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Old 06-06-2009, 12:47 AM   #1
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Location: Sisters, OR
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Residential refrig

Every 40 FDQS we've seen online has the big frig...w/o propane. When we travel, we stay mostly at campgrounds w/hookups. But, living in the PNW, we also love to camp. We're wondering, realistically, how many hours/day we'll need to run the gen.

Does anyone out there regret having the big one?

John and Lori
2005 Alpine Coach 40FDQS
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:41 AM   #2
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We have had our Alpine with the Amana frig. for 4 years and love it. We leave the inverter on always and the transition from battery to generator or shore line is seamless. Going down the road, the alternator will keep the batteries fully charged, while dry camping we need to run the generator 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours at night. We do this when we prepare meals and use the TV's which is when you would normally run the gen anyway. We dry camp mostly in the winter in the desert and thru out the southwest. Only have 2 50 watt solar panels so we don't get much power that way. Would like to have more solar panels but its hard to justify. We have 6 Life Line batteries we installed shortly after getting our Alpine in 2005 and never have any trouble with battery power. The inverter is a ProSine 2.0, the charger is in the automatic setting always and the inverter is always enabled. Be sure the charger is set for AGM batteries if that is the type you use. AGM batteries do not need water and will not dry out and are still giving us trouble free sevice four years after installation.
Another advantage to the frig is being able to cut off propane going down the road.

Jim Durley
2004 Alpine 40 MDTS

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Old 06-06-2009, 08:59 AM   #3
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Thanks Jim. How much fuel does the gen burn / hour?
John and Lori
2005 Alpine Coach 40FDQS
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:33 AM   #4
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Amana with 6 golf cart batteries.
When dry camping we run the generator 2 hrs in the morning and at least 2 hrs in the evening. I have tracked the generator fuel consumption at around 1/3 gal per hour or less. If you are running the AC with the generator it could be more.
Gary & Renee
Mojo & Jetta
2006 APEX, Wrangler
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:34 AM   #5
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Depending on the load, between 1/4 & 1/2 gal per hour. The charger on the ProSine 2.0 is at 100 amp @ 14.2 volts at the highest charge level. This is a small utilization of the total for a 7.5KWH gen, so I would say 1/4 gal per hour for charging the batteries. There is not an accurate readout on fuel consumption for the gen that I know of and this is just a guestimate. Perhaps someone with more detailed experience could help.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:33 AM   #6
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We don't dry camp much and I'm paranoid about draining the batteries. We run the generator a few hours before we go to bed (about 10 PM) and it seems to make it fine through the night. I suppose it depends on the outside temperature, too... the warmer it is, the more the refrigerator compressor has to come on, so the more power it will draw. I have my "Max Chg Rate" set to 85% on the inverter settings (not sure why). When I check my battery charge in the morning it's usually at 11.8V or 11.9V but I'm not sure how much load is on the batteries, and I understand the reading should be taken when there is no load on the batteries. We'll run the generator thru breakfast, then a couple of hours more.
Jerry & Shirley Friedman; Dusty & Cricket
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:14 PM   #7
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JohnLori: Jim Durleys' post is exactly the same as my utilization with one exception. I lost one of my Lifeline batteries a year ago and after replacing it the charge time was cut to nine hours. Somewhere I read that when you lose one you must replace all of them. That's a pretty big expense. For now, I'll monitor my drain as best I can. Having said all that, I would rather have a propane reefer. The Amana is the biggest drain on the system. But Norcold or Dometic also have their respective issues.

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Old 06-06-2009, 08:20 PM   #8
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We were "talked in to" getting the residential frig on this rig. I will probably not do it again, unless the coach I really want comes with one. My issues with it are:
1) Mainly the amount of time required running the generator, when dry camping. A large part of this is caused by parasitic loads and power consumption from the inverter when it is on all of the time.
2) Heat generated in the coach in warm weather.
Dale Gerstel
2007 Limited SE 40fdts
Las Vegas, NV
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:04 PM   #9
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Love the Amana...

