Mini Fridge not cooling in warm weather

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Joined
Oct 8, 2018
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I replaced my broken dometic RM2510, in my 1993 amerigo travel trailer last year with a smaller residential mini fridge with a small freezer on top and fridge on the bottom.

I am running into an issue when the weather warms and after towing the camper to the campground for the weeknd.

The fridge does not seem to get cold.  Wondering if anyone else has run into this issue after replacing their RV fridge with a residential?  Fridge seems to work good when at home and plugged in, but after the ride to the campground, the fridge does not seem to get very cold.

My son has some expensive medicine that needs to stay refrigerated so I would like to address this.  I only paid $750 for the camper so, I'm not looking to install another RV fridge as it will cost more than the camper.

Thank you!
 

Gizmo100

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Assuming that the fridge travels in it's normal upright position.

I would make sure and have it plugged in and filled the day before the trip. Once down to temperature the fridge should stay cold enough for your travels (1 day). And should recover any lost degrees. A full fridge will do a better job of holding it temperature

It is possible that the campsite are running lower voltage but the fridge should still be able to run
 

Henry J Fate

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Jun 14, 2018
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The cheap fridges from Walmart don't cool down very quickly. Lots of things factor into that. The basic RV fridge rules apply. Always place pre-chilled items in the fridge. Never place warm products in the fridge. Be smart with opening and closing the door. Make shore the fridge condensing coil is getting air. If you follow all the rules and the fridge still seems to have trouble cooling, bring it back and look for something that has a faster recovery time.


I couldn't say for sure what would cause good cooling at home and bad cooling at the camp other than a recovery issue. it is possible to have a voltage problem at the camp pedestal but I would be more inclined to suspect the slow recovery, venting and warm items in the fridge.


If you have time, post the make and model number of the fridge.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
Question: Did you build it in and seal the outside vents?

As you know the old RV Absorption cooling unit had to be vented (usually outdoors since it runs on Propane occasionally) but many seal those vents and build it in.  Well a Compressor (Residential/office/dorm) type fridge is a heat pump. it pumps the heat OUT of the box and into the air around it.. IF it is "Built in" with no ventilation. there is no place for the heat to go so eventually it can't properly cool.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Expanding on what John said:  The old exterior vents (sidewall & roof) need to be closed off. The fridge sheds the waste heat by passing air from inside the RV over its radiator, which is near always underneath in modern fridges. There needs to be space for the air to enter at the front-bottom and pass underneath, then up the back and back out at the top.  Another factor is the air temperature inside the trailer - it probably gets quite warm inside during travel.  That is a double problem - the fridge has to work harder to stay cool, plus it has trouble shedding the heat it pumps out.  It should recover once you arrive and open up the trailer, but it may take several hours. Those little fridges often have only marginal cooling capacity.
 
Joined
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I have a Wilz mini fridge i purchase from Costco.
https://www.costco.com/Willz-3.1-cu-ft-Energy-Star-Compact-Refrigerator----WLR31TS1E-.product.100403821.html

I did not seal off the plastic duct at the back or the top.  but the fridge is on the same base as the original fridge with about 2" around each side.  I did put a board on the top of the fridge to hold it in place and act like a shelf.

It also seems to get iced up once in a while on the back wall of the fridge.  Maybe I just have a cheap fridge and need to get something better?

 

Henry J Fate

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It could very well be that the fridge enclosure is not allowing the heat to escape well enough. Icing is another indicator. The fact that you have a good running fridge at home and not at the camp, could be something as simple as solar exposure to the outside wall of the fridge enclosure. You could try a couple of things to see if air flow is the problem. Pull the fridge out of the enclosure and run it to see if that changes the cooling or you could set up a small fan that would help to circulate the air in and out of the enclosure.
 
Joined
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Henry J Fate said:
It could very well be that the fridge enclosure is not allowing the heat to escape well enough. Icing is another indicator. The fact that you have a good running fridge at home and not at the camp, could be something as simple as solar exposure to the outside wall of the fridge enclosure. You could try a couple of things to see if air flow is the problem. Pull the fridge out of the enclosure and run it to see if that changes the cooling or you could set up a small fan that would help to circulate the air in and out of the enclosure.

I was thinking about putting a small computer fan (12v) back there to move the air.  I still have the 12v lines back there for old refrigerator.
 

Henry J Fate

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Give it a try. I think pulling it out would be fool proof but a small 12 volt fan placed properly should provide a cooling increase if it is in fact an air flow problem. Solving the good at home and bad at camp problem is still a problem you should think about.
 
Joined
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Henry J Fate said:
Give it a try. I think pulling it out would be fool proof but a small 12 volt fan placed properly should provide a cooling increase if it is in fact an air flow problem. Solving the good at home and bad at camp problem is still a problem you should think about.

i'm going to pull the fridge out and put it in the house and see how it works.  I think I will then seal up the old areas where the original fridge vented and then see what happens.  I will try to live the fridge off the base a little to provide for more air flow.
 
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