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Residential Refrigerator challenges!


Ted Carbonaro

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I recently purchased our 2006 Monaco Camelot and was initially excited that it has a new Samsung RF18 residential frig. A few day after purchase I realized that this is great when we're plugged into shore power but not so great when boondocking or traveling. I have replaced the 4 house batteries and 2 coach batteries with Interstate lead acid type. Does anyone have experience with a similar scenario? What advice do you have for running the frig and maintaining the batteries and not damaging my inverter? Thanks. Ted and Nancy C, Magic Bus TNC

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I finally got to give my Samsung RF18 a good test this summer.  I mostly boondocked and left my inverter on all the time. I found that while driving my alternator easily keeps up with the the demand, I did install a Bluesea ML ACR which combines the house and chassis battery when it senses a charge from any source so while driving it combined the house and chassis battery.   Every time I stopped my house batteries were at 100% and if I drove late in the day I wouldn't have to run my generator.   IF your coaches charging system is working correctly it should do the same thing.

I have 325 watt of solar power which helps but if you are shaded at all doesn't do much.   If stopped for several days I would monitor my batteries during the day and usually would start my generator at night and let it run for ~1-1.5 hours which was enough to top off the batteries, go to bed with 90% charge and wake up with +70% charge.  This is not much different then when we booddocked with a Norcold.    

One thing I will say is that the Samsung performed flawlessly.  In North Dakota the temps outside were +100F and the fridge never missed a beat, Freezer at -4F and fridge at ~38F.  This was with the sun beating down on that side of the coach with no shade.  The Norcold would not have kept temps and I would have ended up throwing away some food. 

 

Edited by jacwjames
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Never, I say, *NEVER* throw away food!  😮

Our Norcold died but our layout couldn't fit a decent sized residential fridge.  We used a "dorm fridge" for a few months while trying to figure out what to do.  It performed similar to what jacwjames said.  Running the inverter during travel kept the fridge cold and batteries at full charge.  Our batteries aren't that good and I felt compelled to run the generator in the morning for an hour (no shore power) while we did our thing until the afternoon.  Before spending $1300 (with shipping) for a JC Refrigeration "Amish unit" and going through the pain and fresh language set swapping out the cooling unit we found a 1 yr old Dometic RM1350, which is very similar to the Norcold, for an excellent price (HALF the cost of the JC hardware).  *BUT* if we could have fit a residential fridge it would have been the way to go.  Even today I wonder if the JC Refrigeration 12V compressor would have been a better choice.  Only have one outing with the Dometic, but it passed the test.   OTOH it does have some "quirks". 

I've heard nothing but good about the Samsung RF18 but keep in mind it's more complex than your standard garage fridge. 

There's a new style compressor some brands / models are incorporating that don't have the start-up currents of a piston compressor and are much less power hungry (not that PC's are that hungry).  "Linear" compressor fridges are the way to go.  LG had some early failures but seem to have fixed the issue.

- bob

Edited by cbr046
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I just ordered a residential Frigidaire for my 2006 Monaco Camalot and replaced my batteries today with Duracell gel batteries.  I know we have to change settings on my inverter but did you keep your same inverter or replace for a larger one? 

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I assume you have a 2000w Magnum modified sine wave inverter.  Set up your low battery cut out voltage at about the 50% power level for your batteries under load.  This will protect your batteries from low discharging.  I leave the inverter on 24-7.  It's either charging or inverting.  It will self protect itself if it overheats, but I've never had an issue.  

Our alternator also keeps up with charging the batteries when on the road no problem.  When not connected to shore power I can make it through the night on batteries but then need to run the generator in the morning.  

I added three 225w solar panels to help, but so far they are disappointing.  Solar is a large investment in time and money for very little return.  I think if you want to use solar then you need 2000w of panels and a quality MPPT controller.  

Another option is lithium batteries.  They are expensive but some folks are buying individual cells and building their own 12v batteries.  Look at some of the Will Prowse videos on YouTube.  You can build your own battery pack that will power your refrigerator for several days.  

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I have a Fisher Paykel residential with 4 Trojan lead batteries and a 2000 watt Magnum Pure sine inverter and have never had a problem running the residential and everything else when boon docking. I can run without shore power off the inverter for at least 12 hours. So, I'm not sure what inverter you have but your problem doesn't seem right to me.

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You need a minimum of 4-6 VDC Golf Cart Type batteries wired in series/parallel plus an Inverter/Charger and a generator with an Auto-Gen Start feature to camp without shore power and be able to maintain your fridge. 8 batteries would be better IF you have the space.

We generally run the generator for a few hours before bedtime. Then I go around and shut off everything that is not critical for the night to reduce the draw on the house batteries. In most cases we can go through the entire night without the generator kicking on. Then in the morning we always run the generator to make coffee and use the microwave. In which case I just let the generator run for a while to recharge the house batteries.

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That sounds like a great solution. Which brand/model did you use? Thanks for sharing your experience!

 

On 2/2/2022 at 2:27 PM, GypsyJo said:

I just ordered a residential Frigidaire for my 2006 Monaco Camalot and replaced my batteries today with Duracell gel batteries.  I know we have to change settings on my inverter but did you keep your same inverter or replace for a larger one? 

My Monaco Camelot came with the Samsung so I haven't changed anything.

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On 2/2/2022 at 2:45 PM, nyrngrz said:

I have a Fisher Paykel residential with 4 Trojan lead batteries and a 2000 watt Magnum Pure sine inverter and have never had a problem running the residential and everything else when boon docking. I can run without shore power off the inverter for at least 12 hours. So, I'm not sure what inverter you have but your problem doesn't seem right to me.

