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Old 06-07-2024, 05:12 AM   #1
rbs
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question, wiring 12V fan inside the fridge

we've been using a battery powered fan inside the fridge and it helps, but durability has been an issue. Would like to install a small fan hard wired to 12V, but my searches have come up short, plenty of posts about installing fans behind the fridge, which we have done and it helps a lot. Any suggestions would be appreciated, on what kind of fan and how to supply power.

As always, many thanks
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Old 06-07-2024, 06:07 AM   #2
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Assuming you're talking about doing this on a propane fridge, you have options. The fridge is nothing more than an insulated metal box with a plastic liner on the inside. On the back of it there is a cooling unit attached.

Adding a power supply for a fan just involves drilling a small hole and then running the wires through it. I'd fill both ends of the hole with some caulking afterwards to prevent outside air from getting into the fridge.

Not sure about your fridge specifically, but on mine I'd probably drill the hole on one of the sides towards the back, after first checking the inside to make sure that I don't come through in the middle of a shelf, some plumbing, or something else important.

Tapping into a power source would involve a bit of time poking around with a voltmeter to see where on the control board there was switched 12vdc power - meaning that it only has power when the fridge is turned on. Small pancake fans that run off 12vdc don't draw much power, so I'd imagine that nearly any 12vdc source would work other than something fed by a really fine gauge wire.

This whole thing probably involves pulling the fridge.

Alternatively, you might be able to run the power through the back of the fridge and not have to pull it out. If you can access a good spot through the service hatch on the outside then you could do all this with the fridge in place. The big caveat here is that there's lots more on the back of the fridge that will be in the way and that you'll have to work around when drilling.

If you're going to drill through the back, I'd recommend looking online for a replacement cooling unit specific to your fridge. Not that you'll need one, but rather to see what it looks like when pulled out. This will help you see where there are bits that go into the fridge cabinet and where there are only parts stuck onto the back of it.
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Old 06-07-2024, 06:47 AM   #3
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Richard always has great information and is a valuable asset to the forum.

On my 1990 Excella my propane frig has a 12v. light on the right side. I just wired the computer fan thru the switch that turns the light on when the door is opened. I wired it such that it turns the fan OFF when the door is opened and ON when the door is closed. Or it could be wired hot always ON when frig is running. The fan is on a short lead so that I face it down on a shelf right behind the light. Facing down circulates the air nicely and works for us. This is the original frig box with a newer cooling unit installed a dozen years ago.

Storage is an hour away or I'd show you a picture.
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Old 06-07-2024, 07:26 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Sav'h Steve View Post
Richard always has great information and is a valuable asset to the forum.

On my 1990 Excella my propane frig has a 12v. light on the right side. I just wired the computer fan thru the switch that turns the light on when the door is opened. I wired it such that it turns the fan OFF when the door is opened and ON when the door is closed. Or it could be wired hot always ON when frig is running. The fan is on a short lead so that I face it down on a shelf right behind the light. Facing down circulates the air nicely and works for us. This is the original frig box with a newer cooling unit installed a dozen years ago.

Storage is an hour away or I'd show you a picture.
This is a great idea - never thought about tapping into the circuit with the light.
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Old 06-07-2024, 08:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sav'h Steve View Post
Richard always has great information and is a valuable asset to the forum.

On my 1990 Excella my propane frig has a 12v. light on the right side. I just wired the computer fan thru the switch that turns the light on when the door is opened. I wired it such that it turns the fan OFF when the door is opened and ON when the door is closed. Or it could be wired hot always ON when frig is running. The fan is on a short lead so that I face it down on a shelf right behind the light. Facing down circulates the air nicely and works for us. This is the original frig box with a newer cooling unit installed a dozen years ago.

Storage is an hour away or I'd show you a picture.
We have a battery powered fan as well. Agreed this is a great idea. We have the 12V frig and I'm wondering about the power consumption of the fan however. I'll have to look it up. Pictures are appreciated whenever you get the chance.

