Mini Frdige question

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Mini Frdige question

Postby Sailormilan2 » Sun Oct 11, 2015 8:07 am

I'm in the planning stages of my Tear Drop, and need to know of a standard Mini Fridge will work in a trailer? I already know I need a power inverter with at least a 2000 carry capacity, and a 4000 surge capacity. My brother doesn't think they they can handle the jostling around that a trailer gets, as well as being shut down for periods of time then starting back up. But, it's hard to beat the price of some of them at places like Home Depot.
The current plan, subject to changing knowledge and information, is to do the entire trailer, save the water pump, in 110v for the mini fridge, interior lights, and A/C lug for my apnea machine. Exterior lights(lights over the cooking area) may go 12v, but I'm not sure on that. I figure it is much simpler to just go one system through out, since it's just me and the dog, and I won't be running multiple things at once.
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Re: Mini Frdige question

Postby Socal Tom » Sun Oct 11, 2015 11:45 am

When I had an RV, we often took an under counter fridge to put outside to keep drinks cold. It was cheaper than buying ice ( summer camping at the desert) every two days. A well made fridge should be fine for typical usage ( no heavy off roading) as long as you have a reasonably decent suspension. it was used off an on and we never had a problem. It was fairly well built, and the equipment was well constructed so that it didn't vibrate ( which could lead to coolant leaks). I suspect most of them are built about as well, since they are shipped all over the place in the back of semis.

As far as the inverter, running a 110V fridge under 12V isn't very efficient, and I suspect it would run down your batteries pretty quickly. If you plan on camping at RV parks primarily, then you could probably use the 12V during your travels ( though honestly if you have a fridge full of cold stuff it will probably be ok for several hours unplugged ( or add a bottle of two of frozen water to help keep it cool during the trip), but the expense of the inverter wouldn't be worth it to me. I'm a big fan of the 12V compressor fridge/freezers. The cost of the cheap 110V fridge and the inverter will probably be close to the cost of some of the 12v units ( and opening from the top is much more efficient.
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Re: Mini Frdige question

Postby H.A. » Sun Oct 11, 2015 11:58 am

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Last edited by H.A. on Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mini Frdige question

Postby starleen2 » Sun Oct 11, 2015 7:49 pm

Most mini fridges work well - at least the ones we've used. I went with the the type that had a separate freezer compartment (not the ones that are built in) Before we would head out, I would place everything in the fridge the night before and plug in the fridge to get everything nice and cold using a bungee cord to secure the doors. Then we packed a cooler for our drinks and lunch meats for the the day trip when the fridge was unplugged. This kept us from opening the fridge and allowing the cold air to escape. You'd be surprised how far you can keep things frozen in a freezer as long as you don't open it up - kept ice cream frozen for 14 hrs on the road. when we got to a 110 outlet - we let the fridge charge. Spent many a weeks out on the road using this technique.
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Re: Mini Frdige question

Postby Ira » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:56 pm

You are a hundred times better off just getting an Extreme/5-day, 7-day cooler, and loading it with ice before you go. It will keep your stuff much colder, cheaper than trying to work a fridge into your TD, and much more practical.

Don't overbuild your first TD! I made that mistake, and because I thought it would be so cool to install all of this stuff, I was stuck with stuff I didn't need, took up space, and was impractical.

I know this is a losing argument for me to make, because you're building your first one and the world is your oyster. But consider this:

Which makes more sense? A cooler that's 5 times the size of your mini-fridge and keeps your stuff freezing cold...or this little dinky thing that holds nothing, AND has to be powered 24/7?

Whatever you decide, good luck with your build!!!

