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Author Topic: AC Refrigerators  (Read 3904 times)
DavidInWilmNC
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« on: November 11, 2007, 04:30:05 PM »

I'm to the point where I need to go ahead and get a 'real' 'fridge for my bus.  The little 4.2 cu. ft. model isn't big enough, plus, I can't finish out the counters, cabinets, or pantry 'til I get the 'fridge in.  So far, I'm considering both frost free and cycle defrost (manual) models.  I want one with a separate freezer - I despise opening the 'fridge to get to the freezer.  I'd also like one that's got a stainless look to it.  Black would work, but white wouldn't be cool at all.  Some other considerations are:
1) Width:  some models are under 22" which will give me more room for the pantry and some additional insulation on the sides
2) Height:  under 60" will allow me to stack the microwave on top, which will work perfectly for my layout
3) Power consumption:  the lower the better

Here are some models I'm considering:

Avanti RA757PST
www.amroyal.com/index.php?cmd=product&item=13797

Avanti FF99
www.ajmadison.com/cgi-bin/ajmadison/FF99.html?brand_store=1

Frigidaire FRT104FW
www.ajmadison.com/cgi-bin/ajmadison/FRT104FW.html

Summit CP133
www.ajmadison.com/cgi-bin/ajmadison/CP133.html

Summit CP97
www.ajmadison.com/cgi-bin/ajmadison/CP97.html

Kenmore 9.5
www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_04662912000P?vName=Appliances&cName=Refrigerators&sName=Top+Freezer+Refrigerators

I'm not finding much in the way of info on these in terms of reviews or energy consumption.  What brands and models are others out there using with good results? Thanks!

David
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bubbaqgal
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2007, 04:39:35 PM »

David, we bought a used fridge at a flea market and it works great. It uses less power than the small apartment sized one that we had to start with.  Ours does not have a separate freezer though I wish it did.  I spend a good bit of time defrosting.  Our main problem was that we had to take the door off the fridge to get it in our bus.  I would never go back to any other kind of fridge.  I think most any kind of home fridge would work great as long as it goes through the door.  Cat
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DavidInWilmNC
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2007, 04:43:51 PM »

... most any kind of home fridge would work great as long as it goes through the door.  Cat

Hi Cat.  That's one of the issues.  24" is about the widest or deepest that I can fit in the bus without removing a windshield, but that's not gonna happen!  I had a used one that fit perfectly, but the 'fridge didn't get cold enough.

David
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2007, 04:49:23 PM »

Try measuring whichever fridge you look at without the door.  They are easy to take off until you get it in the door
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2007, 04:50:25 PM »

We put in A 14.27 cu. ft.Haier m/n HTE14WAAWW Had to take out windshield to get in ( not a big deal).
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2007, 05:04:34 PM »

Hi David,

You have alot of choices...

I would only look for an energy star model, you will be glad you spent a few extra bucks for it.

My 22 cf. side by side Frigidaire energy star model in my bus only draws 4.3 amps.

there are alot of energy suckers out there, so be careful..

Nick-
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« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2007, 05:34:02 PM »

Here's an excellent list of all the fridges out there and what they draw power wise

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=refrig.display_products_html

I got a Summit CM115 and I'm MORE than happy with it.  Consider doing what I did... I bought a cheapo 1000w / 2000w surge pure sine inverter from ebay (chinese, about $250)
and wired it permanently to the fridge.  The compressor hooks directly to the inverter's output, and the temperature control switch in the fridge that used to hook to the compressor now hooks to the on/off switch wires of the inverter. 

So now the inverter only comes on when the compressor is needed, when I'm on shore my 12 volt converter takes care of it, when on the road the alternator takes care of it and when I'm in the boonies it'll go about 2-3 days on my set of four T125 house batteries.  No muss no fuss, no switches to change, nothing to forget, and it's seamless.  I love it...
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1962 Crown
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« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2007, 05:45:31 PM »

David, If you undo the modesty panel and the lower panels on the entry way, you can get about 29" of clearance on an 8 or a 9. There is also a little more room a little higher up.

