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Old 07-18-2017, 07:08 AM   #15
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Thanks for the input Interblog. I was wondering if a AC/DC Novakool along with a second battery is a better fridge solution. I don't have experience with a fridge running on DC but I know my LP fridge isn't working right!!!
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Old 07-18-2017, 07:34 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
We've noticed something on two of the Basecamps we have been working on the fridges, and I'd like to ask for others that have the time, ability, and equipment for an assist:
Could you measure these temps: Ambient, countertop, fridge compartment and freezer compartment? Record those figures, then remove the tank cover, and take the same measurements, and report them back here. I've noticed something, but would like a larger group of test findings before submitting them to Airstream, and a possible fix.
Thanks for your help.
Are you interested primarily in hearing from folks who have not added fans and or insulation? Also,are you are looking for data from propane operation?
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Old 07-18-2017, 07:52 AM   #17
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Went out this morning after 11 hours on shore power. Here are the readings:

Outside Temp: 72 degrees

Freezer: -8.5 degrees

Box: 26.8 degrees

Countertop: Cool to the touch.

Fans are still running and still very loud.

I was under the impression that the fan(s) ran only when needed. Maybe they will shut off next winter.

Despite the addition of the fans to the mix, it appears clear that my fridge operates within expectations while on shore power, but fails while on propane. The fact that I currently have good cooling and no elevated countertop temperature on 120V, but inadequate cooling and a very warm countertop while on propane suggests to me that this is exclusively a propane operation issue.

I considered removing the propane tank cover in order to see if that had any effect on cooling. But, given the current performance on shore power, I doubt that removing the cover would have the effect of additional cooling as the fridge/freezer temps are currently about as low as anyone might expect to see from this unit.

I am considering switching to propane as the outside temp warms up. In addition to checking on propane operation, I'd like to get some data on how long the freezer and box can maintain the current 120V temps even if running on propane fails to maintain the current acceptable temp levels.

The obvious problem with this experiment is the fact that the trailer will be sitting as opposed to traveling at highway speeds. But, considering that highway airflow should help cooling, at least I might be able to predict how much driving time I can get in before food begins to lose a food safe temperature.
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Old 07-18-2017, 07:56 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by MrKenmore View Post
Thanks for the input Interblog. I was wondering if a AC/DC Novakool along with a second battery is a better fridge solution. I don't have experience with a fridge running on DC but I know my LP fridge isn't working right!!!
So long as your power can support it, a DC compressor fridge is the best way to go IMHO, I pulled out the Dometic 3 way and put in a NovaKool, The inside temp is a steady 34 and 10 and had only fluctuated 2-3 degrees from that, with outside temps in mid 90s and high humidity.

One other benefit is that I also closed off the external vents and installed 5 layers of foil insulation on the back wall, keeping external air and temps outside, all needed ventilation airflow is inside, front floor level intake and top level exhaust, this way the coolest air inside is drawn across the heat exchanger on the back, two ultra quiet low power DC fans turn on whenever the compressor runs. This model draws 4.3A whenever it runs and uses 23AH hours overnight before the sun gets to work recharging the system.

The "heat" generated by the all inside setup is virtually none, the difference is 3-5 as measured.
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Old 07-18-2017, 08:15 AM   #19
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Could not sleep last night, so at 12:30 a.m. I got out my Dometic installation booklet on the refrigerator and read it all. On page 7: Ventilation Requirements: 4th bullet point: Any obstruction of either of the vent openings is not permissible, e.g. roof rafters, roofing materials, etc. Continued on page 8: The flow of combustion and ventilating air must not be obstructed, e.g. by an open RV door. (This I assume relates to 'side' venting'). Do no install an awning too close to the upper side vent. Allow a distance of approx. 6-12". Recess Depth: Spaces of more than 1", see FIG. 6 (page 8), from rear wall to the refrigerator may create performance problems. Fresh air will not pass through the cooling unit which will reduce the efficiency. It is important to check the recess depth and add BAFFLES to increase the movement of air across the coil. (I wonder if any of our refrigerators have baffles??) On page 9: Choosing Type Of Vent Application: UPPER AND LOWER SIDE VENT APPLICATION. Choose this type of installation when a roof vent installation is not possible. BAFFLE should be added. The refrigerator MUST be equipped with fan(s).

Instead of a cold box, I think we have a hot box, closed up in a cabinet where it can't get any air flow to cool down. I am assuming that we all have at least one factory installed fan?? More on page 11 on the upper and lower SIDE vent application, talking about adding the box baffle at the back. "If required, install a box baffle above the lower access vent extending within 1/2" lower than the condenser fins". On page 14: Model RM2351, our model: Verify that there is a complete seal between the front frame of the refrigerator and the top, sides and bottom enclosure. A length of sealing strip is applied to the rear surface of the front frame for this purpose. The sealing strip should provide a complete isolation of the appliance's combustion system from the vehicle interior. (In all bold letters, I'll capitalize instead): BE CAREFUL NOT TO DAMAGE THE SEALING STRIP WHEN A REFRIGERATOR IS PUT IN PLACE! Do NOT remove the factory installed sealing strip at top rear corner of cabinet. It is NOT part of the shipping package and must be left intact.
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Old 07-18-2017, 09:08 AM   #20
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I am wondering if the fridge vents being in the front of the BC prevents any exhaust from taking place while moving. Imagine if you needed to rely on you TV radiator to have air pass back to front via a fan. Impossible!

