12 volt refrigerator

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Sooeycute

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Apr 16, 2021
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56
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Florida
Presently my outdoor kitchen has a 110 volt refrigerator. Great for the tailgaters but useless for boondocking.

I am thinking of replacing it with a 12 volt refrigerator. Since I only have 500 watts of solar panels and a 270 AH battery I am afraid the refrigerator would be an energy hog.

Anyone with experience with that would be greatly appreciated.
 

Sooeycute

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Apr 16, 2021
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56
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Florida
Well that was what I figured too but in my research I found that some rv companies are installing 12 volt only refrigerators. They actually said they use less power than the gas/electric refrigerators that rv's have always used.

I am looking for someone with experience running them off their solar power.
 

Mark_K5LXP

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Albuquerque, NM
There is no way to know if this is feasible based on the data you supplied.

You'd start with deciding what unit you'd use. Refrigerator/freezer or just a refrigerator? How many cubic feet? Use the data for the unit you'd have and not what others may be using.

Just as an example, I found one 12V unit online that spec'd the running watts at 45. Running those numbers, that translates to 90Ah per day. Using a WAG I'd put that at about half of your daily panel production. Too much? Plenty to spare? Depends on your other loads and other expectations of reserve capacity.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
A modest sized 12v compressor-driven fridge isn't as big a hog as Seilerbird claims, but it is going to deplete a 270 AH battery bank in 20-26 hours. A small 12v (1.5-2.0 cu ft?) typically uses about 6 amps when it runs, so might consume 4-5 amp-hours per hour. If you run your batteries down to the 50% level, that would be about 135 AH or 27 hours worth (with no other loads). A larger fridge would be less, of course, and the actual rate depends on ambient temperature, how often the door gets opened, etc.

Here's an example of a small 12v/120v fridge:
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
There are several types of 12 volt or 12/120 volt Refrigerators and freezers
One type is the absorption fridge (Standard RV minus the propane option) And as SeilerBird said "Forget it. A 12 volt refer would drain your batteries in a few hours."

The next I will describe is a peltier effect This is a really neat device because the ONLY moving parts are the switch and the fan.. and they can also heat as well as cool.. HOWEVER they are also power hogs and they don't have enough "Oomph" for a freezer.. in hot weather they don't have enough "Oomph" for a Refrigerator (I call 'em -30 boxes because generally they only do 30 degrees below Room temp)

Next is a standard compressor fridge but 12 volt.. Likely draws betwen 100 and 300 watts.

next is what I call a "Danfoss" class. this is not the proper name but one company that makes the compressors is Danfoss. there are competitors.

I just scrapped on after 16 years... It worked well up till last month.. Draw is 30-40 watts.. that's 3 amps on 12 volts running (bit more on the start surge)

I plan to get another.. however mine was a small (anout 40 liter) chest fridge/freezer.. The one I plan to get to replace it is about the same size 600 bucks. I use it as a back up and overflow cooler/freezer now.

Really liked that beast. At one point (I do not know if they still do) Both Dometic and Norcold had "RV" size/style fridge/freezers using this technology

I think theirs were 40-45 watts Door closed. Opening the door added around 20 watts (The light)
 

Sooeycute

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Apr 16, 2021
Posts
56
Location
Florida
There are several types of 12 volt or 12/120 volt Refrigerators and freezers
One type is the absorption fridge (Standard RV minus the propane option) And as SeilerBird said "Forget it. A 12 volt refer would drain your batteries in a few hours."

The next I will describe is a peltier effect This is a really neat device because the ONLY moving parts are the switch and the fan.. and they can also heat as well as cool.. HOWEVER they are also power hogs and they don't have enough "Oomph" for a freezer.. in hot weather they don't have enough "Oomph" for a Refrigerator (I call 'em -30 boxes because generally they only do 30 degrees below Room temp)

Next is a standard compressor fridge but 12 volt.. Likely draws betwen 100 and 300 watts.

next is what I call a "Danfoss" class. this is not the proper name but one company that makes the compressors is Danfoss. there are competitors.

I just scrapped on after 16 years... It worked well up till last month.. Draw is 30-40 watts.. that's 3 amps on 12 volts running (bit more on the start surge)

I plan to get another.. however mine was a small (anout 40 liter) chest fridge/freezer.. The one I plan to get to replace it is about the same size 600 bucks. I use it as a back up and overflow cooler/freezer now.

Really liked that beast. At one point (I do not know if they still do) Both Dometic and Norcold had "RV" size/style fridge/freezers using this technology

I think theirs were 40-45 watts Door closed. Opening the door added around 20 watts (The light)

That is what I was looking at the Danfoss compressor. 45 watts when running depending on ambient temp 25% to 50% of the time. 3.75 amps x 12 = 45 amps per day. That is a lot. With 525 watts of solar it is conservatively 2 hours of my output.

Of course I already have a standard gas/electric refrigerator. This one will be a small one to replace the 110 volt one in my outdoor kitchen. It should take less power. Just can't find it

New plan. Purchase a danfoss compressor and swap it out for the one in the 110volt fridge I have. I build apartments so I believe I can talk my HVAC guy into getting me one and have his technician do the change out. Looks pretty simple on utube.
 
Last edited:

Jayflight

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Jan 22, 2021
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248
That is what I was looking at the Danfoss compressor. 45 watts when running depending on ambient temp 25% to 50% of the time. 3.75 amps x 12 = 45 amps per day. That is a lot. With 525 watts of solar it is conservatively 2 hours of my output.

Of course I already have a standard gas/electric refrigerator. This one will be a small one to replace the 110 volt one in my outdoor kitchen. It should take less power. Just can't find it
I have used the Isotherm frig-freezer combination. The freezer is a small one inside and works really well. They make a 1.7 and a 2.3 cu. ft. With 500 plus solar power and full sun my solar puts out enough during the daytime to operate the 1.7 one with no problem. You can turn off the frig at night and it still keeps just fine. While these are not as big as the larger ones in outdoor kitchens with the cabinets overhead the sink ahd pull out stoves in the outdoor kitchen arrangments, you should be fine on most days off the grid. If nothing else, the suit case generator will work just fine for supplementing your requirements for extended stay.
 

Sooeycute

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Joined
Apr 16, 2021
Posts
56
Location
Florida
I have used the Isotherm frig-freezer combination. The freezer is a small one inside and works really well. They make a 1.7 and a 2.3 cu. ft. With 500 plus solar power and full sun my solar puts out enough during the daytime to operate the 1.7 one with no problem. You can turn off the frig at night and it still keeps just fine. While these are not as big as the larger ones in outdoor kitchens with the cabinets overhead the sink ahd pull out stoves in the outdoor kitchen arrangments, you should be fine on most days off the grid. If nothing else, the suit case generator will work just fine for supplementing your requirements for extended stay.

Always have the 2200i for backup.
 

Jayflight

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Jan 22, 2021
Posts
248
I love the freezer portion of the frig. The single pack filets and packs of chicken breasts stays pretty good and is compact enough that nothing thaws when turning the frig down to the lowest feature at night. It makes no noise anytime. Of course they are not cheap, but does the complete job . We save a ton of money and time searching out for ice using it for storing water and soda in the frig.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
Camping world has several chest types
here is the catalog page.. Includes other types of products too so be careful The Camco's seem to be Danfoss class.. the Koolatrons are peltier type.. And Ice Chests appear on this page as well.
Camping world link
 
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