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-   -   Simple Survey on Fridge Performance While on Propane (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f404/simple-survey-on-fridge-performance-while-on-propane-169937.html)

Pocket22 06-19-2019 09:14 PM

Troutboy, we also have a 2017 23FB Flying Cloud. Our Dometic refrigerator has never cooled properly from the day of purchase. No one seems to be able to fix it. Three fans, new thermistor and cooling unit. Dometic says it is Airstream's design that is causing the issue. (?) It's not safe for food or medications that need to be kept refrigerated. Are you also having trouble with your fridge? I notice most of the posts refer to Basecamp models.

switz 06-20-2019 08:36 AM

In our 2015 23D and 2014 31’ Classic, we changed to a Italian marine refrigerator that has a 12Vdc Freon based Dan Foss compressor. They also have a small 120Vac inverter to create 12Vdc when on shore power.

We have five 100 watt solar panels on the roof of the 23D with a 300 amp hour lithium battery. The Classic has nine 100 watt solar panels on the roof and a 600 amp hour lithium battery..

There are alternatives out there to the Dometic refrigerators that use the over 100 year old ammonia cooling process

abutters 06-20-2019 09:13 AM

Our 2019 BasecampX with a Dometic fridge is performing very well on propane and shore power.
We traveled 2600 miles so far on this trip with daytime temps while driving as high as 96 degrees and the maximum temp reached in the fridge has been 41 degrees after 6 hours on the road traveling at 65 mph. Starting temp is 33 to 34. I use a good digital thermometer that also measure humidity and keep it on the middle shelf. We always follow best practices by packing with cold food and leaving some air space.
The large and fairly loud fan does kick on and stays on until the fridge cools back to the lower 30's but always shuts off well before bedtime and the fridge is basically silent through the night.
We dry camped for several days and the big fan does kick on and off during the day but temps in the fridge stayed in the 30's. We also parked in a friend's driveway for 5 days (in an HOA no less - try that with a 25' Cloud) on shore power in direct sun in hot temps and the big fan cycled on basically the same intervals as it did with propane.
Ours is a September 2019 build date with the redesigned vents and reshaped propane cover but it is still the Dometic fridge. The Norcold arrived in December builds.

OTRA15 06-20-2019 10:46 AM

Thank you for the excellent detailed update.

Did you mean to say this?
Quote:

Originally Posted by abutters (Post 2254667)
. . .
Ours is a September 2019 build date with the redesigned vents and reshaped propane cover but it is still the Dometic fridge. The Norcold arrived in December builds.

2018 build date maybe?

Thanks,

Peter

abutters 06-21-2019 08:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OTRA15 (Post 2254714)
Thank you for the excellent detailed update.

Did you mean to say this?


2018 build date maybe?

Thanks,

Peter

No I meant to say 2019. It is stickered and titled as a 2019. They start building them before the end of the prior year, just like automobiles. In fact I saw a 2020 Basecamp listed for sale just yesterday.

MrKenmore 06-21-2019 04:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by abutters (Post 2254667)
Ours is a September 2019 build date with the redesigned vents and reshaped propane cover but it is still the Dometic fridge. The Norcold arrived in December builds.

I wasn't aware the propane cover was redesigned. Do you have some pics you could share? I guess the vents as well. Thanks.

OTRA15 06-21-2019 05:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by abutters (Post 2255114)
No I meant to say 2019. It is stickered and titled as a 2019. They start building them before the end of the prior year, just like automobiles. In fact I saw a 2020 Basecamp listed for sale just yesterday.

So the model year is 2019, but clearly the "build date" is not "September 2019." Just trying to be precise with the terminology.


:blink:

switz 06-22-2019 07:38 AM

Our 2013 25FB International Serenity was built in June of 2012. Our 2014 Classic was started 22 December of 2013 and finished in January 2014. Our 2015 23D was build in September of 2014.

So Airstreams model year in July 1 to the end of June.

Pocket22 06-22-2019 09:34 AM

Dometic Fridge RM2551
 
I just wanted to post an update on our Dometic Fridge RM 2551 in our 2017 23FB Flying Cloud (manufactured in 2016). After picking it up from the service department, it will not work well on shore power, but performs wonderfully on LP. We have run many tests—repeating them before I reposted, —ambient temp, counter temp, inside fridge and freezer temps using regular thermometers and infrared. The freezer works fantastic with well below subzero temps on either shore or LP. The fridge is the only issue on shore power. However, we need for it to work on shore power.


It seems, that if a refrigerator is advertised and engineered to run on either shore power or LP, that it should be able to do both. Our fridge will not cool to food safety temps on shore power, even if ambient temps are temperate and with the addition of three, yes, three fans. Our camping friends tease that we sound like an F-16 preparing for take-off.

Has anyone experienced this same issue—fridge working fine on LP, but not shore power? If so, were you able to have it repaired? The thermistor and cooling unit have been replaced and the fridge area has only worked anemically in shore mode from day of purchase with temps ranging from 45-55 not over-packed with food and minimal opening of door to retrieve food, etc. It is as if it can not recover quick enough to ensure safe temps. Ironically, through all this, the freezer works well, again, on either power.

