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Old 04-10-2006, 06:17 PM   #1
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Refrigerator Cooling Kit, Anyone tried one of these?

I came across a flyer for this Universal RV Cooling Kit for improving refrigerator performance. I could have used one at International '06:

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Old 04-10-2006, 06:40 PM   #2
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I put a small 12 volt fan (salvaged out of an old PC) inside the fridge and another larger 12 volt fan (also salvaged out of power supply of PC) directed at the cooling coils. They are sleeve bearing, but I only turn them on when it is really hot out. They do help. Cost is almost nothing.

If it is over 100 F, I buy a bag of ice for a dollar and throw it in the fridge. It usually lasts two days. I usually also start off the fridge with a bag of ice instead of waiting for the propane to do its job. Propane or electricity take too long to get the unit down to the proper temperature.

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Old 05-23-2006, 07:50 AM   #3
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Well, I just picked up our Caravel last week after Stu Snyder rebuilt the newer ('90's) 3 way fridge and he had installed one of those cooling kits. It may end up being a real good thing as the controls in the back cover most of the vent opening on the floor and it is going to need all of the help it can get. The fan did run quite a bit this weekend and didn't seem to draw the battery down. I plan to increase the size of the vent opening in the floor to allow for a more normal flow, but I'll see how things preform when we really dry camp.
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:01 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by dwightdi
I put a small 12 volt fan (salvaged out of an old PC) inside the fridge and another larger 12 volt fan (also salvaged out of power supply of PC) directed at the cooling coils. They are sleeve bearing, but I only turn them on when it is really hot out. They do help. Cost is almost nothing.
I do the same thing with my Vintage trailer and my Sailboat. I also will add cooling to the any equipment, which I think, requires it. I have a nice collection of various muffin fans, which I have salvaged from old electronics and picked up at Ham Fests. Cheap insurance. Not much need for a fancy install I find a easy spot to mount that I can reach to clean the fan now and then.

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Old 05-23-2006, 08:16 AM   #5
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These are designed to operate on convection currents, the shroud has all but eliminated that option. It will help in hot weather, but the fan will end up running a lot more than needed in cooler weather, if you boondock it will use more power than is really needed. Use a fan without the shroud, clearance behind the refrigerator should be tight enough that it isn't needed.
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Old 07-06-2006, 08:50 PM   #6
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I've tried one.

I saw this post quite a while back and was very intrigued. When this kit went on sale ($10 off), I bought one. Here's what I learned:
  • You must remove the refrigerator from the cabinet to install this kit. I was a bit intimidated at first, but it turned out to be much easier than I had thought. The hardest part of the job was removing the rotten weatherstripping along the inside edge so I could replace it.
  • Using a thermocouple with a remote display, I read the inside temperature of my refrigerator before installing the kit. With my Dometic set on 5 (maximum), it took several hours to bring the temperature down to 40 degrees. Outside temperatures ranged from 70-80. After a couple more days, the temperature finally crept down to 36-37 degrees.
  • After installing the kit (incorrectly, as it turns out), I could not detect any significant change in the refrigerator's performance. I could not hear the fan running. I had damaged the thermostat, and the fan wasn't running. This indicates to me that even with the fan and shroud installed, but with the fan not running, the refrigerator will still be able to maintain satisfactory temperatures.
  • I replaced the damaged thermostat and noted that after the refrigerator reached a certain temperature the fan will shut off, as designed. You can hear the fan easily from outside the coach and can hear it, slightly muffled, inside the coach. It is not annoying to me.
  • I ran the temperature tests again, and again could not detect any significant change in performance. It wasn't until this point that I realized that I was trying to see how cold the refrigerator would get pre-kit versus post-kit. This test won't work because the refrigerator will shut off at a certain temperature (in this case about 38-40 degrees), even with the selector at 5 (maximum).
  • What I need to measure is how fast the refrigerator cools down with the kit installed, compared to how fast it cools down without the kit. I am not willing to remove the refrigerator again to run these tests. Also, this type of test would involve checking the thermometer every half hour or so. I am generally too busy to take that much time away from other things.
  • In spite of the inconclusive data that I generated, I feel that this kit probably increases the efficiency of the refrigerator significantly, and I'm glad that I installed one. I won't really know until I run more tests or get enough experience with the "new" refrigerator to see if I notice a difference.
Regarding the shroud on the fan: The radiator fan in you car is shrouded for a reason. So are your Fantastic Vent fans. A shrouded fan will move the air where you need it.

Regarding convection cooling: The Model-T Ford used convection for cooling the engine. It was notorious for boiling over. Water pumps were popular accessories for Model-T's. You haven't seen a water-cooled engine without a water pump since 1927.

Whether this kit is worth it to you will depend on the performance you are getting from your refrigerator now. If you use your trailer in Arizona or Florida a lot, this may be just the ticket. I did the installation myself, and it was very simple and straightforward. If you still have the installation manual that came with your refrigerator and have some skill with mechanical things, you can do this installation.

I wish I had more conclusive data, but not yet.


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