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Old 04-28-2015, 11:56 PM   #1
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2 or 3 way fridge? What's the best?

Best fridge in the forums opinion?

going to do a complete remodel. looking for an under counter fridge.

Could go 2 way or 3 way. what is the best fridge and band for your buck?

help would be appreciated.
I'm going to install this asap. please weigh in with your recommendations.

thanks,
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Old 04-29-2015, 01:29 AM   #2
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What kind of camping will you be doing?
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:07 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by idahoair View Post
Best fridge in the forums opinion?

going to do a complete remodel. looking for an under counter fridge.

Could go 2 way or 3 way. what is the best fridge and band for your buck?

help would be appreciated.
I'm going to install this asap. please weigh in with your recommendations.

thanks,
Here's a question… By 2-way do you mean 12vDC/120vAC, or do you mean 12vDC/propane?

I ask because my Interstate has a 2-way 12vDC/120vAC fridge. So if the choice is between electric-only or propane-electric, the choice is obvious; your original fridge was propane, so you've already got the necessary cut-outs and vents for propane. In that case keep the propane option.

But if you mean choosing between propane-electric having a 120vAC option or propane-electric without 120vAC, then the choice is also obvious. 120vAC is an unnecessary complication. If it will run on 12vDC, then it can always run on 12vDC even when you're hooked up to shore power. You have no real use for 120vAC mode. I'd disconnect the 120vAC plug on mine if only I could reach it without removing my built-in microwave.
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:12 AM   #4
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Does 12v heating work as well as 120v heating? How many amps does the 12v pull and will the fridge switch to LP automatically? I had a 3 way fridge in my Casita and never used 12v. Only have 2 way, 120v and LP in my AS and it is fine. Pull the 120v plug and it switches to LP. Plug in the 120v plug and it switches to 120v.

Kelvin
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:16 AM   #5
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If it were me, I'd go for a 12VDC/120VAC compressor refrigerator, assuming you have the battery capacity and ability (solar/generator) to charge the batteries.

Otherwise, I'd choose a 120VAC/propane unit. If you get a three way, and use the 12VDC mode, the demand on your batteries is heavy.
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:33 AM   #6
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Does 12v heating work as well as 120v heating? How many amps does the 12v pull and will the fridge switch to LP automatically? I had a 3 way fridge in my Casita and never used 12v. Only have 2 way, 120v and LP in my AS and it is fine. Pull the 120v plug and it switches to LP. Plug in the 120v plug and it switches to 120v.

Kelvin
Well, my electric-only 12vDC/120vAC fridge has a built-in converter to turn 120vAC input to 12vDC, so it's kind of dumb to run the inverter to make 120vAC and then have the fridge convert it right back to 12vDC. Mine uses less battery power in 12v mode than it does in 120v mode. If the propane/electric fridges are more efficient in 120vAC mode than they are in 12vDC mode then I stand corrected, and you can all ignore my previous post.
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:53 AM   #7
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Well, my electric-only 12vDC/120vAC fridge has a built-in converter to turn 120vAC input to 12vDC, so it's kind of dumb to run the inverter to make 120vAC and then have the fridge convert it right back to 12vDC. Mine uses less battery power in 12v mode than it does in 120v mode. If the propane/electric fridges are more efficient in 120vAC mode than they are in 12vDC mode then I stand corrected, and you can all ignore my previous post.
My understanding on the 3 way fridges is that the 12v is generally just a 'keep it cold while traveling' mode and will not keep it at the proper temps for more than 8-10 hours. Then you run in a/c or propane when you get to your destination. Maybe newer fridges are better in this respect?

If I planned to do a lot of boondocking and was worried about my batteries I'd go tri mode, otherwise a compressor based 12vdc/120vac fridge is what I would get.

Fwiw, I have a tri-mode and what I end up doing is putting cold packs in it to help it get cold as it takes a long time on it's own, and then the 120vac can just keep up with it. I run the propane if it needs to cool some food down (ie warm leftovers) as the ac struggles and the dc I only run when traveling in which case the fridge inevitably warms up a couple of degrees anyway. I have an older Norcold, so it's probably due for replacement soon and it probably won't be another tri-mode in it's place - unless I decide to just replace the cooling unit on it with one of those upgraded ones.
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Old 04-29-2015, 10:41 AM   #8
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My old Hi-Lo travel trailer had a 3 way fridge. We used to travel with it in the 12 volt setting. The issue is that 12 volt fridge pulls a lot of power, which if your 12 volt charge line is wired correctly, will be keep the battery charged while you tow. The weak point in the equation is if the contacts in either your receptacle on the tow vehicle or in the trailer plug start to get dirty or a corrosion starts, the amperage flow will be reduced. I learned that the hard way with the Hi-Lo upon arriving at a camp ground and finding the battery exhausted due to inadequate charge. To make matters worse the lift mechanism was 12 volt powered so I ended up having to jump my auto battery to the trailer battery to get the top lifted. Luckily the battery would recharge once I plugged into campground power.

Unless you have an issue with operating the fridge with the gas on while driving (which I do not), I'd opt for the 2 way. If you go with the 3 way and run it on 12 volts while driving, use the spray electrical contact cleaner to keep the 12 volt charging connections clean. Also make sure that the proper gauge wire gets run in your tow vehicle to provide adequate amperage back to the trailer battery.

Jack
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Old 04-29-2015, 10:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idahoair View Post
Best fridge in the forums opinion?

going to do a complete remodel. looking for an under counter fridge.

Could go 2 way or 3 way. what is the best fridge and band for your buck?

help would be appreciated.
I'm going to install this asap. please weigh in with your recommendations.

thanks,
The small 3-way gas/120v/12v fridges are mainly suitable for B vans and small motorhomes. In that situation the alternator is nearby and it is easier to get a reliable source of 12v. While a 3-way fridge can work and be useful in a trailer it requires attention to detail in the 12v wiring in the trailer and tow vehicle alike.

The small 2-way gas/120v fridge is still the standard choice for travel trailers and would be what I would recommend. Most people operate the propane while driving. The only disadvantage is that older designs without electronic ignition may have the flame blow out while driving resulting in a loss of refrigeration. I have this problem with my Cayo, but not with my Airstream. Both have 2-way gas/120v fridges but the Cayo has piezo ignition while the Airstream has electronic ignition.

The newer style 12v Danfoss-type fridges can be a good choice but depend on the battery and are not, in most cases, suitable for stays of more than a day or two without shore power.
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Old 04-29-2015, 02:35 PM   #10
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We had an Award with 3-way. 12V DC never worked because the Voltage even when traveling with the truck Alternator 30 Amp hook-up was never quite high enough. One dip below the threshold Voltage trips the fridge and turns on the Check Light, then it needs manual reset.

i believe 'bobzdar' is correct; the 12v is for traveling, and 'jcanavera' identified the issue correctly with our Award. The original GM factory wiring harness was not heavy enough. I installed 10 Guage directly off the battery on my new Dakota. I would probably use 12 gauge wire if I had it, but connecting 12 Gauge to the 7-way gets tricky

We've only had 2 way in our AS's and never missed the 12V option. We always travel with the Propane on...which will bring a load of retribution from this forum I expect.

JCW
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Old 04-29-2015, 07:10 PM   #11
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Refrigerator info

A good video on refrigerators is found at the following link. Look for the video about "refrigerator choices and functions". Really good explanation about differences in refrigerator types.

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