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Old 07-13-2014, 02:24 PM   #21
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No sympathy for me. I just want a solution to this issue and for each silent owner who has the same poor performance. I tried bagged ice once while desperately trying to prevent spoilage. There was little room for anything else while trying that idea. When water hit the floor, my navigator was very unhappy to say the least. I was also thinking of removing my freezer door to help the refrigerator during the summer.
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Old 07-13-2014, 02:35 PM   #22
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No sympathy for me. I just want a solution to this issue and for each silent owner who has the same poor performance. I tried bagged ice once while desperately trying to prevent spoilage. There was little room for anything else while trying that idea. When water hit the floor, my navigator was very unhappy to say the least. I was also thinking of removing my freezer door to help the refrigerator during the summer.
Mine runs cooler with the freezer door removed. I tried it that way on two trips and put my frozen stuff in the ice chest. That arrangement worked well...but I purchase ice cream the day it will be consumed... You will definitely see an improvement and your new fan will help as well with that arrangement.
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:54 PM   #23
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I have suspected all along that there was no hope for my 5cf model. Many of you have heard me complain while searching for a solution. Mine belongs in an igloo and not in an Escape bound for Texas. For me, 35c is a normal summer day. I have experienced many nights of getting up and checking the fridge temp. We have lost food to spoilage during outings. I have gotten no where with Dometic on the issue. My warranty has expired now and when it totally quits, I'll gut it and convert it to an ice box with a block ice compartment and drain. A dorm fridge would likely fit but then you have lost the flexibility of dry camping or staying in primitive campsites. I placed my order with Fridge Fix yesterday. We will see if that might help. I will likely have no more than an expensive light now. Until the RV nation revolts, everyone will suffer with poor refrigerator performance.
Dave... were you running the fridge on LP or Grid?... or does it matter?

Thanks,
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Old 07-13-2014, 11:12 PM   #24
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Found on Amazon - "Dometic 120V 325W Refrigerator Heating Element".

From this, I infer that any energy source, be it 12v, propane or 120v, will have to supply around 325 watts to the "boiler" component of our Dometics on a continuous basis. So, 325 * 24 is 7800 watts per day. Compare to this number found on Solar Panels from Wholesale Solar "16 cu. ft. 1200 watt-hours /day".

If you do the rest of the math, it makes you want to cry. Of course, to state the obvious, it's far easier to get lots of heat out of propane than it is to get wattage to run a 16 cu ft refrigerator from 12v batteries.

I'm going to hold out for those 30 pound, 120v lithium batteries at $199.00.

Sigh...
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Old 07-13-2014, 11:32 PM   #25
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Dave,

I have been reading up on the subject of absorption refrigeration. I know, dry stuff, but there is some interesting info out there. One thing that surprised me is how the unit needs to be absolutely level in order to operate properly, mainly because there is no means of moving the liquid inside the coils except by gravity.

I know you probably already level your trailer religiously when camping, but for those who don't, getting everything dead level might help the performance.

I also found an article which showed just how important the venting is. Most trailers used to have a chimney to vent the heat from the fridge, but now almost all of them have the side panels, which is a very inefficient method to vent in general. Thus, Reace's solution of adding the baffle to aid in heat dissipation.

Lastly, when your Dometic does finally give up the ghost, you might consider replacing just the cooling unit, with a remanufactured one from this place in Tucson Arizona. Their rebuilt cooling units are supposedly over-engineered to do a better job than the factory parts:

Trailer & RV Refrigeration - Sales and Service Gas RV Refrigerators
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Old 07-13-2014, 11:55 PM   #26
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Hi Larry,

I get my best cooling on propane. I will often do my cool down @ home on 120v a night or two before. Taking everything out cold or frozen and load it quickly giving time for recovery before leaving. During our trips out, I will on stay on propane if the ambient temp is warm. I dial the temp control to achieve 27 to 30 by morning if I can get it and generally dial to MAX to slow the rise during the day hoping to squeak by. I have never shutoff during travel. I pull in for fuel leaving the trailer out in the open and away from fuel pumps. I run my "ducted outlet" Texas fan, another 12v squirrel cage discharging upward at the lower vent and two battery fans in the fridge. I have my gas regulator set at the maximum recommended pressure and have checked and cleaned the flame orifice. While camped, I take the lower vent cover off. My fiberglass skin is insulated. The space between the fridge and wall has foam added. I have a thermometer in both the refrigerator and freezer. And a digital display unit with alarms to keep watch on the refrigerator temp. I always setup and run level. We quickly snatch out and put in what we rarely need. An I use my high performance ice chest. I am currently waiting for my Fridge Fix and if that doesn't help, I am going to remove my freezer door.

