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Old 11-06-2019, 11:24 AM   #61
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I would make sure that any model I considered with a LP fridge is vented through the roof via a chimney. Those seem to be the least problematic.
I believe anything 25 and up is.

I agree with you 100%. Thanks for the reply and confirming my information and correctness. Have a great day!.
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Old 11-07-2019, 05:55 AM   #62
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Great recent discussion! Sad choices Airstream has been making about fridges in the last decade, especially eliminating the roof flue for the LP function.

It is difficult to boondock in a new small AS with an "all electric" fridge, especially with limited roof space for solar panels. The good ol' "Less is More" variety of AS is fading away. Sad IMO.

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PS -- For example, per uncle bob's aside, the BC fridge debacle:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f404...ne-169937.html

PS2 -- Thanks for starting this thread, Mack1 -- a good eye-opener for all new prospective Airstream owners.
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Old 11-07-2019, 06:44 AM   #63
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Hi

Compressor fridges have been used on sailboats for a lot of years. Power issues there are not very different than in the typical RV. They have done a fine job for them.

We could swap over to a compressor version of our fridge and run on the solar and battery setup in our trailer. So far in 3 years, we haven't ever needed the generator. That might get us to fire it up once every week or two.

At the rate the factory is going, I suspect that the solar I have will be "stock" in a year or three. The battery setup might pop up as an option.

Bob
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Old 11-07-2019, 08:07 AM   #64
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On the smaller units I can’t see how the compressor fridge as anything but a win. The draw is only 2.1 when it’s running. So maybe half of that depending on ambient temperatures.
How much does the control board and the addition on one or 2 computer fans on a LP unit draw?
I easily fit an additional 90 watts on my 16s roof in addition to the factory 90. Had I not bought the factory solar I could have used different panels and fit 200 watts or more with no trouble.
As others have pointed out the real limiting factor on the smaller units are the tanks.
I for one would rather deal with energy management to keep the fridge running while boon docking then have my food spoil from unpredictable temperature changes. The AC/LP units in some Airstream models are unreliable regardless of boon docking or the availability of full hookups.
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Old 11-07-2019, 08:47 AM   #65
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At this point I am a skeptic. Partly due to the fact I am not familiar with these type of refrigerators, partly due to the fact that I don't want to be so dependent up on hooking up to electricity, partly because I do not have a solar system installed on my trailer.
To feel comfortable I would have to become much more knowledgeable about managing 12v and installing a decent solar system. Another system to learn and keep up with while camping.
Early on I had trouble with our absorption refrigerator cooling properly. I figured out that it wasn't venting properly due to the poor installation. After I pulled the refrigerator and installed it properly with insulated side panels (0" clearance), false wall in the rear (3/4" clearance) and batt insulation above the unit. This creates the proper chimney effect in the rear. I did put one fan in the chimney (roof vent) which is only used during the initial cool down (approx 2-3 hours). Otherwise the fan doesn't get used.
I also think the argument about being level is a bit of a strawman. The only time my trailer wouldn't be leveled would be if I am stopped along the route for an extended amount of time otherwise it gets leveled. I can't sleep and neither can the plumbing drains work well on an incline.
I will follow this topic and keep an open mind about it but at this point I am really comfortable with the absorption style refrigerator.
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Old 11-07-2019, 08:57 AM   #66
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At this point I am a skeptic. Partly due to the fact I am not familiar with these type of refrigerators, partly due to the fact that I don't want to be so dependent up on hooking up to electricity, partly because I do not have a solar system installed on my trailer.
To feel comfortable I would have to become much more knowledgeable about managing 12v and installing a decent solar system. Another system to learn and keep up with while camping.
Early on I had trouble with our absorption refrigerator cooling properly. I figured out that it wasn't venting properly due to the poor installation. After I pulled the refrigerator and installed it properly with insulated side panels (0" clearance), false wall in the rear (3/4" clearance) and batt insulation above the unit. This creates the proper chimney effect in the rear. I did put one fan in the chimney (roof vent) which is only used during the initial cool down (approx 2-3 hours). Otherwise the fan doesn't get used.
I also think the argument about being level is a bit of a strawman. The only time my trailer wouldn't be leveled would be if I am stopped along the route for an extended amount of time otherwise it gets leveled. I can't sleep and neither can the plumbing drains work well on an incline.
I will follow this topic and keep an open mind about it but at this point I am really comfortable with the absorption style refrigerator.
In your case I would stick with the absorption unit. Many smaller models do not have chimneys. Even with the addition of fans and baffles they are still problematic.
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Old 11-07-2019, 01:04 PM   #67
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. . .
It is difficult to boondock in a new small AS with an "all electric" fridge, especially with limited roof space for solar panels. The good ol' "Less is More" variety of AS is fading away. Sad IMO.
. . .
FYI there is a new thread with the "Less is More" theme. Thanks, Larry, for starting that thread:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f483...re-202691.html