Thank you kindly for any words of wisdom. I'm glad we joined this valuable group!

LABC 06-22-2019 05:30 PM

Our 2019 Basecamp X will not cool below 62/63 degrees on propane in northern Louisiana with temps in 90's. I've tested on three different occasions with a bluetooth thermometer that graphs the temperature change. Once it hits 62/63, it never goes lower. Thermistor is set all the way up. When on 30A power, it cools down to 30's and keeps freezer items frozen.

We purchased late last year when it was cool and I expressed my concern with summer cooling on propane to the dealer sales team who promised me it was fixed in the 2019 and not to worry. We purchased with intent to do a lot of boondocking on our land, but we can't rely on the fridge to keep our food safe to eat. This was my first RV, if I can't trust Airstream to keep their promises, then who can I trust?

uncle_bob 06-23-2019 09:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pocket22 (Post 2255471)
I just wanted to post an update on our Dometic Fridge RM 2551 in our 2017 23FB Flying Cloud (manufactured in 2016). After picking it up from the service department, it will not work well on shore power, but performs wonderfully on LP. We have run many tests—repeating them before I reposted, —ambient temp, counter temp, inside fridge and freezer temps using regular thermometers and infrared. The freezer works fantastic with well below subzero temps on either shore or LP. The fridge is the only issue on shore power. However, we need for it to work on shore power.


It seems, that if a refrigerator is advertised and engineered to run on either shore power or LP, that it should be able to do both. Our fridge will not cool to food safety temps on shore power, even if ambient temps are temperate and with the addition of three, yes, three fans. Our camping friends tease that we sound like an F-16 preparing for take-off.

Has anyone experienced this same issue—fridge working fine on LP, but not shore power? If so, were you able to have it repaired? The thermistor and cooling unit have been replaced and the fridge area has only worked anemically in shore mode from day of purchase with temps ranging from 45-55 not over-packed with food and minimal opening of door to retrieve food, etc. It is as if it can not recover quick enough to ensure safe temps. Ironically, through all this, the freezer works well, again, on either power.

Thank you kindly for any words of wisdom. I'm glad we joined this valuable group!

Hi

There is only one cooling system in these gizmos. The same system cools the freezer as cools the fridge. If the freezer is getting down to your target temperatures, then the system *is* working. If it gets to the same temperatures on propane as on shore, it is working the same on both of them.

The temperature in the freezer vs fridge sections is purely related to the position of the sensor. You move the sensor to adjust things. Yes it's clunky and not a pushbutton sort of thing. It is how you do it. Too far one way and the top of the fridge freezes. Too far the other way and the fridge is too warm.

If shore power is what bugs you, adjust it when on shore power. Figure on leaving it alone overnight (door closed, normally loaded) before you check the adjustment. The same thing is true of checking temperatures. It takes a while for these fridges to stabilize.

Bob

switz 06-23-2019 09:42 AM

Treat any sales persons statements as fiction as their job is to sell. They do not have to live with the item after the buyer leaves the premises.

The Basecamp was never properly tested in the Southwest heat. The enclosure was not per Dometic design recommendation at the time from all the readings of user bad experience. The cooling issue has been there since the first unit came off the line.

So the first rule is Caveat Emperor or buyer beware. One must do extreme research before buying. Airstream is squirting the units out so fast that the quality control just does not get implemented in a uniform manner. Even the over $165,000 Classics have major issues let alone the over $200,000 Class B vans.

Airstream is relying on the, at best, incompetent dealerships to do their after the fact quality control. Airstream would be much more profitable if all issues were fixed at the factory before the units left. Then Airstreams would be worthy of their name and have a reputation of quality vs just another problem plagued RV.

OTRA15 06-23-2019 10:35 AM

Normally I don’t like to Quote the previous post, but switz’s cogent summary is worth reading a few times IMO. Amazingly, Airstream does not appear to have been sued yet for the Basecamp fridge’s design defect, by either a consumer or Thor shareholder.

:blink:

[in my personal opinion]

Peter

Quote:

Originally Posted by switz (Post 2255883)
Treat any sales persons statements as fiction as their job is to sell. They do not have to live with the item after the buyer leaves the premises.

The Basecamp was never properly tested in the Southwest heat. The enclosure was not per Dometic design recommendation at the time from all the readings of user bad experience. The cooling issue has been there since the first unit came off the line.

So the first rule is Caveat Emperor or buyer beware. One must do extreme research before buying. Airstream is squirting the units out so fast that the quality control just does not get implemented in a uniform manner. Even the over $165,000 Classics have major issues let alone the over $200,000 Class B vans.

Airstream is relying on the, at best, incompetent dealerships to do their after the fact quality control. Airstream would be much more profitable if all issues were fixed at the factory before the units left. Then Airstreams would be worthy of their name and have a reputation of quality vs just another problem plagued RV.


