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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)

LABC 07-07-2019 10:26 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.

Are you using shore power to get the initial temps down? My 2019 BCX will not take the temp below 60's on propane in 95+ degree weather.

dgirvin 07-08-2019 03:43 AM

I ran the fridge for the first 1 1/2 days on props to get it cooled down. It had made ice cubes by the end of the first day. Fan ran most of the day while on propane. After 2 days I was on shore power and it worked perfectly. The fan never came on on shore power. Last day was back on propane with fan running most of the day and temp stayed the same.

abutters 07-08-2019 09:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LABC (Post 2261768)
Are you using shore power to get the initial temps down? My 2019 BCX will not take the temp below 60's on propane in 95+ degree weather.

24 hours prior to our departure from FL we did start out on shore power. We also precooled the fridge with a couple of ice packs. But we did that with our 25' International , our class B Phoenix Cruiser and our class A Trek. It's always been the case for us that RV refrigerators cannot be expected to perform as our home refrigerator.

With that said I agree with the consensus that the Dometic fridge and the black propane cover should both be upgraded respectively to the new fridge and the aluminum cover. Because although we experienced satisfactory results traveling in June through the south and midwest I am not so sure that when we venture west in August and dry camp along the Colorado river in Moab that we will be happy with the current arrangement.

Bborzell 07-08-2019 11:35 AM

There has been a fair amount of chasing temps over the past few days. This morning the box was 36 and the freezer -3. This has all been on AC here at home.

Biggest eye opener is the difference between the two propane covers. Though it is 65 degrees outside, the aluminum cover is reading 82 degrees with the sun on it while the black cover is sitting at 135 degrees. Add the large mass of the black cover to the higher surface temperature and you get an enormous heat sink.

Even with the poor cabinet ventilation design, the black plastic propane tank cover is the kiss of death to any chance of reliable heat exhaust through the front vent for any BC with the absorption fridge.

Reports of some decent performance under warmer conditions are not surprising to me as the number of variables affecting overall performance is high and changes with locality, humidity, sun angle, etc.

My suggestion to anyone with a BC with an absorption fridge who is not entirely satisfied with their fridge ability to keep food safe once the box has been appropriately cooled prior to a trip is to consider the propane cover change.

abutters 07-09-2019 10:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bborzell (Post 2261956)
There has been a fair amount of chasing temps over the past few days. This morning the box was 36 and the freezer -3. This has all been on AC here at home.

Biggest eye opener is the difference between the two propane covers. Though it is 65 degrees outside, the aluminum cover is reading 82 degrees with the sun on it while the black cover is sitting at 135 degrees. Add the large mass of the black cover to the higher surface temperature and you get an enormous heat sink.

Even with the poor cabinet ventilation design, the black plastic propane tank cover is the kiss of death to any chance of reliable heat exhaust through the front vent for any BC with the absorption fridge.

Reports of some decent performance under warmer conditions are not surprising to me as the number of variables affecting overall performance is high and changes with locality, humidity, sun angle, etc.

My suggestion to anyone with a BC with an absorption fridge who is not entirely satisfied with their fridge ability to keep food safe once the box has been appropriately cooled prior to a trip is to consider the propane cover change.

I live 800 hundreds miles away from my selling dealer. Can I ask the closest dealer to perform the change to the aluminum cover and do it under warranty? Or will they look at me as if I have two heads?

navathehutt 07-09-2019 01:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by abutters (Post 2262379)
I live 800 hundreds miles away from my selling dealer. Can I ask the closest dealer to perform the change to the aluminum cover and do it under warranty? Or will they look at me as if I have two heads?


You don't have to go to your selling dealer for warranty work. Mine sucks so I'm headed to a 5 star rivet dealer that I worked with a/s customer support.

Lot of airstreamers are on the road and probably can tell you good ones near you.

Hopefully the more experienced dealers will know how about the issue.

Bborzell 07-10-2019 12:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by abutters (Post 2262379)
I live 800 hundreds miles away from my selling dealer. Can I ask the closest dealer to perform the change to the aluminum cover and do it under warranty? Or will they look at me as if I have two heads?

You would probably have to scour through a ton of these posts in order to make sense of how I got the aluminum propane cover. Here is the short version:

I called AS Customer Service with a proposal that they work with me to exchange the absorption fridge for a compressor. The fellow I spoke with said that they had to modify the cabinetry for the new fridge. He proposed that they send an aluminum cover to my dealer and install it.

