12v Refrigeration - What size do you use?

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Re: 12v Refrigeration - What size do you use?

Postby Socal Tom » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:07 pm

TimC wrote:I'll get back to y'all in a couple days. No signal where I was parked last night ( I think I was in heaven). It's been an interesting trip so far as far as the fridge. Plug falls out of the socket e very bump in the road. And I don't mean big bumps. More, and pics of control panel later. I'll need further good advice and confirmation of what I'm seeing.

:NC

I was having an issue like that. I ended up buying a spare cord, and cutting the end off of one to wire directly to a fused battery terminal. Works great.
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Re: 12v Refrigeration - What size do you use?

Postby fishboat » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:11 pm

Socal Tom wrote:
TimC wrote:I'll get back to y'all in a couple days. No signal where I was parked last night ( I think I was in heaven). It's been an interesting trip so far as far as the fridge. Plug falls out of the socket e very bump in the road. And I don't mean big bumps. More, and pics of control panel later. I'll need further good advice and confirmation of what I'm seeing.

:NC

I was having an issue like that. I ended up buying a spare cord, and cutting the end off of one to wire directly to a fused battery terminal. Works great.



I didn't like the idea of the fridge plugged into a 12V cigarette socket..too loosey-goosey..a little bump and the fridge goes off.

I used the main cord (cut the 12V cigar-plug off with about a foot pigtail coming off it) and installed these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07C8 ... UTF8&psc=1

on the the 12V cigar pigtail and on the hard-wire leads coming off the trailer power junction box. The anderson plugs allow a hard-wire connection in the trailer and, if I need the fridge for a car-picnic or something, I use the 12V cigar plug as an adapter to plug the fridge into the car-truck cigar plugins.
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ARB 63-Quart Cooler

Postby Dusty Mark » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:18 pm

We've used our ARB 63-quart, 12-volt cooler for a total of 16 nights this season and are quite pleased with its performance.
the ARB replaced our Yeti Tundra 65 (which was actually only a 57-quart cooler.) It fits well under our galley counter. We won't miss messing with ice anymore!
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Re: 12v Refrigeration - What size do you use?

Postby TimC » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:18 pm

Cosmo wrote:[color=#0000BF][size=150]TimC can you post a photo of the display buttons etc. for comparison?


Cosmo, below are some photos for your comparison. When I considered one of the suggestions to get a second 12v power cord for the Alpicool all that comes up is Dometic cords which in the photos look identical to what comes with the Alpicool. There could be some differences though. That big chunk of red plastic at the end is one similarity.

Related to the falling out issue I will probably do a combo of your and a couple other's ideas for solving the plug falling out issue. I finished my trip with a small piece of rolled up electrical tape to wedge the plug in the socket. That worked all the way from Mpls to home, some three hundred miles of bumpity bump. In addition I've been in cloud cover for the majority of the weekend and despite that my 100w panel and 144ah bank have maintained 12.5v with the fridge cycling constantly from about 35 to 32 degrees. So far I'm happy with the fridge.

I'm going to combine several of the suggestions for improving the power cord. I like the idea of having a way to plug it into a standard 12v socket down the road (with rolled up tape wedge) in case I use it for other than the TD. I use a 50a Anderson Powerpole plug to attach my solar to the TD and that experience has been much better than using the MC4s I used to have to struggle to disconnect (even with the tool). So, I ordered 15a Anderson Powerpole plugs and I will wire one set direct to the battery (bypassing the main kill switch). I'll cut a short pigtail with the factory 12v plug from the fridge and install APP plugs for occasional use elsewhere. On the fresh cut end of the fridge cord I will install a set of APP plugs to use mostly with the hardwired one on the TD and occasionally with the factory pigtail. Other than finding a way to mount the APPs so they aren't flopping around somewhere I think I have a good plan now. Thanks all for your input.

Tim

Alpicool factory plug
Image

Alpicool CF35 control panel There's nothing in the fridge. I just jacked it up to 45 degrees on "standby" while the batteries recharge tomorrow. I still wonder about that battery meter on this fridge. This is after returning on my trip and the batteries hadn't been charged back up all day. 12.5v on the fridge meter should translate to four bars on the bar chart graph (80%). Maybe it's just on the verge of flipping off one light?
Image

Another interior shot
Image
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Re: 12v Refrigeration - What size do you use?

Postby TimC » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:24 pm

absolutsnwbrdr wrote:It looks like the Alpicool CF35 is rated at 45W, so when the compressor is running it is pulling about 3.75A (on 12VDC), or 0.375A (on 120VAC).

