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Old 09-14-2015, 11:50 PM   #1
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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Fridge Vent installation

I have learned the hard way that rv fridges do not cool as well as normal home fridges. They don't like hot weather, traveling or having to cool lots of new food.

When I installed the new fridge in my 66 Tradewind a couple of years ago, I installed extra insulation around the fridge and installed baffling in the vent area behind the fridge to improve its cooling performance. I thought this would be adequate, but I was wrong. I learned this while traveling 1,000 miles to the Michigan UP and camping in the high 80's for two weeks. The fridge would cool down to the low 30s at night but would go into the mid to high 40s during the day or even higher when traveling long distances.

I installed 3 90mm computer fans at the top of the chimney to pull the air past the cooling fins instead of relying on just natural convection. I made the bracket out of 1/16" x 3/4" aluminum angle and installed a switch in the front of the chimney to turn the fans on when the fridge needed some turbo charged performance. I monitor fridge performance using a $10 remote thermometer from Walmart. This is a critical piece of equipment as you always know how cold or warm your fridge is without opening the door.

I finished the installation just in time for the cool weather. When it gets hotter I will test the performance to see how much cooler the fridge stays when the fans are operating.

Here are some photos.

Dan
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:56 PM   #2
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We have had similar experiences with our Dometic when in hot climates.

If you would, please share more info about the fans, where they are from, how they are mounted, that kind of thing.
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Old 09-15-2015, 09:24 AM   #3
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I bought the computer fans from Amazon- starTech 90 mm dual ball bearing fan (FAN9X25TX3H). I bought 4 fans, so one spare. If I had room I would have used some 120 mm fans, 43 cfm @ .19 amps. I secured the fans to the aluminum bracket I fabricated using pop rivets. I will send more photos later.

Thanks for starting your thread about fridge cooling problems. It was what motivated me to install the fans.

Dan
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TouringDan View Post
I bought the computer fans from Amazon- starTech 90 mm dual ball bearing fan (FAN9X25TX3H). I bought 4 fans, so one spare. If I had room I would have used some 120 mm fans, 43 cfm @ .19 amps. I secured the fans to the aluminum bracket I fabricated using pop rivets. I will send more photos later.

Thanks for starting your thread about fridge cooling problems. It was what motivated me to install the fans.

Dan
Thanks, Dan... looking forward to the additional photos.
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:56 PM   #5
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHart View Post
We have had similar experiences with our Dometic when in hot climates.

If you would, please share more info about the fans, where they are from, how they are mounted, that kind of thing.
Photo 1 shows the open fridge vent with the hole for installing the fan switch. I installed the aluminum to make sure that the switch would be securely mounted. The aluminum was glued to the inside of the fiberglass chimney using epoxy glue. The duct tape was used to hold the sheet aluminum in place until the glue dried.

Photo 2 shows the cardboard footprint of the vent opening. I made the bracket to match the cardboard cutout. I used an oscillating saw to cut the aluminum angle so that the flat section left could be shaped to follow the round section on the inside. I used a short piece of 3" pvc pipe to make the round shape.

The cut outs made in the original post photo of the aluminum bracket were made using a jig saw. The cut outs had to match the inside diameter of the fan housing.

The third photo shows the wired switch ready to be installed in the fridge vent. It is a lighted switch that only lights up when the fans are operating. This is probably not really necessary as you can hear the fans running, although the sound is not very loud.

After I installed the vent fan assembly in the chimney I caulked all joints and gaps to make sure there was not any leakage around the edges. This can be seen in the original post photo. Note that the brown wire at the top on the left side is only to help me install a wire when I install my solar panels and need to run the wire from the panels on top of the roof to the charge controller in the interior of the Airstream.

The last photo shows the vent cap installed.

This was not an easy project for me because I had never done this before. I believe it turned out well. I can't think of anything I would do differently if I did it again. I am sure that it would go much faster and the finished product would look better, but would not work any better.

Let me know if you have any questions or need any help if you decide to make a chimney vent fan system. I will help all I can.

I will run a test when the weather heats up.

Dan
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