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Old 09-13-2013, 08:51 AM   #1
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2 or 3 way fridge?

Hey guys

I have an old 3 way fridge off a 84 VW van that I was thinking of using in my build. It works fine but given it's older I'm not sure I should bother or not?

A newer 3 way is pretty pricey, a bit easier on my wallet to go with a 2 way... Anyone with experience to point me in the right direction?

Is the propane a big plus?

Cheers
Mr. D
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:51 AM   #2
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Re: 2 or 3 way fridge?

I've had both and never want to go back to the 3 way.

My 3 way had trouble maintaining cold in 90+ heat, my 2 way doesn't.

My 2 way is set it and forget it. I turn it on at the start of a trip, set the thermostat and don't touch it for weeks at a time. The 3-way had to be changed from propane to 12V and back several times a day when traveling. And don't forget to turn off the 12V when stopped or you will have a dead battery in short order.

With a 2 way I can park anywhere, at strange angles and it still works the same. Some hiking spots don't have level parking places.

The 3 way is quieter, but I can sleep next to my 2 way.

Not everyone agrees with me.

Mike
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:36 AM   #3
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Re: 2 or 3 way fridge?

I see the only advantage of a 3-way being not having to rely on battery power. You can run it a long time on a tank of propane (if stationary for long periods) without worrying about your battery or relying on solar (iffy here in the rainforest) or carrying a generator.

A 2-way does not have to be vented to the outside and is much more efficient on 12V (as compared to a 3-way). My old '89 VW Westy had a 3-way fridge, and it was useless on 12V, barely maintained the temp. We only used it when driving.

I'd splurge for a new 2-way, or scour CL and Ebay for a used one.

Cheers,
Brent
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Old 09-13-2013, 02:39 PM   #4
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Re: 2 or 3 way fridge?

Exactly what I was looking for answer, thanks guys!

In a funny twist of event (and perfect timing) this past hour I sold that fridge along with the rest of the Westy's interior (which cleared a good chunk of space) for more than I paid for

This way I get to stick to my original plan; starting from scratch!

Thanks again and hopefully I'll get to update my AmbuLand thread once things calm down around here.

Cheers
Mr. D
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Old 09-24-2013, 08:43 AM   #5
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Re: 2 or 3 way fridge?

With the affordability of solar panels now, I see no reason to go with a 3way fridge. They require huge holes in the body and add an open flame plus the leveling requirements.
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:07 AM   #6
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Re: 2 or 3 way fridge?

Several years ago I went through this same analysis. We have a '95 SMB with the larger 2-way refrig. When we bought the SMB used it had one axillary battery. (Most of our camping is with no land power.) We could barely run the refrig overnight. I got a new deep cycle battery, it ran a little longer. I looked into getting a 3-way refrig. The 5 cu ft 3-way refrig was a couple grand and I did not like the big holes that would have to be punched through the side of the van.

So, we eventually decided to have solar panels installed. We had SMB-West install 4-50 watt panels and an additional axillary battery. We have plenty of power now. Because, we live in the pacific northwest, we get many days without direct sunlight and the extra solar panels are needed. The only time we have low battery voltage is when we sit for consecutive cloudy/wet days and under trees.

I would also recommend the solar panel approach.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:22 PM   #7
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Re: 2 or 3 way fridge?

just get a 1 way, a 12 volt! http://www.truckfridge.com

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Old 09-24-2013, 02:34 PM   #8
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Re: 2 or 3 way fridge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
just get a 1 way, a 12 volt! http://www.truckfridge.com

I still prefer the 2-way or I would add a 12v power supply/converter to a one way fridge. One of the things I enjoy is being able to leave the fridge run 24-7 during the cooler months. I'd rather not run the charger while it sits. No sense in cycling the batteries everyday. Had a couple issues doing that in the past.
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:41 PM   #9
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Re: 2 or 3 way fridge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
just get a 1 way, a 12 volt! http://www.truckfridge.com

I still prefer the 2-way or I would add a 12v power supply/converter to a one way fridge. One of the things I enjoy is being able to leave the fridge run 24-7 during the cooler months. I'd rather not run the charger while it sits. No sense in cycling the batteries everyday. Had a couple issues doing that in the past.
Really? I kind of hate to hear that Dave because it's exactly what I was hoping to do. I'd ideally just like to leave my Tripp-lite on 'charge only' all the time and just plug in when I am home and never fool with any switches. Bad for batteries with a Tripp-lite? BTW, I have no solar.

Sorry for the hijack OP but probably good info for you to hear.

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Old 09-24-2013, 06:28 PM   #10
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Re: 2 or 3 way fridge?

Some do it. But in my case all it took was for a starting battery to go bad and my inverter/charger began to pump all it could trying to charge that shorted battery. It was when it spewed battery acid all over and off gassed it was obvious I had a problem. Glad I found it in time...well kinda At least it didn't blow up or catch fire.

Smart chargers are not smart at all. That's why it's risky IMO to use a heavy amp charger and not monitor the charge on a regular basis. I still do charge when needed but have learned to read my gauges. If you see the charging amps taper off in a normal drop chances are you'll be OK. Long before the battery went critical, I saw unusually high amp reading of over 30 amps and let it charge overnight. That won't happen again.

That is what is so nice about solar. It supplies a light charge that's enough to keep thing up but won't supply the heavy amp overcharge current, so you can throw your clothes in the drier and leave home without fear of your house burning down.

You can also lower the output of the inverter/charger but that makes for slow charge times when you need it. An inverter that doubles as a light power supply can be used or you can add a second smaller charger. A charger/converter can be installed or simply install a good gauge and monitor it from time to time.
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