Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 09-19-2011, 11:12 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
dave_in_delaware's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gap, PA
Posts: 245
Send a message via Yahoo to dave_in_delaware
Refrigerators NOT built-in and their daily WH requirements?

OK, so from the beginning I've been designing my RV to not have a built-in refrigerator. My layout just doesn't have the room or space for one. I've been figuring I'd use a portable 12v model. And I've been OK with that. LOL.

The reasons behind this decision are simple:

1. I just don't have the space for one
2. I was hoping they used less power than the regular 3-4 cf built-in fridges
3. I wanted something that could easily be removed if not needed for a particular trip
4. I wanted a top-load to help keep the cold IN
5. I was hoping they were less expensive, or could be bought and added at a later date

As to point #2: The lowest power draw I have found so far is from an Engel MT17 Portable Top-Open DC/AC Fridge. It's a 16-quart size, and power consumption is variable from 0.6 to 2.3 amps @ 12vDC.

At 2.3 amps (max) and running 24 hours per day, that's 662 daily WH used. And designing to a worst-case scenario in the summer, that's about half of my daily usage! WTF? I'm hoping small 12v fridges have a duty cycle and aren't running all the time, but I have no idea how long they do run.

I was wondering if anyone out there has a portable "not built in" refrigerator in their RV? If so, what do you have? What's the power requirements? Is there anything more efficient or with a lower amp draw? What do you use to keep your stuff cold?

Thanks for any insight, suggestions, experiences, etc that you can offer!
__________________

__________________
Dave

Homebuilt RV Project: Design Phase is 80% Complete! (but on hold until I win the lottery)
Ford E-350 EB w/ Cruiser Top, Flip-down "Gaucho" sofa/bed, custom cabinets, AGM batteries, solar panels, water heater, fresh/gray water tanks, sink, porta-potty....
dave_in_delaware is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2011, 12:00 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
AndrewST's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Switzerland soon back to Oregon
Posts: 733
Re: Refrigerators NOT built-in and their daily WH requiremen

In my previous rig, I had a engel 45 liter connected to the engine 2x100A batteries.
On those trips we where driving every day, no problem even on the 24 hours ferry where the fridge was running the engine started.

The fridge did not run all the time, it was cycling daytine around 50% and night time around 30% of the time.

For the van I just ordered a Dometic 80 liter, will see how it works.
__________________

__________________
2009 E350 window RB 6.0 PSD Quadvan 4x4 with EB pop top
2003 E350 ambulance 7.3 PSD Quigley
2007 Jeep JK for local offroad
AndrewST is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2011, 12:03 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
dhally's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: SE Washington
Posts: 843
Garage
Re: Refrigerators NOT built-in and their daily WH requiremen

An electric refrigerator IS the biggest user in the van. I have never used one but there are many posts about people's experience with daily energy usage. I seem to remember a 50% duty cycle being mentioned. We are installing a propane frig for this reason. There are portable propane frig's but I wouldn't think they should be operated inside the van...

You might also check on expeditionportal.com. Many of the members there use portable electric frig's.
__________________
---------------------
2009 E250 RB 5.4L "SilVan"
dhally is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2011, 01:13 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
regist1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: SW Missouri
Posts: 25
Re: Refrigerators NOT built-in and their daily WH requiremen

I have an ARB 50, which I run on a single Optima Yellow top. Just last week I took my 4+ year old yellow top to the work bench and charged it full on my smart charger then hooked it up to my ARB frig. I added several cold sodas and bottled waters and plugged in the AC until the frig was cold; I set the frig to 32F. I let the AC run for a few hours then I unplugged the AC and plugged in the Yellow top, it's voltage read 13.1V. The frig was set to the MED battery saver setting. I monitored the results every few hours. The frig ran 35-1/2 hours until I got the red flashing light which means the Battery Saver was going to shut down the frig. The resting voltage (frig not running) read 12.2V. The temperature in my closed garage remained 80-76F through out the whole test. I opened the lid twice to check the thermometer I had put inside, I find the temperature inside to be 2-4F higher than the display. I left the frig closed for another 4 hours and then opened the lid and observed an inside temperature of 38F. Finally, I plugged in the Smart charger, left the frig plugged into the battery and let both run. The battery charger charged at full 6V(red light), for about 5 hours, then went to the float charge stage (red-green) for another 5-6 hours(I was not present when it changed to green light).

