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Bborzell 07-17-2017 09:38 AM

Simple Survey on Fridge Performance While on Propane
 
Several of us have reported that the Basecamp fridge will not cool to a food safe level while on propane (which is the only option while driving).

There have been references to inadequate air space in the cabinet that houses the fridge resulting in elevated cabinet temperature from the propane burner.

Since many, if not most of us, would precool with shore power prior to departure and switch (either by employing the "Auto" button or manually) to propane while towing, it is possible that, if the fridge loses sufficient cooling while on propane and we simply plug into shore power when we reach our first destination, that we would be unaware if the fridge temp has risen to an unsafe food safety level.

If this scenerio is reflective of what goes on given the current design for ventilation, then it would not be surprising that Airstream reported to me last week that they have heard of only a few instances of failure to cool while on propane.

While we have several reports of failure to maintain a food safety cooling level under propane operation, I have yet to see a report of anyone whose Basecamp actually cools adequately while on propane.

If yours does cool to an adequate food safe level while on propane, it would be helpful to know the conditions under which your fridge is operating when it cools appropriately under propane (did you precool on shore power, did the trailer sit in high outside temperature, were you boon docking and under propane for an extended period of time?)

I think that it is important to get all sides of folk's experiences with this issue. Remember that, if you don't check your box temp while on propane and simply plug in again upon arrival, you may never know what box temp was maintained while on propane.

Thanks in advance.

MrKenmore 07-17-2017 10:10 AM

Let's also include if you had the leaky fridge technical service bulletin repair work done at the dealer. I say this as it another possibility of handling the fridge and vents where it could have gotten messed up or airflow obstructed. For me, leaky fridge work done at the dealer prior to pick up. LP mode on fridge does NOT work. Last check I was at 68 degrees on LP 24 hours following being connected to shore paper. Prior to flipping to LP mode, I was 28 degrees. Thermometer (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1) is hanging from top wire rack centered left to right.

Gail Miller 07-17-2017 12:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bborzell (Post 1979044)
Several of us have reported that the Basecamp fridge will not cool to a food safe level while on propane (which is the only option while driving).

There have been references to inadequate air space in the cabinet that houses the fridge resulting in elevated cabinet temperature from the propane burner.

Since many, if not most of us, would precool with shore power prior to departure and switch (either by employing the "Auto" button or manually) to propane while towing, it is possible that, if the fridge loses sufficient cooling while on propane and we simply plug into shore power when we reach our first destination, that we would be unaware if the fridge temp has risen to an unsafe food safety level.

If this scenerio is reflective of what goes on given the current design for ventilation, then it would not be surprising that Airstream reported to me last week that they have heard of only a few instances of failure to cool while on propane.

While we have several reports of failure to maintain a food safety cooling level under propane operation, I have yet to see a report of anyone whose Basecamp actually cools adequately while on propane.

If yours does cool to an adequate food safe level while on propane, it would be helpful to know the conditions under which your fridge is operating when it cools appropriately under propane (did you precool on shore power, did the trailer sit in high outside temperature, were you boon docking and under propane for an extended period of time?)

I think that it is important to get all sides of folk's experiences with this issue. Remember that, if you don't check your box temp while on propane and simply plug in again upon arrival, you may never know what box temp was maintained while on propane.

Thanks in advance.

I called Airstream this morning to 'officially' report the lack of refrigerator cooling on either propane or shore power in my Basecamp. Gretchen, in warranty, said she has had some reports on this. She is ordering the 'fan' kit and shipping it to my dealer for installation. When I've called about issues before, I've been told that they haven't heard this complaint, so I wanted to 'officially' have it reported. Mine would only get down to 68-69 degrees on either propane or shore power. Freezer would get down to 10 degrees and I believe it needs to be 0 degrees.

Bborzell 07-17-2017 02:01 PM

Mine is in getting the fan/insulation fix. I'm planning to pick it up tomorrow.

MrKenmore 07-17-2017 02:26 PM

See if they can take some pics. I am curious as to the post repair temps!!!

Bborzell 07-17-2017 04:03 PM

just got a call from the dealer. 3 fans and it's been sitting in the sun on propane for two days. temp is in the 30s.

leaving to pick it up. 200 mile round trip.

ventport 07-17-2017 04:28 PM

So it must be an air flow problem if 3 fans fix it.

Goingcamping 07-17-2017 05:03 PM

More detail on fan kit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bborzell (Post 1979250)
just got a call from the dealer. 3 fans and it's been sitting in the sun on propane for two days. temp is in the 30s.

leaving to pick it up. 200 mile round trip.

Can you tell me specifics on the fan kit? Item number or some reference? And 3 fans came with it or did they add to what was already installed? Many thanks!

Bborzell 07-17-2017 09:48 PM

it didn't fix the problem
 
Just got back from my second 200 mile round trip on the fridge problem; this is not the fix I had hoped it would be. In fact, it is not a fix at all.

First off, the dealer has bent over backwards to get me to the front of the line (given our upcoming 5,500 mile trip). I have no complaints about Bay Area Airstream.

They installed two fans according to Airstream's direction in order to complement the original fan. One new fan serves the lower vent to draw in outside air, the original fan draws air over/through the coils and the other new fan exhausts heated air out the upper vent (and directly into the back of the propane tank cover; more on that later).

The dealer called me after the fridge had been operating on propane for two days in their parking lot and with 95-100 degree heat and was registering mid 30s in the main box. The dealer was excited as was I. By the time I arrived to pick it up, the box had gone up to 56 degrees. There were long faces all around.

The technician had not installed insulation around the box as he believed that the issue was not a loss of cooling in the box but rather an inability to move heated air out of the enclosure. Given the initial results, it would appear that his presumption made sense.

However, something happened between the phone call and my arrival that had underscored, in my mind, that there is an inherent design flaw with respect to the matching of this particular fridge, the limited air space in the enclosure and the passive venting system. That design issue is apparently serious enough to render the triple fan fix ineffective.

Complicating the dynamic is the proximity of the front propane cover to the intake and exhaust vents. I don't see how <1" between the cover and the screens can allow air transfer sufficient to cool the unit while operating with propane. It is possible that operating on shore power also creates heat that could overcome both the original passive venting system as well as the adding two more fans approach. I know that the fridge originally cooled to near zero in the freezer and 34 in the main box the first time I plugged it in, but it also cooled appropriately with the fan fix for a short time.

I plugged in as soon as I got home and will monitor both box temps for the next 24 hours. I also left the propane engaged to operate the fridge on the 100 mile drive home thinking that, perhaps driving might create additional draw out the exhaust vent. But, the box temp had risen 4 degrees by the time I got home.

My service manager is contacting the national Airstream service manager so that we can discuss options. We will be within 150 or so miles from Airstream in Ohio during the second leg of our trip.

In the meantime, it looks like we will need to carry our Pelican ice chest on our trip in order to reliably keep our food safe. To say we are disappointed with this turn of events does not seem adequate.

I should add that the three fans are very loud. Even if they allowed food safe cooling, they would keep us awake on hot nights.

Troutboy 07-17-2017 10:21 PM

Sorry to hear this. I don't think AS knows what they are doing with airflow. They would be better off putting all three fans in the exit vent and sealing it off.

I can't even imagine the noise those three cheap fans would make in the Basecamp. If they searched these forums they could come up with a better design.

Bborzell 07-18-2017 12:54 AM

Just went out (10:30 pm) and checked the fridge. It has been on shore power since 7:00 pm or 3.5 hours.

Outside temp is 72. Freezer is 5 degrees and the box is 46 or about what I would expect for this amount of time on 120 V AC. The counter top above the fridge has cooled quite noticeably. Lends additional credence to the notion that the propane pilot is the culprit.

The fans are very, very loud.

I'll report back in the morning. Also about 2-3 pm tomorrow when it should be around 90 degrees outside.

OTRA15 07-18-2017 02:27 AM

Thank you for the detailed report.

Loud fans . . . say no more about AS QC . . .

:angry::wally::angry:


Quote:

Originally Posted by Bborzell (Post 1979424)
Just got back from my second 200 mile round trip on the fridge problem; this is not the fix I had hoped it would be. In fact, it is not a fix at all.
. . .
I should add that the three fans are very loud.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bborzell (Post 1979500)
. . .
The fans are very, very loud.
. . .


overlander63 07-18-2017 06:34 AM

We've noticed something on two of the Basecamps we have been working on the fridges, and I'd like to ask for others that have the time, ability, and equipment for an assist:
Could you measure these temps: Ambient, countertop, fridge compartment and freezer compartment? Record those figures, then remove the tank cover, and take the same measurements, and report them back here. I've noticed something, but would like a larger group of test findings before submitting them to Airstream, and a possible fix.
Thanks for your help.

InterBlog 07-18-2017 07:36 AM

We don't have a Basecamp, but FWIW, we had two refrigerators that appear structurally identical to that which appears in Basecamp photographs and videos on the internet. Ours were both called Dometic 2351 although I think Dometic may have updated the model number to something new when they made cosmetic updates to the face of it.

IMO, these are just poor fridge designs. When our first one began failing, we figured it was due to the age of our vehicle (8 years) and we had bought our rig used, so we didn't know the history of how the fridge had been treated. We tried replacing a couple of components (blog post), but that didn't resolve the issue.

So we replaced the whole fridge with a new Dometic 3-way of the same model number (blog post). We initially assumed that this would solve our problems, but this second one only lasted 20 months before the fridge temperature began bottoming out in an unacceptable range (44 F to 55 F on either propane or shore power). When I called Dometic a couple of weeks ago, they told me that they would supply both parts AND labor charges under warranty for the repair - my paperwork said that only parts would be covered at 20 months, and I wondered if Dometic was perhaps trying to save its customer base in the face of multiple claims, by sweetening the deal via the addition of labor to the warranty. I then called authorized local service centers which told me that the repair wait time was anywhere from 5 to 10 weeks.

My husand and I ended up concluding that trying to keep a small Dometic 3-way functioning was just too much overhead - too much time, too much hassle, too much disruption to our lives and to our travel plans. We swapped out the second Dometic for a Vitrifrigo 2-way (blog post; we have lithium batteries so we can support its power needs).

So if I were you guys, I'd be asking the question... is the primary problem the Basecamp's design, or is the primary problem the design of the fridge itself? If it's the latter, you will be limited in what you are able to do about it.

Good luck to you all - I know what kind of a supreme aggravation and time sink these issues are. Not to mention the impact it can have on a person's wallet.