Hypothetically speaking, on 120VAC, if the compressor kicks on for an average of 15 minutes per hour for 12 hours, your total (Ah) usage might be only be 1.125Ah. (.375A)*( 15min/60min)*(12hours) = 1.125Ah in a 12H period. So yes, if you were testing in an air conditioned house the cooler didn't need to work very hard, the 1Ah reading you got was probably correct.

On 12VDC, that would be... (3.75A)*( 15min/60min)*(12hours) = 15Ah used in a 12H period.

In real-world conditions (hot car or campsite) the compressor will need to cycle significantly more, so significantly more power will be consumed. How often the compressor cycles will depend on the ambient air temp, the desired cooler temp, and the efficiency of the cooler insulation.


Thanks for the analysis Ab... Trial wan't in air conditioning; it was even cooler. Our low that night was 59 and I was doing it in an uninsulated garage, so, that would explain really low power consumption I think. I get that in the average user's conditions it will consistently use more power. I live and camp mostly in God's Country in terms of summer climate!

Tim
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Re: 12v Refrigeration - What size do you use?

Postby TimC » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:37 pm

So, just one more post about my first camping experience with the fridge. I plugged the fridge into my car's 12v socket in the way back on my trip of about six hours. Upon arrival I moved the fridge to the TD and hooked it up to my battery bank. While listening to a game on the radio my car shut the radio off and a message appeared on the message center that I had a low battery. I thought that was odd after driving 6 hours and listening to the game for about 15 minutes. I finished setting up camp with out listening to the super exciting preseason Packer game :roll:

In the morning my battery was dead and tested at 8.8v. That led to an interesting morning that involved walking to the next town to get someone to jump the car. No jumper cables, no battery charger and no one else in the campground. I've never had a dead battery before on this car and after returning home it tests at a resting 12.53v. Obviously my alternator is working since I have a charge on the battery. The only thing different is I plugged the fridge into an accessory plug mostly while the engine was running.

I don't get it!
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Re: 12v Refrigeration - What size do you use?

Postby Socal Tom » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:00 pm

TimC wrote:So, just one more post about my first camping experience with the fridge. I plugged the fridge into my car's 12v socket in the way back on my trip of about six hours. Upon arrival I moved the fridge to the TD and hooked it up to my battery bank. While listening to a game on the radio my car shut the radio off and a message appeared on the message center that I had a low battery. I thought that was odd after driving 6 hours and listening to the game for about 15 minutes. I finished setting up camp with out listening to the super exciting preseason Packer game :roll:

In the morning my battery was dead and tested at 8.8v. That led to an interesting morning that involved walking to the next town to get someone to jump the car. No jumper cables, no battery charger and no one else in the campground. I've never had a dead battery before on this car and after returning home it tests at a resting 12.53v. Obviously my alternator is working since I have a charge on the battery. The only thing different is I plugged the fridge into an accessory plug mostly while the engine was running.

I don't get it!

No way that the fridge should have caused that. First, because over 6 hours it shouldn't have used enough power to drain a fully charged battery. 2nd, cause every 12v fridge I've seen has a low batt cut off, so they won't let you drop it that low ( its bad for the compressor). Have the TD alternator and battery checked out. My guess is that the battery is marginal, and the radio/lights you had going were just enough to push it over the edge.
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Re: 12v Refrigeration - What size do you use?

Postby TimC » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:01 pm

Socal Tom wrote:No way that the fridge should have caused that. First, because over 6 hours it shouldn't have used enough power to drain a fully charged battery. 2nd, cause every 12v fridge I've seen has a low batt cut off, so they won't let you drop it that low ( its bad for the compressor). Have the TD alternator and battery checked out. My guess is that the battery is marginal, and the radio/lights you had going were just enough to push it over the edge.


After a night of rest the battery is at 12.6v. It's probably the original on a '15 Escape. I did a multi-meter test on the battery/alternator. Upon starting the voltage moves to 14.3. As I start to turn on accessories, lights, radio, fan, it fluctuates for a moment then settles in around that same voltage. So, I think the alternator is doing its job. I may try it with the fridge plugged in to see if that causes any unusual voltage. If I continue to have problems I will check the battery cells to be sure there are no weak ones. If I could get to the caps easy I would just do that now. I will wait until I need to.