Note, that I opened the frig only twice and neither time did I add or remove anything. I am sure this helped to preserve the cold and added to the length of time my battery powered the frig. Of course keeping the lid closed is the key to keeping any frig cold. Also, the battery was 4+ years old and has been used to start my Jeep CJ as well as drawn down several times during long winching events. It has even survived a rollover recently.

I have a 6V smart charger installed in the van which I use to top off the battery before leaving home or when shore power is available and the factory Ford auxiliary battery tray/separator. I think the Ford set-up is a separator (with a diode) because I get always get a reading of about .5V lower reading from the aux. batt then from the primary when running. It does charge the aux batt given enough time driving.

My wife and I are happy with our ARB 50, it is the right size for us. I have it secured to the floor with the nylon straps ARB sells, so I can remove it when needed on the sailboat or Jeep. It runs very quiet, so much so we do not notice it cycling on at night.

This is my experience with my optima and ARB, your results may vary. Always seek the advise of a professional. haha
__________________
2007 EB 15-PASS, 5.4L, 265/75R16, 4.10 gears, 2" lift, Camper Conversion
regist1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2011, 01:36 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Ultrasport12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Bay Area ,CA
Posts: 761
Re: Refrigerators NOT built-in and their daily WH requiremen

We are using this ARB unit that we bought on Amazon.They have four different sizes but we liked the 63 quart because it was shorter and held more than the 50 quart model.

http://www.amazon.com/ARB-10800602-Frid ... 285&sr=8-3

It is not cheap that's for sure but it has been working very well for us and thus we are very happy with our decision to get this unit. We decided that we didn't want a metal cooler because of the possibility of dents. We went to the Overland Expo in April and some of the people there had some dents in their coolers. Also there are a lot of slide and drop down cooler mounts available but they too are quite pricey. I bought sliders and built a mount because I wanted it to be sideways not in and out. We mounted it under the front edge of our bed near the rear side 40% door and it slides out so you can reach in easy from outside or we can use it from inside without opening the door.

What we do is use the 120 volt cord in the van until just before we leave on a trip. The cooler the items you put in are the colder it stays and the faster it cools down. We also have a on board battery charger to keep our batteries topped up full. We have two Aux batteries that run everything we use for camping. We try to keep the fridge out of the sun as much as possible during the day and so far we have gone three possibly four days including watching movies and using LED lights and such without having to start the van for anything.

The fridge only runs a few minutes every few hours even on hottest day inside the van,and at night it runs less. We keep it very cold say 25-28 degrees on the display so our water (and a small bag or two of ice for drinks) stays slushy near the edges next to the cooling plates and the items in the center are just about 32-35 degrees.

If I have any complaints about it they are:

Its very heavy and hard to carry when full of food and drinks so we now fill it up inside the van.
Its hard to carry through a door in the house by your self even when empty.
The top is very long, 46 inches from the bottom of the unit to the upper edge when open so you have to plan for clearance depending on where you put it. Side hinge top might be better for some but its perfect the way it is for where we mounted it.
The basket divider is not adjustable, just in or out in the center.
It (the compressor?) rattles/clunks sometimes on bumpy roads.

The good things:

Nice looking.
Nice display and controls.
Good handles for carrying and tie downs, we bought the ARB strap kit

http://www.amazon.com/ARB-10900010-Frid ... uto_text_b

but you could just use a strap on each side.
It has a battery cut off that you can set to save the battery.
Very easy to clean.Has a drain in the bottom.
Nice LED light inside, although a bit low depending on how its packed.
Quiet fan and compressor.
Not too much heat output, something never mentioned about any portable fridge, but they do put out heat unless you figure out some kind of venting.
We use it in the house for a small fridge on our bar or as a freezer if we need extra room.

Note while it says Fridge /Freezer it is NOT both at the same time. It can be a freezer or a fridge but again not at the same time.There is however a nice spot that is not cooled by the plates at the back for items you just want cooled but not too cold.

Good Luck on your project...
__________________
2008 Ford E-350 V-10 EB
Transformer Interior
U-Joint Off Road 4x4 kit in the garage
2004 F-350 Dana 60
Ultrasport12 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2011, 01:44 PM   #6
Site Team
 
daveb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 9,895
Garage
Re: Refrigerators NOT built-in and their daily WH requiremen

I'd say if you plan on a electric refrigerator your going to need some charge input of some kind or one big battery bank. Insulation would be a huge property you'd have to look at to help reduce run time. If I freeze a large block of ice and put it in my refrigerator, it will really help with run time and I'm amazed how long the ice keeps in it. Then I use the container as potable water. But it still cycles and the only solution I can think of is:

Solar.
Generator.
Large bank with a high amp alternator + engine run time.
Alternative source such as a high dollar fuel cell unit.
Shore power and frequent stops.