And buy a lot of clamps--that's a big issue here.
Here we go again!
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Re: Mini Fridge question

Postby tinkertaff » Wed Dec 09, 2015 2:58 am

So glad I joined this forum. Some great info from some clearly knowledgable folks. How did the installation go with the mini fridge? Would love to know :)
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Re: Mini Frdige question

Postby daveesl77 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 9:51 am

We put a cheap Haier 3.3 ft3 dorm fridge on the inside of Conch Fritter. It runs off of a cheap Centech 2000 watt inverter. We love it! When we did our initial tests on it, outside temp was in the mid 80s. I have an old truck battery (not a deep cycle) and a 50 watt Renogy solar panel, along with 120v shore power. With the test, it was a sunny day, fridge was not precooled. Had fully charged the battery the day before. Started the test at 8am, turned fridge on plugged into the inverter using battery only. Around 9am attached the solar panel, but did not align as the area was still in the shade. Around 10 am was able to align panel to sun. The fridge had been set on max, to make maximum draw on system. I have a wireless temperature sensor that I put inside the fridge to monitor the temp as I drive. Fridge (empty) came down to 16F. Every few hours I would open the door for about 10 seconds, just to keep it working hard. After 11 hours of use like that, with the sun down so no solar energy at all, I finally pulled the plug on the experiment as the battery voltage finally dropped down to 12v =/- 0.1v. But the fridge and inverter were still going strong.

When we travel, we have the charging circuit from our truck to the camper, and we have found it best to run the fridge at about 30-40%. The compressor, at this setting, once cooled and not being opened, only runs about 12 minutes per hour. Presently I have to manually unplug from the inverter and plug into shore power (if available) when we camp. This winter I'll be adding in an automatic switching system using some 40 amp, dual pole, digital relays I have laying around, so it will change by itself. I keep the interior temp at about 28F and this is running during times in the mid 90s.

I was able to run it overnight, completely off of an overcharge on the battery, 75F outside temp, not opening. Interior temp stayed around 35f. So, when I change over from the crappy old truck battery to a serious #27 or so I feel pretty confident it will go with no problems at all for extended periods without shore power. And for those times without shore power, with overcast skies, remember, I can hit the battery with 20a from the truck and I also carry one of those little 800 watt HF generators.

And yes, we carry an ice chest, but it is primarily to hold drinks and stuff that we access frequently. We also carry an icemaker. And yes, this is a 5x10x5 teardrop.

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Re: Mini Frdige question

Postby lrrowe » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:06 am

I had a 3 cf Frigidaire small refrigerator in my CT this past spring and summer. It did a great job on 120. But it just stopped working this summer while sitting in the driveway. Did the boincing around hurt it? Not sure. But I was not on the road that much.

For it's replacement, I did all the typial research for the other types, regular ice cooler (7 day Extreme-have one), 12v Truck type and 12v top loading type and similar 120 v units.

They all have pros and cons and will appeal/not appeal to others based on their individual likes and wants.

I finally decided to go with a 12v top loading one. They are pricey yes, but I think they offer me the best service and flexibility. The one I have settled on will also freeze bottles which I can use in an exterior ice cooler. And I can remove it to travel to events where the trailer will not be with me. I have tested it to prove my next thought, but I believe I can put more into a top loading unit then I can in a door unit.

http://truckfridge.com/store/page6.html
I like the large one, TF51
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Re: Mini Frdige question

Postby Talia62 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:58 pm

daveesl77 wrote:We put a cheap Haier 3.3 ft3 dorm fridge on the inside of Conch Fritter. It runs off of a cheap Centech 2000 watt inverter. [clipped for brevity] We love it!

dave


Is this one with a completely separate freezer, or with the freezer as a box inside the fridge compartment? Or no freezer at all?
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Re: Mini Frdige question

Postby daveesl77 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:34 pm

It has the little "freezer" compartment inside. It is actually the cooling coils, but while small, it will keep a fair amount of stuff frozen. In addition, what we found was that the shelf below the freezer also froze stuff unless we turned the controls down to about 30% or less. At 50% everything freezes.

And for the heat that is generated by the unit, while not a lot, we have a ducting system in the front of the camper, so a 12v exhaust fan pulls the air directly from the top area of the rear of the fridge and exhausts out the bottom of the camper.