MrKenmore 07-18-2017 08:08 AM

Thanks for the input Interblog. I was wondering if a AC/DC Novakool along with a second battery is a better fridge solution. I don't have experience with a fridge running on DC but I know my LP fridge isn't working right!!!

Bborzell 07-18-2017 08:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by overlander63 (Post 1979537)
We've noticed something on two of the Basecamps we have been working on the fridges, and I'd like to ask for others that have the time, ability, and equipment for an assist:
Could you measure these temps: Ambient, countertop, fridge compartment and freezer compartment? Record those figures, then remove the tank cover, and take the same measurements, and report them back here. I've noticed something, but would like a larger group of test findings before submitting them to Airstream, and a possible fix.
Thanks for your help.

Are you interested primarily in hearing from folks who have not added fans and or insulation? Also,are you are looking for data from propane operation?

Bborzell 07-18-2017 08:52 AM

Went out this morning after 11 hours on shore power. Here are the readings:

Outside Temp: 72 degrees

Freezer: -8.5 degrees

Box: 26.8 degrees

Countertop: Cool to the touch.

Fans are still running and still very loud.

I was under the impression that the fan(s) ran only when needed. Maybe they will shut off next winter.

Despite the addition of the fans to the mix, it appears clear that my fridge operates within expectations while on shore power, but fails while on propane. The fact that I currently have good cooling and no elevated countertop temperature on 120V, but inadequate cooling and a very warm countertop while on propane suggests to me that this is exclusively a propane operation issue.

I considered removing the propane tank cover in order to see if that had any effect on cooling. But, given the current performance on shore power, I doubt that removing the cover would have the effect of additional cooling as the fridge/freezer temps are currently about as low as anyone might expect to see from this unit.

I am considering switching to propane as the outside temp warms up. In addition to checking on propane operation, I'd like to get some data on how long the freezer and box can maintain the current 120V temps even if running on propane fails to maintain the current acceptable temp levels.

The obvious problem with this experiment is the fact that the trailer will be sitting as opposed to traveling at highway speeds. But, considering that highway airflow should help cooling, at least I might be able to predict how much driving time I can get in before food begins to lose a food safe temperature.

RandyNH 07-18-2017 08:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MrKenmore (Post 1979569)
Thanks for the input Interblog. I was wondering if a AC/DC Novakool along with a second battery is a better fridge solution. I don't have experience with a fridge running on DC but I know my LP fridge isn't working right!!!

So long as your power can support it, a DC compressor fridge is the best way to go IMHO, I pulled out the Dometic 3 way and put in a NovaKool, The inside temp is a steady 34 and 10 and had only fluctuated 2-3 degrees from that, with outside temps in mid 90s and high humidity.

One other benefit is that I also closed off the external vents and installed 5 layers of foil insulation on the back wall, keeping external air and temps outside, all needed ventilation airflow is inside, front floor level intake and top level exhaust, this way the coolest air inside is drawn across the heat exchanger on the back, two ultra quiet low power DC fans turn on whenever the compressor runs. This model draws 4.3A whenever it runs and uses 23AH hours overnight before the sun gets to work recharging the system.

The "heat" generated by the all inside setup is virtually none, the difference is 3°-5° as measured.

Gail Miller 07-18-2017 09:15 AM

Could not sleep last night, so at 12:30 a.m. I got out my Dometic installation booklet on the refrigerator and read it all. On page 7: Ventilation Requirements: 4th bullet point: Any obstruction of either of the vent openings is not permissible, e.g. roof rafters, roofing materials, etc. Continued on page 8: The flow of combustion and ventilating air must not be obstructed, e.g. by an open RV door. (This I assume relates to 'side' venting'). Do no install an awning too close to the upper side vent. Allow a distance of approx. 6-12". Recess Depth: Spaces of more than 1", see FIG. 6 (page 8), from rear wall to the refrigerator may create performance problems. Fresh air will not pass through the cooling unit which will reduce the efficiency. It is important to check the recess depth and add BAFFLES to increase the movement of air across the coil. (I wonder if any of our refrigerators have baffles??) On page 9: Choosing Type Of Vent Application: UPPER AND LOWER SIDE VENT APPLICATION. Choose this type of installation when a roof vent installation is not possible. BAFFLE should be added. The refrigerator MUST be equipped with fan(s).

Instead of a cold box, I think we have a hot box, closed up in a cabinet where it can't get any air flow to cool down. I am assuming that we all have at least one factory installed fan?? More on page 11 on the upper and lower SIDE vent application, talking about adding the box baffle at the back. "If required, install a box baffle above the lower access vent extending within 1/2" lower than the condenser fins". On page 14: Model RM2351, our model: Verify that there is a complete seal between the front frame of the refrigerator and the top, sides and bottom enclosure. A length of sealing strip is applied to the rear surface of the front frame for this purpose. The sealing strip should provide a complete isolation of the appliance's combustion system from the vehicle interior. (In all bold letters, I'll capitalize instead): BE CAREFUL NOT TO DAMAGE THE SEALING STRIP WHEN A REFRIGERATOR IS PUT IN PLACE! Do NOT remove the factory installed sealing strip at top rear corner of cabinet. It is NOT part of the shipping package and must be left intact.

MrKenmore 07-18-2017 10:08 AM

I am wondering if the fridge vents being in the front of the BC prevents any exhaust from taking place while moving. Imagine if you needed to rely on you TV radiator to have air pass back to front via a fan. Impossible!

Gail-Thanks for all your great research!

Joe Wezensky 07-18-2017 12:59 PM

Refrigerator problem
 
Prior to taking my BC to the dealer for installation of anti-sway device, we were on shore power and the lower portion of the ref never got below 52 Deg. When I got back home the ref temp was up to 84 Deg. I guess propane is not working.

Bborzell 07-18-2017 03:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe Wezensky (Post 1979700)
Prior to taking my BC to the dealer for installation of anti-sway device, we were on shore power and the lower portion of the ref never got below 52 Deg. When I got back home the ref temp was up to 84 Deg. I guess propane is not working.

I'm beginning to question my original thought about this issue being primarily a propane matter.

I switched to shore power at 7 pm last night. By 10:30 pm the freezer was 3 degrees and the box was 46 an improvement of 10 degrees of cooling since I switched from propane to AC at 7 pm certainly a move in the right direction.

By 7 am, the freezer was -8.5 (yes, minus) and the box was 26.8, but the outside temp was only 72.

I immediately switched back to propane because I wanted to approximate how much driving time I could get on propane before the box moved into unsafe food land.

By noon, the freezer was 2.8 and the box was 34.1. Clearly both the freezer and the box were warming up. But, maybe the warming would be happening whether on 120V or propane.

Since I had a sense that 6 or 7 hours was about tops for even a fridge that had been cooled to max and then shut off, I decided to go back to 120V and see if there was better cooling to be had during the heat of the day.

Stay tuned...

overlander63 07-18-2017 04:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bborzell (Post 1979585)
Are you interested primarily in hearing from folks who have not added fans and or insulation? Also,are you are looking for data from propane operation?

All versions, so we can see what makes the most improvement. On the two we've done, temps dropped by 10 degrees when the cover was removed. I want to see if it's repeatable before offering a fix.

Gail Miller 07-18-2017 05:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RandyNH (Post 1979594)
So long as your power can support it, a DC compressor fridge is the best way to go IMHO, I pulled out the Dometic 3 way and put in a NovaKool, The inside temp is a steady 34 and 10 and had only fluctuated 2-3 degrees from that, with outside temps in mid 90s and high humidity.

One other benefit is that I also closed off the external vents and installed 5 layers of foil insulation on the back wall, keeping external air and temps outside, all needed ventilation airflow is inside, front floor level intake and top level exhaust, this way the coolest air inside is drawn across the heat exchanger on the back, two ultra quiet low power DC fans turn on whenever the compressor runs. This model draws 4.3A whenever it runs and uses 23AH hours overnight before the sun gets to work recharging the system.

The "heat" generated by the all inside setup is virtually none, the difference is 3°-5° as measured.

Randy, what model # NovaKool did you get? I noticed in my Dometic installation manual some Dometics have temperature settings, the RM2351, which we have in our Basecamps is 'set at the factory' .... possibly a factory in Antarctica :-)

Xrad13 07-18-2017 05:22 PM

Thermistor adjustment
 
Perhaps I missed something, but I did not see mention of thermistor adjustment. Has everyone pushed the thermistor upwards to increase cooling?

Here is a video link if I'm not being clear.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6ZYmTanteQ

overlander63 07-18-2017 07:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Xrad13 (Post 1979870)
Perhaps I missed something, but I did not see mention of thermistor adjustment. Has everyone pushed the thermistor upwards to increase cooling?

Here is a video link if I'm not being clear.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6ZYmTanteQ

The problem seems to be a lack of ventilation causing poor cooling, not an adjstment.

Gail Miller 07-18-2017 07:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Xrad13 (Post 1979870)
Perhaps I missed something, but I did not see mention of thermistor adjustment. Has everyone pushed the thermistor upwards to increase cooling?

Here is a video link if I'm not being clear.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6ZYmTanteQ

Yep, I tried it ... in several different positions. I even tried it on a different fin. Made no difference!!!! I can't remember now where I saw something about it.

RandyNH 07-18-2017 07:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gail Miller (Post 1979860)
Randy, what model # NovaKool did you get? I noticed in my Dometic installation manual some Dometics have temperature settings, the RM2351, which we have in our Basecamps is 'set at the factory' .... possibly a factory in Antarctica :-)

Gail, I removed a Dometic 2454 and replaced with a NovaKool 5810. The Dometic had a button on the front with 5 setting levels, the NovaKool has a knob inside from 0 to 7 (0 actual turns it off completely) the temps mentioned are at 4.25

These are slightly larger than the Basecamp model, but still the single box system with the little freezer section above, I believe the amp draw in your size unit is half of mine

Your comparable NovaKool would be an R4500 which is a 4.3 cu.ft.

Gail Miller 07-18-2017 08:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RandyNH (Post 1979943)
Gail, I removed a Dometic 2454 and replaced with a NovaKool 5810. The Dometic had a button on the front with 5 setting levels, the NovaKool has a knob inside from 0 to 7 (0 actual turns it off completely) the temps mentioned are at 4.25

These are slightly larger than the Basecamp model, but still the single box system with the little freezer section above, I believe the amp draw in your size unit is half of mine

Your comparable NovaKool would be an R4500 which is a 4.3 cu.ft.