I've never had less than 180 watts worth of solar so I can say how well a smaller panel would work but as long as you get some sun, a 130 panel would probably work. The only reason I upgraded to twin 135's is because of the fog I live in throughout the winter. Even in limited overcast, my panels put out enough to keep the batteries at a reasonable level.

Maybe you're more suited to an ice box and dry ice but I don't know if dry ice can be used in a confined area.

Even those small portables will jerk a battery down over the course of a day.

I'd still like one of these small type units as a backup.

I'm still looking for a super small well made plug in refrigerator and if you find something, post back.
__________________
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
daveb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2011, 11:31 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
dave_in_delaware's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gap, PA
Posts: 245
Send a message via Yahoo to dave_in_delaware
Re: Refrigerators NOT built-in and their daily WH requiremen

Wow. Thanks everyone for the responses! They were a big help.

I decided to look into the ARB fridges a little more. I actually ended up on the phone with one of their employees named Buddy King. He gave me a little history lesson of ARB fridges and answered my questions very thoroughly. He also uses an ARB fridge in his 4x4....

Basically, ARB wanted to improve on the other portable fridges out there, and make them more durable to withstand rough terrain for 4x4 vehicles. They have better insulation and a thicker door (top-open to keep the coldness IN) than most other portables. But the heart of their fridges is the German Danfoss compressor. It's the most efficient compressor out there, and it's a two-stage compressor. When you first turn on an ARB it uses about 5 amps per hour in "turbo chill" mode to bring everything inside the fridge down to whatever temp you set. Then, the digital temperature monitor inside the fridge turns on and off the fridge 15 times per hour to keep the contents at the set temp, which only uses maybe 1 amp per hour. And while most portable fridges can only maintain a 40°-60° difference (between interior temp setting and ambient temp), the ARB's can handle up to 120° differential!! Wow. So you could set the fridge to 0° and have a van temperature of 120° and you'd be fine and the fridge could handle it. Also, Dometic makes (assembles) them for ARB.

I think we may have a winner in the "uses minimal amps" category. And they're less expensive than the Engels I've been looking at.
__________________
Dave

Homebuilt RV Project: Design Phase is 80% Complete! (but on hold until I win the lottery)
Ford E-350 EB w/ Cruiser Top, Flip-down "Gaucho" sofa/bed, custom cabinets, AGM batteries, solar panels, water heater, fresh/gray water tanks, sink, porta-potty....
dave_in_delaware is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2011, 06:32 AM   #8
Site Team
 
BroncoHauler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Southern New Mexico
Posts: 9,240
Re: Refrigerators NOT built-in and their daily WH requiremen

You can sometimes find these military surplus fridges on the market. Designed for transporting blood, they have their own internal battery packs and seem to be well insulated.

They are big, and they are correspondingly HEAVY.

http://www.medplususa.com/list-product_ ... 17121.html


Herb
__________________
SMB-less as of 02/04/2012. Our savings account is richer, but our adventures are poorer.
BroncoHauler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2011, 12:03 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
dave_in_delaware's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gap, PA
Posts: 245
Send a message via Yahoo to dave_in_delaware
Re: Refrigerators NOT built-in and their daily WH requiremen

Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler
They are big, and they are correspondingly HEAVY.
And they are correspondingly expensive! Thanks for the idea, but at a $9,000+ pricetag, I think I'll pass.
__________________
Dave

Homebuilt RV Project: Design Phase is 80% Complete! (but on hold until I win the lottery)
Ford E-350 EB w/ Cruiser Top, Flip-down "Gaucho" sofa/bed, custom cabinets, AGM batteries, solar panels, water heater, fresh/gray water tanks, sink, porta-potty....
dave_in_delaware is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-28-2011, 08:16 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
jage's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Franktown, CO
Posts: 7,601
Re: Refrigerators NOT built-in and their daily WH requiremen

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_in_delaware
And they are correspondingly expensive! Thanks for the idea, but at a $9,000+ pricetag, I think I'll pass.
You just don't really care about your beer.
__________________

__________________
and then
everything changed
jage is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:28 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×