Bborzell 06-29-2019 05:11 PM

And so it goes...
 
1 Attachment(s)
Just prior to our road trip up north (w/o Basecamp) I called AS to discuss my ongoing problem with fridge heating up and killing food. I wanted to discuss swapping out for the compressor fridge that AS decided was a better option for new Basecamps (which was what I suggest to to them some 18 months ago to no avail).

Customer service response was that the new spec fridge would not fit without major cabinet mods and that they believed that swapping out the humongous heat sink propane box for an aluminum box was working for a number of customers (did I mention that I had made this suggestion to AS 2 years ago following surface box readings of 140 degrees to similar no avail?).

So while we were up north, my dealer ordered, received and installed a new propane box. Been busy with other stuff so I have not begun the fridge monitoring program (mainly because our summer dropped back to fall and it is currently 68 degrees outside at 2 pm).

Don’t know if it will do the trick, but I think it looks a ton better than the black box. Gotta find space for the electrical cord and jacks crank.

Stay tuned for updates.

OTRA15 06-30-2019 04:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bborzell (Post 2258516)
. . .
Stay tuned for updates.

Thanks for the recent update to your thread!

[Post #1 from almost two years ago -- click on orange arrow to go directly there]
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).
. . .

Well done . . . to stay on top of this and hold Airstream to its commitments.

Surprising [IMO] that the company and Thor management have not seen their heads roll over such profound design defects like this, and the fleet-wide axle recall because the tires hit the body.

You can't make this stuff up . .

:blink:

dgirvin 07-05-2019 09:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by abutters (Post 2254667)
Our 2019 BasecampX with a Dometic fridge is performing very well on propane and shore power.
We traveled 2600 miles so far on this trip with daytime temps while driving as high as 96 degrees and the maximum temp reached in the fridge has been 41 degrees after 6 hours on the road traveling at 65 mph. Starting temp is 33 to 34. I use a good digital thermometer that also measure humidity and keep it on the middle shelf. We always follow best practices by packing with cold food and leaving some air space.
The large and fairly loud fan does kick on and stays on until the fridge cools back to the lower 30's but always shuts off well before bedtime and the fridge is basically silent through the night.
We dry camped for several days and the big fan does kick on and off during the day but temps in the fridge stayed in the 30's. We also parked in a friend's driveway for 5 days (in an HOA no less - try that with a 25' Cloud) on shore power in direct sun in hot temps and the big fan cycled on basically the same intervals as it did with propane.
Ours is a September 2019 build date with the redesigned vents and reshaped propane cover but it is still the Dometic fridge. The Norcold arrived in December builds.



I’m having the same experience with mine. This past weekend was in the 90s with high humidity and my fridge (Oct 2019 build - propane/electric. Fridge worked perfectly, kept food cool and made ice cubes in a couple of hours. Fan only ran on propane while on the highway.

Bborzell 07-06-2019 11:11 AM

Given that I had argued for replacing the black plastic propane tank cover from which I had recorded temperatures exceeding 140 F last year, one might think that I have confidence that the swap to the aluminum tank cover will rescue the Dometic absorption fridge from a life of killing food, but confidence has been an elusive commodity on the fridge front since we discovered our first of too many losses of food some two years ago.

That said, I am back at documenting temps and conditions now that AS has replaced the cover. I will also note ambient temperature as well as surface temp of the new aluminum tank cover and the old plastic cover which is sitting alongside the Basecamp and in the same line of sight of the sun.

As of this morning at 7 am, the outside temp was 62 as was the temp for both covers. Fridge temp was 36F with freezer at -1F.

So far so good. High today is predicted at 88F. Stay tuned.

Bborzell 07-06-2019 11:47 AM

That did’t take long...
 
4 Attachment(s)
It is 9:40 am and the outside temp is 80F. Here are some readings with photos.

Difference between how the two covers deal with radiant/reflective heat is pretty telling. The side of the Basecamp was 120F. Over 150F for the plastic tank cover is pretty incredible. The aluminum cover is at 100F.

Fridge is creeping up toward 42F, but I might have caught it on the high end of typical fluctuation. Additional readings will answer that question. Freezer is close to the reading from earlier this morning.

Sorry about the 90 degree flip.

Bborzell 07-06-2019 03:06 PM

12:30 pm 85 degrees BC not in direct sun
 
Black plastic propane cover is 122 degrees, aluminum propane cover is 94, freezer still at 1 degree but fridge box has risen to 46.5 (beginning to think that the box is not well insulated). Exhaust air from top vent is 105.

LABC 07-07-2019 10:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dgirvin (Post 2260951)
I’m having the same experience with mine. This past weekend was in the 90s with high humidity and my fridge (Oct 2019 build - propane/electric. Fridge worked perfectly, kept food cool and made ice cubes in a couple of hours. Fan only ran on propane while on the highway.

Was this experience entirely on propane? No shore power used at all?


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