Thank you!

Bborzell 07-19-2017 12:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Xrad13 (Post 1979870)
Perhaps I missed something, but I did not see mention of thermistor adjustment. Has everyone pushed the thermistor upwards to increase cooling?

Here is a video link if I'm not being clear.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6ZYmTanteQ

A thermister adjustment was a part of the dealer fan install. Didn't help.

InterBlog 07-19-2017 07:06 AM

Forgive me if I missed this, someone else may have posted it, but here (PDF link) is the link to the Dometic Diagnostic Service Manual for these fridges.

Among other things, it gives information on how to test the function by basically running it wide open (bypassing the thermostat for continuous operation).

There is an ominous statement on page 24: "A refer (sic) that chases (sic) the out-side temperature is improperly vented or has a weak cooling unit."

We knew that our venting was the best that could be achieved, so the default conclusion is that its cooling unit was "weak". The term was not described in the manual, nor was there any explanation of how a cooling unit might become "weak", nor were there any suggestions on how to fix "weak". Given that the cooling units are integrated and have no moving parts, presumably the only option is wholesale replacement.

One of the other posters in the thread above above appeared to have a chaser - a fridge that followed ambient temperature - which is why I mention that.

Also, this other recent thread called Two-Way Refrigerator throws out some other information that y'all might find interesting as you continue your investigations. It deals with Airstream Interstates, but Interstates take the same sized fridge as Base Camps, whether it's Dometic or some other brand. One of the interesting claims to fall out of that thread is that Norcold refrigerators are currently failing at a rate of 80%, according to one distributor who was quoted. So, if any of you ultimately decide to ditch the Dometic, do your homework on replacement options.

Bborzell 07-19-2017 09:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by InterBlog (Post 1980079)
Forgive me if I missed this, someone else may have posted it, but here (PDF link) is the link to the Dometic Diagnostic Service Manual for these fridges.

Among other things, it gives information on how to test the function by basically running it wide open (bypassing the thermostat for continuous operation).

There is an ominous statement on page 24: "A refer (sic) that chases (sic) the out-side temperature is improperly vented or has a weak cooling unit."

We knew that our venting was the best that could be achieved, so the default conclusion is that its cooling unit was "weak". The term was not described in the manual, nor was there any explanation of how a cooling unit might become "weak", nor were there any suggestions on how to fix "weak". Given that the cooling units are integrated and have no moving parts, presumably the only option is wholesale replacement.

One of the other posters in the thread above above appeared to have a chaser - a fridge that followed ambient temperature - which is why I mention that.

Also, this other recent thread called Two-Way Refrigerator throws out some other information that y'all might find interesting as you continue your investigations. It deals with Airstream Interstates, but Interstates take the same sized fridge as Base Camps, whether it's Dometic or some other brand. One of the interesting claims to fall out of that thread is that Norcold refrigerators are currently failing at a rate of 80%, according to one distributor who was quoted. So, if any of you ultimately decide to ditch the Dometic, do your homework on replacement options.

What is particularly interesting to me is that as the fridge appears to be "chasing the outside" temperature, the countertop directly over the fridge gets hot. That strongly suggests to me that lack of adequate venting is the issue.

I'd like to hear from folks who are having cooling problems on 120V. Is the lack of cooling accompanied by a hot countertop?

Bborzell 07-19-2017 09:18 AM

Speaking of chasing outside temperature, I just rechecked the fridge after all night on propane.

Outside temp: 66
Freezer: -7
Box: 25.4

It will get into the high 80s-low 90s today. I'll keep on checking.

MrKenmore 07-19-2017 11:20 AM

So we called Airstream and spoke to John:

-The issue is currently with production

-No Service Bulletin Has been issues

-It may come out in the near future

-Solution is to improve the ventilation

- We may want to contact our local dometic dealer to make sure it is not the fridge

- Someone will contact us if there is a service bulletin issued.

Bborzell 07-20-2017 09:48 AM

This morning the freezer was at -7 and the box at 28 degrees with an outside temp of 64.

The pattern on propane is pretty clear. When the outside temp is around 70 or below, the fridge works fine. As soon as the temp rises to 85 or so, it gets overwhelmed by buildup of heat in the cabinet and the freezer gains 20 or so degrees as does the main box. After two days on propane, the box continues to increase to between 6 and 10 degrees above the minimum 40 degrees needed for food safety.

Since our trip to from northern California to Charleston, SC will be along US40 (not exactly cool temps), we will rely on a 30 qt. Pelican cooler for drinks and snacks and eat out alot. The second leg will take us to within 125 or so miles of the Airstream factory. We are hopeful that Airstream engineers will have devised a fix by the time we are in their area (probably the 28th) that adequately removes heat from the cabinet and does not rely on the extremely loud fans that they are currently recommending. There are many silent fans available that would accomplish needed venting while not introducing unnecessary noise. As it is now, I can hear the fans while standing 70 feet away from the trailer and they run constantly. I am anticipating hearing complaints from campground neighbors.

Troutboy 07-20-2017 05:17 PM

My three fan mod cost $60. Can't here the fans inside the trailer. I still believe it's an airflow issues, having the right fans as well as making sure air flows over the coils optimally to remove the heat. Should be the same for the basecamp space.

OTRA15 07-27-2017 05:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Troutboy (Post 1980801)
My three fan mod cost $60. Can't here the fans inside the trailer. I still believe it's an airflow issues, having the right fans as well as making sure air flows over the coils optimally to remove the heat. Should be the same for the basecamp space.

You are being optimistic IMO, and have not examined the problem closely, in terms of the BC fridge exhaust vent being about an inch away from the back of the propane cover. With no room for the exhaust air to flow freely, it is stifled, and the hot air stays trapped, stagnant in the cabinet space. ESPECIALLY if the front of the trailer is in direct sun.

With your design and fabrication skills, in my opinion you would appreciate this if you examined the problem more closely.

The Basecamp Issues thread has more details on the fridge problem as well.

No quick and easy fix here, again in my opinion, short of a substantial redesign of the layout of the components they are trying to JAM so close to each other. Also, Dometic's design parameters seem to conflict with the fridge's layout and venting system IMO.

Peter

PS see Post #600 et seq. on the Issues thread:

[click on arrow in quote to go there]
Quote:

Originally Posted by OTRA15 (Post 1977924)
Is there an air gap between the front of the trailer, and the propane cover as shown here? Looks like a mighty small space IMO. Even with fan assist, moving hot air out of the way quickly is going to be challenging if this end of the trailer is in direct sun on a hot day!

How about a dedicated mini-awning which can deploy to put the front of the trailer in shade? There could be a sun-sensitive switch which triggers this, like the rain sensors on the rooftop fans.

:blink:

Good luck,

Peter

https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...ation_Unit.png


RandyNH 07-27-2017 06:04 AM

At this point, someone with design and fabrication ability needs to create a channel from the exhaust port to the top of the propane cover, install a vent cover in the propane cover and leave a gap between the channel and body of the trailer, so that water can drain that might get in the top of it. This way the air exhausted from the fridge can clear the area of the propane tanks.

Is there enough space between the top of the tank area and the cover for such a channel?

Rzr1999 07-27-2017 10:28 AM

Proper flow for cooling
 
1 Attachment(s)
I believe this is the proper chimney for air flow

uncle_bob 07-27-2017 11:07 AM

Hi

Here's yet another problem / question to toss into the pile:

When moving, air flows over the TV. It then hits the front of the Basecamp. My guess is that it flows *down* over the front of the trailer in the area between the propane tank cover and the trailer. It then exits under the trailer. (= high pressure just above the propane tank cover). A "tall" TV would create a different pattern than something like a sedan hatchback. Yes, with a big automotive wind tunnel or a copy of FloEFD you could dig further into this.

If the air *is* doing this, pulling the trailer is actually *worse* than having it sit stationary in the driveway. Even with fans, you have a limited back pressure range. At some point, the air simply stops moving. It's not just an issue if you are relying on convection.

Bob

OTRA15 07-27-2017 11:18 AM

Great point Bob. Indeed, is the new Basecamp the only Airstream with the fridge vent on the front of the trailer? Almost all others have side vents (or flues through the roof) which would more likely promote the exhaust gases leaving the fridge's system.

:blink::wally::blink:

uncle_bob 07-27-2017 11:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OTRA15 (Post 1984273)
Great point Bob. Indeed, is the new Basecamp the only Airstream with the fridge vent on the front of the trailer? Almost all others have side vents (or flues through the roof) which would more likely promote the exhaust gases leaving the fridge's system.

:blink::wally::blink:

Hi

It certainly is the only version I've ever seen with the fridge right up front. Given that AS has made a few billion variations over the last 80 or so years, I'd never say "only one" :)

The gotcha is that they have designed themselves into a corner. Flue through the roof? Not so much. Remove the propane tanks? Nope. Jet engine loud blower(s) that will handle lots of back pressure? good luck ... Even with a compressor based design the exhaust heat has to go *somewhere*.

If they were paying me to do this, I'd put a baffle half way down the tank cover / trailer gap. Then start looking at mods to the tank cover to change the airflow pattern. It might be as simple as drilling a couple of 1 or 2" holes. Working out where to put those holes ... not simple at all. Note: I'm retired and *not* looking for work harder than lifting the odd can of beer each evening ... :)

Bob

OTRA15 07-27-2017 12:55 PM

Needs a total redesign to get the fridge to one side, and ideally have a flue through the roof. I think I noticed on another thread that some of the 2018 AS models are going back to having a fridge flue through the roof. Hopefully the entire fleet will revert back to this simple and time-proven design, like our 1985 25' AS had back in the 90's.

If it ain't broke don't fix it. The new BC is a classic example of too many designers trying to cram too much into a small space, without proper review and field testing. Really poor management to let such an unproven design hit the market IMO.

A fleet-wide axle recall because the tires hit the wheel well?

:blink:

Say no more . . .

:mad::wally::mad:

uncle_bob 07-27-2017 01:18 PM

Hi

Between the wrap around windows and the rear door, there's not much space in a Basecamp to get to the roof for a roof vent. Changing the design to accommodate one would be a pretty massive redesign. Simply getting vents to either side of the tank cover (intake left / low and output right / high) is about all I suspect they could do and keep the fundamentals intact. Not much of a chimney, but they are off to fan land already.

Bob

Rzr1999 07-27-2017 01:42 PM

We landed on the moon 48 years ago, you would think engineering a frig to cool in any condition would be a simple task

OTRA15 07-27-2017 01:56 PM

Bob, the frontal air pressure/vacuum issues you raise demand that the fridge vent move entirely to the side IMO. Yes, a total redesign . . . IMO.