IHTH,

Dallas
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« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2007, 05:56:42 PM »

Boogie,

You are the man.  I did something similar with my freeze proof system but didn't think of it for tr fridge.  I also used a really cheap inverter, 400 watt, caus it was driving ac relays.  I really like your idea of zero draw when the inverter isn't being used.  Thank you very much.

I have always thought those San Diego types were exceptionally clever and I say that in spite of being from Poway and La Mesa.  oops.

Thanks,
John
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« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2007, 07:09:40 PM »

I think mine is just a magic chef,  they had the black with stainless look dorss at the lowe's saturday below $200 and on scratch and dent i believe. mine is about 10 cu ft and the tag says 1.9 amps., 

if you get one with frost free, make sure you have the switch to turn it off,  there were articles going round a while back on how to put one in if you dont have it.  see George Meyers.  you don't want the defrost running on batteries.  pay for it since your buying new

I have the trace 4024 and it has a mode that i use when i park,  it is in stand by and only clicks on when ac power is needed.  like fridge cycling or watter pump.  you have to turn off all the LED and LCD loads because there just enough to confuse it.  I  like bobs clever idea if i didn't already have it.

HTH
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« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2007, 09:59:34 PM »

Something to consider about 120vac reefers.  As stated by Nick, his draws 4.3 amps-which is admirably low.  But consider that running through an inverter, like if you're dry camping.  4.3 amps at 120 volts converts to 43 amps at 12 volts (volts times amps equals watts.  Watts used is always the same, the combination of amps and volts can change to achieve those watts).  Considering an inverter is about 90% efficient, that means you'll be pulling about 48 amps-add to that inefficencies in the system, and you get a round figure of about 50 amps from the batteries through the inverter to run the reefer.  If you do mostly power polling, that's not a problem.  If you do a lot of dry camping, you'll need a big battery bank. 
Compare that to the Norcold compressor type I have.  It pulls 5.5 amps at 12 volts and runs about 50% of the time, for about 3 amp hours.  If Nicks runs also 50% of the time, you'll be looking at 25 amp hours.  Course the big difference in cost is a major consideration.  $400 for the 120vac is alot less than the $1200 for a new Norcold.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2007, 10:32:03 PM »

David, at home, we have a cycle defrost and it is the best refrigerator we have ever owned. It uses less power because the defrost does not require any power. The freezer holds food literally for years because it never warms up from a defrost cycle like most frost free models do.

I would not consider a refrigerator for the bus that took 3 or 4 amps of AC to run. We use propane because we are set up to boondock. We run 4 L16s and are good for most of a week after we park, if it's not too cold outside.

With 220 watts of solar panels and sunny days, we don't need the power pole or generator at all.

The norcold compressor model is the way to go if you want to boondock and not run on gas. I would think you would need a few more panels for that to work, though.

For what it's worth.

Tom Caffrey
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Stone
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« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2007, 11:44:28 PM »

TO Boogiethecat        ? if your fridge is wired the way you say and if I understand it correctly. when the temp drops in the fridge and kicks on, the inverter is then turned on by the temp switch...instead of the compressor....
If this is correct then the compressor in the fridge and the inverter starts at the very same time.  If so the inverter would be trying to start while under load from the compressor....Am I correct....

And when you say your compressor is wired to the inverter ' do you mean the fridge plug is plugged into the inverter ac socket ?   

