Building out a 12v system + solar + fridge on my 06 Tacoma

TT-Tacoma

Observer
My goal is to make a slick removable 12v system for my fridge. My idea is a deep cycle group 31 or 34 in boat battery box powered by a float charger while at home and by the solar system when camping.

I just picked up my first fridge today, a Norcold MRFT-630. Trying to figure out what the best course of action is for my application especially because the fridge won't be permanent in my truck.

I am currently planning on a 60 watt panel for solar so in a perfect world 5 amps charging. Which we know isn't the case.


Another option is to use the factory 110v in the bed of my truck to run the fridge when running and hard wire in a relay and install a switch in cab to switch it over to 12v when I stop and install a big single battery. I would still use a solar panel to keep the big single up on juice. I'd have to figure out how to hard wire the 12v side of the fridge.
 

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TT-Tacoma

Observer
My goal is to make a slick removable 12v system for my fridge. My idea is a deep cycle group 31 or 34 in boat battery box powered by a float charger while at home and by the solar system when camping.

I just picked up my first fridge today, a Norcold MRFT-630. Trying to figure out what the best course of action is for my application especially because the fridge won't be permanent in my truck.

I am currently planning on a 60 watt panel for solar so in a perfect world 5 amps charging. Which we know isn't the case.


Another option is to use the factory 110v in the bed of my truck to run the fridge when running and hard wire in a relay and install a switch in cab to switch it over to 12v when I stop and install a big single battery. I would still use a solar panel to keep the big single up on juice. I'd have to figure out how to hard wire the 12v side of the fridge.
I'm slowly getting the truck it where I want it to be at the way. Added the softopper in the fall last year and did the 5100's front and rear in the spring after the TSB leaf spring install. I noticed the rear sag a bit too much for me so I added rear air bag helpers before the winter.

Working pictures too. They won't attach from my phone I guess.

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TT-Tacoma

Observer
I'm leaning towards installing a big single battery, a group 31 in the truck to do everything. I'm trying to find a battery for less than $200 bucks that is AGM and the only one I have found is a Duracell AGM through Sam's Club. I have found a few SLA types to include a Deka Commercial and a Exide Commercial. Both the SLA batteries give similar reserve capacity as the AGM so I'm wondering what the advantage would be to using the AGM. Anyone care to drop some knowledge on me?

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Deka-12-Volt-1-140-Amp-Farm-Equipment-Battery/50183735 ---> DEKA

https://www.menards.com/main/tools-hardware/automotive-marine-hardware/automotive-batteries-chargers-jumpers/exide-reg-31xpd-commercial-group-31-battery/p-1444430135318-c-9100.htm?tid=4658943477904570973&ipos=14 ----> Exide


https://www.samsclub.com/sams/duracell-agm-deep-cycle-marine-and-rv-battery-group-size-31dtmagm/prod3590232.ip?sprodId=prod3590232&selectedTab=allProducts&_requestid=242307 ----> Duracell

I also found a local shop that sells X2 Group 31's at a discount. Gonna go look at them today. Thinking that might be my best choice.
 
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TT-Tacoma

Observer
I've done the same on my Tacoma. Here is the write up: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/12v-bed-outlet-install-write-up.378833/

I've since added 100 watt solar (roof) and controller (mounted in bed)
This swayed me to go with a single battery set up. I ordered a similar panel to install in the bed that has 3 cigarette plugs that will be wired through a low voltage disconnect so I don't kill my battery when running the fridge and other accessories. I'm still planning on this solar setup and will mount the controller under the hood.

Looking at this solar setup. ----> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07595K5QS/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I2J6PKL3EJ5986&colid=1Y1WIE4Q09FCT&psc=1
 
The specs say this 50W solar panel puts out 2.84 amps max. The old Norcold frig I used to have was reliable but an energy hog. I would think using a 100 watt panel might be the better way to go.