While I am not convinced that the cover is a reliable fix for the problem of the box heating up under reasonably expected camping conditions, it is an issue I brought up to AS nearly two years ago because I knew that the black cover absorbed and stored significant heat from the sun reflection and that the vent was an inch or so away from that heat source. Since changing the cover was my proposal back then, it seemed like a good idea to see if it helped.

My dealer was the middle man. They had not done this swap up until now. It was pretty much between me and AS. I am guessing that the number of dealers who have gone this route can be counted on the fingers of half of my right hand. You should start with AS. Any dealer should be willing to do it if AS covers the cost as they did mine.

Guess it wasn’t that short.

OTRA15 07-10-2019 08:55 AM

Prospective purchasers should force themselves to read each and every post in this thread, in order accurately to perceive the two corporate entities Airstream and parent Thor.

Time well spent.

:mad::wally::mad:

PS — “Split not thy infinitives!”

abutters 07-11-2019 05:21 PM

Everything I read regarding safe food storage sites 40 degrees as the upper limit. I used a digital thermometer to monitor the temps in our BCX fridge on our recent trip that spanned 28 days and 4500 miles. What I didn't think of using was my laser thermometer that could read the surface temperature of the foods and drinks inside the fridge. I was only measuring the air temperature in the fridge which reached temps above 40 degrees every day that we spent on the road. So I am unsure of whether I was keeping food at safe temperatures in my 2019 Basecamp X with the Dometic fridge or if I was not.

uncle_bob 07-12-2019 09:40 AM

Hi

I certainly will not argue that letting food get warm is a great way to be safe .... When you dig into the "magic temperature" for storage, there are a lot of assumptions made. The amount of time the food is at this or that temperature does matter. A very normal home fridge likely runs a "defrost cycle" from time to time. It's set up to be short enough to not matter a lot.

Various studies measure temperature different ways. Is it the "box temperature", the surface temperature, or the core temperature of the food? Depending on which one you use, the numbers (temperature and time) come up different.

Next up is the sort of food you are dealing with. Some stuff ( = that bottle of soy sauce), one wonders if there *is* a study that shows the need for refrigeration. With raw chicken, yup there are a *lot* of studies.

Any fridge (or oven or room or ...) will have a variation in temperature in it. The sensor position matters. One gotcha with most of these fridges is that the sensor is often at the cold(er) end of the fridge. The stock readout (if there is one) is being a bit optimistic when it tells you the fridge is at 32F.

So is 32, 36, 38 or 41 the magic fridge temperature? That depends ....

=====

If you start using an IR thermometer to work things out - understand how they do their thing. The surface you are "looking at". Color / reflectivity does not just apply to visible light. At IR it gets lumped into a number called emissivity.

We used to have to paint test samples flat black to get highly accurate readings. If you are worrying about a coupe of degrees, chicken wrapped in aluminum foil vs in brown paper is going to fake you out.

Bob

Philly77 07-15-2019 07:49 PM

Completed a 5200mi journey in our basecamp. As expected the fridge didn’t perform. Most temps inside fridge were 50-65deg in the southwest. All mods have been done up to this point.
Spoke to Airstream tech support about 2020 Basecamp “Novakool” compressor fridge .
Person knew little about specs,size, or if there will be a recall.
Soo Airstream wants to be top dog but not stand behind their product or ENGINEERING?
How about you act like an upstanding company and have a recall before your handed a class action lawsuit!
You know this has been a problem since 2017-
Airstreams reaction to this engineering flaw will dictate my future purchases of their product.

LABC 07-15-2019 11:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philly77 (Post 2264906)
Completed a 5200mi journey in our basecamp. As expected the fridge didn’t perform. Most temps inside fridge were 50-65deg in the southwest. All mods have been done up to this point.
Spoke to Airstream tech support about 2020 Basecamp “Novakool” compressor fridge .
Person knew little about specs,size, or if there will be a recall.
Soo Airstream wants to be top dog but not stand behind their product or ENGINEERING?
How about you act like an upstanding company and have a recall before your handed a class action lawsuit!
You know this has been a problem since 2017-
Airstreams reaction to this engineering flaw will dictate my future purchases of their product.