Gail-Thanks for all your great research!
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Old 07-18-2017, 11:59 AM   #21
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Refrigerator problem

Prior to taking my BC to the dealer for installation of anti-sway device, we were on shore power and the lower portion of the ref never got below 52 Deg. When I got back home the ref temp was up to 84 Deg. I guess propane is not working.
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:37 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Joe Wezensky View Post
Prior to taking my BC to the dealer for installation of anti-sway device, we were on shore power and the lower portion of the ref never got below 52 Deg. When I got back home the ref temp was up to 84 Deg. I guess propane is not working.
I'm beginning to question my original thought about this issue being primarily a propane matter.

I switched to shore power at 7 pm last night. By 10:30 pm the freezer was 3 degrees and the box was 46 an improvement of 10 degrees of cooling since I switched from propane to AC at 7 pm certainly a move in the right direction.

By 7 am, the freezer was -8.5 (yes, minus) and the box was 26.8, but the outside temp was only 72.

I immediately switched back to propane because I wanted to approximate how much driving time I could get on propane before the box moved into unsafe food land.

By noon, the freezer was 2.8 and the box was 34.1. Clearly both the freezer and the box were warming up. But, maybe the warming would be happening whether on 120V or propane.

Since I had a sense that 6 or 7 hours was about tops for even a fridge that had been cooled to max and then shut off, I decided to go back to 120V and see if there was better cooling to be had during the heat of the day.

Stay tuned...
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Old 07-18-2017, 03:04 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Bborzell View Post
Are you interested primarily in hearing from folks who have not added fans and or insulation? Also,are you are looking for data from propane operation?
All versions, so we can see what makes the most improvement. On the two we've done, temps dropped by 10 degrees when the cover was removed. I want to see if it's repeatable before offering a fix.
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Old 07-18-2017, 04:05 PM   #24
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So long as your power can support it, a DC compressor fridge is the best way to go IMHO, I pulled out the Dometic 3 way and put in a NovaKool, The inside temp is a steady 34 and 10 and had only fluctuated 2-3 degrees from that, with outside temps in mid 90s and high humidity.

One other benefit is that I also closed off the external vents and installed 5 layers of foil insulation on the back wall, keeping external air and temps outside, all needed ventilation airflow is inside, front floor level intake and top level exhaust, this way the coolest air inside is drawn across the heat exchanger on the back, two ultra quiet low power DC fans turn on whenever the compressor runs. This model draws 4.3A whenever it runs and uses 23AH hours overnight before the sun gets to work recharging the system.

The "heat" generated by the all inside setup is virtually none, the difference is 3-5 as measured.
Randy, what model # NovaKool did you get? I noticed in my Dometic installation manual some Dometics have temperature settings, the RM2351, which we have in our Basecamps is 'set at the factory' .... possibly a factory in Antarctica :-)
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Old 07-18-2017, 04:22 PM   #25
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Thermistor adjustment

Perhaps I missed something, but I did not see mention of thermistor adjustment. Has everyone pushed the thermistor upwards to increase cooling?

Here is a video link if I'm not being clear.
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Old 07-18-2017, 06:13 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Xrad13 View Post
Perhaps I missed something, but I did not see mention of thermistor adjustment. Has everyone pushed the thermistor upwards to increase cooling?

Here is a video link if I'm not being clear.
The problem seems to be a lack of ventilation causing poor cooling, not an adjstment.
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Old 07-18-2017, 06:14 PM   #27
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Perhaps I missed something, but I did not see mention of thermistor adjustment. Has everyone pushed the thermistor upwards to increase cooling?

Here is a video link if I'm not being clear.
Yep, I tried it ... in several different positions. I even tried it on a different fin. Made no difference!!!! I can't remember now where I saw something about it.
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Old 07-18-2017, 06:37 PM   #28
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Randy, what model # NovaKool did you get? I noticed in my Dometic installation manual some Dometics have temperature settings, the RM2351, which we have in our Basecamps is 'set at the factory' .... possibly a factory in Antarctica :-)
Gail, I removed a Dometic 2454 and replaced with a NovaKool 5810. The Dometic had a button on the front with 5 setting levels, the NovaKool has a knob inside from 0 to 7 (0 actual turns it off completely) the temps mentioned are at 4.25

These are slightly larger than the Basecamp model, but still the single box system with the little freezer section above, I believe the amp draw in your size unit is half of mine

Your comparable NovaKool would be an R4500 which is a 4.3 cu.ft.
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