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Old 03-16-2006, 05:38 PM   #1
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Dorm fridges

So in planning the coversion of Havoc I have kind of been putting off addressing cold storage of food. It has always been my thought that we have ample coolers and sufficient space throughout the bus for storing the coolers. Couple this with the fact that most McDonald's restaurants and adult beverages stores give you free ice (though they do expect a purchase), and I figured we'd be set. But then I think back through the years of going on longer excursions such as to Countryfest in Cadott, WI where we used this cooler technique. It worked great for keeping adult beverages as well as various companions for the adult beverages (coke, orange juice, grenadine) very cold. Unfortunately our food became rather unsafe to consume after just a day or two. While water doesn't bother canned items, eggs, meat, cheese, bread, etc do better in a more dry environment.

That leads me to this where I'm at now. I looked on the back of the sin fridge from my old college apartment. The plate on the back says 120vac, 60 hz, 1.2 amps. Obviously the 120 volts and 60 hertz seems reasonable enough to me, but the 1.2 amps....I figured it would have drawn MUCH more than that. I know on start up the load will be tremendous...perhaps 3 times that much? I'm starting to get a little excited that perhaps I will be able to build this fridge in and run it off my lesser used inverter circuit (overhead lighting, rear outlets as opposed to front outlets and entertainment center). Does this sound reasonable or is that thing going to surge to more than say 7 amps? If all else fails I'm open to hving to buy a dedicated inverter just for the fridge, but I'd like to make the most of what I have already.

Any thoughts? Am I good to go with that thing? I just want to maintain a somewhat sanitary environment when camped out )
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Old 03-16-2006, 05:50 PM   #2
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Yet again, I can't help but put in a word for fridge-free living. Consider whether you really need one. The energy expenditure is a large proportion of overall energy usage (generally). That 1.2 Amps at 120VAC will be 10.2 Amps at 12VDC, if you use an inverter (plus inefficiency loss).

Just my obligatory plug for fridge-freedom!
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Old 03-16-2006, 06:05 PM   #3
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Like I said...I'm all about being fridge free living too, but there are certain items such as ground beef that I just don't like floating around in the cooler. On top of that, on the road the coolers would likely be under the body, on the roof, on the rear deck, or any number of other inconvenient places while moving. The fridge would allow us to keep stuff that doesn't belong in a cooler fresh as well as keeping some tasty mt. dews chilled to 33* at all times
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Old 03-16-2006, 10:01 PM   #4
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I have two dorm fridges with freezers on my bus, I could get away with just one but I it comes in way to handy to go without any.
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Old 03-16-2006, 10:26 PM   #5
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My Crown bus has a apartment size refrig

The refrig is a 11cu ft model that consumes 3.2 amps at 120vac. This unit has an upper freezer. My choise to use this refrig was based on unit will freeze ice cream very hard, cost was about $300 new, RV frig is about $1800, unit will operate in any position, unit uses no electronic control board, units of tis type aften last 20 years with little repair, and unit will stay cold for longer period. No vent is needed on bus roof and no fan behind unit required. Unit will stay cold for about 3 days by carefully keeping door closed. While traveling, either the inverter, gen set or power pole keeps the refrig making cold. I do not go to RV parks, but go very often to the truck stops. The $28-35 per nite at a park is not good for me. A long shower wit my wife is $4, or free with a fillup. Ah yes the smell of diesel... Frank
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Old 03-17-2006, 07:14 AM   #6
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Re: My Crown bus has a apartment size refrig

Quote:
Originally Posted by frank-id
The refrig is a 11cu ft model that consumes 3.2 amps at 120vac. This unit has an upper freezer. My choise to use this refrig was based on unit will freeze ice cream very hard, cost was about $300 new, RV frig is about $1800, unit will operate in any position, unit uses no electronic control board, units of tis type aften last 20 years with little repair, and unit will stay cold for longer period. No vent is needed on bus roof and no fan behind unit required. Unit will stay cold for about 3 days by carefully keeping door closed. While traveling, either the inverter, gen set or power pole keeps the refrig making cold. I do not go to RV parks, but go very often to the truck stops. The $28-35 per nite at a park is not good for me. A long shower wit my wife is $4, or free with a fillup. Ah yes the smell of diesel... Frank
What inverter are you using I was thinking of getting a coleman PMP2000

