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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2014, 7:46 am 
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Note: This started out as a thread discussing converting to an electric only (compressor) refrigerator. However it has morphed into a "remodeling the stove/refrigerator area" thread, which makes sense, since the two are somewhat connected. So I renamed the thread.

*****

In an unrelated thread, chinook440 mentioned that he is running a "boat style" refrigerator. This is something I've been thinking about, so I asked if he would mind discussing it in a new thread. Hence starting this thread for the topic.

As background, propane refrigerators are generally not used on boats. Boats do use propane systems (cooking/heating), but since propane sinks, and since boats have bilges (so it cannot just drain away onto the ground), the guidelines for setting up propane systems aboard are fairly stringent, and refrigerators don't really fit in. So for eons, boats have had iceboxes. Typically very well insulated top opening boxes, wherein a section of galley counter is the lid.

But as solar/wind/generators have become more popular, and refrigerators have gotten more efficient, more and more boats have 12-volt refrigerators. Often the compressor is mounted remotely from the box, but not always. Some "huge" boats run household refrigerators and inverters, but what I would like to discuss are 12-volt refrigerators and the means to support their power use when off grid (although these refrigerators can typically also run on 110 when plugged in, of course there's not much to discuss about that).

From the other thread:

Blue~Go wrote:
chinook440 wrote:
I,m running a 12volt compressor boat style fridge so the vents previously used for the fridge i can use for the a/c.


I think this would call for a new thread, but would you care to discuss your refrigerator mod? If so, I'd be glad to move this post to the new thread and carry on from there. I've been thinking of replacing my (huge!) Dometic RM3663 (3-way) refrigerator/freezer with a 12-volt boat type one (perhaps Vitrifrigo or Isotherm). Was looking at either a "normal" two-door style or perhaps a two-drawer unit. I'd *really* like to have a unit that is less deep (the RM 3663 juts out into the already narrow aisle), and although I've never minded a good propane system on a boat or in an RV (meaning, I'm not "scared" of it in principle), I'm not that fond of the propane refrigerators for various reasons.

For me, this would have to wait until after I have a better solar system installed, as I don't want to be too generator dependent. If we do go to a new thread, I'll have some questions for you about how you power yours.


So, chinook440, I would like to hear more about your 12-volt, boat style refrigerator! Is it a remote compressor model or all one unit? How many cubic feet is it? Freezer? How do you generate the power for it? I would ideally like to have a unit with a separate freezer (door) that I could support mainly with solar panels (occasional generator use okay, but I don't want that to be an everyday given). Something larger than a dorm fridge for sure, but smaller than the RM 3663 would be fine. Maybe around 5 cubic feet?

Anyway, would like to hear anything you have to say about your system. Thanks!

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Last edited by Blue~Go on June 24th, 2015, 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2014, 8:26 am 
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I've read good things about those isotherm with "ASU"(? I could have those letters messed up). I saw a custom "sportsmobile" built up with one and they guy just loved it. I wonder which would be the better upgrade for me.. hwh leveling jacks or a replacement ac/dc only fridge.
Gotta get back to my rig and use it a while.


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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2014, 8:33 am 
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Isotherm make good stuff in general. I think the ASU may only be on the smaller units, but I may be remembering that wrong. As I understand it, it's sort of like a sophisticated version of putting a jug of water in the freezer during the day when you are gaining lots of solar/have energy to burn, and then "releasing the cold" overnight when you don't. But better of course :D

Side note on the HWH (or other) levelers: They add some weight. I don't know if you have checked your specific rig, but the Chinooks run close to their weight ratings, especially on the rear axle. You may not want to "use" your available weight allotment for levelers, especially if you may be converting to 4x4 (I would imagine that adds weight).

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2014, 1:38 pm 
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I went with a Waeco cr1100 mainly because i got a hell of a deal on it from defender marine . From what i remember , it,s been about 3 years ....Dometic bought out
Waeco and now makes the identical model with the dometic name on it and i guess defender had to sell off all remaining Waeco labeled models at a deep discount.

It,s a 3.8 c.f. model and works well for my usage. I like this models interior shelf layout / adjustability and the twin bottom bins .

I,m not a fulltimer by any means but when in use i,m almost always either plugged in or driving or in a parking lot often times way off level so this style of fridge is perfect for me.
These 12volt comp. fridges can operate continously off level up to 30degrees with no ill effects. which makes them perfect for the small sightseeing parking lot type of RV,s

Plus no worries of flames at gas stations or buying propane etc. Not to mention you can go from being totally off to having ice in about 2 hours .

The way i see it the only reason to stick with a propane fridge is if you boondock for long periods of time. Even then with a decent bank of batteries and a means to charge them ocassionally.......

by comparision...........propane fridges are like the yahoo groups ....old,outdated & cumbersome ,sorry i couldn,t resist :lol: oh wait my Chinook is old and kinda cumbersome as well...... :mrgreen:

The longest i,ve ran this fridge so far without a Batt. recharge has been about 48hours in mid 80,s temp with just a single Walmart group 29 deepcycle /dual purpose battery and it could have gone at least another day or more. I forgot the exact voltage drop.

