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Old 03-19-2018, 08:01 PM   #1
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Refrigerators: How well does yours cool?

(second try at posting this... first attempt seemed to disappear!)

Hi, first post here from a longtime fgrv member. I like the 17B layout and it's large enough for my solo travels. But it bothers me that the fridge in the 17 cannot be vented to the roof like those in the 19 and 21 (per ETI's CS). I recall having a Rockwood trailer at one time with (I think, about) 6 cu ft fridge that roof-vented the exhaust and it seemed to keep cool really well. Since then I've had a Burro with a dorm fridge (warm after 2 hours of travel since it was not powered), a stickie with a 3 cu ft Norcold sidewall-vent (which cooled dismally) and an Aliner with 2 cu ft sidewall-vent fridge (which also cooled dismally). It made me think that my next trailer should have a roof-exhaust fridge. My trips are made in summer primarily, which means leaving 100 degree Tulsa and driving all day in heat, and sometimes a second day in heat, to reach a cool destination in mountains or up north. I have had it with fridges that reach 55, 60, or higher during such a drive.

So I'd like to ask you owners of 17'ers (and 19'ers with sidewall exhaust) what your experience has been in hot weather. And for comparison, it would be good to hear the experiences of you folks who have the roof exhaust. Please mention in your reply any actual temperature data you might have noted as well as whether you have the vent fan installed to move more air across the back. I know that such fans can help (I've experimented with a fan temporarily hung outside the vent), but I'm wondering if the fan can help as much as a roof exhaust vent would.

I know about Danfoss/Secop compressors and all that, but for now I'd like to focus on the LP units if that's ok. Thanks for your input!
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Old 03-19-2018, 09:17 PM   #2
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Older 19 with a Dometic RM2510 with sidewall exhaust. Cools pretty well until we hit 80-85F. Then it struggled. In researching proper install I realized our fridge had two deficiencies. Based on Dometic literature it needed gaps around fridge (especially top) filled better with insulation and was supposed to have the auxiliary condenser fan. I was able to fill the gaps with rigid insulation at the top and stuff batt around the sides. Escape does a much better job now insulating around fridges from what Iíve seen. For the fan wasnít going to settle for the cheap Dometic fan that is part of their ventilation kit. Installed two of my own behind the upper louver. Used quality Dayton fans that are very quiet with great airflow. Early test was promising at 83F but ran out of hot days as it was early Oct. Looking forward to some longer term testing this summer. Hereís the thread: Refrigerator Test

Another question for 17 owners might be to see whether they have the stock 3CF or the optional 4CF fridge and how they cool? Might be a difference.
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Old 03-19-2018, 09:26 PM   #3
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Yes, the fridge size (and model number when known) is helpful, too!
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Old 03-19-2018, 09:35 PM   #4
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I hate refrigerator topics, everyone is unhappy. But, I'm following the 'New Compressor Refrigerator' thread on the CasitaForum. YES, it's not a 6cu refrigerator, but so far... it's cooling great in the heat "100 watt fixed panel on the roof (currently parked in the shade) and two Trojan 6v wet cell batteries." Hummmm. Follow along if you're interested https://www.casitaforum.com/invboard...ic-rip/?page=2
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Old 03-19-2018, 09:37 PM   #5
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I have 2510 ( 5 cu. ft. ).
Works fine as long as my wife closes the *&)$ door.
It doesn't close with gravity, like the fridge at home.
We keep sandwich stuff in a plastic box ( cheeses, salami, etc ) so that we can open the door and quickly grab a box of everything we need. The less time you have the door open, the colder it will remain.
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Old 03-19-2018, 10:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
I hate refrigerator topics, everyone is unhappy. But, I'm following the 'New Compressor Refrigerator' thread on the CasitaForum. YES, it's not a 6cu refrigerator, but so far... it's cooling great in the heat "100 watt fixed panel on the roof (currently parked in the shade) and two Trojan 6v wet cell batteries." Hummmm. Follow along if you're interested https://www.casitaforum.com/invboard...ic-rip/?page=2
I have a dometic compressor fridge in my van that I use when I have a hook up. Itís marvelous! Cools all the way to freezing super quick and very low amp usage. If I had solar in my van, I could run it 24/7 no problem. (But Iím in Oregon, so solar is a moot point! &#128522 I hate those 3 way fridges! Totally inefficient!
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Old 03-19-2018, 10:38 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
I hate refrigerator topics, everyone is unhappy. But, I'm following the 'New Compressor Refrigerator' thread on the CasitaForum. YES, it's not a 6cu refrigerator, but so far... it's cooling great in the heat "100 watt fixed panel on the roof (currently parked in the shade) and two Trojan 6v wet cell batteries." Hummmm. Follow along if you're interested https://www.casitaforum.com/invboard...ic-rip/?page=2
What kind of fridge are they discussing, Donna? I can't access that forum, never have been able. I tried unsuccessfully to join some years back, and not really interested in Casitas per se anyway.
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Old 03-19-2018, 11:44 PM   #8
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Mike, I just looked at the Casita thread, it’s the Nova Kool model R5810, 5.8 cu ft
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Old 03-19-2018, 11:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike G View Post
(second try at posting this... first attempt seemed to disappear!)

