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Old 01-28-2008, 11:19 PM   #1
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keeping that beer cold

i am going to replace thu fridge in my bus its an older shore power/propane unit. Ive come arcoss a few larger units for sale out of campers such as norcold and others and am wondering if anyone has any recomondations of what they would buy or stay away from i defenitly have to have the propane option. i have not seen too many newer models that have the 12 volt option. who has that and is it usefull? one of the newer fridges im looking at was running on propane when it was involved in a crash and had some fire damage. 12 volt would be nice for that i guess Any thoughts? thanks tim
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:32 AM   #2
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Re: keeping that beer cold

quite a bit more low tech, but you might consider using a 12 volt plug in coleman cooler when in transit. They're about 100 bucks and keep temps about 40 degrees cooler than ambient air temps. I have one and love it. If you put frozen items inside it really keeps things cold. Great while driving. You could then use your propane fridge when parked.
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:42 PM   #3
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Re: keeping that beer cold

If you're just worried about keeping it cold while going down the road, why not just get a regular dorm style fridge and then run it off of an inverter and battery bank? A fridge, inverter and battery bank would be cheaper than an RV fridge! A fridge doesn't take much power at all to run.
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:16 PM   #4
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Re: keeping that beer cold

I was going to suggest the same, but he seems deadset on propane. I sure don't have any complaints about my little sin fridge running on inverter power. Of course I don't boondock for REAL long periods. If I do the gennie comes with.
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:58 PM   #5
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Re: keeping that beer cold

hey guys i got one of those smaller fridges about 30 inches by 30 inches and i have a xantrex 1000 invertor i do bondock it alot and i would like the propane but is a 1000 invertor gonna run that fridge? it even has wood grain to match the rest of the bus bus is already plumbed for propane too all in the mane of cold beer
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Old 01-30-2008, 08:21 AM   #6
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Re: keeping that beer cold

My fridge too has woodgrain.

I have a pair of 750 watt inverters. 1 inverter will actually run the fridge, TV, surround sound, and PS2, no sweat. The fridge only draws 1.2 amps if I remember correctly. Sure it's going to surge to 4-5 amps, but the inverter has some surge capacity in it.
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Old 01-31-2008, 07:16 PM   #7
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Re: keeping that beer cold

I ran a ~4 cu ft dorm fridge at Burningman this past year for 3 1/2 weeks. It took a 750 watt inverter, 3 Walmart 29 series RV batteries and 330 watts of solar to keep up with it. It was under a counter and suffered from heat build-up, so efficiency really suffered. If you're going to be in a hot climate, I'd put it in a cabinet with a standard propane fridge roof vent, and add a 12 volt fan to pull hot air off the unit. If going to all that trouble, you're much better off running a propane unit, and saving the battery power for more appropriate uses. This of course assumes you're boondocking w/o shore power. Even so, I'd still vent it outside. Suckers put off a lot of heat!!

I'm going propane next year. That way, I can also run a much bigger refrigerator fairly efficiently, and save the solar power for fans, music etc.
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Old 02-01-2008, 03:25 PM   #8
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Re: keeping that beer cold

How long can you run a 1.2amp dorm fridge on a inverter and batteries? I know it depends on how many and how big the batteries are. I'm asking cause I just bought a 1.2amp fridge for about $50.
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:45 PM   #9
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Re: keeping that beer cold

I've gone as long as 36 hours running everything on battery power. This included two fridges, the TV, PS2, surround sound, lights at night, and assorted other stuff. That was off a pair of golf cart batteries. I know I ran them down lower than I should have (those fridges were running A LOT in that weather), but it did work just fine. Normally I try to limit myself to just 24 hours so that I have some reserve capacity and to prevent overloading the alternator because sometimes it is just necessary to use the alternator to charge the house batteries.

