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Old 06-30-2003, 01:29 PM   #1
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Refrigerator DC Fan

Why is there a dc powerd fan in the back of the refrigertor compartment. It runs all the time during outside temp above 75f when the fridge is running? Is it needed?
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Old 06-30-2003, 02:09 PM   #2
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The fan is to assist in the venting of the "heat" fins, which carry off the heat from the ammonia circulating through the system. The fan helps to dissipate this heat and makes the system more efficient and effective, as the only venting are the finned doors on the outside of your Bambi. Mine seems to come on only when temp is above 80, generally does not run at night. I have a fuse which I can remove which kills the fan, which I have done on occasion for noise reduction and just to see the effect on the reefer. without the fan, I can see the reefer is not as efficient, but by turning the thermostat to a colder setting, still get adequate cooling and freezing.
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Old 06-30-2003, 02:17 PM   #3
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Thanks, I too have been able to disable the fan with the fuse. I think I will try a new way of mounting it more securley than the sheet metal screws AS is using, I guess I will have to live with it or improve it. I wonder if replacing the heat sensing element with one that turns on at a slightly higher temp would help cut down its running time? Has anyone else had problems with the cabinet latches breaking? I am not hard on them and I have no kids swinging on em they just pull out of the doors.
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Old 06-30-2003, 02:25 PM   #4
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Fan

I replaced the fan with a lower-powered, quieter fan and cut some thin aluminum to better duct air across the fins. The new fan is not nearly as intrusive noise wise and takes about 1/2 the power. Cooling is just as good or better than before. You could experiment with a resistor in series with the fan and get about the same result. There is no reason the fan has to turn as fast as it does... the refrigerator is designed to work with just thermal airflow cooling and no fan at all.

If Airstream had just installed the upper door about 6" higher, the fan would probably not be needed at all. As it is, they created a perfect heat trap that ruins the intended cooling of the fins.
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Old 06-30-2003, 03:46 PM   #5
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I have yet to hear mine go off once yet. I wonder if it's broken.

Eric
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Old 06-30-2003, 04:13 PM   #6
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Eric, is that "go off" as in turn off? Or "go off" as in turn on? In either case, If you are using your Bambi where the outside temp ranges between 80-85 (or higher)during the day, and 70 or under at night, the fan should cycle on during the day and off at night. It does not cycle according to the reefer temp, but according to the ambient temp. around the heat fins.

If this is not happening, then there is a problem
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Old 06-30-2003, 05:30 PM   #7
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My bad...it never has turned on, ever. The fridge is cold and all, but the fan has never turned on and the outdoor temp was in the 90's.

Me thinks something is up!

Eric
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Old 06-30-2003, 06:08 PM   #8
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Eric, you might check to see if there is an inline fuse to that fan. Mine has one about 8-10 inches away from the fan on the black wire to the fan. If I take the fuse out, the fan is dead, or if the fuse is blown, same effect.
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Old 06-30-2003, 10:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rickk48
It does not cycle according to the reefer temp, but according to the ambient temp. around the heat fins.

If this is not happening, then there is a problem
If the Bambi fan is the same as my International, fan (I can't see why it would differ since the refrigerator is identical), the fan is controlled by a thermostat that is mounted on the end of the finned radiator. The fan should run only when the surface of the radiator is above a set point.

When I first turn on my refrigerator, it takes about 15-20 minutes before the finned radiator gets hot enough to start the fan. OTOH, the fan will run for quite a while after the refrigerator is turned off. The fan will cycle on and off during hot nights.
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Old 07-01-2003, 11:22 AM   #10
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I'll check it out. Thanks Rick. I am thinking that even though it's cooling the fridge really well, from the sounds of it, that fan should be on and I have yet to see it operate.

Thanks all for the info as well!

Eric
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Old 07-01-2003, 12:00 PM   #11
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I found last week camping in 100 degree temps that my fridge had to be turned up to max on the thermostat setting.

Would the addition of this fan allow the thermostat to be set lower and still keep the fridge cool?

Also, last year when in the mountains, the fridge was fine in the day by nearly froze stuff at night because of the outside temp dropping to around 40. Would the fan let me keep the thermostat lower for night, but mantain the cool during the day w/o changing the thermostat?
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Old 07-01-2003, 02:23 PM   #12
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Safari Tim

I think the fan we are talking about is being used on our units because our reefers are not vented up through the roof as on older models. In other words, your unit receives adequate venting as is. Addition of the fan, I would think would enhance efficiency on extra hot days, but would not affect the cooling at night in cold outside air conditions. I also notice that when in cold outside conditions, my reefer gets colder, and I have adjusted my reefers thermostat accordingly.
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Old 07-01-2003, 04:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rickk48
Safari Tim

I think the fan we are talking about is being used on our units because our reefers are not vented up through the roof as on older models.

