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Old 07-09-2014, 01:19 AM   #1
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5 cu. fridge performance

We are in Merritt at Moonshadows RV. I wanted to test my new solar panel and the indoor/outdoor thermometer so got a site without services. It's actually a tenting site, right on the Coldwater River and well treed.
I have no idea how the solar is performing since I only have crude instruments. If I run out of battery, I'll know roughly where I stand.
I'll post later on the fridge. So far, not so good. I drove with it turned off ( four hours ). It was 38.5 F when we left home and 46.6 F when we arrived. Temp in the trailer at camp was 79.5 F and rose as high as 87.1 F during the afternoon.
What with making supper, and grabbing a cold beer, it's now 48 F in the fridge at 10 pm. 77F in the trailer.
I cranked it up to 7 and we'll see what the temp is in the morning.
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:05 AM   #2
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Thank you for reporting on solar testing and refrig. Hope you have an enjoyable trip.
I am disappointed to learn of the warm refrigerators. Our 2002 Scamp (just sold) with a 4.x cf Dometic worked as expected. We lit the propane the day before our trip started and turned it off after we emptied it at home.

Have you tried driving with it lit?
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:58 AM   #3
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Glen...It sounds like your beer temperature might have gone over the recommended temperature guideline as set by the US Food and Drug Administration. Perhaps you need to transport your beer in a ice chest while traveling.
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Old 07-09-2014, 12:00 PM   #4
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I should clarify that I do turn off the frig on ferries, tunnels, and gassing as required by law.

But the majority of time I keep it 'on' and make our rest stops on relatively level surfaces.
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Old 07-09-2014, 12:08 PM   #5
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Temp in the trailer this morning is 70F. Inside fridge is 40.3.
I think ice for a beer cooler is in order.
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Old 07-09-2014, 12:08 PM   #6
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Just got back from the Rockies with our 19, driving through Nevada and spending a night in Winnemucca. The 5.0 fridge was a bit stressed in full sun in the afternoon. I turned it up to 6 and things were fine in the morning, and the remaining drive home.

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Old 07-09-2014, 12:21 PM   #7
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Someone here, and I'm not saying who, is expecting the fridge door to close itself, like at home. I think she realizes now, that she has to push it closed. Also not saying that is the root of the problem, but may be a contributing cause.
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Old 07-09-2014, 01:07 PM   #8
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Glen...Nobody likes skunk beer. Keep your stash safe and ice cold.
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:15 PM   #9
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Maybe a dumb question, but doesn't the 3-way fridge use 12v power when driving, so you can be safe and keep the propane off? I kinda need to know this soon, as I plan to head out on my first adventure with Bailey tomorrow.... assuming she gets here tonight!!
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:20 PM   #10
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You can run the fridge on 12 v while traveling however, it will draw your battery down a good bit depending on battery 6v / 12v ( more amp hours on the 6 v) I did it for a 4 hour ride and with one 12 v battery I had 70% battery left on a 80 degree day.
Cypher

Most run it on LP while traveling it is designed to do that but remember you have to turn off LP tanks and appliances when getting gas, going through tunnels on ferries etc.
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:38 PM   #11
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So do I just run and turn them off when I fill up? Or go through tunnels? And then back on? Nothing else I need to do? With solar panels aren't I good yo go! Batteries will draw down and recharge as I drive?! Right?!
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:38 PM   #12
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Maybe a dumb question, but doesn't the 3-way fridge use 12v power when driving, so you can be safe and keep the propane off? I kinda need to know this soon, as I plan to head out on my first adventure with Bailey tomorrow.... assuming she gets here tonight!!
If you have solar and dual 6 volts you should be fine, but propane or 12volt, you still have to monitor the temperature and adjust your thermostat accordingly. Start with it plugged in for 24 hours and chill all your contents, set it on #3 and then monitor the temperature.
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:50 PM   #13
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I will plug it in as soon as possible..... Sigh. :-)
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:57 PM   #14
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So do I just run and turn them off when I fill up? Or go through tunnels? And then back on? Nothing else I need to do? With solar panels aren't I good yo go! Batteries will draw down and recharge as I drive?! Right?!
We've camped with our 5.0 {Classic} and with the combination of the 95 watt solar panel and the alternator on our Nissan Frontier truck found the batteries, two 6 volts, stayed fully charged when towing with the fridge on battery. When we were boondocking we noticed a bit of battery drop by morning, it was cool and we used the furnace during the night, but even on an overcast day the power levels returned in an hour or two.
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Old 07-09-2014, 03:02 PM   #15
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We just got back with our 19 with standard 5 fridge. We camped in it for 48 nights, 1/2 with electric and 1/2 without. We put our food in a cooler when driving and back in the fridge when we stopped. The fridge was turned off and closed when driving. Highest outside temp when off grid was 99 degrees. Temp set on 3. We never "overfilled" the fridge. Never had a warm beer!
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Old 07-09-2014, 03:42 PM   #16
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If you plan to drive with the fridge on 12V you need a #10 ground wire from the vehicle. Most are wired with lighter gauge wires.
I had a #10 installed on my RAV4 and then opted not to get a three-way fridge. Reace explained that if you have the fridge on 12 V while driving, the tow only delivers enough power for the fridge, so if your trailer battery was low when you started driving, it will still be low when you get to camp.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:10 PM   #17
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Back home. The problem with monitoring is you might learn things that you can't do anything about.
Anyway, for the record, left home with the fridge at 38F ( outside temp 65F ). Traveled with the fridge off. Arrived four hours later and fridge was 46.6F ( outside 79.5F).
What with getting beers out and stuff for supper temp in fridge reached 49.5F ( outside 87.1 ).
Next morning fridge was 40.5F ( outside 70F ). Cranked fridge up to 7. Bought block of ice for small cooler and put beer and water bottles in that ). At 4pm fridge was 40.3F (outside 84F ).
Next morning fridge at 34.2F where it stayed all day with outside temps rising to 82F. Following morning it was 27F in the fridge and 54F outside.

So what did I learn? Have a cooler and use ice to cool drinks. Save fridge for perishable food. Move food for supper from freezer to fridge to help cool fridge.
Every time you open the door the inside temp goes up one degree. Put stuff in the same place every time so you don't have to hold the door open while you search for it.

As for the 40 watt solar panel, it had full sun most of the day ( I kept moving it around ). We used minimal power, charging laptop and cell phones and some LED light. Never got the battery above 12.44 after full day charging.
Left camp this morning with battery at 12.37. On arrival ( no rest, but unhooked from tow ) it read 12.82. I suspect I need to replace battery, or carry my genset as backup.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:48 PM   #18
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A 40watt solar panel will only boost your amps (under the most ideal conditions) 2.4 amps per (ideal) hour.
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:22 PM   #19
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Never got the battery above 12.44 after full day charging.
Did you monitor the voltage any time during the day when the battery was being charged by the solar cell?

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Old 07-11-2014, 07:37 PM   #20
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I didn't take notes. I did check it from time to time. I think 12.48 was about the best I got.
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