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Re: Mini Frdige question

Postby roamer » Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:37 pm

If your are going to be in a campground with shore power, you can use a mini fridge with an inverter(for power during travel).
But if you plan to explore outside of powered campgrounds, I would recommend a 12V refrigerator. Several manufacturers out there, like Engel, ARB, etc.
I absolutely love ours! So much my friends and family are tired of me talking about it. I currently have had a small one mounted in my SUV and I plan on buying a larger one in the future for our trailer or other SUV. My first trip out with our first one was in my diesel truck, tent camping. We were remote camping in the middle of summer. I was worried about leaving it outside, so I locked it in the hot truck while we went out on a mountain lake all weekend. I was so worried I disconnected one of the two batteries for the diesel engine, just in case. It wasn't until we were headed back home that I realized I never hooked the other battery back up. The refrigerator ran all weekend in a hot truck, kept everything cold as home, and started the diesel with only one battery when we left! I am sold! :thumbsup:
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Re: Mini Frdige question

Postby GerryS » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:53 am

We've got a cf35 dometic, and it's the difference between a good weekend and a great one. Steaks, milk, lunch meats, eggs. The only trick is to lean how to pack it. Cold on bottom, warmer on top. But I've never regretted the purchase.

Power use isn't bad either. Our teardrop has a small battery (don't know capacity....but it's 1/2 the size of a car battery physically. We can run the dometic, lights, and a 12 volt tv/DVD and get home with a little power left after a 3 day camp.

Get it cold at home, pack it cold, and it uses very little power. Yet, the compressor is powerful enough to chill a case of drinks as fast as my home fridge.

Love it!

I do have a dorm fridge as well, but I know when I move it around the room. There's a lot of cloaking and bumping from the compressor area. I assume the compressor is bouncing on its suspension that is used to quiet it. I wouldn't think that the high quality roads in the US would agree with it. Whatever I used, I would look for a design philosophy for RV or marine use.
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Re: Mini Frdige question

Postby lrrowe » Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:58 pm

lrrowe wrote:I had a 3 cf Frigidaire small refrigerator in my CT this past spring and summer. It did a great job on 120. But it just stopped working this summer while sitting in the driveway. Did the boincing around hurt it? Not sure. But I was not on the road that much.

For it's replacement, I did all the typial research for the other types, regular ice cooler (7 day Extreme-have one), 12v Truck type and 12v top loading type and similar 120 v units.

They all have pros and cons and will appeal/not appeal to others based on their individual likes and wants.

I finally decided to go with a 12v top loading one. They are pricey yes, but I think they offer me the best service and flexibility. The one I have settled on will also freeze bottles which I can use in an exterior ice cooler. And I can remove it to travel to events where the trailer will not be with me. I have tested it to prove my next thought, but I believe I can put more into a top loading unit then I can in a door unit.

http://truckfridge.com/store/page6.html
I like the large one, TF51


My Truckfridge (actually it was and Indel unit from Truckfridge) came in last week.
I got a TF51 which cost about $595 (inc shipping) online from Truckfridge for $450 with shipping included.
I am anxious to try it out.

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Re: Mini Frdige question

Postby jonw » Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:28 pm

I've got a TB41 Truckfridge/Indel B - the mid-size 40 litre model from http://www.equipt1.com. Looks the same as in the picture above only it's not quite as deep.

It's efficient, works well, is quiet, and it's a wonderful thing not having to deal with getting and draining ice continually.

Not cheap, but well worth it in my book.
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Re: Mini Frdige question

Postby capnTelescope » Wed Feb 24, 2016 12:56 am

I went for the TB31, 'cuz the bigger ones were too tall to fit in the Designated Place. It works good. Beer slushies! :beer:

The fridge runs very quietly without vibration. It's in the galley, and I can't hear it at all in the cabin.
:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: It'd get five if it weren't so darn spendy.

Because my Charging While Towing system provides 120 volts AC, the fridge runs off that while towing. OK, 5 :thumbsup: 's.
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