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Old 01-12-2022, 10:30 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by dsatwork View Post
According to Marc at Keep Your Day Dream, who has two of these now one in his Airstream and one in his BlueBird Wanderlodge. I confirmed via email and has made the same assertion on his latest video "BlueBird Wanderlodge RV Tour: Pros & Cons" linked below, the Dometic 4101 uses about 50 watts an hour.

That's 600 watt hours or approximately 50 AH per day. 600/12=50AH



I too am considering the Dometic 4101 but I have 500AH Battle Born Battery bank and 400 watts of solar on the roof and 400 watts of ground deploy which I plan to test thoroughly before making the change.

Those numbers look right to me, and with your solar and batteries setup I think you are golden.

About a year ago I researched this quite a bit including a good discussion with Nova Kool tech support. My conclusion assuming a 50% duty cycle was that a single compressor fridge would use about 30Ah per day and a dual compressor about 60Ah per day.

The big variable is the ambient temperature effect on duty cycle. Here is the data I got from Nova Kool:

— 70 degrees, 35-40%
— 80 degrees, 55%
— 90 degrees, 100%
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Old 01-12-2022, 11:57 AM   #22
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Good question. The electricity used by an absorption fridge is used by the control system only (not at all for the cooling process) so it is constant. The .3 amps was measured by the Victron 712 while the fridge was turned on, and confirmed by a 24 hour consumption of 7Ah. I have been watching this closely and the .3 never varies and I have tracked the 7Ah per day every time we go out, including a 10 consecutive day trip.



Note: this is a small (3 cu ft) fridge, and other Forum members have reported higher draws from larger absorption fridges. Since it is just a control board I don’t know why that would be the case, but I trust the reports.


Thank You! That makes me happy, I was thinking of moving to a 12v, not so much now.
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Old 01-12-2022, 12:12 PM   #23
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Thank You! That makes me happy, I was thinking of moving to a 12v, not so much now.
When my 14 year old absorption fridge failed I had planned to go to electric only because there are some benefits. But when I got past the marketing hype and saw how much power they really used, I bought a new absorption fridge. We camp unplugged almost exclusively, and in our Rocky Mountain environment we do great with only one Battle Born 100Ah battery and no rooftop solar, just a 100w portable for backup.
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Old 01-12-2022, 03:04 PM   #24
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Thanks all. There is a lot of good info here. We would be good to go if we decide to switch to the 12V only given our existing lithium install and our planned solar install (and generator if needed).

Now, we just need to decide what we'll be doing.

Jeff.
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Old 01-12-2022, 03:40 PM   #25
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I am saddened to hear that absorption refrigerators may no longer be made. I am thinking that vintage units such as mine will need extensive rewiring, an increase in battery capacity and probably solar or a generator. Not good for someone who wants to keep things original as well as usable.
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Old 01-12-2022, 03:42 PM   #26
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I am saddened to hear that absorption refrigerators may no longer be made. I am thinking that vintage units such as mine will need extensive rewiring, an increase in battery capacity and probably solar or a generator. Not good for someone who wants to keep things original as well as usable.
My guess is that they will still be available for quite a while from the secondary market, like the Amish built cooling units
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Old 01-12-2022, 05:33 PM   #27
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Our absorption fridge works so so and we've had issues when we boondock in hot areas (we are in UT and boondock in a lot of hot places). I don't worry too much about the propane in motion, although it is something I think about. We have a pretty good lithium battery bank and are planning on a solar install to help keep things charged, and as part of the project I've been noodling on a 12V fridge.

Honestly, I think that we'd be fine for a few years at least with our absorption fridge, but I'm starting to do some thinking about a switch.
We generally stay in National Parks and Monuments so rarely have access to shore power. Our absorption fridge does fine on Propane when the weather is cool and nights cold - when the weather heats up we "help" it buy keeping a bag of ice (or block ice) in the fridge in a plastic bucket. This gives us meltwater to drink, and ice for gin and tonics - I would not give up my propane option for all electric. We don't always have access to sun (Hoh rainforest comes to mind) and watch every amp of power. It might work for you if you always stay in powered sites, but if you plan to sell, you would need to find a buyer who would camp in the same way.
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Old 01-13-2022, 07:17 AM   #28
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Hi Bob:

I've tried to find out where it is illegal in the US to tow with a propane fridge lit and haven't had great success. Any references where you shouldn't tow with a lit fridge?

Jeff.
Hi

The fun is, there isn't a lot of easy to find data. You chug down the road and there's a sign. Maybe it's telling you about a restriction going through the middle of Baltimore (no lit propane in that tunnel). Possibly it's telling you about no lit propane in another tunnel (the one already mentioned heading out of Norfolk VA). It might be one on the PA turnpike that doesn't actually restrict lit propane.

That's all within a short drive of here.