This swayed me to go with a single battery set up. I ordered a similar panel to install in the bed that has 3 cigarette plugs that will be wired through a low voltage disconnect so I don't kill my battery when running the fridge and other accessories. I'm still planning on this solar setup and will mount the controller under the hood.

Looking at this solar setup. ----> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07595K5QS/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I2J6PKL3EJ5986&colid=1Y1WIE4Q09FCT&psc=1
 

TT-Tacoma

Observer
The specs say this 50W solar panel puts out 2.84 amps max. The old Norcold frig I used to have was reliable but an energy hog. I would think using a 100 watt panel might be the better way to go.
The more I thought about power draw and panel size the more I realized and agree with you that I need to step up my panel size. And 100 watt seems to be more in order. The fridge is rated for 4.5 amps @ 12 volts so in theory with my new battery I could run the thing for 10 hours and not get past the 50% mark. Good thing I'm installing a LVD too. I'm actually really interested in how long the fridge will run before hitting the disconnect. I might do a test run just to see.

I was able to find a new battery yesterday from a local shop that sells "seconds" or blemish batteries. I scored a Exide XRF-31D AGM for about ~100 bucks off. Thing is a beast and will keep my little truck starting in the coldest of weather and has 105ah rating so lots of reserve.

To install it I used a universal battery tray and longer hooks from oriellys. I ground off the one side of the original hold down that was permanent mounted so I could use two threaded hooks instead of just one. I had thought I would need to extend the positive cable to reach the post but turns out I need to extend the wire that goes to the fuse box. So I'll go get a longer one today and return the extender I bought for 1/0 gauge.

Other parts will get installed next week when they get here from Amazon.

For those that stumble across this thread in the future this is a good write up on taking the fuse box apart and replacing the wire.

https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/alternator-fuse-and-fuse-box-battery-wire-replacement-upgrade.420450/


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TT-Tacoma

Observer
Got my little 12v system almost done. Installed my LVD and wired in the 3 port cigarette lighter port in bed direct through the the disconnect. I'm a little disappointed in myself in the quality of my install of the power point panel but alas it's too late now. I set my LVD to 12.1 volts which I hope is going to work ok for my battery. My goal now is to be able to run the fridge overnight and then top off the battery again during the day with a solar panel.

Overall I am very pleased in how it all looks and functions at this point. I am going to need a 90* adapter for the fridge to plug in without me thinking it is going to snap off. I put in a tie down point for the front and rear of the fridge and cut down a couple turnbuckle straps I had laying around to serve as my tie downs. I did buy a cigarette light volt meter as well and it should serve well for me to monitor the battery.

I am currently running a test to see how much the battery drops over a few hours with the fridge running. I got the garage at a constant 55* so it should give me a decent test for an overnight period.

As for my solar panel setup I've leaning heavily towards this Renogy setup. It has a bunch of good reviews and I like that it should be sufficient to boost my big single back up to full over a day. But if any of you guru's have a better idea or think I need to go bigger please let me know. -----> https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Watts-Monocrystalline-Foldable-Suitcase/dp/B00HR8YNK6/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
 

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DLTooley

Observer
I've played around quite a bit with the power strategies on my 40 Liter. Disconnecting for a few hours in the mid morning while your batteries go through the 'absorption' phase of charging will help you work your panels harder and preserve your batteries. Keeping track of power load and charge is also helpful. What happens if you have three cloudy days?
 

TT-Tacoma

Observer
I've played around quite a bit with the power strategies on my 40 Liter. Disconnecting for a few hours in the mid morning while your batteries go through the 'absorption' phase of charging will help you work your panels harder and preserve your batteries. Keeping track of power load and charge is also helpful. What happens if you have three cloudy days?
I like the idea of disconnecting for a few hours especially if I turn it down overnight. It may be needed but only way to tell is to test it out and see how it goes.

Really we rarely camp for longer than two full days so hopefully with some good sun we would be ok on power.

If power really got low I'd suppose I'll have to run the truck to get the juice back up.

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