John, We love our Amana very much like Jim Durley. When we bought our '03 it had the Amana & I thought "What Overkill" but as we used the coach I really grew to depend on it. We ordered it with our '07 and would not have considered anything else. In our 5th wheels we had always had electric/propane refrigs but they were always small things & ice cream didn't stay hard. (A must in our household! We always come home from Oregon with the freezer packed with Umpqua or Tillimook ice cream!)

We have 8 Lifeline house and 2 Optima AGM (1850 amps)chassis batteries and keep our inverter on all the time. When dry camping the AGS starts up and runs for about 2 hours in the morning and another hour at night. We have ours set to start at 12.1 amps which is 1.2 discharged per LL,

If we don't have much in the freezer I always keep it full with water bottles (frozen ice keeps it from running often) and occasionally turn the freezer up (so it doesn't run so much esp if someone is sleeping in the living room) at night but you have to remember to turn it back down in the morning! ;>)

Also, if we are dry camping we usually don't watch that much TV either, and we have our "extra" entertainment switch turned off so there isn't the parasitic draw during the night!
The Swans
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:58 PM   #10
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Like most, we love the Amana Refer. I would never have another propane unit in an RV. We camped up on property last year for most of two days. I ran the Genset for a couple of hours before we went to bed; it kept the batteries up for the whole evening.

We shut the inverter down prior to starting the coach, as it clicks when the load tries to shift over to the engine alternator. Once the engine is running, turning it back on it works fine.

I don't have a separate entertainment switch that I am aware of. I do keep the bedroom stereo switch turned off when not in use (maybe used twice since we owned the unit). I check the batteries once a month, and add distilled water as necessary.
Monty & Janet - 2007 Alpine APEX 40 MDTS
S/N - 75715 - Retired - Master Certified RV Tech
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Old 06-07-2009, 05:38 AM   #11
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We had one residential refrigerator in our Monaco. Never again. Very thankful that the Alpine had the combo refrigerator. You never have to give it a second thought. It is pretty much totally trouble free. Fill propane once or twice a year. Usually do it in a campground where I never even have to move. It is truly an asset to dry camping or in the infield of Nascar races.
Ted & Carol Ulmer
2005 Alpine 34', 34FDDS
2006 PT Turbo pusher
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Old 06-07-2009, 09:19 PM   #12
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I initially liked the idea of a residential refer, because the Norcold in our class C iced up the heat exchanger fins after just a couple weeks. However, the new coach with Norcold frost free refer is a dream. It's been running since we took delivery in early May, and has no ice buildup. I would rather not run the genset 4 hours a day during dry camping, so I'm very pleased with what we have.
Scott & Marcia Hicks
2009 Alpine 40' FDQS 75809
Portland, OR
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Old 06-07-2009, 10:30 PM   #13
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We have the Dometic propane/AC refer and like it very much. It does build up ice in the freezer compartment near the ice maker, and we get about 4 to 5 months out of it in the winter before we have to physically defrost it. We carefully chip the ice out along the way to prevent a full defrost, and avoid damaging the plastic lining. Also, our drain heater element failed at about 3 years (a couple months ago), and Dometic replaced it on their 3 year factory warranty. The key is to make sure the ice maker arm is left in the "off" position the evening before you decide to move the coach, and off during travel, so that you don't have water that can splash out of the ice maker during travel. Doing these two things really extends the time between full defrosts (not just the daily automatic cycle).

When we travel in states (like Washington) that don't allow propane on when driving, we keep the refer door closed and run the generator about 1/2 hour every 2 to 3 hours for 1/2 hour or so to help keep the refer cold, until we can go back to propane or are hooked up to AC for the night. The residential refer is better for that purpose, but beyond that, we can't see as many advantages as the propane/AC combo provides.
Former Owner, 2006 36MDDS
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2007 Toyota Tundra
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Old 06-07-2009, 11:45 PM   #14
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Bill- you can defrost quite quickly and avoid a lot of chipping by:
1) pull all your freezer contents
2) put a high volume fan on the counter across from the freezer (helps to close the kitchen slide)
3) prop the freezer door open & run the fan
This defrosts mine in about 20 minutes.

Baja-tested '08 2-slide 36'
Alpine: The Ultimate DIY'er Project
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