Troutboy 07-27-2017 05:31 PM

The Ultimate Fix, yes, no?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by OTRA15 (Post 1984133)
You are being optimistic IMO, and have not examined the problem closely, in terms of the BC fridge exhaust vent being about an inch away from the back of the propane cover. With no room for the exhaust air to flow freely, it is stifled, and the hot air stays trapped, stagnant in the cabinet space. ESPECIALLY if the front of the trailer is in direct sun.

With your design and fabrication skills, in my opinion you would appreciate this if you examined the problem more closely.

The Basecamp Issues thread has more details on the fridge problem as well.

No quick and easy fix here, again in my opinion, short of a substantial redesign of the layout of the components they are trying to JAM so close to each other. Also, Dometic's design parameters seem to conflict with the fridge's layout and venting system IMO.

Peter

PS see Post #600 et seq. on the Issues thread:

[click on arrow in quote to go there]

Peter,

I don't have enough information to be specific. i was likely to general in my response. Its a simple mass transfer/heat transfer issue, so what I was trying to state was it should be solvable by moving the right amount of air through it.

If I had the dimensions of the vent, understood the space the fridge is in, the gap between the cover, I am confident I could design a simple fix with fans and aluminum sheet metal.

As discussed by others, you need a cool/fresh air intake, and a hot air exit. They need to be designed such that there is no short circuiting and so the air crosses past the coils to remove the heat as its generated.

Air does not have friction losses like water, and you would be surprised how much flow you can get through a small space. its all about the flow, the transfer, and optimizing hot/cold input/exit.

Without seeing one in real time, a potential fix would be as follows:

1. Use the Propane cover as part of a duct. Imagine closing off the sides bottom and top and making a square thin metal box with the existing fridge vent on one side, and the back of the propane cover as the other side.

2. divide that space in two, a a separate, isolated top and a bottom, and the make the bottom the fresh air intake, with vents on the thin sides (both) to let the air in at the bottom of the fridge vent compartment. could even do a vent on the bottom of the gap.

3. create the similar top part for hot air exhaust, vents on the side and or top.

4. Place 2-4 fans at the top of the existing fridge vent and seal it off such that fresh air is drawn into the new created fresh air duct, passes over the coils, and exits out the new hot air vent.

maybe i will draw a picture if anyone really wants to see this. I am confident this would work very well, as not as much air is needed as one thinks if the flow is optimized across the coils. If the air gap is like 1/8 inch between the propane cover and the basecamp fridge vent, then yes an issue. all I think I would need is a 1 inch gap to make this work.

If I could see one in real life, I know I could design a, cheap, easy fix that would work well. And it would be quiet.

if I was retired I would go to the AS dealer, measure everything up , design and post this fix. It would cost less than $100.

the issue of battery draw still remains, and could be significant for boondocks with stock battery and no solar system.

As currently designed or without major redesign, i do not see a passive air system (i.e. no fans) solution with the existing fridge.

uncle_bob 07-27-2017 07:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rzr1999 (Post 1984345)
We landed on the moon 48 years ago, you would think engineering a frig to cool in any condition would be a simple task

Hi

Well, the software to do a basic analysis is about $150K to purchase and roughly $50K a year in maintenance. Somebody who is trained on that software likely makes > $100K a year. Running a first pass mock up is at least six months of work. You then do testing to validate the model and likely spend a similar amount of time / money on that. Loop through the process three or four times and you will have a pretty good idea of what's going on. Net result, you spent a bit over $1,000,000 checking out a hunch about a fridge. I don't know of any company on the planet that would toss that amount of money and time at a hunch.

No that's not to say it's a great design. It's simply to say that doing a "perfect" design costs way more that anybody would want to pay. Would you pay $100,000 for a Basecamp? Of course not ... There are literally hundreds of "possible issues" like this that pop up as part of any design.

Bob

Gail Miller 07-27-2017 07:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle_bob (Post 1984280)
Hi

It certainly is the only version I've ever seen with the fridge right up front. Given that AS has made a few billion variations over the last 80 or so years, I'd never say "only one" :)

The gotcha is that they have designed themselves into a corner. Flue through the roof? Not so much. Remove the propane tanks? Nope. Jet engine loud blower(s) that will handle lots of back pressure? good luck ... Even with a compressor based design the exhaust heat has to go *somewhere*.

If they were paying me to do this, I'd put a baffle half way down the tank cover / trailer gap. Then start looking at mods to the tank cover to change the airflow pattern. It might be as simple as drilling a couple of 1 or 2" holes. Working out where to put those holes ... not simple at all. Note: I'm retired and *not* looking for work harder than lifting the odd can of beer each evening ... :)

Bob

Someone, and I have forgotten now who it was, took their tank cover off to see if that would help with air flow and it did not.

uncle_bob 07-27-2017 08:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gail Miller (Post 1984500)
Someone, and I have forgotten now who it was, took their tank cover off to see if that would help with air flow and it did not.

Hi

I suspect the "airflow in motion" with some TV's is down over the front of the trailer regardless of the propane cover or even without the bottles. When not in motion, the cover certainly does not help the situation any. Since there are multiple issues with the fridge, the solution is an A + B + C sort of thing. Doing any of the three by themselves may not be a very big deal.

All that said, this is only a wild guess. It's something I'd bet a six pack of beer on.

Bob

Gail Miller 07-27-2017 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle_bob (Post 1984507)
Hi

I suspect the "airflow in motion" with some TV's is down over the front of the trailer regardless of the propane cover or even without the bottles. When not in motion, the cover certainly does not help the situation any. Since there are multiple issues with the fridge, the solution is an A + B + C sort of thing. Doing any of the three by themselves may not be a very big deal.

All that said, this is only a wild guess. It's something I'd bet a six pack of beer on.

Bob

Since the Basecamp seems to be the only AS with the refrigerator in the middle, instead of on the side ... one would think they could have put the sink in the middle and the refrigerator on the side. I've decided their engineers must have gone to Trump University. To me, it's insane that I paid $40K+ for so much trouble. I'm watching AS's bragging Basecamp ads on Facebook and I have to bite my fingers to keep from typing my opinions! I've had to buy yet another 12 pack of beer, but in all honest, I really just hate the hot Arkansas summers! :-)

Gail Miller 07-27-2017 08:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle_bob (Post 1984280)
Hi

It certainly is the only version I've ever seen with the fridge right up front. Given that AS has made a few billion variations over the last 80 or so years, I'd never say "only one" :)

The gotcha is that they have designed themselves into a corner. Flue through the roof? Not so much. Remove the propane tanks? Nope. Jet engine loud blower(s) that will handle lots of back pressure? good luck ... Even with a compressor based design the exhaust heat has to go *somewhere*.

If they were paying me to do this, I'd put a baffle half way down the tank cover / trailer gap. Then start looking at mods to the tank cover to change the airflow pattern. It might be as simple as drilling a couple of 1 or 2" holes. Working out where to put those holes ... not simple at all. Note: I'm retired and *not* looking for work harder than lifting the odd can of beer each evening ... :)

Bob

I commented in message #19, that I read the following in my Dometic refrigerator installation booklet. I also commented that I wondered if any of us have box baffles: More on page 11 on the upper and lower SIDE vent application, talking about adding the box baffle at the back. "If required, install a box baffle above the lower access vent extending within 1/2" lower than the condenser fins".

Gail Miller 07-27-2017 08:39 PM

I know the service manager of a local RV place here in my town. It is not an Airstream dealer but I've thought about having them pull my refrigerator and seeing just how poorly the design/installation is. Of course it would cost me, when it really should be AS's $$ to fix the problem, but I sort of want to know WHAT the real problem is. Is it a lack of insulation? Is there no box baffle? Are the vents too close together? Does the refrigerator have a connection for a chimney, that isn't connected, so heat is just pouring into the cabinet space instead of escaping via a chimney, causing the counter top and front outside of the camper to feel warm? Just how stupid is it?? I'm not sure AS will admit that.

uncle_bob 07-27-2017 08:40 PM

Hi

A *lot* of engineering errors are "obvious" when you look back at them. Trust me, they are far from obvious from the other end of the process .... There are generally three drivers:

1) How soon does it need to be done
2) How much do you want to spend
3) How well do you want it done

Yes, you will see different labels on each of those. Two out of three with no limit on the other one is easy. There are *always* practical limits on all three of them.

None of this is to excuse the situation. AS certainly is not addressing any of this in a fashion that reflects well on them.

Bob

Troutboy 07-27-2017 09:15 PM

Trust me when I say this is a very simple problem to solve, I'm not over simplifying. Heat removal across the coils is the key. Anyone who is an engineer will get this. Mass transfer calcs are easy, and for this you don't need a complicated model.

As designed the heat being generated in the small pace is not being removed. The ability of the fridge to cool is based on the temperature differential between the air temp of the coils and the air around the coils. The temperature difference (delta) drives how cold the fridge will get.

The current design, with or without the propane tank covers in place does not allow air flow across the coils. Passive or they way they have the single fan designed is inadequate given all the dimensions and aerodynamics.

A design fix is required that will increase the heat removal across the coils. This involves the right air flow, no short circuiting, and the ability to keep the air temp in the fridge compartment space at a specific temperature. This is Not rocket science, and does not require $1M in costs to figure out.

I really question whether the AS factory has the right type of engineer to look at this issue and figure out a fix, or if this is in their top priority list. This is something that 4 people on this thread, if in the right place together could figure out likely in less than one day.

They keep selling these things as is, so what incentive do they have to make it work for the dozen or so on this site that boondock and are having issues? In my opinion if they really cared about this issue and put a few resources on it, it is a quick fix.

I have worked in industrial plants where you loose $1M an hour for down time, and we have solved issues 100x more complex than this in hours. It just baffles me why they can't figure it out and issue a quick fix? It has to be that it's not a big issue to them at this time.

OTRA15 07-28-2017 06:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle_bob (Post 1984525)
. . . AS certainly is not addressing any of this in a fashion that reflects well on them.
. . .

In a nutshell . . . yes . . .

;):wally:;)


PS -- Thanks TB.

Gringo 07-28-2017 10:34 PM

We just today went to the dealer here in Missoula to look at a BC in person for the first time. We were unaware of some of the issues at that time, so didn't know enough to discuss them with the Airstream guy who was showing us the trailer. I think I do understand the problem with getting the heat out and bringing in cool air to ventilate the rear of the fridge.