Can anyone reading this see something I have missed?
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Old 07-13-2014, 11:59 PM   #27
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When it gets too warm outside the problem is that condensation never begins at the top of the cooling unit because there isn't enough temperature difference.

Reace
Reace, would it help to direct some of the air conditioned air from the interior of the trailer onto the back side of the fridge to compensate for the high exterior temperatures via a small louvre or a powered vent? If it was feasible, then at least those who had 120v power and air conditioning could maintain the fridge while parked.
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Old 07-14-2014, 12:10 AM   #28
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Can anyone reading this see something I have missed?
Moving to the NorthWet?
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Old 07-14-2014, 01:40 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by alanmalk View Post
Found on Amazon - "Dometic 120V 325W Refrigerator Heating Element".

From this, I infer that any energy source, be it 12v, propane or 120v, will have to supply around 325 watts to the "boiler" component of our Dometics on a continuous basis...
I agree with the logic, but that must be for a very large Dometic absorption refrigerator; it runs three times the power of the heater in the refrigerator in my small trailer (Escape 17' sized). Maybe I'll check larger units tomorrow...

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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
One thing that surprised me is how the unit needs to be absolutely level in order to operate properly, mainly because there is no means of moving the liquid inside the coils except by gravity.
Well, decently level anyway. It doesn't have to be completely level.

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Originally Posted by alanmalk View Post
Most trailers used to have a chimney to vent the heat from the fridge, but now almost all of them have the side panels, which is a very inefficient method to vent in general.
Most RVs still use a roof outlet vent - which gives a good "chimney" effect - including larger Escapes. Upper vents are placed on the wall (instead of the roof) when the refrigerator is placed in a slideout (now common in large RVs), when a small refrigerator is placed under the counter (common in small RVs), or in most traditional moulded fiberglass travel trailers (including the Trillium which inspired the Escape design).

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Originally Posted by alanmalk View Post
Lastly, when your Dometic does finally give up the ghost, you might consider replacing just the cooling unit, with a remanufactured one from this place in Tucson Arizona. Their rebuilt cooling units are supposedly over-engineered to do a better job than the factory parts:

Trailer & RV Refrigeration - Sales and Service Gas RV Refrigerators
We had a Dometic refrigerator replaced with a complete new unit in our motorhome (under warranty). A couple of years later, it stopped working it again, and the tech recommended that we go with a rebuilt cooling unit instead of a complete new appliance (both of which would have been covered by our warranty). He explained that the robotic welds joining the tubing of the new units tend to penetrate excessively and cause rough joints inside the tubes, causing clogging, while the rebuilts are manually welded and allow better flow. True or not, the replacement rebuilt cooling unit is running fine.
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:26 AM   #30
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Hi Larry,

I get my best cooling on propane.

Can anyone reading this see something I have missed?
The only other thing I can think of, and I don't really know the best/safest way to do this, is to get the propane burner to exhaust way up in the top, as far as possible from where the fins are trying to cool the ammonia enough to get it to condense and run back down the tubes. That's probably why Norcold, in the info that Reace posted recently, suggested running on 120V when the temps are high. While propane does the best job of providing a heat source, it leaves us with a hot exhaust to deal with in an area we're trying to cool. Of course the 120V idea doesn't help while traveling.

I believe these larger fridges have been designed with too little margin. In two previous campers with 1.9 cu ft fridges, we tossed out a lot of lettuce, not because it was too warm, but because it froze. The cooling apparatus to fridge volume ratio leaned toward overcooling. In these larger fridges, if Dometic wanted to, they could double the size of the entire cooling setup, and we would likely run at 50-60 percent of the max except for really hot days. Of course that would make these things even more expensive, and there is still probably a thermodynamic limitation in getting the cooling fin/coils cool enough to work on really hot days.
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