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obiwan_canoli

Absorption vs. Residential refrigerator

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My current rig - a 2017 Newmar Ventana LE - has a 12 c.f. 4-door refrigerator/freezer. Runs on 120 or propane, and simply does not keep the ice cream cold enough, and even at the highest setting, previously frozen foods begin to thaw, though only slightly. Temporary solution to this was the acquisition of a Dometic portable cooler (75DZ) that does a much better job of keep the ice cream in an acceptable state.

The issue for me is this: I'm considering trading up to a new MH, and my research suggests most if not all new coach's come with residential all-electric fridge. Since I boondock often, and will continue to do so, I also plan to move my current Battle Born Lithiums to the new coach (100Ah each, 4 total). I currently also have about 600 total watts of solar, and have room for another 600 watts (3 panels), and it's a given that I'll probably have an equivalent wattage output for solar on the new rig.

I'm attempting to learn as much as I can about the differences between Residential vs. Absorption fridge's, and why I would want one over the other. Capacity isn't a big issue for me, but I wouldn't want to go smaller than what I already have... To be sure, I'll be spending time at traditional RV parks with shore power, but again, there's the ice cream thing... I'd very much appreciate your insight and experience in guiding me toward the knowledge level I seek to make an informed decision - TIA! 

Michael

 

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1 hour ago, obiwan_canoli said:

My current rig - a 2017 Newmar Ventana LE - has a 12 c.f. 4-door refrigerator/freezer. Runs on 120 or propane, and simply does not keep the ice cream cold enough, and even at the highest setting, previously frozen foods begin to thaw, though only slightly. Temporary solution to this was the acquisition of a Dometic portable cooler (75DZ) that does a much better job of keep the ice cream in an acceptable state.

The issue for me is this: I'm considering trading up to a new MH, and my research suggests most if not all new coach's come with residential all-electric fridge. Since I boondock often, and will continue to do so, I also plan to move my current Battle Born Lithiums to the new coach (100Ah each, 4 total). I currently also have about 600 total watts of solar, and have room for another 600 watts (3 panels), and it's a given that I'll probably have an equivalent wattage output for solar on the new rig.

I'm attempting to learn as much as I can about the differences between Residential vs. Absorption fridge's, and why I would want one over the other. Capacity isn't a big issue for me, but I wouldn't want to go smaller than what I already have... To be sure, I'll be spending time at traditional RV parks with shore power, but again, there's the ice cream thing... I'd very much appreciate your insight and experience in guiding me toward the knowledge level I seek to make an informed decision - TIA! 

Michael

 

I boondock and have a 10 cu ft residential fridge.  I have 4 lithiums and 800 watts solar.  1 month to go on my 4 month summer trip.  I have 6 new matched lithiums to go in when I get home and my inverter charger needs to be replaced.  I would never go back to a rv fridge because of having to level all the time and poor performance.  Now my ice cream is difficult to scoop out, its -2 to -6 in the freezer.

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17 minutes ago, obiwan_canoli said:

Is a Residential Fridge ALWAYS electric only, and no propane?

Yes, unless you're in Amish country. 

 

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The wonderful thing about the newer residential fridges is they don't require as much current (amperage) as the older ones. The newest versions are inverter style, which means that they are very low drain on your battery bank. I will never go back to an absorption fridge.

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Obviously your (Norcold 1200XX series?) refrigerator works, just not well. Are the two circulating fans running on the back of the refrigerator when the fridge is in operation? If not  you must pull the fridge from the cabinet enough to access the fans and the controller.

reference: Norcold service manual; and for re-installing your fridge,  Norcold installation manual Often mfgrs. do not properly install an absorption refrigerator chimney and it will not cool correctly.

Rather than pull my fridge I just added an optional blower-type fan when i installed a Fridge Defend/ARP protection unit.

After I installed the ARP unit and option blower fan I had to reduce the cool setting to prevent freezing the milk, and my beer.

Above all, an absorption refrigerator must be within 6° front-to-back, and 3° side-to-side as looking in the fridge.

Edited by rayin

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On 8/25/2021 at 6:18 PM, kaypsmith said:

The wonderful thing about the newer residential fridges is they don't require as much current (amperage) as the older ones. The newest versions are inverter style, which means that they are very low drain on your battery bank. I will never go back to an absorption fridge.

Agree, very little draw.  I just swapped out eight 6v AGM deep cycle batteries for two 12v AGM deep cycles.  This is based on the recommendation of an engineer friend who did this a five years ago....all is working well.