Is there enough room inside the Airstream wall for a vent channel ? I'm thinking about the double aluminum wall space probably filled with insulation at the moment. And Possibly pulling in fresh air through a slot in the floor?

Troutboy 07-28-2017 10:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gringo (Post 1984991)
We just today went to the dealer here in Missoula to look at a BC in person for the first time. We were unaware of some of the issues at that time, so didn't know enough to discuss them with the Airstream guy who was showing us the trailer. I think I do understand the problem with getting the heat out and bringing in cool air to ventilate the rear of the fridge.

Is there enough room inside the Airstream wall for a vent channel ? I'm thinking about the double aluminum wall space probably filled with insulation at the moment. And Possibly pulling in fresh air through a slot in the floor?



That could potentially work if you can get the air to then flow over the coils and out the vent.....

Bborzell 07-29-2017 01:49 AM

We showed up at Jackson Center this morning. In addition to the fridge issue we took the opportunity to get a few other small issues addressed.

My service tech was Joel. If you should show up for service at Airstream and you draw Joel, you should have a good day. He is everything that today's service folks have failed to aspire to. Thoughtful, attentive and skilled are three important attributes and he has them all.

The fix considered that the fridge creates heat that fills the cavity between the unit and the front wall. Much at that heat fails to exhaust itself through the forward vent because it has the upward path which heats up the counter top.

As I understand the issue, AS engineers got together with Dometic engineers and decided to limit the volume of space available for the heat to fill. Instead of adding fans (Joel pulled the noisy fans that were initially added) Joel placed deflectors between the fridge and the forward vents. They also insulated a top deflector that is supposed to eliminate the hot countertop.

In effect, the design should fill the considerably smaller space which has been created by the deflectors. In addition, itappears that the deigners sought to take advantage of the expansion of the heated air to drive movement from the fridge through the deflectors andout the vent.

By the time we were walked through the fix by Joel, the fridge had cooled fromthe low 50s to 43. Two hours later it was at 40 and, after 3 hours on the road, it was 37.

Joel says that ours ws the first to get the redsign in the service department. However, all the new BCs are seeing the mod.

Tomorrow, we will get more heat and I will continue to monitor temps. So far so good, and no fan noise.

xrvr 07-29-2017 03:30 AM

That sounds like good news for all of you.

OTRA15 07-29-2017 04:48 AM

Thanks Bborzell for the update. What were the ambient outside air temps during that overnight reading, and while on the road?

A solution which takes the fans out, and relies on thermal convection to get the hot exhaust air out, will remain a cruel joke -- in my opinion -- with the propane cover continuing to provide a nearby and substantial physical obstruction to air flow.

Moreover, this "solution" does nothing to cover uncle bob's questions about air pressures/vacuums on the front of the Basecamp while towing.

What does Jackson Center say about the cooling-while-towing air pressure factors? Please get in the face of everyone in the chain-of-command there, and ask the difficult questions! If you have left already, please continue to hound them if/when your fridge fails to perform in challenging weather, towing and sun conditions, as I am sad to suggest will probably happen. :(

As mentioned many times, we were thinking of downsizing to the BC, as will many Airstream baby-boomers IMO, but with the current FUBAR fiasco, that will never happen.

Airstream and Thor need to wake up here, and cop on to the full extent of this problem. [IMO]

:angry::wally::angry:


Thanks again for the detailed post.

Peter

OTRA15 07-29-2017 06:02 AM

Wondering if you have been monitoring this fridge thread, and might have some feedback from the company on the cooling-while-towing issues raised by uncle bob's Post #40 [and subsequent posts], which is quoted below?

Thanks,

Peter


Quote:

Originally Posted by AirstreamInc (Post 1948686)
. . .
Here's more info on the service bulletin regarding the refrigerator vent that we posted earlier in the week on the forums. Let us know if you have any questions!
<snip>
Airstream apologizes for any inconvenience. Customers requiring additional information may contact Airstream Customer Service and Technical Support at 1 (877) 596-6111, option 2.



[click on arrow in quote to go to uncle bob's Post #40]
Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle_bob (Post 1984267)
Hi

Here's yet another problem / question to toss into the pile:

When moving, air flows over the TV. It then hits the front of the Basecamp. My guess is that it flows *down* over the front of the trailer in the area between the propane tank cover and the trailer. It then exits under the trailer. (= high pressure just above the propane tank cover). A "tall" TV would create a different pattern than something like a sedan hatchback. Yes, with a big automotive wind tunnel or a copy of FloEFD you could dig further into this.

If the air *is* doing this, pulling the trailer is actually *worse* than having it sit stationary in the driveway. Even with fans, you have a limited back pressure range. At some point, the air simply stops moving. It's not just an issue if you are relying on convection.

Bob


uncle_bob 07-29-2017 08:01 AM

Hi

The gotcha with my "nutty theory" is that it also is TV dependent. Pull the trailer behind a pickup with a tall shell on it and you get one situation. Put it behind a Mini Cooper and you have very different flow. In between those two are a whole variety of cases. Convection is *not* very powerful in terms of moving air in a situation like this. Small changes can be important.

Bob

Bob

OTRA15 07-29-2017 09:37 AM

Exactly.

Even when parked in a campsite, a decent wind blowing on the front of the Basecamp will easily reverse the convection, and push the exhaust air back into the fridge's mechanical space!

Even a child could foresee this . . . :(

What will the next few Band-aids be, now that the fans are being yanked out, before someone wakes up and directs a strong wind at a new BC, and monitors the fridge's interior temp on LP when there is a positive pressure on the front, which by the way, will create a strong vacuum on the downwind end of the trailer. With that squared-off stern, the vacuum will be significant for sure.

Has Airsteam done any wind tunnel testing during the design of the new Basecamp? With very simple calibration, atmospheric pressures at several locations would be very easy to measure.

Have you noticed the way that commercial trucking companies have been adding wind-control panels in all kinds of locations to make the air flow for a semi-trailer rig more "laminar" and thus more fuel-efficient? [between the tractor and trailer, under the trailer near the rear wheels, on top of the tractor to push the air up as high as the trailer, etc. etc.] This ain't rocket science!

Come on JC, you can do it! The only way natural convection works for hot fridge exhaust gases -- is to vent them up a flue, through the roof, like you did all along in the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, 1980's and so forth.

It wasn't broken so why "fix" it with myopic re-designs?

Have a good weekend.

Peter




:wally:

Troutboy 07-29-2017 10:03 AM

Simple Survey on Fridge Performance While on Propane
 
Wow. That's cool bborzell. Hope this fish is permanent and all you BC folks can put this behind and camp on.

. Any chance you have pictures to post of the fix?

FricknFrack 07-29-2017 10:25 AM

I did a two-day refrigerator test on propane only. Our BC is sitting in the RV storage lot in full sun in PC, UT. I stopped by on way home from work three days ago and turned on power, propane and fridge. Put a glass thermometer on bottom shelf and digital thermometer on middle shelf nothing else on in the BC. Came back next morning at 8a - below are the data

Outside temp Refrigerator temp
Day 2
8a 65 40
6p 85 66

Day 3
8a 67 42
6p 84 55

Glass thermometer temps was nearly identical to digital thermometer temps and they were on different shelves so temps are accurate. The freezer freezes and is always frozen no matter what outside temp is even when inside fridge temp was 66deg.

Conclusion:
1) the refrigerator does not maintain sufficient cold temp to safely store food when running on propane when ambient temp is above mid 70s degrees.

2) the freezer clearly is capable of keeping temp below 32deg even in hot temps above mid 80s.

I don't have electrical to plug into at my RV storage to do same test on shore power.

At this point, I'm thinking the small metal cooling fins in the refrigerator are just not good enough to maintain safe food storage temps in anything above 70s deg ambient temp. The freezer freezes and stays frozen so the fridge works - just bad design??? At this point I'm thinking of taking the freezer door off and maybe it will keep whole rest of the refrigerator cold enough. I don't really need to freeze things anyway

Follow-up after calls to AS warranty in Jackson and AS UT dealer - they both acknowledge many reports of poor fridge performance. They have a fix - two additional fans and insulation around the main box. Scheduled to bring it in to UT dealer in couple of weeks n told them I need back within 2 days or taking back anyway. No 6 weeks sitting around waiting for parts this time!

OTRA15 07-29-2017 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FricknFrack (Post 1985158)
. . .
. . . They have a fix - two additional fans and insulation around the main box.
. . .

Stop the presses! According to Bborzell in Post #59-- direct from Airstream's base in Jackson Center -- the fans are out and thermal convection alone is going to fix things up just dandy . . .

:blink:

Thanks for your detailed report, and good luck!

Peter

PS -- It will be interesting to see how long it takes for "no more fans" to filter out to the dealers and sales people. Speechless here . . .

OTRA15 07-29-2017 10:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Troutboy (Post 1985148)
Wow. That's cool bborzell. Hope this fish is permanent
. . .

Hey I know you have trout on the mind, but let's not add any permanent fish to this beleaguered fridge situation!

:lol:

Troutboy 07-29-2017 11:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OTRA15 (Post 1985164)
Hey I know you have trout on the mind, but let's not add any permanent fish to this beleaguered fridge situation!

:lol:



[emoji33][emoji226][emoji226][emoji226]

uncle_bob 07-29-2017 11:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OTRA15 (Post 1985140)
.....

Has Airsteam done any wind tunnel testing during the design of the new Basecamp? With very simple calibration, atmospheric pressures at several locations would be very easy to measure.
......

:wally:

Hi

"Automotive" wind tunnel testing is not easy. You need a facility that gives you a moving surface under the vehicle as well as the "wind". Without the moving surface, you don't get the real picture. Net result - it's easier to instrument up something like a Basecamp and tow it around to check something like this.

Bob

Gail Miller 07-29-2017 11:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bborzell (Post 1985050)
We showed up at Jackson Center this morning. In addition to the fridge issue we took the opportunity to get a few other small issues addressed.

My service tech was Joel. If you should show up for service at Airstream and you draw Joel, you should have a good day. He is everything that today's service folks have failed to aspire to. Thoughtful, attentive and skilled are three important attributes and he has them all.

The fix considered that the fridge creates heat that fills the cavity between the unit and the front wall. Much at that heat fails to exhaust itself through the forward vent because it has the upward path which heats up the counter top.