I am not questioning your wiring or your  idea....I think is it an idea I might try...I just want to see if I understand what it is you are doing.....thanks.....Stone..... Huh Huh Huh
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ChuckMC8
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« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2007, 04:31:54 AM »

Here's mine- Frigidare.    We love it. I couldnt wait to get rid of the Notcold (er, I mean Norcold)
A little taller than the RV model, but lots more interior space.
  I paid less than $200 (for brand new fridge) at the scratch & dent place locally. The scratch was on the side ;-)
   6 golf cart batteries + SW4024 = EZ fridge that makes Mama happy.
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« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2007, 06:23:39 AM »

David,
     First off you'll want to look at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.
And shop for lowest kwh/year.    I have an Avanti 651 with a SS front.  It's 6.3 cu. ft.  Manual defrost of freezer rated at 254KWH/yr.    The Summit model you mention may a good choice also, check it's energy star rating, I think it is 285 KWH/yr.  Also, try to get one that has the condenser coils on the back, if it does you can add insulation to reduce power use.  I added 1" of R7 foam round the sides,bottom and back of mine and 1.5" on the top.  I also relocated the compressor about 2" further to the rear.   These changes reduced my measured power usage to 19 W average over 24 hours or in the energy star units 166kwh/yr, but my initial measurement was 223kwh/yr.  BTW The peak wattage with the compressor running is 150 watts or about 1.25 amps, far less than the 4.3 mentioned above. 
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2007, 06:39:40 AM »

David,
     First off you'll want to look at http://http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.
And shop for lowest kwh/year.    I have an Avanti 651 with a SS front.  It's 6.3 cu. ft.  Manual defrost of freezer rated at 254KWH/yr.    The Summit model you mention may a good choice also, check it's energy star rating, I think it is 285 KWH/yr.  Also, try to get one that has the condenser coils on the back, if it does you can add insulation to reduce power use.  I added 1" of R7 foam round the sides,bottom and back of mine and 1.5" on the top.  I also relocated the compressor about 2" further to the rear.   These changes reduced my measured power usage to 19 W average over 24 hours or in the energy star units 166kwh/yr, but my initial measurement was 223kwh/yr.  BTW The peak wattage with the compressor running is 150 watts or about 1.25 amps, far less than the 4.3 mentioned above. 
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120


Hi Jerry,
Your refrig is quite efficient but almost 4 times smaller then my 22 cf side-by-side.
If you do the math, the amp draw per qubic ft. works out to be the same!
I have a family of 5 and always 1 or 2 extra friends along, it's the most efficient refrig
for the size we need.
Nick-
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« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2007, 07:38:34 AM »

 Many refrigerators today come without the rear coil, utilizing the outside of the box to dissipate heat. If you build one of these in too tightly, it ain't gonna work!!! Check the manufacturers recommendation for clearances needed around unit.
 I have the rear coil type built in. I wired a small fan into the circuit so fan comes on with the compressor, helping to dissipate heat.
                                                                 HTH
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« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2007, 07:44:56 AM »

Quoting Stone:       ? if your fridge is wired the way you say and if I understand it correctly. when the temp drops [raises] in the fridge and kicks on, the inverter is then turned on by the temp switch...instead of the compressor....
If this is correct then the compressor in the fridge and the inverter starts at the very same time.  If so the inverter would be trying to start while under load from the compressor....Am I correct....
And when you say your compressor is wired to the inverter ' do you mean the fridge plug is plugged into the inverter ac socket ?   
I am not questioning your wiring or your  idea....I think is it an idea I might try...I just want to see if I understand what it is you are doing.....thanks.....Stone.....


I wired a plug directly to the compressor and plugged that into the inverter. Then I disconnected the two wires from the inverter's on/off switch and hooked them to the fridg's temperature control switch terminals (which are no longer hooked to the compressor)
So when the inverter comes on, yes- it sees the load of the compressor that's hooked to it, and they both start up at the same time.  It (the inverter) doesn't care at all. Inverters are designed to be turned on under load.   But that's why it takes a 1000W inverter.  Running, my Summit fridge draws 1.7 amps@ 120 volts, which is only 200 watts or so.  But when the compressor is starting up, it draws almost 12 amps for a fraction of a second, which send any lesser inverter straight into fault mode.  A 500W trace wouldn't work to save it's life.  The 1000W/2000w surge inverter squeals for a moment but it's fine.  Been running flawlessly for almost a year now...
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1962 Crown
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« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2007, 11:11:49 AM »