Hi, first post here from a longtime fgrv member. I like the 17B layout and it's large enough for my solo travels. But it bothers me that the fridge in the 17 cannot be vented to the roof like those in the 19 and 21 (per ETI's CS). I recall having a Rockwood trailer at one time with (I think, about) 6 cu ft fridge that roof-vented the exhaust and it seemed to keep cool really well. Since then I've had a Burro with a dorm fridge (warm after 2 hours of travel since it was not powered), a stickie with a 3 cu ft Norcold sidewall-vent (which cooled dismally) and an Aliner with 2 cu ft sidewall-vent fridge (which also cooled dismally). It made me think that my next trailer should have a roof-exhaust fridge. My trips are made in summer primarily, which means leaving 100 degree Tulsa and driving all day in heat, and sometimes a second day in heat, to reach a cool destination in mountains or up north. I have had it with fridges that reach 55, 60, or higher during such a drive.

So I'd like to ask you owners of 17'ers (and 19'ers with sidewall exhaust) what your experience has been in hot weather. And for comparison, it would be good to hear the experiences of you folks who have the roof exhaust. Please mention in your reply any actual temperature data you might have noted as well as whether you have the vent fan installed to move more air across the back. I know that such fans can help (I've experimented with a fan temporarily hung outside the vent), but I'm wondering if the fan can help as much as a roof exhaust vent would.

I know about Danfoss/Secop compressors and all that, but for now I'd like to focus on the LP units if that's ok. Thanks for your input!
I picked up my 17B about a year ago. I ordered the 4 cu ft fridge and it cools quite well. I also ordered the Texas fan for cooling the outer fins about 90 degrees. No complaints.
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Old 03-20-2018, 06:32 AM   #10
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I picked up my 17B about a year ago. I ordered the 4 cu ft fridge and it cools quite well. I also ordered the Texas fan for cooling the outer fins about 90 degrees. No complaints.
Good post everyone.

I was just checking out the ETI 19 foot options and I do not see a listing for an extra
fridge exhaust fan.
I see a roof mounted vent cover on the port side of the trailer roof. Is this vent associated with the standard 5 cu foot fridge?
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Old 03-20-2018, 07:05 AM   #11
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I believe ETI is no longer installing the "Texas Fan" option as it became named. It seemed to cause some sort of disturbance while towing and ETI recommended not to use it then. I have the option and only activate it while sitting still. It and a balloon hepvo type over the condensate seemed to keep it running cooler.
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Old 03-20-2018, 08:03 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I believe ETI is no longer installing the "Texas Fan" option as it became named. It seemed to cause some sort of disturbance while towing and ETI recommended not to use it then. I have the option and only activate it while sitting still.
Jim: It may depend on the trailer model and fridge used. The external fridge fan is still listed under options for the 17 and 5.0TA on the ETI website.
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:27 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
Older 19 with a Dometic RM2510 with sidewall exhaust. Cools pretty well until we hit 80-85F. Then it struggled. In researching proper install I realized our fridge had two deficiencies. Based on Dometic literature it needed gaps around fridge (especially top) filled better with insulation and was supposed to have the auxiliary condenser fan. I was able to fill the gaps with rigid insulation at the top and stuff batt around the sides. Escape does a much better job now insulating around fridges from what Iíve seen. For the fan wasnít going to settle for the cheap Dometic fan that is part of their ventilation kit. Installed two of my own behind the upper louver. Used quality Dayton fans that are very quiet with great airflow. Early test was promising at 83F but ran out of hot days as it was early Oct. Looking forward to some longer term testing this summer. Hereís the thread: Refrigerator Test

Another question for 17 owners might be to see whether they have the stock 3CF or the optional 4CF fridge and how they cool? Might be a difference.
We have a 2011 19' with an RM2510 and side vent. Our experience is the same, good to 85F (need to adjust control) and real trouble above 90F (won't cool adequately).

