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Old 03-17-2014, 08:47 PM   #1
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Residential Refrigerator Replacement

Ughh! My fridge just died and the repair will be about $1000 dollars which seems expensive until you realize that a new one is about $1700 and it provides no new technology or additional capacity. So, I am toying with the idea of buying a small residential for less than $500. There are a few options available that will fit perfect in the space while increasing the cubic ft capacity from 7 - 10, plus with the option of an ice maker (I really miss ice). Is this a terrible idea? I am not an airstream purist and I have upgraded many things in my airstream, so keeping it original is not a consideration for me. But I also want to continue to have it be streamable. On another non-airstream forum, a user who replaced her norcold with a residential reported that after 18 months she can boondock overnight with no problem and while traveling, it runs just fine over the inverter. Is this feasible?

For reference the dead fridge is a: Dometic 2820
and I am looking at:
Danby Model # DFF282WDB
Danby 10 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator in White, Counter Depth-DFF282WDB at The Home Depot
&
Whirlpool Model # WRT111SFAF
Whirlpool 10.7 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator in Monochromatic Satina Steel-WRT111SFAF at The Home Depot
&
Summit Model # FF1062W
Summit Appliance 9.41 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator in White-FF1062W at The Home Depot

Any other streamers tried this yet?
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:44 PM   #2
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Remember, new solutions have new problems. You can replace the rv fridge with a residential unit and it will be cheaper, but.....

1. It probably will not fit the space properly. Will this bother you?

2. How will you secure it for traveling? The fridge needs to be secured to the floor and/or adjacent cabinets and the door needs to be secured while traveling.

3. The resale value of the Airstream will be lowered.

4. How will you boondock more than one night without running a generator.

I would probably keep the rv fridge and install a new or rebuilt cooling unit. Take a look at the following link:

RV Cooling Unit Warehouse phone: 901-337-9948

They show an RM2820 Dometic cooling unit (brand new) for $655. You may be able to get a rebuilt unit for much less.

Rv cooling is in Memphis. Aage also know about a Canadian Supplier.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:46 PM   #3
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None of the three you list is energy star rated, which means they are small, but not efficient. None of the three have an ice maker or an option for one (you stated you want an ice maker).

Many of the small refrigerators that would fit in the space you have use the sides and top of the unit as heat dissipation surfaces and thus cannot be put in the tight space in an RV, they have to be free standing. You need a unit with coils on the back, that is how you can see if they might be usable for your needs.

Most of the small units take in the range of 1000 watt hours per day or a bit more. Your battery(s) probably don't have that capacity, that is 24 hours will kill the battery(s) with no other use.

An electric refrigerator is an option, but only a special one, designed for very low energy consumption, and 12 volt operation will be practical for anything but very limited off grid use at all. Those usually use a Danfoss compressor, and are about as expensive as a propane refrigerator. In addition to that, usually you need to upgrade your battery capacity.

Have people done it, yes. Have they just walked into Home Depot and found a cheap residential refrigerator which would do the job? Probably not. Yes, inverter operation for short periods of time is possible but don't expect it will last very long on battery power.
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:52 PM   #4
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Residential Refrigerator Replacement

I am running a domestic refrigerator over my 5 000 watt inverter, it works great IMO.

It will run for a couple of days on my two batteries when idle, and when traveling, the tow vehicle will keep the batteries up and the refrigerator running and cold all the time.

Securing the unit was accomplished simply by bracketing the back against the wall.

The unit I bought at Lowes for $380 is 60" tall by 24" wide by about 25" deep.

It does have coils on the back.
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:00 PM   #5
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J. Morgan,
What is the brand and fridge model you are using?
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:10 PM   #6
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I bought a Haier 10.3 cuft. Off the floor at Lowe's.

I tried to copy a link but can't seem to from my Mobil device.

I looked for an American made unit this size, but there are none. Pity.
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:18 PM   #7
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I should point out that while I had the refrigerator in the trailer it wasn't very hot, it will probably consume more electricity when hot in the cabin. But I expect my tv will keep the refrigerator working and the batts charged.

I am quite pleased with this little fridge so far.
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Old 03-18-2014, 06:23 AM   #8
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My Airstream Interstate uses a Nova Kool RV refrigerator that is dual-mode 12vDC or 120vAC. Mine is a dinky 3.1 cubic feet, but they make models up to 9.1 cubic feet. Nova Kool, refrigerators, freezers, Marine, RV, Truck

If you get one, consider this handy trick: hook up the 12v connection only— unless you expect to be on shore power often. Mine defaults to 120vAC whenever a source of 120v is available, including the inverter. But in 12vDC mode, you're not having to run the inverter to run the fridge, so there is an energy savings right there. And since it will run in 12vDC mode just as efficiently, why would you really need 120v mode to begin with?
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:00 AM   #9
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I'd bite the bullet and get a new RV style fridge. Running on propane is so convenient as well as not having battery anxiety.