225aH/36H=6.25 amps per hour@12 volts or .625 amps per hour at 120 volts. I guess that would mean my pair of fridges ran slightly less than 15 minutes out of every hour after you factor in the other electrical accessories which sounds about right to me.
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Old 02-02-2008, 04:04 PM   #10
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Re: keeping that beer cold

2 fridges? i guess your posse is a thirsty bunch of bus nuts how much were your 750 inverters? my 1000 is just plain old black and yours are so colorful! im going to check out a 2 way fridge today i also bought an inverter from a trailer today for 50 bucks i also got the furnace for 100 bucks and the hot water tank the furnace that came with the bus needed as new circuit board and looked like it was tired. i can see that any longer lengths of boondocking propane would be the best for the fridge
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Old 02-02-2008, 06:30 PM   #11
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Re: keeping that beer cold

The second fridge was because there were 5 of us on a 10 day odyssey requiring extra room for tasty beverages AND food. Those form fridges are only so big ya know...

The inverters were $40.44 each shipped. I stumbled across them on eBay QUITE some time ago, but I know I was not the only one to purchase them as referenced by this thread. They have proven to be quite reliable. They have gotten a little noisier, but that might be because their wood-in-metal mount has moved. I know I had one slight issue with them not dealing with surges as they should at one point, but it turned out to just be that my ground wire was loose. Overall I've been very pleased and they owe me nothing. I wish I had a single big inverter sometimes just to deal with a single larger load, but there are advantages to the way I have them now as well.

*edit* the next inverters I'll add to the system will be some 12 volt UPS's I got for free. They can't support a huge load, but will do nicely to power just the outlets in my bedroom for instance.
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Old 02-03-2008, 03:24 AM   #12
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Re: keeping that beer cold

I made the investment in a Norcold N410 2 way fridge. It runs on propane or shore power/Gennies. It really is super cold and has a freezer. You're not supposed to run it on propane while driving, but everybody does. I split my propane lines to run my fridge and my stove. If you don't have the battery bank room, this is great. You need to build it in good and have a co2/propane detector and vent it well for safety.
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Old 02-08-2008, 12:20 PM   #13
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Re: keeping that beer cold

odyssess that sounds like the way to go i think that is the same fridge that is in my 98 wanderer trailer i was at my buddys shop yesterday,he builds very small travell trailers,and showed me a 2 way fridge. it was a smaller unit from a truck camper and it was 1100 bucks new! i was flabbergasted(love that word)! i cant bring myself to fix the fridge that is in my bus now the door is warped and does not seal, and will not run on 110. im still looking, but im not parting with that kind of money. thats more than what i paid for the whole bus timbuk
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Old 02-14-2008, 03:47 PM   #14
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Re: keeping that beer cold

I opted for an ac/dc 1/2 size fridge (out of a converted van in a pick n pull). I had a 3 way, 2 way and a dc to choose from. All of them worked. It took about 2 hours to pull them from various rigs and cost under $100 for all of them. Well worth it. There is no way to test them on site, but you can get your money back if they are faulty. I sold the 3 way for $50, the guy was very happy. I chose the 2 way because 3 ways are very fussy creatures. They use far more power in electric mode than a 2 way. They must be within 2 degrees of level to function properly. Repairs are very expensive. Power on the other hand is cheap to produce as genny's are now quite affordable and solar is getting there. They can be run directly off shore power which is great if you ever plan on using it at your home, or are staying at a campground. Propane tanks are expensive to fill. And on 12v, my little fridge doesn't use much power. Sorry, I don't have the numbers in front of me, but when I worked in the service dept I had all the numbers and it made sense.

Good luck as we all have unique needs that need to be filled. And I second the recomedation for the coleman cooler as a backup. We used one as a primary fridge for 10 weeks a couple of summers ago and it kept meat, dairy and beer nice and cold all summer. It still works, and I bought mine used!

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Old 02-18-2008, 01:10 AM   #15
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Re: keeping that beer cold


All right, time for me to start planning the installation of the Dometic 2310 I just salvaged out of a camping trailer. (This is a three-way unit, and I expect to run in on electricity, since I'm a bit paranoid about propane.)