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2014, 3:24 pm 
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Blue~Go wrote:
Side note on the HWH (or other) levelers: They add some weight. I don't know if you have checked your specific rig, but the Chinooks run close to their weight ratings, especially on the rear axle. You may not want to "use" your available weight allotment for levelers, especially if you may be converting to 4x4 (I would imagine that adds weight).


My understand you actually gain capacity. It does add weight up front, but the solid axle can support more. Nothing added to the rear (of significance weight wise).


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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2014, 3:37 pm 
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chinook440 wrote:
by comparision...........propane fridges are like the yahoo groups ....old,outdated & cumbersome ,sorry i couldn,t resist :lol: oh wait my Chinook is old and kinda cumbersome...


Lol, good burn, but for the record, I have great respect for that group. Ton of great info that has already saved me time figuring things out. The Dave moderator seems fair and liked. I would have liked to have someone from that group help move stuff over here, but I understand. It can be a lot of (unpaid) work. That group will continue to have way more valuable information than we will for a good long time. I just couldn't take the format and happen to be an I.T. guy (setting this up didn't take me long).


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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2014, 7:25 pm 
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I for one am glad you did!
That fridge in Chinook440's rig looks to be the exact same size as OEM. What are those two toggle switches on the side for? I have two of those on the same wall but higher up, and they have a light for each one. There's one below my sink as well. When I turn the sink one on, it glows green, but I have no clue what it's for! The two fridge ones don't seem to work. I have to see if they do when I'm plugged in though.

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2014, 10:40 pm 
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I figured the jibe was just at Yahoo's cumbersomeness, not the Chinook specific group or moderators (they rock). Man is it nice to have a bulletin board style forum though.

This is a tangent, but, I was just speaking with a friend of mine who used to do computer stuff for a living, and who has run a few very busy/successful bulletin boards (including that used to be MSN/Yahoo). He recommended just archiving the Yahoo! group and starting fresh with a bulletin board such as this one. Moving things over is like a lifetime project, and Yahoo! doesn't do anything to make it easy. However with the archived status, the Yahoo! group is still available for searching. So, folks could search the archives just like they can now (while the Yahoo! group is actively running). I don't see a downside that way. The old data is not lost, nor really any less accessible than it is now. I'd be thrilled if that happened and the moderators plus whole group moved over here.

Back to fridges, I like that Waeco you have. I think that size suits the Chinook better, personally. The refrigerator in my ear rig is just HUGE, and juts out into the already narrow hallway. Ideally, I'd choose something in between the two sizes and with a separate freezer door.

My previous Class B had a 12-volt/110 smallish refrigerator/freezer - a bit smaller than yours. It was nice to be able to park on a slant without thinking about it. As you say, it was fine while on the move or plugged in; however when I wanted to stay in one place (off grid) longer, then it was like a tyrant. But then I had no solar panels, nor generator in that rig.

Once I get some solar rigged up, I will give some serious thought to a new, probably slightly smaller than the 3-way Dometic, 12v/110v refrigerator freezer.

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PostPosted: August 3rd, 2014, 4:09 am 
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I meant no harm towards the yahoo group, i was just joking around . Same with the absorbtion type fridges ,they have their place for sure.

Those toggle switchs are just filling up holes now. They used to be for an aux. rear heater ,the kind that uses hot water from the engine, which has since been removed .

I wonder if the 12volt fridge in your old B was an old Norcold brand 12 volt? those have a different style of compressor and are much less efficient.
if you need a stand alone freezer model , and boondock alot your probably better off with the propane. The bigger the 12volt models get the bigger the power draw and i think some of the large separate fridge/freezer models even have 2 compressors .


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PostPosted: June 16th, 2015, 7:43 am 
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I'm also in the process of changing out the old Dometic, as well as redoing the starboard side of the galley. The project started out as replacing water damage repair from the PO (his carpentry skills left a lot to be desired). Also our travel style did not warrant the huge fridge, or the 3 burner cooktop. We wanted more floor and counter space across from the bathroom and to eliminate the "tunnel effect" of the rear exit area. Updating 14+ year old appliances also made the list. That said, my research came up with a fridge selection that I narrowed down to the Vitrifrigo C75RBD4-F. This AC/DC only unit offers a 2.6 cuf box with freezer compartment. It's unique feature is the external cooling unit which can be remotely located up to 4 feet away from the fridge box. Here's why this helps in my design layout. The fridge can now be located in the space under the microwave previously occupied by the cooktop, allowing for more counter top area. My new microwave is a Frigidaire 1000 w, only 13.5 in. deep, making the modified upper cabinet protrude out less than 19 in. The Atwood 2 burner cooktop fits nicely at the rear area of the long Corian counter. A new series B Jensen monitor/vent hood will be ducted to the roof vent as well. Back to the fridge, the remote cooling unit will be located on the shelf directly below the new cooktop cabinet, behind the existing exterior access/vent door. This will give the cooling unit more than adequate ventilation with exit airflow unrestricted thru the rooftop vent. The existing LPG hookup for the Atwood will be the one used by the old Dometic. The old cooktop LP line may be plugged or re-routed for an exterior BBQ hookup. The unrestricted view to the rear entry, and the additional width gained from the remodel should address all our concerns. No photos, but maybe this layout will help explain.


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Last edited by HoosierB on June 24th, 2015, 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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