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Author Topic: Absorption fridge fires  (Read 2330 times)
Iceni John
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« on: October 25, 2013, 08:05:56 PM »

A member of the Crown Coach Junkies forum posted this link about the fire danger from typical RV-style absorption refrigerators:  http://www.aegiforensics.com/library/pdfs/Invest-Absorpt-Refrig-Fires-Part1.pdf

Wow, they're even worse than I thought, and I've always thought they're an accident waiting to happen.   This is just one of several reasons I'll instead be using a fridger (a chest freezer working as a fridge) in my bus.

John
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Dave5Cs
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2013, 08:27:28 PM »

John , lets see heat, flame and Ammonia, Ummmmmm on an RV . Just never sounded right to us. Shocked

Dave5Cs
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luvrbus
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2013, 06:36:35 AM »

That article pops up every couple of years,for a few years the 2 manufactures of the absorption fridges for RV's had problems with trying to making a cheaper product and uping the bottom line that cost them.

The electrical part of those causes fire also they are like anything else people ignore maintenance and the recalls some things are not preventable some are I never had a problem with a fridge fire in 50 years 

Tires,engine,electrical even the diesel fired heat cause more fires than the fridges do every year, some blame the propane being unsafe that is slowly going away with the future of the CNG and LNG hitting the highways now

 I saw the RV future at a show it doesn't look good a CNG rear engine,CNG generator,CNG heat ,hot water and fridge

 Lot of things can cause a fire in RV just do the homework and the maintenance you will safe       
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Jriddle
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2013, 06:44:48 AM »

Yep
Buying hot coffee from the Big Mac place is dangerous also.

John
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John Riddle
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2013, 06:46:33 AM »

   Yep   Buying hot coffee from the Big Mac place is dangerous also.
John 

    Yep.  It ain't gonna be the liberals or the Socialist crazies or the Tea Party nuts jobs that sink this country, it will be the lawyers.
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2013, 06:50:59 AM »

Hey Bruce all the lawyers are in DC lol that is the problem
« Last Edit: October 26, 2013, 08:06:52 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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bobofthenorth
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2013, 08:08:38 AM »

The only good lawyer I ever knew died last fall.  He was a miserable fat prick but he always did exactly what he said he was going to do and the scumbags I sent him after were terrified of his reputation.  I miss him.
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TomC
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2013, 10:12:48 AM »

The best way to avoid a fire with an absorption type refrigerator is not to use one in the first place. My first refer was a Norcold 6.3 AC/DC compressor type. When that failed after nearly 20 years of use, I installed a 9cu/ft Nova Kool with a Danfoss compressor and simply love it. It has an evaporator for the refer and another for the freezer. They cost about the same as an absorption refer-without all the problems, and having to have a vent in the wall and another vent in the roof. It is almost silent running. Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2013, 11:01:17 AM »

  The best way to avoid a fire with an absorption type refrigerator is not to use one in the first place. My first refer was a Norcold 6.3 AC/DC compressor type. When that failed after nearly 20 years of use, I installed a 9cu/ft Nova Kool with a Danfoss compressor and simply love it. It has an evaporator for the refer and another for the freezer. They cost about the same as an absorption refer-without all the problems, and having to have a vent in the wall and another vent in the roof. It is almost silent running. Good Luck, TomC 

    My Nova-Kool is very slightly smaller but I love it, too.  Tiny, TINY current draw; very cold freezer; and I have it built into next to my stairway - to call if almost silent running would be to imply that it's louder than it is.  Cost - not insignificant but I got it from a boat component distributor (yeah, something in a sentence with the word 'boat' that's cheap) that had it as a warehouse sale for 40% off.   It really works, small outside dimensions, low current draw, quiet; can't find anything wrong with it.

BH  NC   USA
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
1976 Daimler (British) Double-Decker Bus; 34' long
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« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2013, 11:13:43 AM »

Getting back on track.

I am with John on this.  We just put in a DC chest freezer and it is easily the best addition we have made.  We have the 8 cubic foot one (he largest) and here is what I like

1. It uses about 170 watts per day when it is 100deg F.  I have a new DC monitor coming and will have the watts it uses next week.
2. 34.5 inch height (standard cabinet base height).  Were figuring out how to put countertop on it and make it seamless with the counter space
3. Frozen margaritas in the 113F heat are awesome
4. All the venison, lamb, beef and chicken we need
5. Makes ice real good

Just my 2˘

We had been contemplating putting propane in the bus and so far have been able to avoid it.

Dave
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« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2013, 11:41:10 AM »

Depends on what you use the bus for if you are tied to a pole or driving then electric fridges AC or DC are great,dry camping in neat places they are worthless IMO 

I have never been to a dry camp rally where people who had electric fridges AC or DC that a generator wasn't running to charge the batteries

We have friends that have the best DC fridge on the market the high dollar SunFrost same with them running the generator to keep batteries charged   
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Dlsnow
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« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2013, 12:25:04 PM »

Well Cliff now I am nervous.

We have been fultiming for only 1 year and have yet to need to plugin.  Inbfavt after a year of lugging around a 6kw on an we got rid of it because we never used it.

