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Old 05-27-2010, 03:17 PM   #1
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Solar Fridge Fan

I like gizzmos and I found a fan that operates on solor power in an RV catalog. The kit comes with a small solar panel that mounts on the roof or on top of the fridge vent and the fan is mounted in the back of the fridge so the fan helps circulate air thru the outside vents/access door and up thru the roof vent.
Since the solar panel only powers the small fan the wire goes direct from the panel to the small fan thru the vent.
I like the idea of extra cooling help for the fridge during the heat of the day and this thing seems to fit the bill and does not draw any juice from the batteries. At night it just shuts down and when the sun is out again it starts working. Perfect!
Anyone use one of these things? and what brand did you buy?
I'd like to know if it seemed to help the efficiency of the fridge?

I see I mispelled solar in the title, I can't change it now. The site won't let me.
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Old 05-24-2011, 03:40 PM   #2
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I am looking in to the refer fan thing as well have you come up with a plan?

Thanks
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Old 05-24-2011, 05:15 PM   #3
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This?
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Old 05-24-2011, 05:18 PM   #4
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Hi Indy,
I bought the Valterra brand solar fan. I don't remember the PN and I have not installed it yet. It is the one with the small solar panel about 6"x 3" that mounts on the fridge vent (on the roof) or near it and a small dia wire feeds down the vent to a small fan which will be mounted behind the fridge.
Eventually, I'll install it. To be honest, I forgot I had it.
Thanks for the reminder!
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Old 05-24-2011, 08:10 PM   #5
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I have installed many cooling fans on larger motor homes and a good bunch on Airstreams also. There used to be a kit by Stu Snyder, but I had heard that he was no longer making them.

My system is a combination of 1 up to 4 compute fans that help pull, not push the air thru the rear baffle of the fridge to aid in avoiding condenser overheating (much more efficient!); the prime cause of higher than normal temps in the fridge and freezer. The Valterra units are toys and the fans that I use have such a low amp draw that you can connect them right to the DC input to the fridge control board and never notice the draw on your batteries.

I'm considering making a kit with mounting brackets, wire, switch and fuses, but if you are handy it truly is a DIY project......provided that you use the right fans. These are also very quiet ball bearing units, unlike the bronze sleeve garbage that Airstream provides in the newer units.
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:05 PM   #6
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I bought a pair of Valterra fans: "Valterra A10-2618VP Fridge Vent Fan Universal Mount" from a local RV supplier and a 5w solar panel from Harbor Freight. The fan includes a thermal switch. I watched for when these parts were on sale.

I mounted the solar panel to the A/C cover with stainless screws/locknuts and rubber grommets. Then I removed the fridge chimney vent cover next to the A/C to mount the fans in the neck making sure they turned the right way before pop-riveting the cover back on and resealing the joints. The fans are in parallel. I attached the thermal switch with a spring clip to the hot pipe on the fridge boiler in series between the panel and fans and tied the wires down.

If the fridge is on and there is sunlight, even overcast, the fans are pulling hot air out. The stronger the sunlight, the harder the fans pull. Even with 100 degree days in Texas when the A/C is struggling to keep the trailer comfortable, the fridge remains in the mid-30s. I've got about $70 and a couple of hours one Saturday to put it together. Some might consider it overkill but I'm happy with the way it turned out.
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
I have installed many cooling fans on larger motor homes and a good bunch on Airstreams also. There used to be a kit by Stu Snyder, but I had heard that he was no longer making them.

My system is a combination of 1 up to 4 compute fans that help pull, not push the air thru the rear baffle of the fridge to aid in avoiding condenser overheating (much more efficient!); the prime cause of higher than normal temps in the fridge and freezer. The Valterra units are toys and the fans that I use have such a low amp draw that you can connect them right to the DC input to the fridge control board and never notice the draw on your batteries.

I'm considering making a kit with mounting brackets, wire, switch and fuses, but if you are handy it truly is a DIY project......provided that you use the right fans. These are also very quiet ball bearing units, unlike the bronze sleeve garbage that Airstream provides in the newer units.
Lewster,

Before I purchased the Valterra system I check several places and found no bad reviews on their product.

Are you saying that they don't work well enough to provide enough air movement behind the fridge? Or, do you just like to install heavy duty computer fan instead of the regular type that comes with the Valterra kit because of longvity reasons?
What type of solar would you use to run the fan? I'm not a fan of hooking it up directly. I like the use of solar when possible as long as it doesn't cost an arm and leg.
The Valterra fan and solar panel was not quite $40 dollars if I remember correctly, so it's rather inexpensive. I also like the idea that there are no switches and at night when there is no sun, it just turns itself off.
I just wanted it to run when the sun was heating up that side of the trailer and the fridge.
I have not installed this Valterra fridge fan yet.
I like to know now before I install it, if it's a viable solution to keep the fridge cooler or not.
Since you have the experience with fridge fans and solar I'd like to hear more.
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Old 05-25-2011, 12:12 AM   #8
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I installed the Valterra solar frig fan last year, and it works fine. Because I spend some time in Phoenix where the dry heat is hot, hot, hot, I also installed a 12 volt computer fan with a switch. I thought I might need it on extra hot days, but so far the solar fan does just fine.
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Old 05-25-2011, 01:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post

I'm considering making a kit with mounting brackets, wire, switch and fuses, but if you are handy it truly is a DIY project......provided that you use the right fans. These are also very quiet ball bearing units, unlike the bronze sleeve garbage that Airstream provides in the newer units.
Hey Lew,

Are you going to put together a kit? I would be interested. I have a 2006 16' Quiksilver. The fan is very noisy, and even when I do leave it on, the fridge does not stay cold when it's warm out. I need to do something.

Thanks,
Stan
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grand Master View Post
I installed the Valterra solar frig fan last year, and it works fine. Because I spend some time in Phoenix where the dry heat is hot, hot, hot, I also installed a 12 volt computer fan with a switch. I thought I might need it on extra hot days, but so far the solar fan does just fine.

Sounds great.
Thanks for commenting on this product. I feel better knowing it will work just fine to do the task at hand.
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
My system is a combination of 1 up to 4 compute fans
Sounds like a fun DIY project. Do you have any photos?
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spenfolder View Post
Hey Lew,

Are you going to put together a kit? I would be interested. I have a 2006 16' Quiksilver. The fan is very noisy, and even when I do leave it on, the fridge does not stay cold when it's warm out. I need to do something.

Thanks,
Stan
I have done several on friends' 16s. They were 2 fans secured to the top vent door. Almost silent and very effective

My problem with the Valterra kit is the quality of the components and the size of the fan. It might be OK for a DIY project, but not for professional installation.
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