I added insulation, closed in the back of the 'fridge, and added fans for circulation. Haven't had enough hot weather to adequately test but I'm guessing it may give us an additional 5F to the above temps.

We're thinking of replacing the cooling unit with an Amish unit, though I haven't heard any definitive reviews. Anyone installed one? Out RM2510 works as well as it ever did, even better after the mods, but has always been marginal in hot weather.

A compressor 'fridge is tempting. I'd probably do this but it requires modifying the 'fridge opening and addition of a second solar panel. Not cheap either. Also, likely, carrying a generator just in case.

Thanks.
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:36 AM   #14
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We have a 2011 19' with an RM2510 and side vent. Our experience is the same, good to 85F (need to adjust control) and real trouble above 90F (won't cool adequately).

I added insulation, closed in the back of the 'fridge, and added fans for circulation. Haven't had enough hot weather to adequately test but I'm guessing it may give us an additional 5F to the above temps.

We're thinking of replacing the cooling unit with an Amish unit, though I haven't heard any definitive reviews. Anyone installed one? Out RM2510 works as well as it ever did, even better after the mods, but has always been marginal in hot weather.

A compressor 'fridge is tempting. I'd probably do this but it requires modifying the 'fridge opening and addition of a second solar panel. Not cheap either. Also, likely, carrying a generator just in case.

Thanks.
Hugh: We'll both be testing this summer. Keep us posted. I've done some more reading and it is clear that many absorption fridges start having issues above 90F. It's the nature of the beast. One paper I read said to expect only 50-60 degF differential at best (outdoor temp to fridge temp). With my past experiences I would say I was only getting about 40F differential. With my changes I'm hoping to get up to 50F differential and maintain 40F fridge temp at 90F outside.
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Old 03-20-2018, 08:24 PM   #15
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I've heard good things about an Amish conversion working in the Southwest from a friend who had one done. When I called two different Amish companies to ask about getting it done they both said they did not make any conversion units for 5 cuft units. They only work on 6 cuft units or larger as there is not enough demand. If anyone hears of an Amish conversion for a 5 cuft unit please post it.
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Old 03-20-2018, 08:34 PM   #16
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I appreciate all the feedback. You have me curious, will ETI install a DC fridge?
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Old 03-20-2018, 08:39 PM   #17
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I appreciate all the feedback. You have me curious, will ETI install a DC fridge?
If you mean a compressor based fridge, the short answer is no. They might however agree to not install the absorption fridge. There are regulatory issues and production issues that may make this difficult, but you can always ask.

You'll need plenty of battery capacity and the means to replace what you use if you plan on a compressor fridge, but several folks have done it successfully. Plan on at least the dual 6V batteries (4 is better but there's a weight issue) and two solar panels to have enough juice to run the fridge full time when boondocking. Of course, when you have hookups it's a non issue.
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Old 03-20-2018, 08:48 PM   #18
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You have me curious, will ETI install a DC fridge?
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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
If you mean a compressor based fridge, the short answer is no. They might however agree to not install the absorption fridge. There are regulatory issues and production issues that may make this difficult, but you can always ask.
ETI agreed to do it recently for a purchaser of a new 21. See thread below. Not sure if there are limitations on the trailer models they will do it in or the fridge brand they will install. Best to speak with ETI. What I hear they definitely won’t do is omit the outside refrigerator openings in the shell. As far as I know that was only done on one trailer in existence.

Finalizing our new 21' this week
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Old 03-20-2018, 09:02 PM   #19
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ETI agreed to do it recently for a purchaser of a new 21. See thread below. Not sure if there are limitations on the trailer models they wil do it in or the fridge brand they will install. Best to speak with ETI. What I hear they definitely wonít do is omit the outside refrigerator openings in the shell. As far as I know that was only done on one trailer in existence.

Finalizing our new 21' this week
Yes, I believe they agreed to do it in that case because the replacement fridge was also a Dometic. They won't install another brand.
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Old 03-20-2018, 09:45 PM   #20
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I've heard good things about an Amish conversion working in the Southwest from a friend who had one done. When I called two different Amish companies to ask about getting it done they both said they did not make any conversion units for 5 cuft units. They only work on 6 cuft units or larger as there is not enough demand. If anyone hears of an Amish conversion for a 5 cuft unit please post it.
I think this is one for the RM2510 at 5.0 ft^3. I have not called them so it may be in the catalog but unobtainable. Did you call these guys?

If it isn't available then it's limp along with the original absorption 'fridge or jump to a compressor one. We'll see how the summer goes with the recent mods.

Thanks.
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