I you all haven't hear of solarbob than you may have a solar system that will not power your stuff. 

We followed solarbobs advice (in general) and are happily off grid camping 100% with solar and about 200 gallons of fresh water.

Hopefully the freezer will be overkill.  Ours isn't a sun frost it is a sundanzer but I am sure they all have the same OEM for the compressor.

Wish me luck.  So far it has been 1 week and our batteries are still topped up.
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« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2013, 12:55:19 PM »

Solar?  Why risk a propane frig fire when you can have solar kill you slowly?

http://www.aimtolive.com/radiation_solar_panels.htm
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luvrbus
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« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2013, 01:07:15 PM »

That is what I am saying Dave if you take it out you have to put it back with solar or other means, have you ever saw a million+ Prevost with solar on the roof no they have a 20kw generator that runs all day or starts automatic at midnight in the middle of no where at Quartzsite  

I seen it before here in AZ when it was cloudy and rainy for spell the soar guys were searching for ways to charge the system 

I like solar just never wanted the roof of my bus covered with it or the roof top AC units
« Last Edit: October 26, 2013, 01:20:52 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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Dlsnow
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« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2013, 01:25:12 PM »

Well, aside from the 1kw/hr air conditioner we have a low load.  This prevos have 4 or more air conditioners and need 20kw just to run them. we have 1 1000watt ac unit and have done up to 14 days without sun (in lake mead last year).  The essentials (water pump, lights) continue to function even with limited sun. 

So it is a tradeoff.  We decided to ditch the generator and buy a few extra batteries.  Overall our solar system catches about 6kw of energy over the course of each day.  That works for us.
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gus
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« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2013, 02:11:42 PM »

Actually, slipping in the bathtub or shower is far more dangerous than any of those others!!
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PD4107-152
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« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2013, 02:26:38 PM »

everyone has different wants & needs, me want to keep the freezer at 2f and refrig at 34f, try that with the ammonia box.  so went with he Samsung 24 cuft, two thermostats, frost free, use 4  8G8D Gells with a 2500 watt inverter and 100 amp smart charger.
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« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2013, 02:34:59 PM »

Gus- that may be true, but even slipping in the shower would be worse if you were holding an absorption refrigerator.
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Oonrahnjay
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« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2013, 02:36:15 PM »

  Gus- that may be true, but even slipping in the shower would be worse if you were holding an absorption refrigerator. 

     And it caught on fire.  Smiley
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
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« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2013, 02:52:49 PM »

These new Helium filled propane fridges work with the best electrical unit on the market
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« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2013, 03:46:26 PM »

What is the PM for an absorption type reefer?

BTW, I have a fire extinguisher with a automatic release head in my fridge compartment. It is sure nice to be able to switch the fridge from AC to propane as needs be. It makes dry camping much quieter.
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TomC
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« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2013, 09:21:38 AM »

If you're dry camping and running any type of electrical load, you're going to have to run the generator some time. The trick to this (and I stand on my soap box many times about this) is to make your generator as silent on the outside as possible. If you can just barely hear the genset standing 10ft away-that's about right. On my truck, my goal is to have it so quiet, it will sound maybe like an A/C running.

I only have propane for my stove and furnace. Everything else is electric-which I love the reliability of it all. Having big enough batteries to only run the genset during the day for a couple of hours is the key. Good Luck, TomC
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Dlsnow
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« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2013, 11:23:57 AM »

TomC - I have to respectfully disagree - you can design an electrical system to not need a generator.  I full-time in my MC-7 and have not used a generator over the last year (just recovered about 20cuft of space getting rid of it).  Please keep in mind we follow the weather - Summer in WI and Winter in Yuma, AZ.  We spend from October till May boon docking in Arizona (Snider Hill, ImperialDam) Nevada (snowbird mesa, boxcar cove and several areas on the north side of lake mead BLM's) Utah (blackrock petroglyphs) and all over in national forest area.

Here are the details of my system - Full disclosure.

Power coming in
My solar system is designed for full time use and we full-time with this setup and never
Solar panels - 4x Canadian Solar 255watt panels (1020 watts in total) fixed mounted at 25 Deg - unirac
Charge Controller - Outback Solar FlexMAX80 (80Amp MPPT)
Inverter - Outback Power FX2012 (12V 2000watt duty rated - 5000watt max)
Batteries - ~1200AH (12x 220AH 6V - wired out to 12V)

Real life numbers
On a good day (sunny) with the air conditioner running we will collect 6000 watts over the course of the day
On a heavily overcast day we may only collect 800watts
On average we collect 3700 watts (over the last 128 days of logging info on my system)
The average is not representative of what we could collect if we used it.  Keep in mind MPPT controllers only take what they need to get the batteries full.  If the batteries are fully charged and the sun is up it may only take 100watts per hour (of the 1020 available) to float charge the batteries.