Peter
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Old 11-07-2019, 04:14 PM   #68
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How much energy can a 12V refrigerator use? About 14.2A for the one in my 2018 27' Globetrotter. https://www.dometic.com/en-us/us/pro...specifications

Can you travel with fridge on DC? I left Hadocy Airstream in Columbus, OH with a cold refrigerator and brand new fully charged stock Interstate batteries set to run on batteries and arrived at my destination 9 hours later with completely DEAD batteries (10.8V?) and a warm refrigerator. Therefore, I would say one cannot travel with the refrigerator on DC with a stock 2018 Globetrotter with stock Interstate batteries.

I've since installed 600W of Solar and upgraded 230AH 6V golf cart batteries. I still can only travel, or operate, with the refrigerator on DC under sunny skies. A little math demonstrates the problem. The refrigerator is rated at 14.2A while cooling. My experience is that its in "cooling" operation almost continuously. It rarely rests. Therefore, 14.2A x 9 hours = 127.8AH. Enough to kill a set of stock batteries in a full day of travel.

The refrigerator also consumes more watts than the 600W of solar that fits on a 27' Airstream's roof can produce in a single day. 14.2A x 24 hours = 340.8AH. Using 12.5V average battery voltage times 340.8AH equals 4,260W. Therefore, about 7 times my 600W of solar of production is needed to run the refrigerator for only a single day. Then I need another 1000W for other DC usage, which means I would need 9 times solar panel wattage of solar production every day on average to keep up with the refrigerator. At best solar can produce 3 times panel wattage on average over a period of days. Therefore, about 1800W of solar panels and 420AH of usable battery storage would be needed to operate my DC fridge and my other DC usage. Try fitting 1800W of solar onto a 27' Airstream's roof. Its not going to happen.

I'm sure glad that my Globetrotter's refrigerator has a propane option for boondocking and traveling on cloudy days. In my experience, the DC refrigerator option is not very useful on a 2018 Airstream Globetrotter except when operating under sunny skies with a roof full of solar panels.
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Old 11-07-2019, 04:35 PM   #69
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AirMiles,
Thank you for the numbers they are very telling. Appreciate your explanation.
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Old 11-07-2019, 05:19 PM   #70
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Today I measured the AMP draw of the 3.2 cu ft NORCOLD N1090 in our 2019 NEST. The fridge has been running 24/7 since mid July and had a moderate load of beverages: beer, water, etc. (I opened the door and added 3 warm beers to be sure it would run the compressor during the testing.)

After turning off the fridge and unplugging things from the 4 port USB receptacle, I removed the 12v fuse and connected a multimeter in its place. When I first turned the fridge back on it drew 5 amps, then pretty quickly settled down to around 4 amps. After switching to night mode it drew roughly 2.2 amps. These are a little lower than the specs for the N1090 on the NORCOLD web site, of 4.5 & 2.4 amps respectively. https://norcold.com/product/norcold-...-refrigerator/

So two big questions for NESTers with stock Group 24 Interstates who plan to go boon-docking are:
* What is the amp hour capacity of their batteries at the beginning of that trip? and
* What is the duty cycle of their 12v fridges when they are boon docking?

There are lots of variables, but here are a few examples of how many days would it take for our NORCOLD N1090 to consume 90 amp hours of battery capacity all by itself, assuming the fridge was run for 8 hours/day on night mode with a duty cycle of…
* 25% -> 20.4 amp hours/day or 4.41 days
* 20% -> 16.3 amp hours/day or 5.51 days

Of course, the other 12v usage (lights, water pump, furnace, etc.) would deplete the 90 amp hour budget quicker. My sense is that 3-4 days is the practical limit to boon-docking during mild weather in a NEST without solar or a generator add-on. And OBTW that is not a bad estimate of the black water tank’s limit too. So it seems to me that AS did a pretty good job of balancing the various systems (e.g. 12V & tanks) for boon-docking in the NEST.

