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Old 08-09-2010, 04:47 PM   #1
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Thermostat for behind the fridge fan?

I have the usual problem of my refrigerator not getting cold enough this time of year. With ambient temps in the high 80's or low 90's the refer temp is around 50, though it will drop to the mid 30's (where I want it) overnight. Same story running on gas or electric and the fridge is a Dometic RM-100.

Our I.T. guy at work was throwing out some assorted parts the other day so I grabbed a 3.6" 12 volt DC cooling fan. I've heard of people rigging these by the condenser coils of their fridge or up at the top vent and improved performance on hot days so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Not wanting to pull out the fridge to install it, and considering that the fan is a little large, I placed it at the top of the outside access panel, tilted at about a 45 degree angle. See the photo below. It's held in place at the bottom with angle brackets and the fan's original rubber mounting studs, and anchored at the top with zip ties to keep it from flopping around on the road. The wire goes thru the wall and into my credenza where it is connected to a 12 volt plug. The credenza has a 12 volt outlet inside it, so just plug in and the fan runs.

Today's ambient temperature is 102. Inside the refrigerator its a nice cool 40 degrees. I'd like it a bit cooler, but I'm satisfied with the dramatic improvement.

I'd like to take this one step more by installing a thermostat of some kind, if I can get one cheap. Any suggestions?

Christopher
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Old 08-09-2010, 05:01 PM   #2
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I used a strap on thermo switch that closed at 110 degrees. Attach it to any metal surface up by the coils and when the temperature in the back side of the frig. reaches 110 the fan come on. Any AC supply house should have this type of switch.

I also wired a small light into the Airstream so I could see when the fan was on.

You have 12 volts on the input side of the frig control board to work with.
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Old 08-09-2010, 05:18 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by blickcd View Post
I have the usual problem of my refrigerator not getting cold enough this time of year. With ambient temps in the high 80's or low 90's the refer temp is around 50, though it will drop to the mid 30's (where I want it) overnight. Same story running on gas or electric and the fridge is a Dometic RM-100.

Our I.T. guy at work was throwing out some assorted parts the other day so I grabbed a 3.6" 12 volt DC cooling fan. I've heard of people rigging these by the condenser coils of their fridge or up at the top vent and improved performance on hot days so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Not wanting to pull out the fridge to install it, and considering that the fan is a little large, I placed it at the top of the outside access panel, tilted at about a 45 degree angle. See the photo below. It's held in place at the bottom with angle brackets and the fan's original rubber mounting studs, and anchored at the top with zip ties to keep it from flopping around on the road. The wire goes thru the wall and into my credenza where it is connected to a 12 volt plug. The credenza has a 12 volt outlet inside it, so just plug in and the fan runs.

Today's ambient temperature is 102. Inside the refrigerator its a nice cool 40 degrees. I'd like it a bit cooler, but I'm satisfied with the dramatic improvement.

I'd like to take this one step more by installing a thermostat of some kind, if I can get one cheap. Any suggestions?

Christopher
I bet if you cleaned the reefer burner correctly and made sure that the LPG pressure is about 12 inches of water column pressure, that you would not need the fan.

Reefer burners must be cleaned every couple of years, in order to function properly.

Some people install a solar powered fan. No switch required.

Andy
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:04 PM   #4
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I bet if you cleaned the reefer burner correctly and made sure that the LPG pressure is about 12 inches of water column pressure, that you would not need the fan.

Reefer burners must be cleaned every couple of years, in order to function properly.

Some people install a solar powered fan. No switch required.

Andy

How do you clean the burners? I'm in Kansas without an AS dealer... I don't know or (trust) anyone @ here.
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:43 PM   #5
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I picked up an adjustable furnace high voltage thermostat at the local wholesaler. I never tried it on low voltage. I think it went all the way down to 80 degrees. I used it on a stereo cabinet cooling system I built for my son a few years ago.
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:51 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies so far.

HowiE - The Dometic RM-100 has no 12 volt controls. All regulated by thermocouples.

Andy - I know all about the burner and gas pressure, having been thru those problems before. My current test with the fan is based on running the fridge running on electric.

Christopher
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:22 AM   #7
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How do you clean the burners? I'm in Kansas without an AS dealer... I don't know or (trust) anyone @ here.
Wonderful instructions with lotsa pictures are found at

rvmobile.com
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