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Old 09-08-2015, 08:51 AM   #21
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Forgot to add that the Engel units are dual voltage: 12V DC and 120 VAC
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:27 PM   #22
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You might as well get a DC only unit for RV use, as the Danfoss compressors are DC operated, and with the 120VAC option, the AC is simply converted to 12VDC anyway.

The 120 VAC feature is good if you are using them in situations where 12VDC is not available.


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Old 09-08-2015, 03:56 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seecue View Post
Lewster, how difficult is the fridge change-out to a marine unit? I have burned through 2 Dometic control boards in 2 years and have no confidence in this product.
Change out is a fairly easy. We (actually Lew ) removed our 8 cu ft dometic and replaced with isotherm 195 7.1 CU ft dual danfoss compressor.
With the new trim it looks factory installed.

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View of the back, AC/DC power connections and capped propane line.


We have had ours for 1 1/2 years no issues other than making sure you don't set the refridge too cold and every thing on the bottom shelf gets frozen. We do experience about a 5 F temp difference from the bottom to the top can be a little more if you pack the fridge full so there is little or no circulation. Works like a champ @ 9000 ft and in 104 F weather as well


Novakool, Dometic,Indel/ Isotherm, Vitrifrigo and others all make various sizes you should be able to find a close size match. Also look at the mounting flanges some will have the option of mounting screw heads exposed vs hidden. There was no cost difference but hidden one sure looked a lot better.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
Lew,

Your first post got me interested, at least for when, not if, I have to replace my 2001 Dometic 2652. Looking at a Marine unit I came up with about the same numbers you did, i.e. 46-50 Ah/day. When I throw that into my solar electric budget, it doubles my consumption. So I'm thinking I would need 400-500 watts of panels to allow for a couple days of poor solar. Is that a reasonable estimate? The rest of my budget for furnace, lighting, etc was about the same, 45 Ah or so per day.

Thanks,

Al

The # amp hours per day is also dependent on which size Danfoss compressor(s) is installed in the fridge. There are three sizes BD 35, 50 and 80 that I have seen. Be sure to look at the specs of the Danfoss in the unit you plan to buy. Ambient temperature will also play a major factor in power comsuption. We were dry camped at Lees Ferry in June 104 F with nary a cloud or tree. The fridge probably ran 100% of the time based on the actual data I collected. It added an additional 40+ amps to the normal overnight draw. Rookie mistake we departed for higher elevation after one night. So your YMMV with the temperature.

With that said my experience with our Isotherm and Domentic CF 35 chest fridge a 50% duty cycle is a good estimate.


Our solar system is designed for 3-4 days of dry camping in crappy weather:

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The system has exceeded our expectations.


Based on our experience you should be fine with 400-500 watts of panels for two days. You would probably only need 300 ah battery bank. Unless you were dry camping in 95 F + temperatures. Then one might question why the heck you were dry camping


Benn
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Old 09-08-2015, 04:11 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by lewster View Post
You might as well get a DC only unit for RV use, as the Danfoss compressors are DC operated, and with the 120VAC option, the AC is simply converted to 12VDC anyway.

The 120 VAC feature is good if you are using them in situations where 12VDC is not available.
This may not always be the case. Our small Dometic CF 35 chest Fridge/freezer has a dual speed controller for the Danfoss compressor. The higher speed kicks in for faster cooling when it senses a large differential between set and actual fridge temperature. It will only run at the higher speed with 120VAC.

Our Isotherm 195 does not have the variable speed feature. Not sure if any of the other upright/drop in fridge models and manufactures use the variable speed feature of the Danfoss compressor.
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:21 AM   #25
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Isotherm DC unit built in to replace the propane Dometic looks like a great option if I find I have lots of problems running propane at high elevations. With the trip and the SS finish, it definitely is a good aesthetic look as well. Thanks for all the info...very helpful for a rookie! I live at 5000' and will likely spend much of my camping time at that elevation or higher out west.