Ferries worry me less because there is normally a sit and wait process. You have time to do this or that to turn things off. Zipping along in traffic, likely not so much.

If you need a way to spend some quality time, dig into the multitude of threads that proclaim that any time you are fueling or at a place that dispenses fuel, the propane should be off. They go into all sorts of hypothetical problems if you don't do so. No that's not a law or a regulation, but it is something a lot of people apparently believe in.

The "stock" recommendation seems to be to turn off propane while in motion. At least for us that just isn't going to work. Driving 6 to 8 hours with the trailer at 100 degrees *will* warm up that fridge to dangerous levels. The limited cooling capacity may or may not get it down to a safe temperature by midnight ....

So yes, there are "concerns" about propane. I'm *not* in any way saying they all are valid concerns. We chug down the road with our fridge running.

Bob
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Old 01-13-2022, 08:02 AM   #29
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Not sure that turning off the propane is a stock recommendation, but I'm sure many do this.

If someone is waiting until they are on the road to see signs about propane restrictions, they've waited too long to get the information. Waiting for the signs about propane restrictions (or height & weight limitations) is failing to do proper route planning. Yes, there will be situations that you cannot pre-plan, but most things like this shouldn't be a surprise.

Route planning is something every truck driver is aware of and should be doing. Unfortunately most RV drivers either are not aware or just don't want to spend the time doing proper route planning, which includes knowing about things like propane restrictions before encountering them. There are not that many and with the advent of the internet information is available to everyone.
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Old 01-14-2022, 07:01 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
Not sure that turning off the propane is a stock recommendation, but I'm sure many do this.

If someone is waiting until they are on the road to see signs about propane restrictions, they've waited too long to get the information. Waiting for the signs about propane restrictions (or height & weight limitations) is failing to do proper route planning. Yes, there will be situations that you cannot pre-plan, but most things like this shouldn't be a surprise.

Route planning is something every truck driver is aware of and should be doing. Unfortunately most RV drivers either are not aware or just don't want to spend the time doing proper route planning, which includes knowing about things like propane restrictions before encountering them. There are not that many and with the advent of the internet information is available to everyone.
Hi

Ok, I'll ask, what single site can I go to and put in my route on a map and see the various restrictions spelled out? I seem to have not found that one yet.

Bob
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Old 01-14-2022, 07:30 AM   #31
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Hi



Ok, I'll ask, what single site can I go to and put in my route on a map and see the various restrictions spelled out? I seem to have not found that one yet.



Bob
There is no single site that I know of. Didn't think I said that.

When I learned to do route planning I was taught to use multiple resources including the Motor Carrier's Atlas, Google Maps, a good GPS unit, and an online search when necessary.

Finding propane restrictions is not difficult. I usually do a search online for something like "Baltimore propane driving restrictions" and go from there.

I just did this search and one of the first results was from Maryland.gov with a FAQs about the subject, and the first item was this: Why can't I take my RV or camper through either the Baltimore Harbor or the Fort McHenry Tunnels?

I'm not saying it's a one step operation to get the information but I am saying it's out there, easy to find, and the responsibility of every RV driver to get before hitting the road. The only times I am typically caught off guard is when there is a road closure or detour which dumps me onto unknown roads, and in those situations I will pull over as soon as possible to do safely, and then check out the route before continuing.

I've had to back out of bad situations (literally) a couple of times early on as a result of not doing proper route planning and learned my lesson.
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Old 01-15-2022, 07:01 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
There is no single site that I know of. Didn't think I said that.

When I learned to do route planning I was taught to use multiple resources including the Motor Carrier's Atlas, Google Maps, a good GPS unit, and an online search when necessary.

Finding propane restrictions is not difficult. I usually do a search online for something like "Baltimore propane driving restrictions" and go from there.

I just did this search and one of the first results was from Maryland.gov with a FAQs about the subject, and the first item was this: Why can't I take my RV or camper through either the Baltimore Harbor or the Fort McHenry Tunnels?

I'm not saying it's a one step operation to get the information but I am saying it's out there, easy to find, and the responsibility of every RV driver to get before hitting the road. The only times I am typically caught off guard is when there is a road closure or detour which dumps me onto unknown roads, and in those situations I will pull over as soon as possible to do safely, and then check out the route before continuing.

I've had to back out of bad situations (literally) a couple of times early on as a result of not doing proper route planning and learned my lesson.
Hi

No you didn't say it was a single site. You said it was easy in this day and age.

The tunnel through the center of Baltimore is an example of one that does not get much publicity. The Signs on the road are what tell you it's a no-no.

Bob
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Old 01-15-2022, 07:08 AM   #33
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Hi

No you didn't say it was a single site. You said it was easy in this day and age.

The tunnel through the center of Baltimore is an example of one that does not get much publicity. The Signs on the road are what tell you it's a no-no.

