will find out if the battery charges just by being plugged in. I know the 12V overhead lights get brighter at night when I plug in. PS: I am taking a cooler with ice in case all else fails

Another possible reason for battery failure: I just learned form Frank at Indel that I should have been running my Isotherm in the NORMAL-AUTO position at night because it has an economy mode and uses less battery. I have always been using the MAN. TEMP position because it kept my refrig at a more constant temp and cooler. I should have only been using it during the day when I have solar or when I have shore power because the compressor will automatically speed up for faster cooling.

I go next Tue to SMBW to have them replace the bad battery (with one year credit for failure in 2 years out of 3) and I am having them install a 2nd 4D house battery. I will see if they know anything about a transformer.

Angel
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:17 AM   #6
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Re: Isotherm fridge

With solar, you shouldn't be needing to plug in at all if your house battery is in good shape. But the fact that it is down to 10v means that it needs to be replaced. You should never let your house battery get below 12.0 volts and 12.2 volts is even a better guideline.

With your setup, you should be charging the house battery whenever you are plugged in...no need to switch on the inverter but I might be wrong on that one.

If you get a second house battery and have solar (and have SMB make sure that everything is working correctly), you won't need a transformer for the refrigerator.

Here is what we do with our Isotherm. A day or two before a trip, we plug into shore power and turn the Isotherm on to Manual with the switch rotated to the highest setting. This will get the refrigerator as cold as possible. We precool drinks and anything else that is going into the refrigerator. During the summer months when the air temperatures are higher, we will load the refrigerator during the late evening (this is to minimize the loss of cool while the door is open loading things). We also arrange things that are going into the refrigerator on the floor and top of the refrigerator by where they will go once we start loading things...again overkill but an effort to finish loading in as short of a time as possible. We always load the refrigerator no later than the evening before we leave for a trip.

As soon as the refrigerator is loaded, we turn the ASU control back to Normal-Auto. We stay plugged into shore power since the refrigerator now needs to recool itself back to it's normal temperature settings which will otherwise pull down the house battery. The next morning, we unplug and are ready to go. We keep the ASU on Normal for the entire trip.

As you know, there is no user-controlled thermostat in these refrigerators. We do have a remote thermometer which we check occasionally to make sure everything is okay. At night, the ASU will monitor the voltage on the house battery and turn itself off (relying on the frozen cool plate to keep everything cold) when the house battery reaches 12.2v. Our house battery needs to be replaced but it is never below 12.2v in the morning.

If we need to add things to the refrigerator during the trip and they aren't precooled, we will add only a couple items at a time unless it is early in the morning and we will be driving for a while.

Hope this helps...
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:48 AM   #7
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Re: Isotherm fridge

Re: a transformer for your fridge (more accurately, a converter) - your battery charger is a converter, changing 110V AC to 12V DC. If your charger is on when you're plugged in, your fridge will draw power from the charger directly. No need to spend $500 (by the time you pay to have it installed), and add another layer of complexity (ie. what happens if you forget to flip a switch one day - does it go to your inverter to convert from 12V -> 110V -> 12V and drain your battery much faster? Or does it just shut off and ruin your food? etc), IMO.

Five hundred dollars would buy lots of cold beer to keep your fridge cool through the night, anyway

Cheers,
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Old 09-30-2010, 03:59 PM   #8
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Re: Isotherm fridge

When I turn on the battery charger, I do not turn on the inverter.

I got the refrig loaded and am ready to leave. I have been checking the voltage on the battery. I am plugged in to shore power. But if I unplug I see no difference in voltage. If I turn on the battery charger when I am plugged in the voltage goes up. So, I conclude that I do not have an automatic battery charger which has always been the case since I got the SMB. If it is supposed to charge automatically as needed then something is wrong with my inverter which has the battery charger.

The solar will keep up with the frig in the normal-auto position. In the manual-temp position the voltage jumps all over the place but eventually the solar cannot keep up and the refrig lights start blinking. I then turn it off for 60 sec. , turn on the battery charger and when the voltage is above 13 I switch the refrig on and every thing runs fine. The solar stops charging because the battery is being kept full by the battery charger.

I must be dreaming.......but I would like a converter if it could be automatic-when I plug in, the refrig starts running on 120 V and the ASU is turned off. When I unplug, the converter stops, the ASU is switched on and the refrig automatically starts running on 12 V. Is such a system possible? If so, it would be worth the money if: running the 12V refrig through the 12V battery-bringing the volts down and then always recharging the battery by solar by day and battery charger at night-is what made my battery die before its time. I agree about forgetting to switch switches.

I like having my refrig on 24/7 because I never know when I am going to use my SMB for a quick over night or two. I do not just go on long planned trips. I do not want to use up my battery when I can use shore power. Maybe I am wrong, but I believe keeping my battery charger on because I am always using the battery for the refrig is what wore my battery down. Is that true?

I will see how the week end goes. Thanks for your input. I could buy a lot of wine for $500. :-)

Angel
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:15 PM   #9
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Re: Isotherm fridge

Angel,
I do not have that Inverter/Charger but I would think that you should leave the charger always enabled. When you plug in it will provide voltage to your fridge. If your plugged in and the charger is not enabled you are just running off of your battery and/or solar. When the charger is enabled it will both charge the battery and provide the current needed to run your 12 volt powered devices including the refrigerator. I have run my refrigerator 24/7 since I have owned it (2004), I am always plugged in when parked in my driveway.

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Old 09-30-2010, 09:28 PM   #10
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Re: Isotherm fridge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel
I like having my refrig on 24/7 because I never know when I am going to use my SMB for a quick over night or two. I do not just go on long planned trips. I do not want to use up my battery when I can use shore power. Maybe I am wrong, but I believe keeping my battery charger on because I am always using the battery for the refrig is what wore my battery down. Is that true?
Hi Angel,

What's more likely to shorten your battery's life is many cycles of charge/discharge, such as experienced when your fridge is on, and you're topping back up with solar. In that case, your voltage is dropping at night, and then the battery is being charged when the sun appears once more. The worst culprit is deep discharges, below 60% or so of capacity.

If you keep the charger on, it will keep the battery on a trickle charge - good for its longevity. This prevents an AGM's regular self-discharge of about 2 percent per month (admittedly a small amount). The refrigerator will draw current directly from the charger, without affecting the battery. It won't be drawing anything from the battery itself - the current will just flow across its terminals.

I feel that I should note that I'm only an amateur electrician!! Whatever that means But this is how I built my own electrical system.

Cheers,
Mike.
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