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Old 08-14-2022, 12:19 PM   #1
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Compressor Fridge

Hi Folks, I'm building my second Escape trailer as we sold our 19' and moving to a 21'. We have always had a absorption 3 way fridge and now thinking of moving to the compressor fridge. My unit will have two 190W solar panels, plus the plug in for the portable solar (if we decided we will need it). Have a 2200 Watt gennie as well and going with 2 lithium batteries. Noise is not an issue (we are sound sleepers). Can anyone think of any reasons to not go with the compressor fridge given the other options we are going with? I like the idea of not having to run propane while driving. Makes ferries and gas stations stops much easier. Curious if any current compressor fridge owners have any regrets?
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Old 08-14-2022, 12:28 PM   #2
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.... Have a 2200 Watt gennie ..... Noise is not an issue (we are sound sleepers). ....
Of course there my be others than yourselves within the noise-footprint of your gennie .... but I'm sure y'all are considerate of that
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Old 08-14-2022, 12:44 PM   #3
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Makes ferries and gas stations stops much easier.
I'm not sure that I share your view on a couple of things.

We've traveled North to South from Alaska to Florida and Baja and East-West from BC to Newfoundland and Maine. The fridge stays on propane the whole way. The only time we have to shut if off is to take a BC Ferry, which is once in a blue moon. Never had an issue with that. The fridge is out is open air when refueling, I've never shut it off for that.

My deciding factor for going with a compressor fridge, and I've had them on boats in the past, is if I have sufficient battery power to power it. Having to run a gennie seems very regressive.

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Old 08-14-2022, 01:03 PM   #4
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Of course there my be others than yourselves within the noise-footprint of your gennie .... but I'm sure y'all are considerate of that
Ha, we don’t run the gennie at night. Just to top up the batteries at a responsible time ;-). The sound sleeping was in reference to the noise the compressor fridge makes.
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Old 08-14-2022, 01:11 PM   #5
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Avoiding the controversy of propane on/off while fueling, for me the decision hinges on overall power consumption and capacity when camping without shore-power.

That of course depends on many variables, personal use-habits, weather, site-shading, duration of stays, etc, etc. all which may be very difficult to judge for comparability with other folks' experience even when they have comparable equipment. IMO an apt analogy is vehicle mileage discussions where different folks with identical vehicles experience signigficant differences in MPG.

I'm certainly attracted to compressor refrigeration for a number of reasons, but won't make the commitment to swap to that until I'm confident that 99.9% of my needs can be met without resorting to a gennie to top-up my battery. Resorting to that gennie, even for a short-duration daytime boost, is a worst-case situation to be avoided if at all possible for me. YMMV.

Methinks the best tool for decision-making is tracking power-balance with your rig as used by you for a long time of camping before committing to the compressor, OR lacking that ability making very detailed but conservative power-balance estimates for a wide range of scenarios on paper.

Good Luck!
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Old 08-14-2022, 01:24 PM   #6
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Avoiding the controversy of propane on/off while fueling, for me the decision hinges on overall power consumption and capacity when camping without shore-power.

That of course depends on many variables, personal use-habits, weather, site-shading, duration of stays, etc, etc. all which may be very difficult to judge for comparability with other folks' experience even when they have comparable equipment. IMO an apt analogy is vehicle mileage discussions where different folks with identical vehicles experience signigficant differences in MPG.

I'm certainly attracted to compressor refrigeration for a number of reasons, but won't make the commitment to swap to that until I'm confident that 99.9% of my needs can be met without resorting to a gennie to top-up my battery. Resorting to that gennie, even for a short-duration daytime boost, is a worst-case situation to be avoided if at all possible for me. YMMV.

Methinks the best tool for decision-making is tracking power-balance with your rig as used by you for a long time of camping before committing to the compressor, OR lacking that ability making very detailed but conservative power-balance estimates for a wide range of scenarios on paper.

Good Luck!


Well said. I’ve had good luck with our propane fridges the past 10 years, without a problem. I’ve already helped a friend out when his compressor fridge quit working. Had I not been there they would have driven from Utah to Florida with only their Yeti Cooler. Every device has its quirks.

Enjoy,

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Old 08-14-2022, 01:41 PM   #7
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Ha, we don’t run the gennie at night. Just to top up the batteries at a responsible time ;-). .
Hi RMarkH,

I can only speak for me and my wife, but when I am camping, I don’t want to hear a generator, ever! As far as we are concerned, if we hear it, we are not happy. There is no responsible time for us to hear a generator! Sorry, but a lot of people feel this way!