Picking up my AS on Saturday. Woo Hoo!
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:59 AM   #26
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I have a marine unit with a Danfoss compressor in my off the grid cabin. I got the daily draw down to 25 amp/hrs by adding 2" of rigid insulation on 4 sides and 1/2" between the back and the coil (leaving space for air flow). That draw is with daytime temps of 70-80 degrees.
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Old 09-09-2015, 12:37 PM   #27
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What I'm going to do

"High altitude Dometic fridge problems
I am out elk hunting in Colorado at 9,000 elevation.
Dometic fridge (about 3 years old) is trying to run on propane but is struggling particularly at night when temps are near freezing. by handn"

Hand, I'll tell you what has helped me and what I'm going to do about propane RV refers.

#1: @ 7,000 feet+ elevation the propane water heater on my Featherlite won't stay lit. However, if I open the door it will stay lit. I don't think it can get enough air (oxygen) through the small screened opening.

I suggest that you open the door of your refrigerator, the door on the outside of the trailer, of course ! That possibly could be enough to let the refer run OK on propane. 9,000 feet is a lot higher than 7,000 so I hope it will work. You may need to look into the other suggestions, which are good.

I have a Norcold DE390 in my Coach House Class B. It runs on 110VAC and 12VDC. If the coach is on shore power or genset power, it automatically switches to 110VAC otherwise it is on 12VDC. The refer can run out of level up to 30 degrees, no problem. The one 105 A-H coach battery can easily power the coach and refer for more than 48 hours of dry camping. The refer is 18 years old and runs fine.

I replaced the power converter with a Best Converter kit so now the converter is a 45 amp 3 stage charging system. 1 hour of genset power can fully recharge the coach battery if it is down to 50%. Since I use the genset typically an hour each in the AM and at dinner time when dry camping, the battery never goes flat. I installed a 200 amp 3 stage Ample Power alternator on the engine, so it can easily recharge the coach battery when the MC is on the road.

This summer, I bought a Nature Power, suitcase type PVC system that produces 120 watts. This solar power can power the vent fan and refer all day and recharge the battery to full by the end of the day. 8 to 10 amps @ 12VDC for 10 to 12 hours per summer day is a lot of battery charging for a 105 A-H deep cycle battery. This suitcase works great but it is a bit delicate and more bulky than I expected. Still like it though.

#2: I plan to get rid of the propane refers in my trailers and replace with 6 or 8 cu. ft. Norcold or Sun Frost refers that run compressors on 12VDC. I already have enough PVC cells on the Featherlite to keep the battery charged when I install a 12VDC refer.

The RV industry, using a "no brainer" or "brain dead" policy automatically install a propane RV refer in new units. Except for the residential refers in larger units, which is worse. I've seen a prototype carbon fiber trailer that had a propane refer in a trailer that was supposed to be high end and high tech. I told that co.'s CEO about the mistake.

With the advent of useable and lower cost PVC systems and the availability of low cost/low weight gensets that can balance the PVC-Battery storage systems, RVs don't need RV propane refers. Switching to 12VDC refrigeration will reserve the propane supply for cooking, water and space heating and prolong dry camping capability for the RV. It will also eliminate the danger of having propane sources open while in motion.

#3: I bought a sine wave Dometic inverter 3000 watt genset in 2011. It can run a roof air conditioner. The genset produces pure 120VAC power and runs quietly at low speed under low load, then ramps up the engine speed as required for higher output. The genset only weighs 82 pounds, rolls around like a wheeled luggage, and has keyed electric start. This genset is great for rebalancing the battery storage if traveling or PVC power doesn't keep the battery charged enough.

Someone on a different posting on the Forum mentioned a propane refer that ran for 78 years, maybe more. If my RV refers are going to do that, I may be replacing them long before they quit running.