As I understand the issue, AS engineers got together with Dometic engineers and decided to limit the volume of space available for the heat to fill. Instead of adding fans (Joel pulled the noisy fans that were initially added) Joel placed deflectors between the fridge and the forward vents. They also insulated a top deflector that is supposed to eliminate the hot countertop.

In effect, the design should fill the considerably smaller space which has been created by the deflectors. In addition, itappears that the deigners sought to take advantage of the expansion of the heated air to drive movement from the fridge through the deflectors andout the vent.

By the time we were walked through the fix by Joel, the fridge had cooled fromthe low 50s to 43. Two hours later it was at 40 and, after 3 hours on the road, it was 37.

Joel says that ours ws the first to get the redsign in the service department. However, all the new BCs are seeing the mod.

Tomorrow, we will get more heat and I will continue to monitor temps. So far so good, and no fan noise.

So 'Joel' is at the Airstream factory in Ohio and this is what AS did on the 2018 Basecamp to fix the fridge problem? Why is AS still sending out fan kits if this is the fix. Please keep us posted on how this works on your continued trip. Grrrr

FricknFrack 07-29-2017 11:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gail Miller (Post 1985196)
So 'Joel' is at the Airstream factory in Ohio and this is what AS did on the 2018 Basecamp to fix the fridge problem? Why is AS still sending out fan kits if this is the fix. Please keep us posted on how this works on your continued trip. Grrrr



Good to know and will be sure my AS dealer is on board with any modifications to the fix before they get started - don't need to make multiple trips to try to fix this problem [emoji849]

Gail Miller 07-29-2017 11:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FricknFrack (Post 1985203)
Good to know and will be sure my AS dealer is on board with any modifications to the fix before they get started - don't need to make multiple trips to try to fix this problem [emoji849]

My thoughts exactly. I spoke with Gretchen at AS on the 7/17 and she is sending fans to my dealer. I don't want fans if fans aren't the fix.

Bborzell 07-30-2017 09:44 AM

It didn't work...
 
Where to start?

When we left Jackson Center, after the fridge fix, the fridge had been on shore power for the amount of time that transpired between Joel buttoning up the fridge after the fix and when we pulled out heading for northern Minnesota.

The fridge was sitting on 43 degrees and within a couple of hours, it was 37. Things were looking good.

By the time we got to Madison, Wisconsin, it had crept up to 43 and by last night when we pulled into northern Minnesota, it was sitting on 48. The glitter had faded and we tossed the food.

We plugged in at our friends place in Minnesota about 8 pm and by 8 am this morning, the freezer was on 0 and the box was 36.7.

A few takeaways from this series of unfortunate events...

After 4,800 miles and a week on the road, the fridge debacle has not diminished our satisfaction with the rest of the Basecamp. All the systems work as designed, it tows like it isn't behind the Jeep (no, really), the Thermarest pads make the sleeping surface work well and it just plain fits all of our original expectations as well as our real life needs.

That said, the fridge does not work reliably on propane; period. It didn't work as originally designed, it doesn't work with the added fan fix and it doesn't work with this most recent fix. I don't know whether driving at highway speeds actually exacerbates the cooling deficiencies, but I highly suspect this to be the case.

Contrary to our eastern leg which was quite hot >90 degrees most of the time, the trip from Jackson Center to Minnesota has been much cooler, but still the fridge can't provide venting needed for adequate cooling under propane.

Here's an interesting thought. If you start out your driving day after the fridge has been sitting overnight on 120V and has reached 37 or so degrees, one would think that the box would be able to maintail a food safe level of 40 degrees for up to 4 driving hours even if it has no power to it; just like a not particularly efficient ice chest. So, maybe the propane part of the equation actually creates the temp rise while driving as the pilot flame introduces heat that would otherwise not be there. So, if you are on the road and can get adequate cooling while plugged in and need to drive <4 hours os so, you might be better off turning off all power to the fridge while driving; just a thought.

As frustrating as the fridge thing has been, I believe that this will pass after AS has enough real world feedback to overcome the shortcoming of the modeling that lead to the original fridge install design. Lacking any contrary info, I am back to thinking that someone needs to try a 2 way fridge that is either 120V or 12V, but not propane.

People who drive no more than a few hundred miles a day probably won't even know that they are heating up the cabinet while on propane. The real failing will come with boondockers who go days without 120V power to bail them out. I'm guessing that the percentage of Basecamp buyers who end up totally off the grid is going to be similar to the percentage of FWD SUVs who drive off road.

I just went out to recheck the fridge before hitting "send" since the trailer has been sitting in full on morning sun onto the front end. It has actually dropped another .7 degrees.

OTRA15 07-30-2017 11:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bborzell (Post 1985623)
. . .
. . . I don't know whether driving at highway speeds actually exacerbates the cooling deficiencies, but I highly suspect this to be the case.
. . .

Bingo!

Sorry for your continuing problems. The fix here is a total re-design which gets the fridge over to the side of the BC including a flue through the roof IMO.

:bb:

Good luck all!

Peter

PS -- At the risk of belaboring the point, the problem is not all that complicated.
Most experienced RV folks can understand it intuitively.
[Click on arrows in quotes to go to these posts:
Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle_bob (Post 1985109)
Hi

The gotcha with my "nutty theory" is that it also is TV dependent. Pull the trailer behind a pickup with a tall shell on it and you get one situation. Put it behind a Mini Cooper and you have very different flow. In between those two are a whole variety of cases. Convection is *not* very powerful in terms of moving air in a situation like this. Small changes can be important.

Bob

Bob

Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle_bob (Post 1984507)
. . . I suspect the "airflow in motion" with some TV's is down over the front of the trailer regardless of the propane cover or even without the bottles.
. . .


Quote:

Originally Posted by OTRA15 (Post 1985065)
Thanks Bborzell . . .
. . .
. . . Moreover, this "solution" does nothing to cover uncle bob's questions about air pressures/vacuums on the front of the Basecamp while towing.
. . .

Quote:

Originally Posted by OTRA15 (Post 1984353)
Bob, the frontal air pressure/vacuum issues you raise demand that the fridge vent move entirely to the side IMO. Yes, a total redesign . . . IMO.

Quote:

Originally Posted by OTRA15 (Post 1985140)
. . .
Even when parked in a campsite, a decent wind blowing on the front of the Basecamp will easily reverse the convection, and push the exhaust air back into the fridge's mechanical space!
. . .



PS2 -- The worst part of this torture IMO is that Airstream seems to keep coming with fixes that are ill-informed, inconsistent, subject to recall in a day or two. Etc. Etc. Etc. . . .

Gail Miller 07-30-2017 12:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bborzell (Post 1985623)
Where to start?

When we left Jackson Center, after the fridge fix, the fridge had been on shore power for the amount of time that transpired between Joel buttoning up the fridge after the fix and when we pulled out heading for northern Minnesota.

The fridge was sitting on 43 degrees and within a couple of hours, it was 37. Things were looking good.

By the time we got to Madison, Wisconsin, it had crept up to 43 and by last night when we pulled into northern Minnesota, it was sitting on 48. The glitter had faded and we tossed the food.

We plugged in at our friends place in Minnesota about 8 pm and by 8 am this morning, the freezer was on 0 and the box was 36.7.

A few takeaways from this series of unfortunate events...

After 4,800 miles and a week on the road, the fridge debacle has not diminished our satisfaction with the rest of the Basecamp. All the systems work as designed, it tows like it isn't behind the Jeep (no, really), the Thermarest pads make the sleeping surface work well and it just plain fits all of our original expectations as well as our real life needs.

That said, the fridge does not work reliably on propane; period. It didn't work as originally designed, it doesn't work with the added fan fix and it doesn't work with this most recent fix. I don't know whether driving at highway speeds actually exacerbates the cooling deficiencies, but I highly suspect this to be the case.

Contrary to our eastern leg which was quite hot >90 degrees most of the time, the trip from Jackson Center to Minnesota has been much cooler, but still the fridge can't provide venting needed for adequate cooling under propane.

Here's an interesting thought. If you start out your driving day after the fridge has been sitting overnight on 120V and has reached 37 or so degrees, one would think that the box would be able to maintail a food safe level of 40 degrees for up to 4 driving hours even if it has no power to it; just like a not particularly efficient ice chest. So, maybe the propane part of the equation actually creates the temp rise while driving as the pilot flame introduces heat that would otherwise not be there. So, if you are on the road and can get adequate cooling while plugged in and need to drive <4 hours os so, you might be better off turning off all power to the fridge while driving; just a thought.

As frustrating as the fridge thing has been, I believe that this will pass after AS has enough real world feedback to overcome the shortcoming of the modeling that lead to the original fridge install design. Lacking any contrary info, I am back to thinking that someone needs to try a 2 way fridge that is either 120V or 12V, but not propane.

People who drive no more than a few hundred miles a day probably won't even know that they are heating up the cabinet while on propane. The real failing will come with boondockers who go days without 120V power to bail them out. I'm guessing that the percentage of Basecamp buyers who end up totally off the grid is going to be similar to the percentage of FWD SUVs who drive off road.

I just went out to recheck the fridge before hitting "send" since the trailer has been sitting in full on morning sun onto the front end. It has actually dropped another .7 degrees.

This is all SO disappointing!!! Yuck!!!

uncle_bob 07-30-2017 01:19 PM

Hi

Based on power failures on a number of fridges over the years ..... the magic "four hour" number has a bunch of notes attached to it. In most cases the "time to destruction" on the refrigerator section will be much shorter. A tightly packed freezer section probably will make the 4 hours ...

Bob

ijustlee 07-30-2017 04:25 PM

As pointed out this is not rocket science. If I had a base camp with this problem I'd take some cardboard and tape and make a chimney up to the roof and see how the fridge works. Then I'd figure out how to make one that looked acceptable or get the factory to provide it. Or get the factory to refund me a few grand and I'd build the fix myself. The fridge will never work right unless you have good heat removal from the coils. Running on propane adds more heat to be removed so maybe an electric compressor type fridge would be the best way to go. This is another example that makes me wonder if there are any real engineers at Airstream? They seem to just have designers that draw pretty pictures. Kind of sad.

switz 07-30-2017 04:55 PM

We installed the Vitrifrigo marine DP150iL in our 2015 23D and the DP2600 in our 2014 Classic. The link below also has smaller models listed and one should be right for the Base Camp. These are freon based refrigerators with a 12Vdc DanFoss compressor which has a tiny inverter that can be plugged into shore power along with the trailer and makes the 12Vdc for the fridge. Thus there is no propane flame heating up that tiny space.

http://www.vitrifrigo.com/us/us/boat...s_and_freezers

We used three computer style fans and a blanking plate in our 23D top refrigerator vent to force the air movement in at the bottom and out at the top air vent. This system worked well while we had the stock Dometic installed along with a power switch turn the fans on and off manually. When we did the upgrade to the DP150iL, we put in a small relay so the fans cycle with the DanFoss compressor.