It's all the rage in the SOB circles to have these ginormous residential type refrigerators. And then they have to have a giant inverter, 6-8 batteries, and auto-start for their generator if the batteries get low, etc, etc. I mean honestly, how much food to people need to carry around with them??

I do have a couple of chest style refers that run on 12v. They generally have low consumption - around 2 amps, and spend alot of time completely off. You still need to have 2 big batteries so you can do a road trip between plug ins. You'll need to carry a generator or solar panels for more than a couple days off-grid (those ain't free by the way).

So after you swallow hard, the $1700 may be the cheapest solution in the end.
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Old 03-18-2014, 12:46 PM   #10
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Residential Refrigerator Replacement

Ok this thread got me wondering, so I ran a few tests.

The first picture is the amp draw of the refrigerator running, and only the refrigerator running. It looks like the unit plus the inverter draw about 8 amps DC 12V.

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The second picture is the fridge, inverter, and every light turned on. It looks like my lights draw about 7 amps,

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The third picture is the same as above plus my furnace. This draw brings the total to about 20 amps.

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I have two batteries on my trailer that will provide 100 amp hours each at this draw.

So, if my math is correct, these two batteries will provide about 24 hours of service for the refrigerator if it ran all the time, which of course it won't come close to running this much, although the defrost feature will consume some additional energy.

In either case, the battery from my tow vehicle also adds run time when it is hooked up, and my vehicles alternator will easily supply all of the power my trailer will consume so long as I don't try to run a space heater or the air conditioner.

On that note, I do know that the two batteries will run my air conditioner for about 25 minutes on a full charge...
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:16 PM   #11
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Residential Refrigerator Replacement

Thanks everyone for your input! I appreciate getting different viewpoints.

idroba brought up some really good points, noticing that the three fridges I had in mind are not listed as Energy Star rated, which really took the wind out of my sails. The whirlpool does have the ice maker option for an addtl $99.

But, fortunately I came across another user's thread at

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f425...ge-110178.html

adonh installed the Avanti 110v in his stream and it looks sharp. I found a similar one for $327 and it is energy star rated. The size is perfect where we can just slide it right into the existing cabinet without any mod required. At this price I feel comfortable trying it out. I can always go back to the dometic rv fridge if it doesn't work out.

J. Morgan I really like the Haier model you got. But I decided to go with the Avanti because of its smaller size. Thanks so much for the amp draw data. I will share it with my husband the electrician.

And TouringDan I found your thread on the honeycomb blinds. They look awesome. This is on my list of upgrades.
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:05 PM   #12
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I think that the Dan Foss compressor is a 12V unit and there is a convertor inside the fridge to reduce the 120V to 12V. The 120V option is probably there to reduce the draw on the 12V equipment including keeping the batteries charged. But that is only a guess. I have the large Tundra unit in my Liner.

Bill

Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
My Airstream Interstate uses a Nova Kool RV refrigerator that is dual-mode 12vDC or 120vAC. Mine is a dinky 3.1 cubic feet, but they make models up to 9.1 cubic feet. Nova Kool, refrigerators, freezers, Marine, RV, Truck

If you get one, consider this handy trick: hook up the 12v connection only— unless you expect to be on shore power often. Mine defaults to 120vAC whenever a source of 120v is available, including the inverter. But in 12vDC mode, you're not having to run the inverter to run the fridge, so there is an energy savings right there. And since it will run in 12vDC mode just as efficiently, why would you really need 120v mode to begin with?
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Morgan View Post
I bought a Haier 10.3 cuft. Off the floor at Lowe's.

I tried to copy a link but can't seem to from my Mobil device.

I looked for an American made unit this size, but there are none. Pity.
I'm interested in finding a unit to fit where my Dometic is. Does that Haier unit fit under the shelf? In my Overlander, the height of the dometic is 56" tall, and most of these 10 cu ft units are 59". Also, how well does it cool when the weather is on the warm side, say 90's outside? Do you have it set up with any sort of assisted ventilation like a small fan to boost circulation?
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:34 PM   #14
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This unit is too tall for the hole your fridge came out of, it is a full 59" tall.

The fridge I bought cools great with cabin temps up to about 90 , but I can only suppose it will work at higher temps well as I haven't seen any hot weather since the install.

To me it is about like a 2/3 size house unit with a full length condenser on the back, I imagine it will do just fine.
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