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18 minutes ago, five said:

Agree, very little draw.  I just swapped out eight 6v AGM deep cycle batteries for two 12v AGM deep cycles.  This is based on the recommendation of an engineer friend who did this a five years ago....all is working well.

How much is 'very little draw'? 

Even it it were an extremely efficient fridge drawing 1 amp @ 120vac, that would pull at least 10 amps @ 12vdc. With a too-small battery bank, it won't take too long till the generator needs to run.

There is a third option in this mix in addition to residential and absorption - 12vdc compressor fridges. They sip about half the power as a residential and still keep ice cream rock hard. More expensive and not generally available as large as a residential, but nice to have options if dry camping is important and generator use is not desired.

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23 hours ago, richard5933 said:

...How much is 'very little draw'? ...

 

Couple of amps.

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Plus once it cools down it doesn't run all the time. I upgraded to a residential in my last coach and didn't add any battery's and never had a problem. 

Bill

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A couple of amps @ 120vac would mean about 20 amps being pulled from the batteries. Will likely be fine if you're only going from pole to pole. If someone wants to spend more than a day or so doing this he'd need a more substantial battery bank, decent solar, or run the generator to keep charged.

Not saying it's a bad idea, just that there's no way to boondock or dry camp with a residential fridge like you can an absorption fridge without adequate battery capacity.

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On 8/25/2021 at 4:18 PM, kaypsmith said:

The wonderful thing about the newer residential fridges is they don't require as much current (amperage) as the older ones. The newest versions are inverter style, which means that they are very low drain on your battery bank. I will never go back to an absorption fridge.

Our Samsung RF19 draws only 2 Amps at 120 volts, we only have 440 amp hr of battery capacity.  When traveling the residential refrigerator is powered by our inverter charger.  We have found that we get by if we run the generator every other day for a couple hours if we don't need to run the furnace at night.

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Five,  I would say you have a winner!  I, unfortunately, had all 10 of my batteries replaced in April.

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12 hours ago, f433921 said:

Our Samsung RF19 draws only 2 Amps at 120 volts, we only have 440 amp hr of battery capacity.  When traveling the residential refrigerator is powered by our inverter charger.  We have found that we get by if we run the generator every other day for a couple hours if we don't need to run the furnace at night.

2A @ 120VAC = 20A @ 12VDC, when AC voltage drops below 120V amp-draw increases.

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On 8/28/2021 at 9:49 AM, rayin said:

2A @ 120VAC = 20A @ 12VDC, when AC voltage drops below 120V amp-draw increases.

 

On 8/28/2021 at 9:49 AM, rayin said:

2A @ 120VAC = 20A @ 12VDC, when AC voltage drops below 120V amp-draw increases.

What is the full model number of your Samsung?  I'm looking at replacing my Norcold with a residential frig.

 

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5 minutes ago, thecsfour said:

 

What is the full model number of your Samsung?  I'm looking at replacing my Norcold with a residential frig.

 

I was replying to f433951's comment about amp-draw; I have a 1999 Norcold that still works great.

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On 8/27/2021 at 6:57 PM, richard5933 said:

A couple of amps @ 120vac would mean about 20 amps being pulled from the batteries. Will likely be fine if you're only going from pole to pole. If someone wants to spend more than a day or so doing this he'd need a more substantial battery bank, decent solar, or run the generator to keep charged.

Not saying it's a bad idea, just that there's no way to boondock or dry camp with a residential fridge like you can an absorption fridge without adequate battery capacity.

Another thing is that the auto defrost comes on 2-4 times a day and that is a heat element.  Draws upwards of 6-8 amps at 120 volt.  Thats a lot of amps at 12 volts.  I installed a switch to disable the auto defrost when I'm on the inverter.  

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On 8/27/2021 at 9:26 PM, f433921 said:

Our Samsung RF19 draws only 2 Amps at 120 volts, we only have 440 amp hr of battery capacity.  When traveling the residential refrigerator is powered by our inverter charger.  We have found that we get by if we run the generator every other day for a couple hours if we don't need to run the furnace at night.

What is the full model number of your Samsung?  I'm looking at replacing my Norcold with a residential frig.

16 hours ago, rayin said:

I was replying to f433951's comment about amp-draw; I have a 1999 Norcold that still works great.

Sorry, I clicked on the wrong post.

 

 

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The Samsung residential model that fit where the Nevercool 1200 fits is the RF-19. The height is just a bit taller but most RVs can be adjusted to fit. 

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I understand from a friend that just installed an RF-19 that the new version does not have handles. But I have seen lock adaptors that work well keeping the doors closed on turns.

Herman

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