Now my question: I see that these things need to sit level to work. Well, there is no way Millicent is always going to be parked level. So I need to level the fridge in relation to the bus. I figure on two sets of hinges and screw-jacks. (Maybe the two parking jacks I just took off the trailer, allthough that would be overkill.) I'd install a bubble level on the unit, and once we are parked check the bubble and crank the two handles as needed. Any thoughts?
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Old 02-18-2008, 02:05 AM   #16
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Re: keeping that beer cold

not sure if this helps..but our Dometic is not level..and works just fine on elec. I do have the propane turned off on it though....just something about using a explosive gas to keep food cold turns me off.
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Old 02-18-2008, 02:30 AM   #17
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Re: keeping that beer cold

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliot Naess

All right, time for me to start planning the installation of the Dometic 2310 I just salvaged out of a camping trailer. (This is a three-way unit, and I expect to run in on electricity, since I'm a bit paranoid about propane.)

Now my question: I see that these things need to sit level to work. Well, there is no way Millicent is always going to be parked level. So I need to level the fridge in relation to the bus. I figure on two sets of hinges and screw-jacks. (Maybe the two parking jacks I just took off the trailer, allthough that would be overkill.) I'd install a bubble level on the unit, and once we are parked check the bubble and crank the two handles as needed. Any thoughts?

why not just use an electric fridge?

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Old 02-18-2008, 05:01 AM   #18
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Re: keeping that beer cold

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliot Naess

Now my question: I see that these things need to sit level to work. Well, there is no way Millicent is always going to be parked level. So I need to level the fridge in relation to the bus. I figure on two sets of hinges and screw-jacks. (Maybe the two parking jacks I just took off the trailer, allthough that would be overkill.) I'd install a bubble level on the unit, and once we are parked check the bubble and crank the two handles as needed. Any thoughts?
Well Elliot, if you like Rube Goldberg devices, you can gimbal the fridge. Just put rollers on the bottom, place everything in a big metal bowl, and the fridge should level itself. Only kidding.

The fridge should be alright not leveled, just not as efficient. Of course everything has it's limits.
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Old 02-18-2008, 11:03 AM   #19
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Re: keeping that beer cold


Quote:
why not just use an electric fridge?
Because I already own this one. But yes, for Burning Man, a household refrigerator would be a good idea. And a big chest freezer for ice cream!


Quote:
Well Elliot, if you like Rube Goldberg devices, you can gimbal the fridge. Just put rollers on the bottom, place everything in a big metal bowl, and the fridge should level itself. Only kidding.
I would never kid about my hero Rube Goldberg! And yes, I have thought of this, except I thought of suspending the refrigerator from above. But ball-rollers in a half-sphere would be much more elegant, yes.
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Old 02-18-2008, 11:44 AM   #20
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Re: keeping that beer cold

Millicent:
You need to think that through, are you sure you aren't going to level your bus when you get to your destination? It will feel wierd walking on a slope or angle and you won't sleep as well. Your shower probably won't drain right, you can't cook correctly and your tanks won't behave right. I bet you will try and level it up when you set up and it's not that hard really. I made a step type ramp to drive up on to level up my bus and it works well. I took scrap 2x12's and glued and screwed them together, 4', 3', 2' and 1' lengths. All you do is put them under the lowest wheel or wheels, pull up on them as you watch your leveling bubbles, stop when level or roll off adjust them and try again, extra help is good here, takes about 5 minutes. We used to pour water on the countertop and see which way it runs and adjust accordingly, now we have bubbles to watch. I never run my fridge while underway because the manual says not to. At the cost of a new one I think I will pay attention to the manufacturers reccomendations. Of course that means we either have to pre-cool for the trip or use a cooler which means more gear to haul. You have done a great job on your bus, you are an inspiration, or is that persperation? sportyrick
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