That literature above also shows split systems where the freon compressor could be mounted in a better heat dissipation location similar to the split A/C systems in a home.

WAcamper 07-31-2017 09:36 AM

After reading the probl ms with BC, I have been scared off on my purchase unless someone can assure AS has fixed the problem on the new ones.... so it goes.

uncle_bob 07-31-2017 10:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ijustlee (Post 1985833)
..... If I had a base camp with this problem I'd take some cardboard and tape and make a chimney up to the roof and see how the fridge works. ....

Hi

Take a look at the design of the Basecamp. There is not quick and simple way to get from the fridge to the roof. It has full wrap around windows. Blocking the view with a "chimney" isn't going to be popular.

Bob

Gail Miller 07-31-2017 12:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle_bob (Post 1986196)
Hi

Take a look at the design of the Basecamp. There is not quick and simple way to get from the fridge to the roof. It has full wrap around windows. Blocking the view with a "chimney" isn't going to be popular.

Bob

This may be a repeat of things I've already said, if so, I apologize: Got my Dometic Installation Instruction booklet out again. Page 9: Offset Vents (which is what I think we all have). If vents must be offset due to interference of building materials the vent must always be offset towards the flue side of the cooling unit. The vent should be centered over the cooling unit so that the air can flow up and out of the compartment creating a chimney effect. For offset vent applications, PRIOR WRITTEN APPROVAL AND SAFETY CERTIFICATION MUST BE OBTAINED FROM DOMETIC CORP. (Interesting!!) Photo shows the vents considerably further apart than what mine are. Also, regarding type of vent application. When using UPPER AND LOWER SIDE VENT APPLICATION Choose this type of installation when a roof vent installation is not possible. (Note: Roof Vent Application is recommended for typical installations). BAFFLE SHOULD BE ADDED. The refrigerator MUST be equipped with fan(s). Please refer to page 31, some fans are optional and not required. On page 31: Dometic model RM2351, upper and lower side application; fans are optional. Note that some models can be purchased with factory installed fan(s). Others, and I, have measured our vents and they are considerably closer together than the 34" the booklet recommends as MINIMUM ventilation height.

switz 08-01-2017 09:47 AM

Once again, written verification that Airstream did NOT follow a manufacture's written installation instructions. So Dometic is off the hook for any liability with this installation unless the Airstream factory has a letter in their files from Dometic Corporate headquarters approving this Base Camp extreme deviation from the installation specifications.

Gail Miller 08-01-2017 11:38 AM

I posted this under the 'hacks' thread and also posting here. Jazgrass comment: I hope this will show the picture of the little 3x3 freezer packs I've bought to help the lame frig; leaving for NM first week of September.....[/QUOTE]

Jaz, this gave me a thought. I had a 4lb Yeti ice block in my freezer. I put it in the bottom of my BC refrigerator. It had been running for several hours and only got down to the typical ~70 degrees. I wondered if the Yeti ice might help boost the cooling. Left the fridge on all night and at 11:00 a.m. this morning, the box was 34 degrees and the freezer is -8 !!! The Yeti ice has melted to liquid. Shore power only. I also saw on a YouTube video where a guy said that even on shore power, the refrigerator has to use the battery. I keep my BC plugged into shore power, but I don't always have the battery switched turned to 'on'. It has to be 'on' to charge the battery. Yesterday, I had the battery switch 'on' and when I turned the refrigerator on, it was the first time I have ever heard a fan in my refrigerator ???? So ... to others ... is your battery switch turned on?? Sorry, if that is a stupid question. Arkansas temps have been a bit lower the last few days, mid-80's and lower humidity. My camper sits in a carport with a tall roof. I will also monitor my thermometers in the freezer during the day today to see if the increase in outside ambient temp. causes it to struggle more. Leaving the melted Yeti ice block in there.

Gail Miller 08-01-2017 11:50 AM

I watched this YouTube video last night. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEQwReqJcMU Similar application, though his fridge vents are located on the side of his van. He added the two fans. His thoughts on the single fan pushing air up, the design of the top vent, to keep rain out, inhibits the hot air going out that vent. If I put my hand over my top vent, I feel no air being forced out. He also mentions putting a small battery operated fan inside the fridge to circulate air and help even out cooling in the fridge box. I ordered a small fan from Amazon last night. I'll report if that helps. On the YouTube video, I did have to zip past this guys drive to Fry's Electronics for fans/parts and a stop off for sushi on his way home, but, I found the video informative. Of course, others on the forum have said the installation of two fans did not work. This guy bought quieter computer fans. Word now is that Airstream is recalling our refrigerators. Hopefully, that is true and our squeaky wheels are getting some attention. :-)

47WeeWind 08-01-2017 12:46 PM

Marine type 12 volt refrigerator
 
As Switz has mentioned in his earlier post, one possible solution to the Basecamp refrigerator problem is to install a Marine type 12 volt refrigerator in place of the Dometic propane fridge. I chose an Engel 12 volt refrigerator model SB70F to replace the icebox in my 1966 8' long Alaskan camper. The Engel vents to the interior of the Alaskan and does not use any external vent, avoiding all exterior venting and air flow problems seemingly present in the Basecanp design. The 12 volt Engel is powered by a Group 31M Marine AGM battery that has a Reserve Capacity of 185 minutes and a 20 AH rating of 105 minutes. The AGM battery is recharged daily by two 100 watt solar panels mounted above the roof of the Alaskan.

The Engel SB70F is a 12 volt (DC only) 60 quart capacity electric refrigerator. Size matters in an Alaskan. After removing the original ice box, the remaining opening for a refrigerator was 26” high x 20-1/2” wide x 24” deep. Due to the sloped rear top of the empty ice box compartment, a very deep refrigerator could not stand as tall at its rear as on its front, so I had to select a refrigerator that was shorter than 26 inches. The Engel’s exterior dimensions are 19.9” wide, 20.9” tall and 23.1” deep. It‘s built-in dimensions are 18.5” wide X 20.5” tall X 20.7” deep. It easily fits into the empty ice box space. Basecamp owners will have to measure their refrigerator compartment space to select a right-sized 12 volt refrigerator.

The Engle uses a swing motor for the compressor. It has received favorable reviews online, sipping energy although a few people noted a low hum when operating. The swing motor/compressor is very efficient, drawing a maximum of only 2.5 amperes per hour when operating and usually running well under that maximum. Its efficiency ranges from drawing only 0.6 amps per hour in a 77º ambient temperature while running only 25% of the time, to drawing 1.2 amps per hours in a 95º ambient temperature running 40% of the time, to drawing its maximum 2.5 amps per hour in a 113º or higher ambient temperature when running 100% of the time. Since I plan to camp mostly at higher elevations in the dry Rocky Mountain West with lower ambient temperatures, these performance figures are very acceptable for my 200 watt solar system. Your mileage may vary depending on your camping environment.

During the hottest summer months the sun is higher overhead in the sky and the days are longer, beaming more photovoltaic energy down on the solar panels to recharge the battery longer during the hottest season of heaviest draws. So far my 200 watt solar system has proved itself more than adequate. During all my boondocking camping over the past 2 years, the two 100 watt solar panels kept the AGM battery fully charged while I was out jeeping in the Rocky Mountains. The Engel control knob was set at 3.5 out of 5 positions and kept the food and beer inside very cold while also making ice in the small freezer compartment.

To increase cooling retention, both sides and the back of the refrigerator compartment were filled with reflective coated foam board cut to fit in place. The space above and below the Engel was not insulated because they must be kept open for ventilation air flow.

Here is the link to my 2015 refrigerator and solar panel improvement thread for my 1966 8' Alaskan camper:

http://www.wanderthewest.com/forum/topic/11452-engel-12-volt-refrigerator-in-1966-8-nco/

Although not as durable or dependable as framed rigid solar panels, a Basecamp owner might consider installing flexible solar panels on the Basecamp roof to unobtrusively match its curved profile.

I hope this suggestion might inspire a few Basecamp owners to a different thinking outside of the teardrop solution to the refrigerator cooling problems they may be experiencing. Trailer on!


Gail Miller 08-01-2017 02:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gail Miller (Post 1986805)
I posted this under the 'hacks' thread and also posting here. Jazgrass comment: I hope this will show the picture of the little 3x3 freezer packs I've bought to help the lame frig; leaving for NM first week of September.....

Jaz, this gave me a thought. I had a 4lb Yeti ice block in my freezer. I put it in the bottom of my BC refrigerator. It had been running for several hours and only got down to the typical ~70 degrees. I wondered if the Yeti ice might help boost the cooling. Left the fridge on all night and at 11:00 a.m. this morning, the box was 34 degrees and the freezer is -8 !!! The Yeti ice has melted to liquid. Shore power only. I also saw on a YouTube video where a guy said that even on shore power, the refrigerator has to use the battery. I keep my BC plugged into shore power, but I don't always have the battery switched turned to 'on'. It has to be 'on' to charge the battery. Yesterday, I had the battery switch 'on' and when I turned the refrigerator on, it was the first time I have ever heard a fan in my refrigerator ???? So ... to others ... is your battery switch turned on?? Sorry, if that is a stupid question. Arkansas temps have been a bit lower the last few days, mid-80's and lower humidity. My camper sits in a carport with a tall roof. I will also monitor my thermometers in the freezer during the day today to see if the increase in outside ambient temp. causes it to struggle more. Leaving the melted Yeti ice block in there.[/QUOTE]

I checked my fridge at 2:40 p.m. Box is still around 35 degrees, freezer -8. Still has the melted Yeti ice block in the bottom of it. On shore power. Battery switch is 'on'. 80 degrees out; humidity 70%; dew point 69 degrees. Cloudy.

OTRA15 08-01-2017 05:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AirstreamInc (Post 1986722)
Hi Jazgrass,

Thank you for being a Basecamp customer! We're happy to see you received the warranty extension letter. Just a quick clarification on it: We're extending the comprehensive parts and labor factory warranty by an additional
twelve months for all 2017 model year Basecamps, not just ones made before March 9.

We look forward to seeing you out and about on the road and hope you enjoy your trip to NM.