I haven't hit the road yet and haven't confirmed my inverter model. Based on my manuals, I have a Magnum ME2012; 200 amp, 2000 VA. I'll check my inverter early next week and we hit the road in about a week. So in 2-3 weeks I'll discover how well the current system works. Thanks everyone for your feedback!

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I just installed the Fisher and Paykell - gotta say I LOVE IT! We mostly boondock.

Make sure you have a great battery monitor- I use a Victron Smartshunt (or BMV712).  You need to know exactly what the state of your batteries are. 

I also have 1200 watts of solar four 200watt panels (2s2p) into a Victron mppt 100/50. When we replaced the fridge, we replaced the 85w original solar panel and pwm controller with two more 200watt panels (in series) and a Victron mppt 100/30. 

I replaced my inverter (when my inverter died) with a Victron Multiplus 12/3000. 
I believe that would work well with four or six (or eight) 6v GC2’s. 
i have added lithium batteries 540ah, that is really nice. I still have to run the generator if the solar is having bad day. 

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12 hours ago, Ted Carbonaro said:

That sounds like a great solution. Which brand/model did you use? Thanks for sharing your experience!

I just bought it off Amazon, don't remember the brand but it is red. MH is not accessible with the snow piled around it. I don't boondock (not allowed). I just felt that using the inverter for the fridge would just put another load on it as I replaced the inverter 3 years ago.

Gary 05 AMB DST

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16 hours ago, Ted Carbonaro said:

I haven't hit the road yet and haven't confirmed my inverter model. Based on my manuals, I have a Magnum ME2012; 200 amp, 2000 VA. I'll check my inverter early next week and we hit the road in about a week. So in 2-3 weeks I'll discover how well the current system works. Thanks everyone for your feedback!

Ted, We have found IF you turn off the Ice maker the energy required drops to about half.

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1 hour ago, jfbolkovatz said:

Ted, We have found IF you turn off the Ice maker the energy required drops to about half.

Good point, I turn the ice maker on if I'm plugged into shore power or driving, it will make ice very fast, dropping a round about every 1.5 hours.   I've never run out of ice. 

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I really haven't given it a good test but I installed a 2nd inverter that I can use for the refrigerator if I want to, 

Years ago Bill G explained how he did it in an older post on the Yahoo Monacoers side.  At the time he recommended this one, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01E3V66ZE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It has pass through capability and can also help charge the batteries.   Last year on a trip I ran into a problem where I was having trouble with my generator running, I thought there was a problem with the inverter, turned out to be a shorted circuit on one of the inverter circuits.  Got the problem fixed but decided to add a second inverter that I could also use to help charge the batteries if I wanted.  

I actually used the circuit that fed the outlet behind the refrigerator, the one not off the inverter.  I took and ran a wire from that breaker to the bedroom TV cabinet right beside the main service panel and installed an outlet.  Then put a plug on the wire going to the refrigerator location.    I then installed the inverter in the TV cabinet and put a power strip on the output side and a cord/plug on the input side.  Behind the service panel there was a (+) & (-) stud with heavy gauge wire coming form the house batteries.  I attached wire to those lugs to power the inverter, installing a disconnect switch in the circuit so I could turn it off and on. 

Now to use the smaller inverter I can simply plug the refrigerator cord into the power strip in the TV cabinet and turn the disconnect & inverter on and move the plug behind the refridgerator to that outlet.  If I want to charge the batteries I just plug the inverter "IN" cord into the outlet that I mounted in the TV cabinet and start the generator.   This gives me a lot of flexibility for running the fridge and a second way to charge batteries. 

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In the process of rebuilding my Windsor I researched decided to go with a Nova Kool refrigerator. Pricy, but runs 120 A/C or 12v without the problems of the propane type of refrigeration unit. It uses the danfoss compressor.

Tom Highsmith

07 33 Windsor

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On 2/2/2022 at 12:37 PM, Ted Carbonaro said:

I recently purchased our 2006 Monaco Camelot and was initially excited that it has a new Samsung RF18 residential frig. A few day after purchase I realized that this is great when we're plugged into shore power but not so great when boondocking or traveling. I have replaced the 4 house batteries and 2 coach batteries with Interstate lead acid type. Does anyone have experience with a similar scenario? What advice do you have for running the frig and maintaining the batteries and not damaging my inverter? Thanks. Ted and Nancy C, Magic Bus TNC

What is your concern about the inverter? You've got a 2000w inverter, right? Don't worry about it. Your microwave is probably the only built-in appliance that will be a heavy load on the inverter (~1200w?). The refrigerator is trivial in terms of it's load on the inverter.

But the refrigerator is a huge load on the batteries and will probably consume about 200 AH/day all by itself (definitely turn off the icemaker off as somebody else mentioned). That 200AH means that four GC batteries give you about 24hrs worth of running the refrigerator alone before you hit 50% on the batteries and should recharge. 

So, if you're driving from campsite to campsite, don't worry about it, the engine's alternator will keep everything charged up just fine. But if you're boondocking, plan on running the generator for an hour or more every morning and evening. Let the generator run the big loads like microwave, coffee maker etc while it charges the batteries.

Cheers,

Walter

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I Totally agree 100% with everything that Walter posted above.

Don't try to make a mountain out of a molehill.

My Samsung RF-197 has been running fine since 2012 on 4 - 6 VDC GC-2 Batteries with a Xantrex/Trace 2000-Watt MSW Inverter.

I dry-camp occasionally but have never tried to do that for a week or more.

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Walter hit the nail on the head.  Not to worry.  Run the icemaker also.  We just have the 4 Golf cart batteries and the original modified sine wave inverter.  No issues with the RF18, just run the genset in the AM and PM for a couple of hours.  I have just begun to convert the puck lights to LED and intend to convert the tube fluorescents to LED strips.   By the way, for conversion we brought the refrigerator in the driver window.    Should have made the conversion years ago.

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