Power going out (this is every single electronic device tied to either AC (inverter) or DC and drawing on the solar/batteries.
Lighting - DC - 37.8 watts max (all lights on) - we have normal light fixtures, wired to 12V DC and using 12V DC Screw in bulbs.  (9 bulbs times 4.2 watts each =  37.8watts)
Ventilation - DC -  28watts - one fantastic fan - I really need to put one in the bathroom
AirConditioner - AC - 240/1008 watts (960watts x 5% loss at inverter) - 240 watt running the fan and 1008 with fan and condenser - so it alternates while it is on.
Washer/Dryer - AC - 294watts (280watts x5% loss at inverter) - Splendide ventless This is wash cycle only as we don't use the drying feature (the line dry in AZ only takes about 15 minutes Smiley
Water pump - DC - 60 to 95watts
Juicer - AC - max 300 watts - I don't have a reading on this one
Blender - AC max 1400 watts - I don't have a reading on this one either
Inverter - DC - 40watts - Many people do not realize in addition to the 5 - 10% loss to push power through the inverter they also have a load of their own
Television - AC - 48watts (5%loss…)
Wireless Antnna/repeater - DC - 12watts - wilson wireless antenna to get cell signal where it is weak
Freezer - DC - 170watts per day - haven't measured it yet
Misc - AC - 600 watts per day average - Phone chargers, laptop chargers, battery charger for tools, outdoor led lights,
Electric blanket - AC - 90 watts max -
Rice cooker - AC - 430 watts - we run this thing at least every other day.

Note the hot water is provided by a solar hot water system and uses no additional electricity (we do have hot water)

Some of the tricks to making it work
-Run high electricity things like the rice cooker and washer when the sun is up - since the DC system is a bus with the solar coming in and batteries connected it will not take nearly as much electricity from the batteries as it would when the sun is down.
-you have to have a DC shunt based meter to actually know what you are using and getting.  the meter on the controller, inverter and such are not an accurate measure of what you are using, you have to have a meter watching currant at specific DC shunts.
-

I think Cliff explained it best - If you take it out you have to put it back in.  So it is a basic math problem.  If you use 2900 watts per day and can recover that plus a 6 to 10% overhead for charging you may be able to use solar.  You also have to account for a few days without sunlight - depending on your location.  We have gotten through 15 days without much sunlight.  We are willing to adapt our lifestyle to make this many days, we didn't run the washer or use the rice cooker for example.

We seem to use between 1800 and 5800 averaging around 2900 (based on DC shunt measurements made before the freezer was added)



As you can see the roof is covered (about 30% with solar electric panels)



This plc shows the inverter, charge controller and all of the fuses, breakers, disconnects… and the old batteries - I will never buy AGM batteries again.

Again I mean absolutely no disrespect - especially to TomC (thanks again for reaching out to me while I was broke down in Nevada last year).

"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
-George Bernard Shaw
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lostagain
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« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2013, 12:32:38 PM »

Dlsnow,

what you are doing is great. But it is only achievable because, in your own words: "you follow the weather".

In our circumstance, which is not unusual, we use the bus in all seasons and in all weather, mostly in northern latitudes.

For example, sitting in the bush at a dirt bike race for 3 days in September in rainy weather, there is no amount of solar panels that will keep up to the electric needs of 3 or 4 guys. The generator runs for several hours a day.That is a fact of life.

We have solar panels on the bus. They are great in June and July, in clear weather, if we are not parked in the shade of a tree.

JC
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JC
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dave
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« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2013, 12:45:09 PM »

I do miss parking in the shade.  And it can be frustrating finding a spot where it is easy to park the bus facing east.

I assumed everyone on here was returned and following the weather.

Dave
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« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2013, 12:53:31 PM »

Life is risky, one must compromise at times!
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Iceni John
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« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2013, 02:30:44 PM »

Dave, yeah!   It sounds like you and I are on the same page.   I recently bought eight 255W Sharp panels, and I plan on using two Morningstar 60A MPPT controllers to charge eight golfcart or L16 batteries.   I'll also have some solar water heating panels, probably home-made, but with 2,040W of PV panels I may also be able to heat water with my water heater's 1,500W electric element after the batteries are 100% charged.   I see that your panels are 96-cell, so I guess they're 48V?   Mine are 60-cell panels that produce 30V, but I should still be able to put up to 120A into the batteries in order to get them charged up as quickly as possible.   Each bank of four PV panels will be hinged to the central walkway to allow them to sit at anything from 20 degrees below to 50 degrees above horizontal.   With this many panels almost my entire roof will be shaded, and this should help keep it cooler inside.

On the subject of fridgers, there's a good discussion on the N.AZ Wind & Sun forum:  http://www.wind-sun.com/ForumVB/showthread.php?9-Chest-freezer-as-a-chest-refrigerator   I think the link in the first post refers to this article:  http://www.mtbest.net/chest_fridge.html   

Heck, with my amount of PV power I may be able to use an inductive cooktop!   If so, that's less propane I'll burn using my regular cooktop.   Isn't that cooking by stellar thermonuclear fusion?

John
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« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2013, 09:23:09 AM »

If you have the luxury of following the weather, then yes you can get by without a generator. I live in L.A. and am still working which means in summer, you're driving in 100+ degree weather to get anywhere. I only have roof top A/C's which means running the genset going down the road. I have seen numerous generator less conversions, but all are retired and follow the weather. Maybe when I retire I'll try without a genset. Good Luck, TomC
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