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Old 08-14-2022, 02:48 PM   #8
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Ok, the gennie reference seems to be a sensitive issue and a distraction. Yes, no one likes to hear them including me. For the record I’ve used it once in a campground when I depleted my batteries by accident and a few times while parked at Walmart. The shoppers didn’t seem to mind. I’m hoping I would never need the gennie, which is why I’m asking. I’m going to focus on my power consumption. From my calculations they are very low. Almost never run the furnace and we generally use the inside only for sleeping.

I’d be interested in hearing from some of you that have the compressor fridge. Any regrets?
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Old 08-14-2022, 03:29 PM   #9
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Never worried about pumping gas while the 3 way was on propane, I always pull into the furthest pump if possible. Propane is almost silent, whereas a compressor fridge will vibrate and it can be felt inside the camper.
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Old 08-14-2022, 04:37 PM   #10
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Is ETI offering the larger compressor fridge yet or still just the smaller one? From the photos I've seen the smaller one has a pretty minimal freezer compartment. Our 6cf absorption fridge has a really big freezer which we love, we take long trips and having a big freezer is pretty essential to us. FWIW we love our 3 year old Dometic absorption fridge, a lot like the one we had on our first trailer except it now has an automatic defrost cycle.
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Old 08-14-2022, 05:39 PM   #11
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... whereas a compressor fridge will vibrate and it can be felt inside the camper.
Interesting statement, wondering the basis? Maybe I've been asleep but I've not run across that objection mentioned by compressor fridge owners in my research about the device.

If / when I'm convinced I've got the required power to support it I'll very likely swap to a compressor fridge having volume capacities at least that of my current 3-way. I've already 'seen enough' in person and in forum posts to be confident I'd like the performance they offer for my use-habits. YMMV.
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Old 08-14-2022, 06:04 PM   #12
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Is ETI offering the larger compressor fridge yet or still just the smaller one?

Sadly, only the small one with the internal icebox. That is a consideration for sure.
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Old 08-14-2022, 06:06 PM   #13
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We love our 12 volt fridge, and we have lithium batteries and solar panels on the roof.
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Old 08-14-2022, 06:10 PM   #14
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We have a similar setup - 2 lithium batteries, 2 solar panels, NovaKool RFU (9.1 cu ft) compressor refrigerator, Houghton AC on 5.0. Have 7.2 kW generator too but only used it once when batteries got discharged. Works great. ETI installed the refrigerator as a CX option for us, it might not be doing that any further.

Enjoying camping with our setup but this year got short circuited due to a bicycling accident. Will resume next year.
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Old 08-14-2022, 06:14 PM   #15
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Interesting statement, wondering the basis? Maybe I've been asleep but I've not run across that objection mentioned by compressor fridge owners in my research about the device.

If / when I'm convinced I've got the required power to support it I'll very likely swap to a compressor fridge having volume capacities at least that of my current 3-way. I've already 'seen enough' in person and in forum posts to be confident I'd like the performance they offer for my use-habits. YMMV.
I had a Dutchman T@da with the compressor freezer. At night we had to turn it off to stop the vibration......
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Old 08-14-2022, 06:46 PM   #16
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I had a Dutchman T@da with the compressor freezer. At night we had to turn it off to stop the vibration......
Make and model of that fridge might be helpful to the conversation. We may be unfairly condemning the newer fridges with the Danfoss and Secop compressors.
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Old 08-14-2022, 07:15 PM   #17
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Make and model of that fridge might be helpful to the conversation. We may be unfairly condemning the newer fridges with the Danfoss and Secop compressors.

Good point. Its the Norcold DC558 compressor fridge
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Old 08-14-2022, 08:39 PM   #18
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Good point. Its the Norcold DC558 compressor fridge
I understand that is the Escape option. I was asking Jim to provide the make and model of the compressor fridge he thought was loud. It may not be an apples-to-apples comparison. DC compressors seem to have come a long way over the years.
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Old 08-14-2022, 09:10 PM   #19
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A consideration

Pound for pound, fossil fuels contain 10 TIMES the energy (density) than most batteries. That's a 1000%. Sure, one can run solar, lithium, compressor refrig, but at least for me, my absorption refrig works just fine. I don't have a need for a different set-up given my usage pattern.
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Old 08-14-2022, 09:17 PM   #20
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Pound for pound, fossil fuels contain 10 TIMES the energy (density) than most batteries. That's a 1000%. Sure, one can run solar, lithium, compressor refrig, but at least for me, my absorption refrig works just fine. I don't have a need for a different set-up given my usage pattern.
Totally agree. The only reason we used an Isotherm J130 (4.6 cu. ft.) in our van was not to cut a hole in the side. It performs well and uses a net 25 AH per day. Has the tiny freezer too, yet is quiet with no vibration.
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