Residential fridges

The_Hoff

New member
Ok, some "back of hand" actual measurements puts my 350l fridge running at 70w on 230V, with startup surging to 150w.

The 150l unit I have in mind runs at 40w on 230V, and Victron's least effecient inverter running at 88%, that puts us at, say, 46w after inverter losses. 24Vdc and 230Vac reduce the already insignificant cable losses (due to very short runs) to less than insignificant.

Also, keeping in mind the running cycle of the average fridge, which is never running constantly unless you leave the door open, I do believe you should do your calculations on the back of your other hand.

It's not the first vehicle I've built, and I design alternative energy solutions for security systems daily.

Reason I don't want really want to go the DC fridge route is purely because South African agents of ARB and Engel are ludicrous to say the least.

Luthj, unfortunately those two brands don't seem to be locally available, and importing them will just about double the price after taxes and custom duty.

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Kry vir jou die Dometic (Waeco) by TakeAlot. Naverkope diens is baie goed.


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wesselm

New member
Kry vir jou die Dometic (Waeco) by TakeAlot. Naverkope diens is baie goed.


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Sal bietjie gaan loer daar. Ons is opsoek na n gemaklike grootte, met genoeg plek vir my en die vrou, asook die honde se behoeftes (haar vereiste) vir n minimum 2 weke Weskus toer.

Weet jy of daar ander Dometic agente is in die land?

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DzlToy

Explorer
As noted, the OP is in ZA.

Solution: buy a locally made, for him, National Luna and be done with it. Yes, they are "pricey" compared to other models, but, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

NL fridges and freezers are consistently ranked the best of the best. They are well made, super efficient and will literally last a lifetime. There is no better solution than one which solves your "problem" for 20 years straight. Buy once, cry once and be done, instead of cobbling something together or buying a bunch of imported, off name brand garbage.

People have become so price sensitive, that they can't see the forest for the trees. Does it make sense to buy a cheap Chinese solar panel, inverter, battery charger, batteries, wiring, MPPT solar charge controller and a household fridge that is not designed to go bouncing down the road in a truck, when you could just buy a high quality, efficient, long lasting fridge?
 

Scotty D

Active member
I have been running an RCA 120v mini fridge with freezer in baja for years. I have 340 watts of solar and 235 ahs of storage. I beat the hell out the van to the extent that my power steering overheats on rough roads and my bilstein shocks get too hot to touch.
This will be my fourth winter down here and in all honesty , the summers in the states are not much easier on this rig(AWD Express van}
A winter in the pacific northwest would sink me though as I do not have more than two days of battery for all my needs including a power hungry laptop.
For me, the dorm fridge form factor is the big reason I went this route. I have no interest in digging through a cooler for my food.
All that said, it seems like the DC fridges are finally coming down in price so if you dont have room for all that solar it might be a good solution
 
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jkam

nomadic man
One thing to consider is that residential Fridges will be frost free.
That takes a lot of power to keep up with.
Especially since they want to do that overnight when solar isn't around to help.
 

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
For me, the dorm fridge form factor is the big reason I went this route. I have no interest in digging through a cooler for my food.
My 12v Truckfridge TF-49 has the same form-factor as a dorm fridge (front opening), with a small freezer compartment. With the same danfoss compressor as the chest fridges, it runs happily for 2-3 days with a safe (50%) LOD on a single 100AH AGM battery. With my 100w solar panel, I'm running basically indefinitely, unless I park for more than 3 days of bad weather. (Hasn't happened yet.)

Just for comparison.
 

Scotty D

Active member
One thing to consider is that residential Fridges will be frost free.
That takes a lot of power to keep up with.
Especially since they want to do that overnight when solar isn't around to help.
Mine is not , I have to defrost once every two months or so . Pain in the ass
It is really nice to lay fresh fish right on the freezer box floor though so I can freeze fish to make it safe for sushi. It is more like the old fashioned fridges where the ice box is not separate
 

Raul

Adventurer
For my particular needs, a dorm fridge with an inverter had worked quite well. No long off the grid stays. I improved the insulation on the bottom, top, and back by adding 1/2" foam (1" in the back) and covering the door. The sides need to be open since the crappy USA mini-fridges have the coils build in the side wall. I moved the compressor backwards, as much as the tubing allowed me and insulate the compressor well from the fridge box. Recently I've glued CPU cooling fins to the side walls.
Vibration has not been an issue and I've done some bouncing.
IMG_3279.JPGIMG_5713.jpg
 

Raul

Adventurer
Well alone that really makes for a completely different use case compared to the usual expo context, to the point that would be less confusing to keep them in separate threads.
The original question was about using a residential fridge on an expo vehicle. I guess we all have different concepts of what exploring means or we can afford, Dr. Livingston. I've been out for a couple of weeks and this set up worked for me. By off the grid I mean stopped vehicle for several days. I was driving almost everyday charging batteries.
I am trying to share and help. Never felt the need to justify if my comments fit the usual expo context.
 

john61ct

Adventurer
No offense intended.

Yes a solid alternator setup combined with LFP and frequent driving will create "wiggle room" for less efficient load devices.

And sure, can stay off grid (away from shore power) indefinitely with frequent enough driving.
 

dbhost

Member
Some factory rigs, and more than a few DIY campers use dorm fridges. I guess it depends on how crazy off road you are going to get, but generally speaking, the dorm fridge arrangement works well.

Since I don't know what size you are looking for, I can't recommend a specific unit, but I have a 3.5 cu/ft Black and Decker that has been chugging along strong for at least 10 years... Power draw is less than 1 amp.

At least on paper, I can run my CPAP, a 5K BTU window AC, and a dorm fridge on a Sportsman 1K inverter generator. It's not that big of an issue. Admittedly 1.2KW solar and sufficient batteries / inverter would do the same thing...
 

dbhost

Member
Thats a surprise ! ARBs, Engels, Dometics, et.al. draw average 4A.
I wonder if different supply voltages play into the difference noticed ?
I think a lot depends on the fridge, size etc...

Looking at the cheap Insignia 3.5 cu /ft mini fridge, it is rated at 1.5 amps... https://www.bestbuy.com/site/insignia-3-3-cu-ft-mini-fridge-black/6195311.p?skuId=6195311
The RCA 3.2 cu/ft is rated at 1.3 amps. https://www.amazon.com/RCA-RFR321-FR320-Refrigerator-Fridge-Stainless/dp/B00IR8H55A/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=mini+fridge&qid=1580322184&sr=8-6

One problem for shopping for a mini fridge many MFGs don't list power consumption in the promotional material.
 
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