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Old 06-02-2024, 06:20 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2024
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Fridge while driving

Just planning ahead stages... how does one keep fridge and freezer running while driving. Are batteries strong enough to solves this? My initial plan is to NOT do solar and just hook-up. But I also want to have basic understanding on how that translates to fridge during driving as well as in-between trips (fridge will be emptied) since we will be part time, as well as of in event of unforseen break-down.

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Old 06-02-2024, 08:28 PM   #2
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So there are RV models that are designed to be tri-powered; 120 VAC for when plugged-in, 12 VDC for when rolling/boondocking, as well as propane-powered.



You can also find some single-powered 12 VDC models that can run off the batteries, and with a suitable alternator and or battery-charger while plugged in can work, as well as some propane-models, as well as some dual-power options that work with a couple of these.


You still might need to upgrade a battery bank if you plan on running off batteries for a while, as well as a larger alternator and/or generator.
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Old 06-02-2024, 08:30 PM   #3
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I have a 12v house system to run all my lights, fan radio, etc. I also added a $100 victron inverter to this system to power a residential fridge. You'll have to have 12v system for stuff anyway. On top of the minimum, I changed the lead acid battery out for lifepo4 and added a 50a DC to DC charger to the engine battery.


I went big and got a 460ah lifepo4 battery that can run my fridge for 4 days without charging.


I plan to add solar and a 48v system later for A/C, but going to use the rig in campgrounds or run my diesel generator for the first year.


I went for a residential 10cu ft fridge as they are $300 and easy to replace when/if it fails where a 12v fridge was $1400 to buy and the reviews mostly suck on them all. I lose about 5-10w of efficiency to run the victron inverter, but that paid for a lot of extra battery.
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Old 06-02-2024, 08:45 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thank you thank you
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Old 06-03-2024, 10:01 AM   #5
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I have a dorm sized fridge that stays on even when parked. My setup is about 450 watts solar and a 280 Ah battery. I got the solar panels used, and the charge controller is a Renogy.

Plenty of power in sunny California though.

So either a good sized battery you can hook up to shore power when parked, or a simple solar setup.
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Old 06-03-2024, 10:55 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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im using a basic 250$ small fridge/freezer and using a portable batter to keep it alive between locations. if it starts drawing doww too much i can plug the bat into 12v to chare that while running the fridge. (i do plug the unint in a few days before leaving and fully stock it to help keep the unit cold before leaving.
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Old 06-05-2024, 09:07 PM   #7
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Smaller house fridge 120v runs on solar throughout the day when not plugged in, I think it draws around 150-200 watts while running. powered by a a magnum inverter. While running down the road your alternator should be able to handle the extra load of the fridge using an inverter. just pre-cool the fridge before leaving and make sure you plug it in when you get to your spot. I usually freeze some gallon jugs of water to put in the fridge before leaving to help keep it cooler and the overall load down.
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Old 06-07-2024, 09:32 PM   #8
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That's a great idea thank you
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Old 06-08-2024, 10:15 PM   #9
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i use a 12 volt fridge powered by my house agm that also gets charged from a dc to dc while im driving or a charge converter when im parked and plugged into shore power
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Old 06-08-2024, 11:08 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I'll have to deconstruct that but thank you.
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Old 06-09-2024, 01:05 PM   #11
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I don't trust a car alternator to run directly to my fridge is why the house battery is used. Also if the vehicle is not running it won't drain my starter batteries. I seen many alternators fail to regulate voltage and shoot 50+volts into the system
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Old 06-12-2024, 08:22 PM   #12
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You want a fridge? Here's how we did a chest freezer.

We used our 34' bus to move across the country, and we brought our cow with us - in a full-sized chest freezer. Here's how:
  • Buy 2000w inverter from Harbor Freight and mount it to the panel behind the driver's seat;
  • Drill holes in the floor down into the battery box;
  • Add a new deep-cycle battery to the battery box (there was room);
  • Run stout wires from deep-cycle battery to inverter - and provide protection for wires so they don't short out by the metal edges digging through the insulation);
  • Add a cutout knife switch to connect starting battery to deep-cycle battery;
  • Connect batteries when bus is running - charges deep-cycle battery and the freezer is operated by the alternator;
  • Disconnect from the starting battery when parked for any length of time - runs freezer off the deep-cycle battery and preserves full charge for starting.
It worked flawlessly. Dunno how applicable this might be to your project, but the now-you're-connected-now-you're-not trick might be an idea you could incorporate.
-Tim (username Dapplecreek five years ago or so)
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Old 06-13-2024, 08:50 AM   #13
Bus Crazy
 
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Deep cycle don't like the high amperage output of automotive alternators. While this worked for you this time battery explosion could have happened. It's just a risk that you took and luckily it worked. However that does destroy that deep cycle and will shorten its life. Use a current limiter also known as a DC to DC charger. You are looking for long term use do it correctly and safely so you won't have to buy new house battery every year. I like and enjoy a average of 10 years from all my batteries since the 70s. Lots of good battery info from others here that have been successful but lots of sketchy and dangerous info here too.
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Old 06-13-2024, 08:56 AM   #14
Bus Crazy
 
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One thing to know here I have on many occasion seen alternators have thier current and voltage limiting components fail. A van that had a 2k inverter hooked to a starter battery had this happen. The inverter spiked high enough to fry a small fridge (120volt) before it burned out too. It also fried a nice home stereo he had even tho it was not on. So it is your choice good luck
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Old 06-13-2024, 09:36 AM   #15
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Well, this IS a discussion group...

It appears that in my enthusiasm I was able to get some clarification from others - thanks, folks: it looks like my design was well-intentioned but flawed. Thanks for the comments, and may others profit from them!
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Old 06-13-2024, 09:47 AM   #16
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Welcome back Tim!
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Old Today, 05:08 AM   #17
Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmoore6856 View Post
One thing to know here I have on many occasion seen alternators have thier current and voltage limiting components fail. A van that had a 2k inverter hooked to a starter battery had this happen. The inverter spiked high enough to fry a small fridge (120volt) before it burned out too. It also fried a nice home stereo he had even tho it was not on. So it is your choice good luck
Good point on the over voltage. I have an under voltage cutoff, for my house batteries that shuts the alternator feed to my house bank when the voltage is under 13.8v, but no voltage cut off for high voltage. I have not needed to turn it on while driving yet though. Amazon show some inexpensive over and under voltage controllers, I think That my be a future upgrade.
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