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Old 02-21-2018, 08:47 PM   #1
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AC Fridge

We are currently planning on putting an apartment size fridge(10-12 c.f.) in our bus that is 120v, but would like it run off of solar while driving or boondocking. Is this possible? We looking at having a 1000w solar system with 6 batteries.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:11 PM   #2
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yes thats plenty of power as long as your not using it on other things. living from solar has a learning curve like most things. design your system so you can add to it if needed.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:16 PM   #3
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probably not, the refrigerator will take close to 500 watts when running which it will do about half the time on a normal day. that would be close to 20 amp/hours an hour at 12 volts so you would need 500 amp/hours storage every day just to run the refrigerator at 12 volts. you will need more batteries and solar panels to run it
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:23 PM   #4
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probably not, the refrigerator will take close to 500 watts when running which it will do about half the time on a normal day. that would be close to 20 amp/hours an hour at 12 volts so you would need 500 amp/hours storage every day just to run the refrigerator at 12 volts. you will need more batteries and solar panels to run it
Actually, a modern fridge of 10 to 12 cu ft will run around 100W on a 30% duty cycle.

That's about 65 Amp hours per 24-hour period. No issue with his proposed system.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:18 AM   #5
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I put a 10.7cf Whirlpool in my 5er when the absorption fridge died.

No solar yet. I have 2 x GC2 batteries and a 25amp charger that I run from shore power or generator.

It is not ideal for boondocking. I can go 2 days before I hit 50% SOC if I am cautious with other loads.

With 6 GC2s and a well set up 1000 watt solar you should be in decent shape as long as you have adequate sun.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:37 AM   #6
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If you're using solar and batteries as your primary source of power I'd really push towards a chest freezer setup. Refrigerators that open a door on the side dump your cold air out when you open them, and are less well insulated.
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Old 02-22-2018, 02:28 PM   #7
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If you're using solar and batteries as your primary source of power I'd really push towards a chest freezer setup. Refrigerators that open a door on the side dump your cold air out when you open them, and are less well insulated.
Chest freezers will also never dump the fridge contents all over the floor when you go around a corner.
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Old 02-22-2018, 03:29 PM   #8
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Chest freezers will also never dump the fridge contents all over the floor when you go around a corner.
I have seen a few folks do this with the Igloo chest freezers. It appears to be about the most energy efficient setup without going to the high dollar DC refrigerators.

I considered going this route but kitchen layout and convenience won out over efficiency.

I am happy enough with the performance of the 10.7cf in my 5er that I am going to put another in my Bluebird.
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Old 02-22-2018, 03:41 PM   #9
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The relative efficiency of chest vs upright is negligible as proven in controlled studies.

The thermal mass of the contents is thousands of times greater than that of the air lost.

And if you need to open the lid and rummage around to find what you need, longer than just opening a door and grabbing it. . .
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Old 02-22-2018, 04:25 PM   #10
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The relative efficiency of chest vs upright is negligible as proven in controlled studies.

The thermal mass of the contents is thousands of times greater than that of the air lost.

And if you need to open the lid and rummage around to find what you need, longer than just opening a door and grabbing it. . .
Chest fridges will always be a bit more efficient, and you can't argue with those who think that is the main consideration.

Personally, I've used them and for me they are an inconvenient mess.

Understanding that it is perfectly possible to plan even a modest electrical system and have the ability to run a regular domestic fridge means that you can make your own choices.

These choices weren't so readily available even 10 years ago, because the compressors in domestic fridges have leapt forwards in their efficiency.

What you do NOT want is any kind of absorption (RV) fridge. If you have any plans to run it on electricity, be aware that they are about 4X more power-hungry.
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