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Old 03-17-2006, 08:04 AM   #1
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Frig options - AC or AC/LP

We are working on a '53 Flying Cloud and considering our frig options. We are considering a Norcold 400 AC/LP model which costs around $900 and would require us to cut holes in the shell for access and venting. Or we could get a standard AC frig of similar size from our favorite home renovation center for about $150 with a small inverter for boondocking and day travel. We go camping about 60 days each year and only 2-3 days of those are boondocking.

What would you recommend. The factors I am considering are cost, shell cutouts (this is a nice vintage unit), whether a less expensive inverter will do the trick, how much battery storage I would need for this, and is a standard AC frig suitable for extensive trailer travel.

Thanks for your advice,

Mike
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Old 03-17-2006, 08:37 AM   #2
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Think outside the ice box

Mike:

If your 60 days of camping is at campgrounds or parks where 110 VAC is available, and if you only go boondocking 2-3 days a year, think outside the ice box and consider using one or two new, well insulated coolers for just those 2-3 days. Pre-freeze the food for the last 2 days and slowly let it thaw on ice; or use dry ice for boondocking. Such an approach might allow you to install the 110 VAC fridge for the majority of your use, keep the exterior skin intact, and save you $$$ in the long run. The cooler chests would be useful for other things, too.
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Old 03-17-2006, 08:44 AM   #3
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I do know that small RV fridges that work on 115/12/LP really have a horrible draw when they are on 12 volts, but these are amonia units. With a compressor-driven fridge, you may have much better efficiency and since it's only on intermittently, this could work for you.

I guess you'd have to judge whether or not you trust the fridge to be a good cooler (holds the cold without being on) and if you want to keep frozen food.

I will say I have been impressed with European RV appliances--they are either very efficient electrically or use diesel, not LP. I saw a fridge in a camper shell up in Boulder that was electric only and ran on solar. It had a very efficient compressor. If you wanted to avoid cutting your shell, I'd look for a more efficient RV fridge.

I think my batteries (2 of them) are on the larger side of average, but they only provide 115 AH each, and you never want to discharge below 20%, so in the extreme I can only get 190 AH from them. In my experience, I use about 20 AH a day when boondocking. Even with intermitent operation of the fridge, I doubt you'd get two days even on two batteries (based on an amonia fridge). I wonder if anyone out there has more specific experience?

Roger
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:15 AM   #4
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Let's look at numbers $300 for 110 unit
$300 for multi use generator
$600 total
vs. $900 to 1400. MMmm
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:28 AM   #5
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Seeing that this thread was started about 1.5 years ago, my input most likely isn't of value. But just for the record, you don't have to make new cut-outs in the side of a vintage unit if you want a new fridge. You can still use the old exhaust system, and modify the original air intake hole in the floor, if necessary.
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiffy Gem
Seeing that this thread was started about 1.5 years ago, my input most likely isn't of value. But just for the record, you don't have to make new cut-outs in the side of a vintage unit if you want a new fridge. You can still use the old exhaust system, and modify the original air intake hole in the floor, if necessary.
Spiffy Gem,

You do have to cut holes if you did not have them in the first place. Before the 110/LP refigerators the only choice was 110V as my 1954 Liner and all other old trailers had. I am leaning to the 110/12V Tundra or Dan Voss line of compressor driven marine refigerators. These require no holes in the floor or shell. As it is I have to cut a hole for the water heater.

Bill
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:50 AM   #7
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Can't argue with that!

From a cosmetic standpoint, you would only need to cut one hole in the shell (for the exhaust), and it could be done tastefully.

I don't think I would go to all the cost, if it was only used 2-3 days a year, unless I was considering resell value.
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