As a sanity check John reported that when boon-docking with his NEST he was using 30 amp-hours per day which included all of the 12v usage. If he had not been using solar, the original 90 amp hour budget would have run out after 3 days. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f546...ml#post2258400
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:13 PM   #71
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BeSerious,
The numbers you provide and the information you refer to in the link you provided are great pieces of information not just for the Nest but other fridge types as well in other AS's. Thank you for giving us some reference data to utilize to our advantage.
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:16 AM   #72
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Old 11-08-2019, 06:30 AM   #73
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We always look for a shady site. Our 23 has a refrigerator that doesn’t vent through the roof, it has two vented panels. We’ve never had a problem with food temps, and can boondock for a week without problems. If I have to camp out in the full sun for solar power, I’ll switch campers. I suspect our current AS will outlast me. I may have to replace the fridge at some point. Hopefully I’ll be able to find an exact replacement
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Old 11-08-2019, 08:22 AM   #74
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Hi

Running an absorption / ammonia fridge on 12V DC is a disaster. They use *way* to much power that way. A compressor fridge running on 12V is a *very* different beast. Indeed a "3 way" ( AC / DC / Propane ) fridge is the one I really wonder about in terms of "why?". Looking at data on an absorption fridge on 12V does not tell you much about a compressor fridge.

Airstream is *not* putting the compressor fridges in older RV's. They are putting them in brand new ones. Odds are those new trailers will have solar on them. It comes stock on a very few models and is an option on just about all of them. One could debate the need for few more panels. I'd bet they keep adding more each year until the roof is full.

A typical 7 pin connector from a typical tow vehicle will give you 5 to 10A from the vehicle into the trailer. That's plenty good enough to run a compressor fridge. You would arrive at your destination with at least as much battery as when you hit the road. Yes, that assumes things are hooked up / working right (.... unlike my trailer at the moment ... hmmm.... ).

While absorption fridges work for some, they equally don't work for others. There are a *ton* of threads here on the forum from people with fridge issues. At the very least, the compressor version gets rid of the burner / ignition / air in the propane line / spiders in the vent stack part of those problems. It also takes out a chunk of the control circuits so even the "control board failed" stuff drops a bit.

Lots of variables ....

Bob
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:09 AM   #75
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Today I measured the AMP draw of the 3.2 cu ft NORCOLD N1090 in our 2019 NEST. The fridge has been running 24/7 since mid July and had a moderate load of beverages: beer, water, etc. (I opened the door and added 3 warm beers to be sure it would run the compressor during the testing.)

After turning off the fridge and unplugging things from the 4 port USB receptacle, I removed the 12v fuse and connected a multimeter in its place. When I first turned the fridge back on it drew 5 amps, then pretty quickly settled down to around 4 amps. After switching to night mode it drew roughly 2.2 amps. These are a little lower than the specs for the N1090 on the NORCOLD web site, of 4.5 & 2.4 amps respectively. https://norcold.com/product/norcold-...-refrigerator/

So two big questions for NESTers with stock Group 24 Interstates who plan to go boon-docking are:
* What is the amp hour capacity of their batteries at the beginning of that trip? and
* What is the duty cycle of their 12v fridges when they are boon docking?

There are lots of variables, but here are a few examples of how many days would it take for our NORCOLD N1090 to consume 90 amp hours of battery capacity all by itself, assuming the fridge was run for 8 hours/day on night mode with a duty cycle of…
* 25% -> 20.4 amp hours/day or 4.41 days
* 20% -> 16.3 amp hours/day or 5.51 days

Of course, the other 12v usage (lights, water pump, furnace, etc.) would deplete the 90 amp hour budget quicker. My sense is that 3-4 days is the practical limit to boon-docking during mild weather in a NEST without solar or a generator add-on. And OBTW that is not a bad estimate of the black water tank’s limit too. So it seems to me that AS did a pretty good job of balancing the various systems (e.g. 12V & tanks) for boon-docking in the NEST.

As a sanity check John reported that when boon-docking with his NEST he was using 30 amp-hours per day which included all of the 12v usage. If he had not been using solar, the original 90 amp hour budget would have run out after 3 days. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f546...ml#post2258400

Good informative post.

My '2012 model 3.1cf Novacool draws 41 watts (3.154 amps) based on readings from my Remogy state-of-charge monitor. Not too bad, but it sure runs a lot of the time, even in cool weather. Seems to "rest" less han 1/4th of the time.

I like the compressor fridge, but we could not go two nights without drawing the batteries down below 50% while using additional necessary features like Maxxfan or heater depending on temperatures. For the way we drive our class b daily, it works perfectly fine. But I can understand those who desire maximum battery conservation.

The ultimate answer better battery banks. It might not be as expensive as many think for Airstream to ship with a decent lithium battery bank. For example, for the ability to boondock 2-3 days and run the microwave, I recently upgraded from the stock (75ah usable) lead-acid batteries and woeful 750w modified sine wave inverter to 200ah lithium batteries (180ah usable). Add the cost of the DC-DC charger, 3000w pure sine wave inverter/charger, and SOC monitor and the price tag was $2600 for all. If Airstream went this route from the factory and you figure a $600-$1000 delete of the original items, the net cost to them would be just under $2000.