Since you are active on the other BC threads, would you please update us on the fridge's apparent inability to maintain a safe cold temp using the LP gas mode, when the outside ambient temp is hot?

First AS said fans were to be added, then withdrew this fix. Now apparently the solution is a purely static change in the cabinet baffles and vents. How can a fan-free fix defeat the air pressures inherent in a front-mounted fridge (with no flue through the roof), whether from towing or simple head winds at the campsite?

Is the fridge's installation in keeping with Dometic's installation instructions?

Has AS been notified of any Lemon Law returns, or class action lawsuits based on this fridge issue?

Any shareholder actions against Thor?

Thanks

Gail Miller 08-02-2017 11:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gail Miller (Post 1986923)
Jaz, this gave me a thought. I had a 4lb Yeti ice block in my freezer. I put it in the bottom of my BC refrigerator. It had been running for several hours and only got down to the typical ~70 degrees. I wondered if the Yeti ice might help boost the cooling. Left the fridge on all night and at 11:00 a.m. this morning, the box was 34 degrees and the freezer is -8 !!! The Yeti ice has melted to liquid. Shore power only. I also saw on a YouTube video where a guy said that even on shore power, the refrigerator has to use the battery. I keep my BC plugged into shore power, but I don't always have the battery switched turned to 'on'. It has to be 'on' to charge the battery. Yesterday, I had the battery switch 'on' and when I turned the refrigerator on, it was the first time I have ever heard a fan in my refrigerator ???? So ... to others ... is your battery switch turned on?? Sorry, if that is a stupid question. Arkansas temps have been a bit lower the last few days, mid-80's and lower humidity. My camper sits in a carport with a tall roof. I will also monitor my thermometers in the freezer during the day today to see if the increase in outside ambient temp. causes it to struggle more. Leaving the melted Yeti ice block in there.

I checked my fridge at 2:40 p.m. Box is still around 35 degrees, freezer -8. Still has the melted Yeti ice block in the bottom of it. On shore power. Battery switch is 'on'. 80 degrees out; humidity 70%; dew point 69 degrees. Cloudy.[/QUOTE]

Update: Second day the fridge has maintained cold temps; box 34 degrees, freezer -8 degrees. I just took the unfrozen Yeti ice out of it and put it back in the freezer at the house. I will see, if for some reason, that make a difference. Ambient outside temps still unseasonably cool for Arkansas. On shore power, will switch it to propane later today and see what happens.

Gail Miller 08-02-2017 07:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gail Miller (Post 1987289)
I checked my fridge at 2:40 p.m. Box is still around 35 degrees, freezer -8. Still has the melted Yeti ice block in the bottom of it. On shore power. Battery switch is 'on'. 80 degrees out; humidity 70%; dew point 69 degrees. Cloudy.

Update: Second day the fridge has maintained cold temps; box 34 degrees, freezer -8 degrees. I just took the unfrozen Yeti ice out of it and put it back in the freezer at the house. I will see, if for some reason, that make a difference. Ambient outside temps still unseasonably cool for Arkansas. On shore power, will switch it to propane later today and see what happens.[/QUOTE]

Update again: After I took the melted Yeti ice block out, the fridge warmed up to 50 degree, freezer to 0. I turned it all off to let it warm up and will try on propane with another frozen Yeti ice. Blah!!!

uncle_bob 08-03-2017 08:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gail Miller (Post 1987553)

Update again: After I took the melted Yeti ice block out, the fridge warmed up to 50 degree, freezer to 0. I turned it all off to let it warm up and will try on propane with another frozen Yeti ice. Blah!!!

Hi

All of these gizmos need 12V for the control circuits. If you run out of 12V the whole thing stops running. There is probably a cutout around 10.5 V or so.

Since the system is a single coil setup, the freezer and fridge are tightly linked. Put another way, the control system can not run the fridge independent of the freezer. It either puts in "cold" or it does not. It goes into both the fridge and freezer at the same time.

So why all this babble?

The way to get the fridge way warm while the freezer still is doing fine is 1) put more heat into the fridge or 2) put *less* heat into the freezer. Yes, there's more to it than that, but that's the part that you can actually dig into.

Bob

OTRA15 08-03-2017 02:30 PM

Gail, if I may offer a suggestion, I would stop using the Yeti blue ice, as it is just adding another variable into the analysis and complicating things IMO. Also, all of your recent updates are difficult to follow, at least to these old eyes -- FYI.

As Bob just said, if you are not on shore power, your battery must be healthy, so that the fridge's control circuit board does not give out, and turn the fridge off entirely. After charging the battery fully and removing shore power, then waiting an hour, the battery voltage should be 12.7 +/-, and it should remain above 12.5 for a day or two, if the only 12-volt load is the fridge's control circuit board. [IMO]

If the battery voltage gets below 12.2, you will be doing longer-term damage to the battery, so you should plug in to shore power, use a solar panel, or fire up the generator.

As you recognize, the ambient outside temperature is crucial to monitor.

Hopefully more Basecamps will be having their fridges undergo Airstream's newest fan-less "fix," and the company will wake up to the larger design problems, with which it has not yet dealt.

Sorry for everyone's troubles . . .

"Not cool!

Cheers,

Peter

PS -- If you are camping, and need to keep the fridge cold to preserve food, obviously frozen Yeti blue ice -- or plain old store-bought ice -- can provide the necessary chilling effect. It will be harder to keep frozen food solid in the freezer, however.

Gail Miller 08-03-2017 04:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OTRA15 (Post 1987969)
Gail, if I may offer a suggestion, I would stop using the Yeti blue ice, as it is just adding another variable into the analysis and complicating things IMO. Also, all of your recent updates are difficult to follow, at least to these old eyes -- FYI.

As Bob just said, if you are not on shore power, your battery must be healthy, so that the fridge's control circuit board does not give out, and turn the fridge off entirely. After charging the battery fully and removing shore power, then waiting an hour, the battery voltage should be 12.7 +/-, and it should remain above 12.5 for a day or two, if the only 12-volt load is the fridge's control circuit board. [IMO]

If the battery voltage gets below 12.2, you will be doing longer-term damage to the battery, so you should plug in to shore power, use a solar panel, or fire up the generator.

As you recognize, the ambient outside temperature is crucial to monitor.

Hopefully more Basecamps will be having their fridges undergo Airstream's newest fan-less "fix," and the company will wake up to the larger design problems, with which it has not yet dealt.

Sorry for everyone's troubles . . .

"Not cool!

Cheers,

Peter

PS -- If you are camping, and need to keep the fridge cold to preserve food, obviously frozen Yeti blue ice -- or plain old store-bought ice -- can provide the necessary chilling effect. It will be harder to keep frozen food solid in the freezer, however.

Thanks Peter. I'll stop with the updates and wait for AS to come up with a solution for the fridge. :-) :-)

uncle_bob 08-03-2017 05:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gail Miller (Post 1988042)
Thanks Peter. I'll stop with the updates and wait for AS to come up with a solution for the fridge. :-) :-)

Hi

.... at the risk of someplace very hot freezing over first ....:)

I think they have more than one problem with this fridge. Is it two problems or three, I have no idea.

Bob

OTRA15 08-03-2017 06:17 PM

Ditto Bob -- a panoply of problems IMO.

:(

Gail, sorry if I was too negative, it was not my intent that you stop updating everyone. It was more the quick succession of updates -- with what appeared to me to be inconsistent data -- that I personally found confusing. Perhaps others understood your points perfectly.

Anyway, I hope you will continue to update us, as you have been a true champion in seeking to have Airstream, and Thor the parent corporation, fulfill their duty to all Airstream owners to make things right with the Basecamp.

Cheers,

Peter

Gail Miller 08-03-2017 08:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OTRA15 (Post 1988073)
Ditto Bob -- a panoply of problems IMO.

:(

Gail, sorry if I was too negative, it was not my intent that you stop updating everyone. It was more the quick succession of updates -- with what appeared to me to be inconsistent data -- that I personally found confusing. Perhaps others understood your points perfectly.

Anyway, I hope you will continue to update us, as you have been a true champion in seeking to have Airstream, and Thor the parent corporation, fulfill their duty to all Airstream owners to make things right with the Basecamp.

Cheers,

Peter

No, no, I didn't take it as negative at all Peter. The reason I signed off with two smiley faces. My updates probably did get confusing.

Boler77 08-03-2017 08:55 PM

I willgive youmy e-mail address and explainwhat I did.

boler77@me.com

uncle_bob 08-04-2017 09:53 AM

Hi

Slightly (but only slightly) more on topic than my other ravings in this thread:

Sitting here in something that is *not* a Basecamp and *not* running on propane:

Get up this morning and the freezer is busy defrosting it's self. The lower 2/3 is still frozen solid. The top of the freezer is wet (as in liquid water = not below freezing). Temperature is still showing as 33 degrees on the panel. A few hours later it's busy re-freezing the water.

No, I'm not yet again trying to hijack things. :) I'm only trying to illustrate that even the "perfect" larger models with super through the roof ventilation have issues from time to time. Sorting out what is a "normal" problem vs an "unusual" problem is not going to be easy .... (of course my issue could be rain water getting in on top of the fridge ... thus not normal at all ... ).

Bob

Trae and Ann 08-05-2017 05:03 PM

Morning after 14 hours on shore power:
Outside temp 78 degrees 70% hum refrigerator at 41 degrees.

1:00pm:
90 degrees 50% hum refrigerator at 48 degrees.

5:00 pm:
91 degrees 50% hum still 48

Never made it into the safe zone of below 40%.

July 4th weekend at 94 and 70% humidity it was at 54 degrees.

This is NOT cool.... umm you know what I mean[emoji57]. Back to the shop for round 2 of leak fixes back door and under fridge and tackling this. Glad we brought our yeti this weekend!! That works great [emoji106]

OTRA15 08-06-2017 05:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trae and Ann (Post 1989014)
. . .
Glad we brought our yeti this weekend!!
. . .

Sorry for the continuing problems!

Since the BC fridge issue is taking on a "Best Ice Chest" aspect . . .

:blink:

. . . may I put in a plug for Pelican coolers? Made in the USA and equally good reviews as super-coolers. Yeti is based in the Philippines I believe. Good luck to everyone with a Basecamp fridge issue.

Cheers,

Peter

PS -- Pelican links -- FYI some of the reviews suggest the Pelican latches may be more secure than the Yeti's -- FWIW:
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_in_-...nid=2528832011
http://www.pelican.com/us/en/products/coolers/


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