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We own a 2004 Safari Panther, a 42 footer. Overall a wonderful motorhome, but the previous owner put in a residential reefer, which, of course, will only run on 120V

I have four 6V Golf cart batteries (226 Amp Hour each) and I have two 100W Solar panels on the roof.

I am finding that this setup is not sufficient for any real dry camping/boon docking. Switching to the inverter will run the reefer overnight, but drains the batteries to 30% by morning. The two 100W solar panels will not re-charge the batteries during the day.

I looked at adding more batteries and going up to 600W solar (the max I can add to the current system), but was told (reputable RV Solar company) that that setup will still not do what I want and will still require me to run the generator, PLUS, it is quite costly.

So my other option is to replace the residential reefer with one that can run on Propane.

So my question is has anyone had a similar experience and how did YOU solve it.

And, does anyone have any recommendations on reefers?

Thanks for your ideas/suggestions.

Albert and Linda

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Most coaches with residential refrigerators have 6- 6 VDC batteries for around 660 amp-hrs @12 VDC. Use them down to 50% and recharge.

But, batteries along are not the answer. As you have already discovered there are several ways to recharge the batteries and they can be used in combination. Another option if you don't want to run your large generator is a small quiet generator from Honda, or other quality maker that is sized to allow your inverter/charger to charge at or very close to its maximum rating.

Not suggesting you don't consider an absorption refrigerator, but quite a number of coaches ARE going to residentials.

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I don't know the brand of the residential refer you have but my Samsung will operate off the inverter with 4 batteries for as long as 14 hours when we are just overnighting. It, plus the tv, LED lights, water pump, etc has not dropped the batteries below 80%.

If you decide to change out the refer, I would look for an energy star rated refer rather than an absorption type.

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I don't know the brand of the residential refer you have but my Samsung will operate off the inverter with 4 batteries for as long as 14 hours when we are just overnighting. It, plus the tv, LED lights, water pump, etc has not dropped the batteries below 80%.

If you decide to change out the refer, I would look for an energy star rated refer rather than an absorption type.

I have the same experience as Jim, we run 14-16 hours (depends how many times someone opens the door and lets the cold air out). Our generator is an auto start and I have no solar. I have the generator programmed to come on at 60% and shut off at 98%. Personally I would never switch back to absorption type. I recommend taking a look at the following;

battery condition

energy rating of current refrigerator

regroup with your findings afterwards and make a decision that works best for you.

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If you look inside the fridge at the spec tag, you can check the maximum amp draw. Many reefers are too high amp draw to use in your situation. I do not

recommend anything more than four (4) amps if it is going to be used on inverter. There are several makes and models that fall into this category.

LG has a 3 door model that draws 3.5, my Samsung draws 3.9, I use 3 12 volt 1200 amp gel cell batteries with a 3000 watt inverter no solar panels.

I can run the fridge, lights, and tv for 48 hours without recharging. Please inform us what brand reefer and what the amp draw is.

By the way, you will find that generally, the 3 door models "the one that has the freezer on the bottom", are the most energy efficient.

Happy holidays, Kay

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If you replace the residential with an absorption type many agree that a Dometic would be the way to go. They are quite expensive though. We have one that is over 12 years old and it still performs very well.

In your situation, two more batteries would be much cheaper. If we had a residential frige, I don't think we would ever want to change back to an absorption type. The residential refrigerators ARE safer and more forgiving when off level.

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We own a 2004 Safari Panther, a 42 footer. Overall a wonderful motorhome, but the previous owner put in a residential reefer, which, of course, will only run on 120V

I have four 6V Golf cart batteries (226 Amp Hour each) and I have two 100W Solar panels on the roof.

I am finding that this setup is not sufficient for any real dry camping/boon docking. Switching to the inverter will run the reefer overnight, but drains the batteries to 30% by morning. The two 100W solar panels will not re-charge the batteries during the day.

I looked at adding more batteries and going up to 600W solar (the max I can add to the current system), but was told (reputable RV Solar company) that that setup will still not do what I want and will still require me to run the generator, PLUS, it is quite costly.

So my other option is to replace the residential reefer with one that can run on Propane.

So my question is has anyone had a similar experience and how did YOU solve it.

And, does anyone have any recommendations on reefers?

Thanks for your ideas/suggestions.

Albert and Linda

When I installed a residential fridge I was having trouble with my batteries lasting. I have 6 AGM 6 volt, 600 watt solar which would marginally keep the batteries up. After logging my current draw I noticed that my current seemed high. I was drawing between 9 and 12 amps on 12 volt when the refer was running, with the refer listed at 2.3 amps (10.1 cu ft). Then I changed the inverter and now my current draw is 3 to 5 amps on 12 volt.

My solar system consists of 6 100 watt mono crystalline panels and most important a 40 amp MPPT charge controller, with 98% efficiency. The cost was under $1000.