I say give buyers a choice and for those who want to go compressor fridge, upgrade the battery power by 200% (or more if desired) and place a reasonable price tag on the upgrade. The market will decide.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:10 PM   #76
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Interesting Thread
The absorption fridge works very well when installed in a trailer with roof ventilation. No ventilation? Then the use of fans is required and energy consumption goes up. A good compressor fridge makes sense but, I would like to see solar as standard feature when one of these is used.


Thanks to BeSerious for the estimates on battery survival when using his fridge. I noticed that he used a figure of 8hrs/day. What about the other 16 hours? Is the fridge off?


If you equate your battery life to the capacity of your FW and Black tanks when boondocking, I don't think you really know how to boondock. You can carry extra water easier than carrying extra electricity and, heavens forbid, you can use the campground facilities provided. You can also set up "facilities" if you are really out in the woods.


Yes, absorption systems require a level trailer but it doesn't have to be perfectly level. When moving down the road, the motion actually helps the absorption process.


The 2 way label is confusing. Forget about the requirement of 12 V to run the thermostat. That is a given. The current 2 way is propane or AC. Now they say 2 way but mean either AC or DC. There used to be 3 way systems, propane, AC or DC. I suppose you will need to ask them specifically what system they are talking about.


Then, lastly, there is the ongoing fear of using your propane fridge to cool your food while it is running down the highway, which I remind you, is what they are designed to do. For those who can't get past this, the new compressor option will be for you.
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:22 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by BeSerious View Post
So two big questions for NESTers with stock Group 24 Interstates who plan to go boon-docking are:
* What is the amp hour capacity of their batteries at the beginning of that trip? and
* What is the duty cycle of their 12v fridges when they are boon docking?

There are lots of variables, but here are a few examples of how many days would it take for our NORCOLD N1090 to consume 90 amp hours of battery capacity...
Where does 90 Amp hours come from? A group 24 battery is more like 50 Ah, so if you have two and try to follow standard practice and keep from going under 50% charge, you have 50 Ah.
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:50 PM   #78
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Where does 90 Amp hours come from? A group 24 battery is more like 50 Ah, so if you have two and try to follow standard practice and keep from going under 50% charge, you have 50 Ah.
Stock interstate group 24 are 84 ah.
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:05 PM   #79
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...Thanks to BeSerious for the estimates on battery survival when using his fridge. I noticed that he used a figure of 8hrs/day. What about the other 16 hours? Is the fridge off?


If you equate your battery life to the capacity of your FW and Black tanks when boondocking, I don't think you really know how to boondock. ...
Sorry. I should have posted that the longevity estimates assumed the fridge was on 24hrs/day: 16 hrs on full power and 8hrs in “night mode”. I’ve attached the spread sheet to make this more clear.

As for boon-docking… You are right. We have never “boon-docked” in a travel trailer. The last time we were camping, we were in a tent wondering why anyone would bother to haul a small house around. And how they could possibly think what they were doing was “camping”. But several decades later we are looking forward to hauling our own tiny house to stay at a camp ground

FWIW “boon-docking” seems to mean different things to different people — from campsites with everything except sewer & electrical hook ups to campsites with zero hookups/facilities — and locations on both public and private lands. For us, “boon-docking” is like staying in the NEST on our own property, but up on the ridge, where digging a latrine in the limestone would require dynamite or at least a blasting cap. And using the nearest facilities would require a hike down a 250’ hill, crossing the creek and then scrambling back up again


A couple more points about the NEST 12v fridge…

The 12V fuse I pulled to make the amp measurements handles the fridge and the 4 USB ports on the fridge wall. That’s why I unplugged all the USB stuff.

There is a low level draw (.02amps) across this fuse even when the fridge is off and the 4 USB ports are unplugged. Perhaps this is the power to the LED on the 4 USB ports??? BTW when you plug the fuse back in there is a small spark.

The amps across the 12v fuse were essentially the SAME whether or not the NEST was on shore power! So it’s not at all clear whether our fridge is even hooked up to AC.
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:27 PM   #80
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Where does 90 Amp hours come from? A group 24 battery is more like 50 Ah, so if you have two and try to follow standard practice and keep from going under 50% charge, you have 50 Ah.
As Shiny16 posted stock Interstate group 24’s are 84 ah. 90ah would require pushing the batteries a little below 50% charge. I chose 90 ah to make the math a little easier to do in my head, before I put the data into the spreadsheet.
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