Ok I am looking for a ac fridge currently . So I am considering doing what you did...My Diometic went poof..
No more RV fridge for me ' the prices are out of reach...In my bus ' I like to keep it so if it needs something repaired I can replace it with Lowes or Home Depot items ..I do not like to depend on RV equipment any more that I have to....IT"S A BUS NOT A Grin Roll Eyes S/S......

thanks for the reply.......
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DavidInWilmNC
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« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2007, 11:46:48 AM »

Thanks for all the ideas and info, guys.  There are a couple of points I'll mention, though.  I don't want a single-door model with the freezer inside.  I also want one with the coils in the back, like Jerry mentioned.  I'm also planning on adding 1" of pink Styrofoam to the sides and back (leaving enough space for the coils), wiring a disconnect for the defrost (if it's frost-free), and switching the cabinet heaters (that keep it from sweating).  I like some of the cycle defrost (manual freezer defrost) models, but their elec. usage is not a whole lot less than a comparably sized frost-free model.  Some of the smaller (less than 10 cu. ft. or so) models don't list their energy usage.  TomC, what size is your DC Norclold?

Another thing I don't understand is why some 'fridges are on the energy star list but use more kW's in a year than other similarly sized models that aren't on the list.  I guess I'll keep my eyes out for one that has the right dimensions, will allow additional insulation, has low energy usage, and is on sale.  I do love a good scratch-and-dent item... especially when the scratch or dents are where I won't see 'em!

David
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« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2007, 01:23:51 PM »

I was up at Southern Orygun Diesel a couple years ago and met "a couple" with a Eagle conversion that was 95% done.  He pulled a panel and showed me three refridgerant compressors that ran on 12 volts.  His was a "NO GAS" conversion and he said he wanted to be able to boondock for extended periods.  Those compressors were integrated into his freezer in the bay and his fridge and icemaker.  He said the compressors were very efficient and he was delighted with that arrangement.  I think his household refer had the compressor removed and his system integrated.  Each compressor was the size of a football.  I didn't see any heatexchanger but I assume it was there as he said he recovered that heat for the coach in the winter but ducted it out for summer use.  I guess Nick would know about the compressors.

FWIW

John
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« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2007, 01:39:45 PM »

Hi John,

Yes, they are made by Sierra. 12v and 24v dc and they are very pricey..... They may even out price the project..

Small refrig's are about all the can handel at the moment..

Nick-
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« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2007, 02:23:19 PM »

Danfoss also makes the efficient 12v compressors used with Tundra and Nova Cool reefers-they work well-they are used in the reefers we put into the Freightliners.   Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2007, 04:32:23 PM »

David,
    When you get to adding insulation I think you may want to avoid Styrofoam.  While it's a little less costly it's not near as effective as the urethane based stuff.  Most Styrofoam is about r5/inch while the urethanes and polyiso is r7.  That means less than 3/4" of the r7 will conduct less heat than a full 1" of the Styrofoam.  or it would take more than 1.4" of Styrofoam to be as much insulation as 1" of the r7 material.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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DavidInWilmNC
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« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2007, 05:39:43 PM »

Jerry,

I think what I'm referring to for insulation is urethane (like Kleenex and tissue... just a generic term for me).  It's the pink board from Lowe's or Home Depot.  It's closed-cell and is much sturdier than the standard white Styrofoam.  If I'm not mistaken, the 1" foam board I used in the walls is R7 per inch.  I used a different foam board for some air ducts.  It's kind of beige and has foil on one side.  It's used under siding on houses.  I believe it's polyisocyanurate, though.  Are either of these what you're talking about?

David
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« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2007, 06:38:00 PM »

David,
    The 'stuff' I used is kind of beige with foil on one side and is polyisocyanurate & clearly labled r7/ inch.  The brand is 'RMax' & it's also what I used in all my walls, ceilings etc.  Lowes does sell it but they also sell several other foams that aren't R7/inch.   IMO It's worth the effort to be sure your getting the 'good stuff'.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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