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Interested in what refrigerator you have and what the amp draw is. One other thing is to make sure the frost free and the anti condensation programs are turned off as they draw more power.

Bill

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If you look inside the fridge at the spec tag, you can check the maximum amp draw. Many reefers are too high amp draw to use in your situation. I do not

recommend anything more than four (4) amps if it is going to be used on inverter. There are several makes and models that fall into this category.

LG has a 3 door model that draws 3.5, my Samsung draws 3.9, I use 3 12 volt 1200 amp gel cell batteries with a 3000 watt inverter no solar panels.

I can run the fridge, lights, and tv for 48 hours without recharging. Please inform us what brand reefer and what the amp draw is.

By the way, you will find that generally, the 3 door models "the one that has the freezer on the bottom", are the most energy efficient.

Happy holidays, Kay

Kay, thanks for your response. I have a Samsung reefer (3 door) and the max amp rating is 5.3A (and I have a switch inside to turn off the ice maker). I am impressed with your 48 hour. Do gel batteries need any special considerations with regards to charging? Or can you simply switch the old ones for gel ones (other any 6V vs 12V wiring of course)?

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When I installed a residential fridge I was having trouble with my batteries lasting. I have 6 AGM 6 volt, 600 watt solar which would marginally keep the batteries up. After logging my current draw I noticed that my current seemed high. I was drawing between 9 and 12 amps on 12 volt when the refer was running, with the refer listed at 2.3 amps (10.1 cu ft). Then I changed the inverter and now my current draw is 3 to 5 amps on 12 volt.

My solar system consists of 6 100 watt mono crystalline panels and most important a 40 amp MPPT charge controller, with 98% efficiency. The cost was under $1000.

Hi DesertDeal, thanks for the response. I am very intrigued by the drop in current draw simply by installing a new inverter. I have been considering that too, not because of any suspicions on draw, but because I want a true sine wave output. Can you share what model inverter you got? I assume you also got a remote panel for it?

Also, I am VERY impressed you got 6 panels and a 40 amp charge controller for under $1000. Again, can you tell me more? Like where did you get those? Did you install them your self?

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I don't know the brand of the residential refer you have but my Samsung will operate off the inverter with 4 batteries for as long as 14 hours when we are just overnighting. It, plus the tv, LED lights, water pump, etc has not dropped the batteries below 80%.

If you decide to change out the refer, I would look for an energy star rated refer rather than an absorption type.

WOW . . . 4 batteries and you only drop to 80% !! That is impressive and way better than I am seeing with my setup. What kind of batteries do you have? What AmpHour rating?

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WOW . . . 4 batteries and you only drop to 80% !! That is impressive and way better than I am seeing with my setup. What kind of batteries do you have? What AmpHour rating?

Golf Cart Batteries purchased from Sams three years ago for less than $100 each. Not to open a can of worms but I added approx. 3 oz of mineral oil to each cell which has eliminated all corosion and I've only needed to add water once. My motorhome is stored at home plugged in to 50 amp service with reefer and inverter always on. I have the Samsung RF18, 3 door reefer.

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Hi DesertDeal, thanks for the response. I am very intrigued by the drop in current draw simply by installing a new inverter. I have been considering that too, not because of any suspicions on draw, but because I want a true sine wave output. Can you share what model inverter you got? I assume you also got a remote panel for it?

Also, I am VERY impressed you got 6 panels and a 40 amp charge controller for under $1000. Again, can you tell me more? Like where did you get those? Did you install them your self?

The inverter is a Xantrex SW3012, a 3000 watt, pure sine wave, with control panel. The solar panels are Renogy branded and also the charge controller is Renogy branded, 40 amp MPPT. The charge controller has 3 stage charging. I would go with the AGM 6 volt batteries.

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aldebruijn,
Glad to reply, please note that the gel cell batteries that I quoted are 1200 amp hours each, which are paralleled together
for a total of 3600 amps, this is about eight times as many amps storage as your four 6 volt golf cart batteries.

I have worked in the computer industry for 32 years and have many connections with communication services, which has enabled me to be able to acquire these monster batteries at a fairly reasonable cost, new they cost $800.00 each, but cell
companies replace them every year as a regular maintenance item, and I have been fortunate to get some at a reasonable cost.

Unfortunately the party that I have acquired them from in the past, passed away earlier this year. I have been using the
units for two years now, and have hopes of using them at least six more.

To answer the question about charging them, most of the newer inverter/chargers have a setting for gel cell, so yes you do have to use special charging means, and solar panel controllers with the correct settings are an excellent means of charging them.

Incidentally, the 12 volt units that I use weigh 114# each. Hope that you can upgrade your system to make it what you like soon. By the way, if you have room and can stand the extra weight, just adding four more of what you have alone will double the time before discharging, or at least probably put the drain to sixty or sixty five percent for the same period of time, thereby increasing the battery life significantly, it will take longer to bring them back to full with your current equipment. But will be the least expensive upgrade for a short term fix.

Happy holidays, Kay

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