Just to confirm, you were running on propane while getting the 50-65 degrees? I can't break low 60's on propane in Southeast. Electric works fine, though, just wanting to confirm we're on the same page.

Philly77 07-16-2019 08:26 AM

Yes running on propane full time. We were boondocking 40-50% of the time.
To put it bluntly I had zero confidence in feeding my family anything out of the refrigerator on electric or propane. It doesn't matter when outside temps are anywhere between 80-105deg.
Airstream KNOWS their fixes arent going to solve this.
Why else would they put a compressor fridge in the 2020 units?
Think about it.

abutters 07-16-2019 10:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philly77 (Post 2265015)
Yes running on propane full time. We were boondocking 40-50% of the time.
To put it bluntly I had zero confidence in feeding my family anything out of the refrigerator on electric or propane. It doesn't matter when outside temps are anywhere between 80-105deg.
Airstream KNOWS their fixes arent going to solve this.
Why else would they put a compressor fridge in the 2020 units?
Think about it.

I sold a high end product made by a publicly held manufacturer for a number of years. We had several endemic component failures over a 15 year period but the only failure that was publicly acknowledged to the dealer network with a specific correction plan was a failure that fell under the CPSC - Consumer Product Safety Commission. So if Airstream owners and their families are endangered and getting sick from food stored at unsafe temperatures then maybe the only way we can all be made whole is by reporting our experiences to the government. Has anyone gotten sick from eating food out of their Basecamp refrigerator? Or had to throw unsafe food away?

ColoradoBCer 07-17-2019 09:04 AM

Just adding my name to the list: 2017 build, black propane covers purchased new at Windish RV in Colorado. The fridge is basically a fancy shelf that is definitely not safe for perishable foods or drinks. I’m calling Windish today to see if they’ve done any work on these.

YoungishJedi 07-18-2019 07:53 AM

Our trailer is back with the dealer now waiting for service. According to the dealers service department AS and Dometic have come up with a list of things that they want to get checked out. Allegedly they're really starting to take this seriously. <eyeroll>

At this point we're 2 years without a working fridge and several 'fixes' that have only wasted time. I'm trying to stay optimistic but Airstream needs to get it's act together. We paid too much money for these issues.

OTRA15 07-18-2019 08:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YoungishJedi (Post 2265854)
. . .
. . . 2 years without a working fridge . . .
. . .
. . . I'm trying to stay optimistic . . .
. . .

:bb:

I have a bridge you might be interested in buying . . .

:D

Sorry for the suffering Airstream and parent corp. Thor have put you through.

:sad:

Bborzell 07-18-2019 06:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YoungishJedi (Post 2265854)
Our trailer is back with the dealer now waiting for service. According to the dealers service department AS and Dometic have come up with a list of things that they want to get checked out. Allegedly they're really starting to take this seriously. <eyeroll>

At this point we're 2 years without a working fridge and several 'fixes' that have only wasted time. I'm trying to stay optimistic but Airstream needs to get it's act together. We paid too much money for these issues.

Have the fixes included swapping out the propane tank cover?

ColoradoBCer 07-19-2019 10:24 AM

Update: I have a mid-October appointment with my dealer, Windish RV in Lakewood, Colorado. The person I spoke with said there’s a new service bulletin for the fridge. They’ll need it for 3-4 weeks and, if I heard correctly, a second battery is being added. He sounded confident so, I’m optimistic. Unfortunately, it’ll be approximately 11months before I can let everyone know if it worked... Other than the fridge, the Basecamp has performed to expectations. We like it.

AirstreamInc 07-19-2019 03:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YoungishJedi (Post 2265854)
Our trailer is back with the dealer now waiting for service. According to the dealers service department AS and Dometic have come up with a list of things that they want to get checked out. Allegedly they're really starting to take this seriously. <eyeroll>

At this point we're 2 years without a working fridge and several 'fixes' that have only wasted time. I'm trying to stay optimistic but Airstream needs to get it's act together. We paid too much money for these issues.

Hi YoungishJedi,*

We're very sorry to learn about the issues you are having. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us for assistance by sending us a direct message with your contact information and the last 6 digits of your VIN so we can share it with our Customer Service and Technical Support team.

You can also reach Airstream Customer Service and Technical Support at*customer_support@airstream.com*

Thank you.*


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