Let's Roll !
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Old 09-11-2015, 11:37 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handn View Post
I am out elk hunting in Colorado at 9,000 elevation.
Dometic fridge (about 3 years old) is trying to run on propane but is struggling particularly at night when temps are near freezing.
It tries to light multiple times--click poof, click proof, ect. about half the time it checks out. When it does run the flame sound is loud and irregular.
I recently replaced my regulator and the new one probably needs adjusting to 11 lbs as the fridge ran barely with my old regulator. Next week, I will borrow a gage from the propane company and adjust it.
The flue and burner was recently serviced.
Another rig in the same campground with a newer Dometic fridge is worse off than I am as their fridge doesn't run at all.
My question is, has Dometic come up with a fix for this? Their product is obviously defective
Greetings,
We are presently dry camping at Jacob Lake AZ, altitude aprox 8k. Our fridge is not working on propane, we are here for a week with a fridge full of food and now we have to keep it very short thank's to Dometic outdated technology and Airstream non existent and inexcusable lake of quality control. it is obvious that they are manufacturing these TT to be used around your backyard and around metropolitan areas only. Our thermo coupler is trying to ignite and the flame dies out immediately with a thud. We just called Dometic tek support, explained the problem to them and to our surprise we where told that our brand new unit fridge (2014,28Intl Signature) will not work on propane at an altituded over 5500ft. I said to them what??? Wtf... so there we go...
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Old 09-11-2015, 11:52 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingsilver View Post
Greetings,
We are presently dry camping at Jacob Lake AZ, altitude aprox 8k. Our fridge is not working on propane, we are here for a week with a fridge full of food and now we have to keep it very short thank's to Dometic outdated technology and Airstream non existent and inexcusable lake of quality control. it is obvious that they are manufacturing these TT to be used around your backyard and around metropolitan areas only. Our thermo coupler is trying to ignite and the flame dies out immediately with a thud. We just called Dometic tek support, explained the problem to them and to our surprise we where told that our brand new unit fridge (2014,28Intl Signature) will not work on propane at an altituded over 5500ft. I said to them what??? Wtf... so there we go...
Adjust the LPG pressure to 13 inches of water column.

All you need is a ruler and a clear small plastic hose, in order to make the gauge.

You might be surprised how easy that is.

Airstream has nothing to do with the design of out sourced appliances.

Airstream has always strived to make the majority happy, not the minority. Using a reefer on LPG at high altitudes is an absolute minority.

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Old 09-11-2015, 12:31 PM   #30
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The proper store bought gauge isn't that expensive and a lot easier.

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Old 09-11-2015, 01:00 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
The proper store bought gauge isn't that expensive and a lot easier.

Series LPTK | Gas Pressure Test Kit | Dwyer Instruments
I agree, but that kind of store most likely is not at high altitudes.

The gauge can be made using 3 feet of small ID clear plastic tubing.

Bend it into a number 2 shape. Make sure the center part and outside part iabout 15 inches high. Add water to the hose that fills 15 inches of the hose

Hook the short end up to the LPG line. Measure the heighth of the water in the end opposite the LPG hookup

The water will rise in that far end. Adjust the LPG regulator so that you measure 13 inches.

Sorry, I am in Hawaii and cannot post a photo until I get back.

Simple gauge that costs next to nothing. Everyonr should have one, if for no other reason than to check their own trailer.

