Electric Only Refrigerators???

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

COCJ

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 18, 2014
Posts
51
Location
Montrose, CO
We recently looked at a 2022 Gulfstream Conquest Class C motorhome. We really liked it until I found out that the refrigerator only operated on 12 volts or 110 volts - no propane. I had never heard of this but the salesman said it was becoming more common. We do a lot of dry camping in the backcountry and I can't imagine that an electric only refrigerator would work for us. If I were to run the refrigerator in my Lance Camper on 12 volts, the batteries would be dead in 3-4 hours. Comments?
 

Kirk

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 30, 2005
Posts
2,466
Location
Full-time , Escapee
You probably are looking at one of the Dometic line of 12V compressor refrigerators. The Dometic CRX 140S is a good example or one of the smaller versions.
Input voltage (AC) 120 V
Input voltage (DC) 12/24 V
Rated input current (AC) 0.95 A
Rated input current (DC) 7.7 A
Rated input power (AC) 65 W
Input frequency 60 Hz

Here is a review of it.

 

Mark_K5LXP

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 17, 2018
Posts
2,307
Location
Albuquerque, NM
Watts is watts. Comes down to the mix of storage and charging you anticipate having. It's a pretty predictable load profile so not hard to calculate daily demand of the fridge, then it comes down to including your other house loads. Not a difficult load to accommodate in general but it does require specific charge management.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

COCJ

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 18, 2014
Posts
51
Location
Montrose, CO
It wasn't a Dometic. It was some off brand that I have never heard of. It looked pretty cheaply made.
 

Utclmjmpr

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2009
Posts
5,597
Location
Cedar City, UT
I changed over mine to an energy star rated Frigidaire household type and love it over the RV combo unit that just bellied up.. A new replacement would have cost $1800.00 compared to the $700.00 that I paid for the new one,, with the 3000 watt inverter that we have it's a no brainer..>>>Dan
 

JayArr

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Posts
1,269
Location
Mission British Columbia Canada
If it's like the one Kirk posted it's 100W when running but it's not always running and some of the new ones have built in clocks and overnight power saving algorythms. I get the impression they are using increased efficiency to weigh off the extra power consumption.

I'm going to wait and see, they have a lot of moving parts, compressor wise, and a bunch of electronics are involved to invert the DC input to the compressor into three phase power to run the compressor motor. When I looked into it NONE of it was serviceable, if you lose a single transistor on a circuit board inside the compressor you'll be buying a whole new fridge.

The propane/ammonia fridges have almost no moving parts and some don't even have circuit boards. When they fail anyone can buy a new cooling unit from any of a number of suppliers and swap it out in an afternoon.

To each his own I guess.
 

NY_Dutch

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 22, 2010
Posts
7,696
Location
Where our wheels take us!
When our then 18 year old Norcold 7 cu ft fridge died, we needed a replacement immediately at the wrong end of our monthly income cycle. We found a 10 cu ft residential fridge that was a near perfect fit in the existing opening on sale at a nearby Lowe's and had it delivered the same afternoon. At half the price of a replacement cooling unit and a lot less labor, we've been quite happy with the extra capacity and the more stable cooling. And the savings...
 

Kirk

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 30, 2005
Posts
2,466
Location
Full-time , Escapee
I don't usually join the movement to the latest technology in things that I depend on until it has been around for a while to prove it's self. I have read that this type of compressor refrigerator has been in common use by the boating community for some time but have never verified that. For now I'll just follow the change with interest and continue to live with my absorption refrigerator in the RV.
 

Mark_K5LXP

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 17, 2018
Posts
2,307
Location
Albuquerque, NM
I've thought about a compressor fridge as a refit in the event my absorption unit craps out. The idea being the money you don't spend on a cooling unit goes into the cheaper compressor fridge and additional batteries and maybe some solar. It guarantees you'll be running the genset more so that's the downside. One thing I'd be interested in seeing is just how well any given RV-size fridge keeps it's cold. I know with a moderate quantity of food the S&B fridge can go without power for a couple days at least and still keep things cold "enough". Makes me wonder then if the compressor in an RV fridge could be cycled "just enough" rather than thermostatically/automatically keeping things locked to 0°/35° +/- 1F. I'm OK with the absorption fridge "wandering" a bit with ambient temps so it would be interesting to see just how much power it would actually take for a compressor fridge to maintain a bit looser operating range. Another observation is the idea of additional insulation, the Sun Frost fridges have several inches on all sides and those things just sip power. Probably not the kind of usable cubic space that'd be practical in an RV but maybe just filling in the gaps along the top, sides and bottom (keeping the condenser path open) might net some degree of power saving.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
75,890
Location
Looking to buy a new home
We do a lot of dry camping in the backcountry and I can't imagine that an electric only refrigerator would work for us. If I were to run the refrigerator in my Lance Camper on 12 volts, the batteries would be dead in 3-4 hours. Comments?
It's a compressor fridge, not a heater-absorption type like in your Lance. Believe it or not, a compressor typically uses less watt-hours to cool. Much more cooling per watt-hour than the absorption cycle. That said, you do need more battery capacity for a compressor fridge than you would for an absorption fridge running on LP. At a very rough guess, for a modest sized fridge you would likely need one extra 12v battery for 24 hours of use. That's around 40 AH of battery power. If you have charging capability (solar or generator) and replenish daily, that's not a lot. If you don't have charging, then you will want more battery amp-hours to begin with.
 

Kirk

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 30, 2005
Posts
2,466
Location
Full-time , Escapee
I'm OK with the absorption fridge "wandering" a bit with ambient temps so it would be interesting to see just how much power it would actually take for a compressor fridge to maintain a bit looser operating range.
From what I read the ability to maintain the set temperature with any outside temperature is one of the main advantages. An absorption refrigerator will stop working in very cold weather because it can't cause the refrigerant to boil. I suspect that they may well be better insulated as well. Even the home type of refrigerators today do not require nearly as much electric power as they once did and that is part of the reason that they are getting to be very common in larger RVs.
 
Top Bottom