Edit: Saw this one, it's 12V, 2W, so not much of a drain.
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Old 06-07-2024, 09:21 AM   #6
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Check out photos if this is what you have in mind
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Old 06-07-2024, 10:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbs View Post
we've been using a battery powered fan inside the fridge and it helps, but durability has been an issue. Would like to install a small fan hard wired to 12V, but my searches have come up short, plenty of posts about installing fans behind the fridge, which we have done and it helps a lot. Any suggestions would be appreciated, on what kind of fan and how to supply power.

As always, many thanks
I just did this in my 2012 23FB a few weeks ago. There was a lead going out the back of the fridge and it was just big enough to fish the wire through. I thought I was going to have to pull a 12 volt wire from the neighboring closet's light, but found a 12 volt wire that I spliced in to behind the fridge. The fan helps a lot.
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Old 06-07-2024, 10:39 AM   #8
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I installed this. I've been very happy with it.
15" Triple Fan Deluxe RV " Frost Guard" Refrigerator Evaporator Fan w/LED light & Grill https://a.co/d/d0IoMjd
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Old 06-08-2024, 07:38 AM   #9
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Added a thermostat and chimney fan along with interior fans.

I probably went a little over the top with this, but I was weary of fighting the absorption fridge battle.
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I purchased a small programmable thermostat. It is used to control 2 12 volt muffin fans inside the fridge and 3 at the top of the chimney. The temperature limits are programmable. Mine is set to turn on at 5 and off at 2.5 (degrees Centigrade, 41 and 36.5 Fahrenheit).

My fridge had no interior light, so I drilled through the side of the cabinet to route power in to the board and out to the fans. Fishing the wire through the side was easy enough and I was leery the complications of the refrigeration components if I’d come through the rear. Nicking a pipe would kill the refrigerator and routing wire to close could present issues as those pipes get pretty warm. I also added a refrigerator light while I was at it.

The refrigerator works well now. The only real issue is that the refrigerator power button in the “eyebrow” over the fridge is easy to hit by mistake when accessing the storage area above the fridge. The refrigerator works fine in 100 degree heat (no direct sun), but it will not cool down from room temperature to 37 degrees in that kind of heat. When that happens we have to throw in a bag of ice to help it cool down.

In wiring things up, I put the power for the fans downstream of the door light switch. I didn’t want the fans circulating warm air in while the door is open.
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Old 06-08-2024, 09:05 AM   #10
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Fans

Found these copier fans on ebay, very cheap. Put up with VHB tape. Ran single wire out the drain tube, ground to fins. Found 12Vin back of reefer. Has worked well as we live in the southwest.
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Old 06-08-2024, 09:13 AM   #11
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Fans

Sorry not the best.
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Old 06-08-2024, 10:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Found these copier fans on ebay, very cheap. Put up with VHB tape. Ran single wire out the drain tube, ground to fins. Found 12Vin back of reefer. Has worked well as we live in the southwest.
Squirrel cage blowers, technically not "fans", but are "blowers". Anyhow, more efficient also.

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Old 06-12-2024, 09:17 AM   #13
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I did something similar to Lemley and installed a small 12v computer fan to blow across the heat exchanger in our 66. Drilled a small hole in the side to run the wires and tapped into my power for the fans in the rear to vent. Works much better to circulate and cool the fridge. Happy with the performance of a fridge that is almost 60 years old now!!
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Old 06-12-2024, 10:46 AM   #14
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Fridge Fan

Here is the one I installed, works great.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B7SF3YFB
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Old 06-12-2024, 11:31 AM   #15
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I have a 2017 Classic. My setup uses two computer fans mounted in a homemade aluminum frame that is then mounted over the fins, which circulates air over the fins and blows down. Small gauge wire was fished through the drain tube then connected to the 12 volt block that that supplies power to the refrigerator circuit board.
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