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Old 09-11-2015, 03:27 PM   #32
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I am still elk hunting with nothing on the game pole but home for the weekend.
I will adjust the regulator to 13 when I can track down the propane repair guy and borrow the gage. My old regulator was adjusted for that level but it went out. New regulators are set at 11.
Meanwhile I am getting by. Fridge is checking out only occasionally.
Here are a couple of tips for high altitude users. I set a camp chair in front of the fridge vent to break the wind which blows out the flame.
I have the setting on the coldest. Fridge seems to light better when it is not stone cold and cycles on more frequently.
If the fridge won't work at all on propane it needs servicing, i.e., burner and flue cleaning.
When it goes "click poof, click poof" in the middle of the night, I turn over on my deaf ear. My wife has excellent hearing and is not so lucky.
Memo to Airstream, Andy and Dometic, there are hundreds of thousands r.v.'s running around over 5,500 feet. If products don't work they are defective and in our great country, lawyers get rich bringing class actions.
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Old 09-11-2015, 03:45 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handn View Post
I am still elk hunting with nothing on the game pole but home for the weekend.
I will adjust the regulator to 13 when I can track down the propane repair guy and borrow the gage. My old regulator was adjusted for that level but it went out. New regulators are set at 11.
Meanwhile I am getting by. Fridge is checking out only occasionally.
Here are a couple of tips for high altitude users. I set a camp chair in front of the fridge vent to break the wind which blows out the flame.
I have the setting on the coldest. Fridge seems to light better when it is not stone cold and cycles on more frequently.
If the fridge won't work at all on propane it needs servicing, i.e., burner and flue cleaning.
When it goes "click poof, click poof" in the middle of the night, I turn over on my deaf ear. My wife has excellent hearing and is not so lucky.
Memo to Airstream, Andy and Dometic, there are hundreds of thousands r.v.'s running around over 5,500 feet. If products don't work they are defective and in our great country, lawyers get rich bringing class actions.
Dometic or Airstream do not have anything to do with the LP regulators.

What is the LPG pressure in your coach?

Check it, as it quite might be lower than it should be.

It should be 11 to 13 iches of water.

The closer to the 13 inch pressure the better the high altitude operation will be.

Andy

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Old 09-11-2015, 07:39 PM   #34
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I should measure the pressure on our regulator. We currently live at 8,000 feet and everything gas works ok.
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Old 09-11-2015, 08:52 PM   #35
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Dry camping for several weeks now at 7000 ft in Arizona, freezer is below zero and freezer near freezing. New Dometic fridge from 2007. I've used propane burners at 10,000 ft in CO and can't remember having decreased performance.
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Old 09-12-2015, 04:44 AM   #36
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Jacking up the propane can only do so much. At 9000 ft altitude there is 25% less oxygen available for combustion.
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Old 09-12-2015, 07:06 AM   #37
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Really, ANDY..I've been called many things in my lifetime, but this is the first being called a "minority". Most the state of Colorado, where I live, is above 5500 feet. All the places I dry camp are above 5500. Everybody I know in Colorado, Utah, & New Mexico is above 5500 feet. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that a "fix" could be manufactured for fridges that spend their life above 5500 feet.

I've had camp trailers for years, and never had a problem with propane appliances until the new model of appliances. Would you explain to me how 50 years of working correctly has now become "does not work above 5500 feet" and that NOT being a problem with the manufacturers? Not everyone camping is doing so in Florida or California.
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Old 09-12-2015, 07:19 AM   #38
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We live at 8400 and have never had adjustment issues with propane pressure per se, neither on our rig nor on other rigs here at the park. When pressure is an issue, it's simply a dead regulator, not one that needs adjustment.

That said, we have often enough seen mixture adjustment issues on various brands of RV refrigerators. (And on the MGB!!) Easily dealt with.


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Old 09-12-2015, 07:21 AM   #39
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Quote:
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Jacking up the propane can only do so much. At 9000 ft altitude there is 25% less oxygen available for combustion.

Sort of ...
More clarification ...
http://www.altitude.org/air_pressure.php
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Old 09-12-2015, 08:10 AM   #40
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I forgot to mention one other tip for getting the fridge to light.
I leave it on gas all the time. Many of my check outs come after the fridge switches from a.c. to gas after a generator session. Perhaps there is low pressure in the propane line with use from another appliance.
Sometimes when first lighting a very cold fridge, an a.c. session is necessary to warm it up before it will light at all.
I have a dual voltage d.c. and a.c. fridge in my boat. It works well but would require more battery power to run than my 2 group 27's. After a very cold night, the furnace has used up a lot of juice. If my Dometic burns up again, I will go with an all electric replacement and upgrade batteries.
All electric r.v. refrigerators are probably the coming thing. Propane fridges are phasing out for a good reason as Dometic doesn't make a very good product.
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