Bob
It is easy. The following information took me less than a minute to find. Lots of information about this all over the internet.

Assuming that this the Baltimore tunnel you're talking about?

https://mdta.maryland.gov/Toll_Facilities/qanda.html#rv

If so, it's only a problem if you carry tanks larger than 10 lbs or more than 10 of them. Since most of our tanks are 30 lbs tanks, obviously we'll need to look to their alternative route suggestions.

Here's the info from their website:

Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) govern the transport of hazardous materials across our toll facilities. Under these regulations, vehicles carrying bottled propane gas in excess of 10 pounds per container (maximum of 10 containers), bulk gasoline, explosives, significant amounts of radioactive materials, and other hazardous materials are prohibited from using the Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95) or the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel (I-895). The Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695, the Baltimore Beltway) is a convenient alternative route for crossing Baltimore's Harbor.

Visit the Division of State Documents' website at www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/ to view the actual COMAR regulations: Title 11, Subtitle 7, Chapter 1 (11.07.01).
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Old 01-16-2022, 06:39 AM   #34
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Hi

Once you *know* that there is a tunnel because somebody told you, then yes, you can find the data. The point is: finding that information for a route you just decided on 5 minutes ago (while in motion) is not what I would call "easy".

Bob
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:50 AM   #35
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Hi Bob:

I've tried to find out where it is illegal in the US to tow with a propane fridge lit and haven't had great success. Any references where you shouldn't tow with a lit fridge?

Jeff.
Here in WA and also in BC Canada, you are required to shut off your propane on Ferries.
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Old 01-16-2022, 12:55 PM   #36
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Hi

Once you *know* that there is a tunnel because somebody told you, then yes, you can find the data. The point is: finding that information for a route you just decided on 5 minutes ago (while in motion) is not what I would call "easy".

Bob
You're correct - choosing a route on the fly is difficult and potentially fraught with problems. This is the reason that I mentioned earlier that if I have to veer from my planned route I will pull over as soon as it's safe to do so and confirm before proceeding further ahead.

There are many resources out there to use for route planning, and while some smaller/shorter tunnels may sneak up on even the most careful planners, those with restrictions are usually pretty well known and show up on things like the Motor Carriers Atlas and on GPS systems aimed at the RV market.

I try very hard to never just wander down the road without having first done some homework, since backing up a motor home or travel trailer to avoid something you can't pass really sucks. Those few times it is truly not avoidable it is critical not to miss even one sign - sometimes there is just one sign before the only turn off before some type of restriction.

Side note - the Motor Carriers Atlas is not just for motor carriers. It's a great resource for anyone driving anything larger than a passenger car down the roads, especially if you have concerns about height/weight/propane restrictions.
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Old 01-16-2022, 02:18 PM   #37
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A friend of mine bought a motorhome with a compressor fridge. His system was pretty well thought out. Fridge ran on battery power untill the batteries were below a certain point then his generator automatically kicked in. Worked fine till the fridge broke down. According to his RV Tech (who he described as a seasoned vet) compressor fridges don't hold up to bouncing down highways, a lot more moving parts than an absorption.
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Old 01-16-2022, 04:45 PM   #38
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A friend of mine bought a motorhome with a compressor fridge. His system was pretty well thought out. Fridge ran on battery power untill the batteries were below a certain point then his generator automatically kicked in. Worked fine till the fridge broke down. According to his RV Tech (who he described as a seasoned vet) compressor fridges don't hold up to bouncing down highways, a lot more moving parts than an absorption.
Was this a residential fridge? If so, you're correct in that they are not designed for use in a moving vehicle.

The one in my coach is specifically designed for vehicle use though, and has a good track record. They've been used in boats, trucks, and motor homes for years now.
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Old 01-16-2022, 05:50 PM   #39
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Good question. The electricity used by an absorption fridge is used by the control system only (not at all for the cooling process) so it is constant. The .3 amps was measured by the Victron 712 while the fridge was turned on, and confirmed by a 24 hour consumption of 7Ah. I have been watching this closely and the .3 never varies and I have tracked the 7Ah per day every time we go out, including a 10 consecutive day trip.



Note: this is a small (3 cu ft) fridge, and other Forum members have reported higher draws from larger absorption fridges. Since it is just a control board I don’t know why that would be the case, but I trust the reports.
Actually, the amount of electricity used by an absorption fridge can vary for several reasons.

When the propane burner comes on, electricity is used to open the gas valve. On my trailer, that is maybe a couple tenths of an amp. Some fridges have anti-condensation circuits that consume electricity. Some use the internal light bulb as a heater to balance the temp between the freezer and fridge compartments--mine runs a lot in cold weather and is a ten watt bulb.

At the other extreme, the fridge in my first trailer used absolutely no electricity when it was running on propane.
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