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Old 03-17-2006, 11:15 AM   #7
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Small refrigs are not very demanding

My apartment size refrigerator with top freezer uses about 3.2 amps at 120vac. The small dedicated inverter that makes power for the refrig is a cheapie 800watt. This inverter only serves the frig. My other inverter is a 2200 watt that powers many items. I also have a spare 1200 watt inverter just in caseof emergencys. The largest inverter has a battery charger and my Crown carries a small 80 amp battery charger. It is hard to have fun without electrical power on the road. I have had 3 long times on the road, with 9 months my longest time away from home. I'm trying to go south soon. Idaho is a bit chilly now. Frank
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Old 03-17-2006, 11:33 AM   #8
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)Well good...my question has been answered in that it looks like I wasn't imagining things when I saw that power rating. My education has made me always assume (perhaps irrationally so) that the removal of heat energy is a tremendously inefficient and expensive venture. I guess that fridge must have some good insulation Anyway...I'm going to design in a compartment with adequate airflow for the fridge to live in. If we decide we don't need it it will be real easy to unplug, but the benefit of having it can't be replaced I don't think.
As for whether or not my dual el cheapo 700 watt inverters will be able to power it and the rest of my entertainment stuff remains to be seen, but another inverter won't cost much and would certainly give me piece of mind. I may have to consider buying another one now. My electrical demands are below 1400 watts total, but without much breathing room. It will REALLY upset me if the fridge surges on and my game of Grand Theft Auto (there are buses on there ya know ) turns off. 1400 watts continuous as long as by continuous you mean 10 minutes before it overheats, right?

Anyway...thanks for your input everyone.
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Old 03-17-2006, 11:48 AM   #9
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Electrical thots

When installing an electrical device, the location is very important. My Crown bus is just 35 ft so placement of all RV equiptment must be selected carefully. All my electrical is located out of the living are. My gen set, inverter, converter and battery charger are attached under the bus. Each unit is in free air and are not in any enclosure. Some inverters are mounted in an enclosure tat cooks the electronics. Most electronics cannot deal with any heat. My refrig is located at a window. If the temps get very hot, the open window will help the unit work effectively. Frank
Some pics and info about my Crown at...

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Old 03-17-2006, 05:23 PM   #10
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Funny you should mention location because I've been working all that layout up in my head. The man electrical compartment will be under one of the original seats that has been turned into my dinette. It's easy to access that way and will be protected from hazards both inside and outside. This is also where the 1/0 12 volt main and the pigtail for shore power will come in. The centralized location means none of my 12 volt runs will be all that long (I worry about voltage drop more in the 12 volt side of the wiring than the 120) and I can run lighter gauge 120 stuff.

There are two disadvantages to this design that I forsee though. One is heat. That battery compartment will get HOT, but I've found some nice little 12 volt radiator fans off some small car. These will mount on the outside wall where I will cut small holes and put vents over. Then I will place an equal sized vent on the side of the compartment where it is paneled under seats. A thermostat in the compartment rigged to turn on at an ambient temp of 85 degrees or so should be more than suffiecient.

The other problem with my planned setup has to do with the proximity of alternator to the battery bank. I know it's a long ways away, but I'm not overly concerned because I will not be using a voltage eating diode type isolator. Also, when I'm traveling down the road the load will not be all that great on the system. As for when I'm camped.....well I have this crazy idea....

I have an old Sears Crapsman lawn tractor. The tractor itself has been dead forever, but that I/C 12 horse on it has lived up to the Briggs name and seems to be in fine shape. So here's the plan.....I'm going to finish stripping down the chassis until it is basically just the two front framerails and the engine. I will then use this to spin the lartgest alternator I can find in the junkyard for cheap. This alternator will be wired directly to house batteries and will act like a "generator" when I'm parked only in a much less efficient manner . Of course it will be free, will charge either the house batteries or the starting battery, will burn about the same amount of fuel as a "real" generator (it's all in the gearing), and doesn't require the expense of a big ugly charger like just using shore power would. I can even run the controls into the busfor starting, throttle, etc

Am I crazy?.......most likely.....but I like the think of it more as being resourceful.....

I will post pictures as soon as I can.
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