Oh, that is interesting.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 07-01-2003, 04:57 PM   #14
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Puzzled

I have the same refrigerator as the currrent Bambi, with the same fan initially, and I can freeze items in the bottom of the box in 85+ degree weather if I turn the thermostat more than about 15 degrees from the full warm position. We froze all our salad makings on our first trip last year before I was used to where to set the knob.

I have the best refrigerator thermometer I could locate hanging in my refrigerator. I also have a battery-powered circulating fan that sits in the bottom of the box to better even the temperature. What puzzles me is that you say you have to change the thermostat night and day. Day or night, summer or winter, the temperature inside my box doesn't vary more than a couple of degrees. This is how it should be if the thermostat and the vent fan are doing their job properly.
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Old 07-01-2003, 05:02 PM   #15
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Safari Tim

Make sure that your roof vant is unobstructed.

A fan will help your situation even with a roof vent. It gave me an extra few degrees of cold in my old Scamp which had a roof vent.

Camping World and just about every RV place sells vent fans. Some of them are even solar powered. In my old Scamp, I simply bought a used computer muffin fan for a couple of dollars and cut a mount for it out of aluminum angle.
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Old 07-01-2003, 05:09 PM   #16
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Bambi and International owners

If you think about it, that fan hanging there at the louvers is not more than about 25% efficient in moving air. Air will take the path of least resistance and most of the air entering the fan from the bottom and sides never made it to the finned radiator. There is probably some recirculation as well.

I replaced the fan with a much lower powered, quieter fan and installed a crude baffle from scrap aluminum so that most of the air entering the fan is pulled from the area of the finned radiator. I can barely hear the fan now and the refrigerator works fine. The existing fan could very easily be quieted with a resistor in series.
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Old 07-01-2003, 05:34 PM   #17
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Safari tim,

If your refer is original, or old enough to have a drivers liscense it may be helped by a flue cleaning. Rust forms on the heat exchanger and can insulate it form the flame, making the refer less efficent. A fan shooting air straight up to assist the natural air flow will do wonders too. I have one that came off a large CPU heat sink, It moves a ton of air and allows me to freeze stuff in the refer no matter the outside temps.
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Old 07-01-2003, 05:36 PM   #18
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Pahaska,
Interesting that you mentioned that you replaced that refrig fan, as I did the same on our '02 Bambi. As you noted, it was noisy and given its placement DIRECTLY against the exterior louvered door, most of its air flow was blocked. I installed a significantly thinner and slightly larger design that is much quieter and I now have a significant airflow out of almost all the louvers on the upper door. This new unit turns at a lower RPM and has blades with more surface area to turn a higher volume of air. Being thinner, it sits well behind the outside door, unlike the original. The whole idea of the fan was not so much to directly cool the condenser, but to ensure that the heat was removed from the upper area of the enclosure so as to allow the condenser to do its job properly. I have also thought about changing the design even more by using a set of CPU cooler fans that would mount underneath the entire length of the condenser along with a baffle to ensure that the exhaust above the condenser vents to door (not into the enclosure) and that the intake to the fans is from below (so as to not circulate the hot air). I think several of the small CPU fans might be quieter yet than a single high volume, low RPM unit, but I need to do some further investigation.

On the thermostat setting, we too have to be VERY careful. Set the thermostat much above 4 and it turns into a deep freeze. We have NOT noticed any difference in cooling ability with regards to outside temp.
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Old 07-01-2003, 05:46 PM   #19
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Just pulled apart the wiring on mine and there is not an inline fuse anywhere on the power lines.

I think my fan might be dead or the sensor has gone south.

Eric
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Old 07-01-2003, 06:18 PM   #20
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I am certainly no expert on thermostats, although I will say that the settings for the refrigerator seem fairly simple. We generally set the temp at 4 and get good cooling in the main box and freezing in the freezer box. I have noticed that at this setting, on one occasion when camping in sub freezing weather, our salad fixings froze, the next night I set the thermostat back a bit and no freezing occured. Perhaps this was due to other causes I am overlooking. In hot weather, I can still get very good refrigeration, and the vent fan, as supplied by Airstream seems to help in the efficiency (I've run the reefer with the fan operating and without and did notice a difference as to the initial time it takes to reach an acceptable cold level). I do agree that it is a bit loud, but I generally am not in the trailer, nor around it for that matter, during the day when the fan is running. I like the idea of a quieter, more efficient fan if ever the sound becomes a problem and appreciate the suggestions.
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