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Old 03-02-2014, 12:25 AM   #41
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Great video! And now I have many questions! They run their fridge on battery/solar during the day and switch to propane at night. With the Escape factory installed solar and dual 6 volt batteries will we be able to do this? Does the Escape factory installed solar come with an inverter (I don't believe it does, but now I'm not sure)? Thanks!
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:30 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneM. View Post
Great video! And now I have many questions! They run their fridge on solar during the day and switch to propane at night. With the Escape factory installed solar and dual 6 volt batteries will we be able to do this? Does the Escape factory installed solar come with an inverter (I don't believe it does, but now I'm not sure)? Thanks!
Running the refer off the batteries will consume a lot of power. When off-grid, I always just run it on propane. No, the solar upgrade does not include an inverter.
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:07 AM   #43
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I think you would need a cargo van to pull your Escape with, if you wanted to bring all the gadgetry those folks had. For me, that is at the total opposite end of the spectrum from my camping style, preferring to keep things simple.

But, we all have our different needs as consumers. I have a good friend who is totally into all that stuff, and we camp with them all the time. Of course, unless we are headed somewhere early, we often never see them until mid morn.

This is their motorhome, plus they added on lots of stuff too, solar, 4 batteries, auto-leveling jacks, etc. I could buy a few of my trailers for the same cost. But, they have the money, and they love it. It is also WAY downsized from what they are used to.
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:57 AM   #44
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Even though the fridge uses very little propane, I like the idea of running the it off the inverter during the day if it is practical. Why burn $$ if you don't have to?

In our trailer the inverter is only wired to a single outlet. I understand the newer ones have a transfer switch, but I wonder if the fridge outlet is included in that circuit.

I also wonder what the wattage of the fridge is on A/C?

In the end, over a month we used 1 tank of propane, and just started on the second one, not exactly a deal breaker. The cost of setting it up might be more than I'd save over 10 years.
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Old 03-02-2014, 09:20 AM   #45
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Too much?

Wow, the Reyo is very nice looking. I was imagining something like:
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Old 03-02-2014, 09:26 AM   #46
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I also wonder what the wattage of the fridge is on A/C?

That would be nice to know. Perhaps someone has their specs handy as I can't seem to find them on line.
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Old 03-02-2014, 09:39 AM   #47
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I think they are operating it off 12v, not 120v with an inverter. Your refer is 3 way, 120/12v and propane. Yes you can operate it off 12v with full sun, but why. The whole premise of the video was not paying for electric nor propane and using the sun as much as possible. You can do the same but I'm not into trying to save $1/propane since the majority of us are not full timers, they are.
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:38 AM   #48
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Our experience is that you can't run the fridge off 12v/solar. Not enough power, it will still draw your battery down. I suppose it might be possible in ideal conditions, but you can never count on ideal conditions... I think you'd need a lot larger solar array than the single panel ETI provides.
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:21 AM   #49
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Replacing cheap propane with ultra-expensive solar-sourced electricity in an RV makes sense to me only if you are trying to stay somewhere longer than a big tank of propane will last. If you do run an absorption-type refrigerator on electricity, it doesn't matter for efficiency of the appliance itself whether you use AC or DC, but the AC mode will lose efficiency due to inverter power loss; on the other hand, some of these refrigerators have bigger heating elements on AC than DC, so the DC option might not cool enough.

One mode which does make sense to me is to run the refrigerator on 12V DC whenever the battery is fully charged and the solar panels are generating power which would otherwise be wasted. You might have trouble measuring the bit of propane saved, but it would be using free energy instead of paying to burn non-renewable fossil fuel.

The appliance manuals provide specs, but the electric elements in these refrigerators commonly run around 100W to 120W, so 8 to 10 amps... double what a compressor-type refrigerator would use. That's while running, of course: the unit cycles on an off, staying on enough to maintain the set temperature (very roughly).

There are lots of expedition campers running refrigeration entirely on solar, but as Doug suggests they have big panels; they also use compressor-type refrigerators.
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:27 AM   #50
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Thanks everyone! I have no desire to have all their gadgetry or big rig! I love our small trailers and am definitely a minimalist, but I was wondering about running the fridge off the battery. (They have dual 6v and note they need 4 batteries for all the solar they are running.). We use propane when dry camping, but if this were an option it would stretch the propane.
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