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Old 04-05-2018, 06:08 PM   #1
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Arrow Fridge on while in storage? maybe!



just thought the Palazzo community would like to know about a feature and a test that I am currently running: Can the fridge be left 'on' while in outside storage, with only solar?... we'll see.

Magnum SEARCH WATTS feature w RES fridge : )
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Old 04-11-2018, 10:15 PM   #2
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I for on don't know why you would leave the fridge on while in storage.
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Old 04-12-2018, 05:54 AM   #3
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We keep our coach plugged in. We keep it in a storage locker. After a trip we empty the fridge and turn it off. We open it to let the moisture dry up and in a day or two we close the fridge until the next use. Has worked for us.
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Old 04-12-2018, 05:56 AM   #4
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it's certainly not a normal affair, but the idea arose when I wanted to keep the fridge running between trips, but stored without 'shore power' or generator... is it possible with 4 6v batteries, 200w solar on the roof, and the Magnum Inverter's 'SearchWatts' function... yes.

The idea is not to run the Inverter 24/7, but to have it only 'automatically' come on and provide 120v power to the fridge when it requires it, when the compressor needs to run.

My testing shows that it certainly can do this, if you have enough daily sunshine.

Fridge's dont' 'need' to run 24/7, and can even go without power for many hours before melting or cooling would be an issue, but the next day's sunshine, along with the 200w of solar power to recharge the batteries, might keep everything fine within the fridge, itself.

This might not be a practical need for many, but just exposes the idea that it is an option for some, in some situations.

The original link to the other Forum Thread goes into all the testing details, the positive outcome, and Magnum's own response.
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:41 AM   #5
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A Whirlpool service tech advised leaving the residential fridge on 100 percent of the time. His reasoning seemed logical but I didn't pay much attention since mine is always plugged in and running.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:17 AM   #6
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"Is it possible with 4 6v batteries, 200w solar on the roof, and the Magnum Inverter's 'SearchWatts' function..." For a day or two certainly. You might even make into the start of the third day but not much longer before the battery volts get down too low and the inverter shuts down.

The low power search function of the Magnum is certainly a benefit but just not enough of a savings to make much a difference for this scenario. My inverter without the search function capability only consumes .230 amps @ 12 VDC more than the Magnum with the feature. A quarter of an amp savings isn't much to write home about unless you're on a damaged space craft headed to the moon.

200 watts of panel is just not enough to support 20+ cu. ft. residential fridge. Barely enough to support my 10 cu. ft. fridge which consumes 800 watts a day in an optimum environment. On a good day you're only looking at maybe 1000 watts from the panels. Add another 200 watts of panel and you might make it a few more days as long as the weather stays sunny and air temps stay reasonable so you don't get into a power deficit. Coach interior temps will be working against you. Plus as batteries temps increase they have less capacity to add insult to injury. And to make this even worse as volts drop amps will increase to do the same amount of work (volts X amps = watts) so the battery drain curve is not a straight line.
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:30 PM   #7
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certainly. this test was just to find out 'what's the search feature all about' scenario with the Fridge in mind. It can work, and does(which was really the point), but every scenario is different, short term and long term, because of all the differences in sun hours, weather, temps, fridge temp, items in the fridge, battery condition, amp hours, solar watts, etc., etc.,

I will say though, you make it sound as if the whole system shuts down for 'good' when the LBCO cuts out the Inverter when the batteries reach a certain low level, but remember that the LBCO also allows the Inverter to come back on, back into 'search watts' mode, when the battery levels are replenished by the incoming solar amps, whether in a very short time, or over the course of many hours. It's not a 'total loss' situation, but the fridge could be off for a number of hours. Whether that's long enough for any thawing of concern, is another subject.

While not an everyday usage scenario, for sure, it does bring to light that the feature can possible benefit those who want to try it... it gives the option of having the 'use' of the Inverter, but without it being on constantly, not just for the 'slight' amperage savings, but also so that any other draws on the inverter will be off when the fridge is off.

I would like for Magnum to weigh in and give us RVrs some better examples than the 'switching on a light' that they only provide in their documentation.
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:51 PM   #8
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Couple of possible problems.
First is that 200W of solar is pretty marginal for running any sort of compressor fridge under all conditions.

Second is that depending on the setting or the search function and the circuitry of the fridge, the inverter may never lock on because the fridge electronics don't draw enough current.

