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Old 06-04-2013, 06:18 AM   #1
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2013 20' Flying Cloud
Cream Ridge , New Jersey
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 124
refrigerator fan

Hello everyone, The Admiral and I took the "rolling jellybean" out this weekend for her maiden voyage and shakedown cruise to the A$ campground in South Jersey near Cape May. We have a 20' Flying Cloud. On the road it's the best thing going and it's pretty comfortable to stay in. The fridge is a four CF Dometic. It has a cooling fan installed at the top of the compartment obviously to compensate for a bad installation. ( treat the symptoms but don't cure the disease)The top of the fridge is above the top of the upper access door and creates a pocket that traps the heat from the coils. There is no natural flow for the heat to escape. The access door should have been installed higher or a shorter fridge installed. The fridge works OK from late evening through the night and into the morning without the fan but when it starts to heat up outside the box temp shoots up like the space shuttle unless you run the fan. With the fan on everything works fine. We were plugged in this weekend so it wasn't a big problem but we dry camp for three or four days at a time when we go to Bluegrass festivals. My question is, have any of you dry camped for any length of time with the fridge fan running without killing your batteries? We haven't tried it yet but I have a hard time believing that this is a good idea.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:58 AM   #2
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Venice/Nokomis , Florida
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Try this. Solar, no need for battery. Made all the difference in my cooling and energy use.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:37 AM   #3
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1957 22' Caravanner
1960 26' Overlander
1963 24' Tradewind
El Paso , Texas
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Originally Posted by airdreamers View Post
Try this. Solar, no need for battery. Made all the difference in my cooling and energy use.
Do you have any info on brand etc?
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:48 AM   #4
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2008 25' Classic
Wichita Falls , Texas
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Is there any type of curved baffle from the fridge to the top of the vent edge? Before my AS I had a Casita that had the 4cu/ft Dometic with the side vents but in the Casita the top of the fridge was just below the top of the upper vent. There was fiberglass sheet that was screwed in to deflect the hot air to the vent. Many of us removed the fiberglass baffle and behind it stuffed fiberglass insulation in the void between the top of the fridge and the inside cabinetry. Some would fabricate a aluminum baffle from the fridge to the upper lip of the top vent filling l the void above it with fiberglass insulation or gluing some to the back of the baffle. I decide to use Reflectix silver coated insulating material or radiant barrier. It comes in a small roll at any of the big home improvement stores. I used two sided tape and some of the silver aluminum tape to seal it between the top of the fridge and the vent lip. I had a fan in the fridge compartment and it was too noisy and didn't seem to help anyway so I never used it. There was a switch to turn it off.
Maybe you can rig up a Reflectex baffle in your AS. Post a photo of your upper fridge compartment.

RV fridges are a blessing as much as a PITA in hot weather. I've learned to keep beverages in an ice chest. Going in an out of a RV fridge when the interior temperatures are high just dumps all the cool air out fast. Then it takes hours to recover back to the 37 to 42 deg. Having the interior cool helps a lot but when towing the inside can get pretty hot during the summer. I find RV fridges don't perform as well in humidity either.

You could replace your one big fridge fan with a couple of quiet low amp fans. That might help the battery drainage and noise compared to the AS fan.

While boondocking a solar panel is essential. There are a number of portable panels available. Here is one a lot of Casita owners purchased

90 watt folding portable RV solar system - Economy Series | Off The Grid RV Solar StoreOff The Grid RV Solar Store

Keep us informed of your progress

Kelvin
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Old 06-04-2013, 12:20 PM   #5
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2013 20' Flying Cloud
Cream Ridge , New Jersey
Join Date: Mar 2013
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I have used the baffle plate on several installations that I have done over the years but I have always positioned the top of the upper access door six to eight inches above the top of the fins and started the lower edge of the baffle plate two or three inches inward from the fins along the top of the box causing a natural flow of air upward to cool the fins. This system has always worked perfectly with no need for a fan. A$ in it's infinite wisdom has seen fit to install the top of the fridge higher than the top edge of the upper access door causing a hot air trap that can only be compensated for by the use of a fan. There's no room for a baffle without installing a shorter fridge. That may be my only option to getting rid of the fan or possibly looking into solar to power a cooling fan but I don't want to go there just yet if I can come up with an alternative.
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:41 AM   #6
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2013 20' Flying Cloud
Cream Ridge , New Jersey
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I just spoke to CS at Dometic and found out that the cooling fan draws about .5 amps DC. There is also a frame heater on the fridge that draws another .5 amps DC. Add that to the 1 amp that the battery disconnect solenoid draws while the batteries are connected and you have two amps of DC draw not to mention the radio memory and the propane gas detector. I checked into a smaller fridge and the RM 2351 is about 6+ inches shorter than the RM2451 that's in there now. That should leave plenty of space at the top for a baffle to direct the hot air out the louvers. It also gives you one cubic foot less of refrigerator capacity. Not sure I like that but that one will be up to the Admiral. The roof of the 20' FC will hold two solar panels totaling 160 watts. I haven't done the math but I'm sure that will more than cover the amp draw. Decisions, decisions!!!!!
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:38 AM   #7
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2013 20' Flying Cloud
Cream Ridge , New Jersey
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Well, we went back to the dealer to look at the RM2351. It would work in the space but it would be too small for us. There's quite a difference from the RM2451. We decided to go with 160 watts of solar panels and just deal with the fan. We're taking it next week for the install. We're going to a Bluegrass festival in early July so that will be the acid test for the new system as there will be no hookups. Hope it all works.
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:12 AM   #8
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2011 23' Flying Cloud
Durango , Colorado
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Joe,
Similar setup on our 2011 FC23FB, and we just let the fridge fan run. Agree that it is a clumsy design, but it hasn't risen from the bottom of my upgrade list. With 2 x 85 watt solar panels and two AGM batteries, the 0.5 amp draw hasn't been an issue. The noise of the fan is actually more annoying. Monitor your batteries and you will get a feel for your energy usage when unplugged. A nice solar installation makes our unplugged camping much more enjoyable.
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Old 06-17-2013, 06:23 AM   #9
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2013 20' Flying Cloud
Cream Ridge , New Jersey
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Solar is good. We used solar panels on our previous white box but only 45 watts and not a permanent installation. It worked well if you monitored your electrical use. I was hoping to avoid poking holes in the roof by installing panels but there appears to be no way around it. I'm sure it will be fine as long as the install is done properly and I know I will enjoy not having to add up the amps whenever I turn something on. 160 watts should suffice to deal with the continuous electrical load that A$ built into this trailer. I am going to keep the wet cell batteries for now as they are brand new and all my other battery needs are up to date. I will probably switch to AGM batteries when these die. Thanks to all for your input. I will update after the trial run.
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:38 AM   #10
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2013 20' Flying Cloud
Cream Ridge , New Jersey
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Well, the new solar system has been installed and we just returned from five days of hobo camping at a Bluegrass festival. The solar panels kept up with the electrical load just fine. I turned the refrigerator fan off at night and left it run all day. The batteries were fully charged every day by 11:00 AM even on overcast days. The heat got unbearable by the fourth day so I cranked up the generator to run the air conditioner for a few hours. The solar system was an expensive option but well worth the money in the long run.
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