One thing I am thinking, although I don't know how it could possibly cause the low battery message just after I stopped driving... Sometimes, when I get out of the car the trailer "parking" lights stay on. Taillights and side markers. When I notice it I just open and close the drivers door and they go out. Could be that the last time I entered the car that evening I didn't watch for this phenomenon. I did wire the trailer lights and brakes myself, so, I'm wondering if there is something I did wrong or if it's a quirk of the plug and play wiring harness I installed for the original 4 flat wire cord. The four flat just plugs into the back of the seven pole wiring outlet and the brake's hot wires are wired separately. I'm sure some of you know what I am talking about there.

thanks again... Tim
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Re: 12v Refrigeration - What size do you use?

Postby Socal Tom » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:16 pm

Try checking the voltage with engine off headlights on. You should be able to leave them on for 10 to 15 minutes and still be able to start the car.
https://blog.firestonecompleteautocare. ... y-at-home/
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Re: 12v Refrigeration - What size do you use?

Postby TimC » Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:42 pm

Will do that tonight. Good idea SCTom!

Sorry that this thread has diverged from fridge discussions... I guess that's the nature of this forum beast.
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Re: 12v Refrigeration - What size do you use?

Postby Cosmo » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:16 pm

Good trip report. Thank You!
Glad to hear your system not only worked but survived cloudy weather. In my opinion that is one measure of a successfully designed solar system. Sweet touch of luxury having fresh food on demand with clean quiet solar. I always highlight the fridge when I give a trailer tour. But it seems I am more impressed by the fridge than the yawning spectators.

I agree, I see no reason why the fridge would drain the car battery so quickly. Maybe a case of the drip is not where the leak is!

Yet more test equipment to have sitting around.
https://www.harborfreight.com/100-amp-6 ... 61747.html

Your fridge display is suspiciously similar to the Dometic. I cant tell if its a clone with some cosmetic changes or not. But who cares its working for you and performing well. Was the compressor quiet?

=Cosmo


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Re: 12v Refrigeration - What size do you use?

Postby TimC » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:25 am

Cosmo wrote: Was the compressor quiet?

=Cosmo


Yes, I have to listen closely or feel for the air movement to know if it's running. I have yet to play with the controls. Too simple just to turn on and set a temp. I think it swings about four degrees on factory setting. I haven't watched that closely though. It may be more.

Ordered the 25mm USB fan yesterday. I have a USB pack I will try with it. A little bigger than I want, but, for a test it'll do. Ill rig up a ziplock bag to keep it protected. The capacity of the fridge is just right. Four days of food with some room to spare. I really like the other higher space above the compressor for things I don't need so cold. Although, my thermometer read almost 50 at one point. I think the fan will help there.

Busy building a rack for my roof for two 100w panels. That'll serve mostly as transport storage, but, I may add a roof grommet and keep them connected while traveling. That might be good enough in most situations that I won't need to put them on the swivel stands I built. They are awkward at 21x46 and 17 lbs each. Not like your flex panels which I imagine are a breeze to lay out.

Tim
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Re: 12v Refrigeration - What size do you use?

Postby KTM_Guy » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:59 pm

Take the battery to the auto parts store and have them run a load test on the battery. They’ll tell you the status on the battery in a few minutes.

Right after we got our fridge I got one of the jump packs to keep in the Jeep. Cheap insurance.

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Re: 12v Refrigeration - What size do you use?

Postby Tom&Shelly » Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:55 am

KTM_Guy wrote:Take the battery to the auto parts store and have them run a load test on the battery. They’ll tell you the status on the battery in a few minutes.

Right after we got our fridge I got one of the jump packs to keep in the Jeep. Cheap insurance.

Todd


Those are good! I was always worried about what would happen if I accidentally drained a battery while camping 20 miles from the nearest settlement, and that was the solution. Did have to use it once (not camping, but I ran a weak battery low while listening to the radio; didn't think it drew enough current to matter).

When I was first dating my wife, I bought one for her and one for my step son for Christmas presents.

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Re: 12v Refrigeration - What size do you use?

Postby TimC » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:28 am

So, this might be a topic for a new thread, but, might be nice to hear a half dozen responses instead of a gazillion...

What sort of jump pack do you have and how do you like it? When I picked up a set of jumper cables I saw a Li-ion jump pack for $40. It said it would start most four cylinder vehicles but is really for four wheelers and mowers and such. Read some reviews later that gave it good reviews for cars. Also read some about the dangers to electronics when using jumper cables. Are the Li-ion packs, about the size of a pack of brown and serve breakfast sausage, worth getting?
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