Then there is the real possibility of inclement weather causing the battery to be run down to whatever the inverter low voltage cut out is set to (often very low relative to the conventional 50% DOD limit) and then the battery sits there badly discharged for several days thereby severely shortening battery life.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:50 PM   #9
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Exclamation feedback...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Lee View Post
Couple of possible problems.
First is that 200W of solar is pretty marginal for running any sort of compressor fridge under all conditions. The solar is not 'running' anything, it is simply a source to charge the batteries, so the 'amount' of solar has only to do with how 'fast' the batteries can be charged during sun hours.

Second is that depending on the setting or the search function and the circuitry of the fridge, the inverter may never lock on because the fridge electronics don't draw enough current. My testing shows that the SearchWatts function works perfectly when the fridge 'requests' it's compressor to run, switching the Inverter into full 120v power during the compressor run time, and switching back to 'Search' mode when it's cycle is complete.

Then there is the real possibility of inclement weather causing the battery to be run down to whatever the inverter low voltage cut out is set to (often very low relative to the conventional 50% DOD limit) and then the battery sits there badly discharged for several days thereby severely shortening battery life. This is the area, and rightly so, that can cause any angst, as there's certainly no real control over sun hours, but the LBCO is simply the 'backstop' to control the loss of battery power, keeping them at a 'safe' level, until the solar watts can bring them back above the LBCO setting, reactivating the Inverter's 'Search' mode. Now, whether the batteries 'sitting' at 11.5 for several days is a concern, that might be a better discussion for the battery elite(not me)
...but,


Here's a great 'battery' fact reference I just found:
https://www.solar-electric.com/learn...ttery-faq.html
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterT View Post
,,,
I will say though, you make it sound as if the whole system shuts down for 'good' when the LBCO cuts out the Inverter when the batteries reach a certain low level, but remember that the LBCO also allows the Inverter to come back on, back into 'search watts' mode, when the battery levels are replenished by the incoming solar amps, whether in a very short time, or over the course of many hours. It's not a 'total loss' situation, but the fridge could be off for a number of hours. Whether that's long enough for any thawing of concern, is another subject.,,,
The first time the system does shuts down due to low volts you're at the beginning of the end. Not only will you now have a power deficit but now you into a temperature deficit. The time the system is down the fridge is warming up. As soon as there is enough power in the batteries for the inverter to wake back up the fridge will drain it faster than 200 watts of solar can replenish. Wash, rinse, repeat with the fridge getting warmer each time.

The idea will certainly work but not with 200 watts of solar to support an 18 cu. ft fridge. Your own testing showed a 1/2 volt deficit after just 24 hours. Probably in another 18 hours the deficit will be an additional 3/4 of a volt taking you into the shut down cycle at hour 36 to 42. By hour 60 or so your milk is turning into cottage cheese. By hour 72 the smells that are hard to get rid of start forming.

Your not the first to try this. 200 watts just isn't enough even with the very minor power savings of the inverter search function. 600 watts might be possible but one or two days of clouds and you looking at cottage cheese without the fall back of a second, more reliable, power source.
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:55 PM   #11
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Mister T,
Thanks for running the test and telling us about it. This type of data is helpful for people like us to know and to think about so we can plan for similar or even better results by modifying our situations. Thanks again!
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:24 PM   #12
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Yes Sweetbriar. It is called the death spiral and there is no way out of it other than to produce more power or use less.

Quote:
The solar is not 'running' anything, it is simply a source to charge the batteries, so the 'amount' of solar has only to do with how 'fast' the batteries can be charged during sun hours.
During the day the load will draw directly on the power being delivered by the solar panels so the electrons do not go into the battery and force the chemical reaction and then get produced by the reverse reaction and flow out of the battery to power the fridge, so the solar is running the fridge either wholly or partly until such time as the solar produces zero current. As stated by others, with a small panel supplying the load, especially when solar output is barely enough to supply the load, the battery is not being charged at all, or only by any excess current available so it is quite feasible that you get to the end of the day's sun hours and not replaced any or all of the power consumed during the previous night. A pretty abrupt start to the death spiral indeed.

Certainly feasible to run the electric fridge 24/7 provided the solar installation is big enough - OR provided you monitor it at least every couple of days to take action if necessary.
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:07 AM   #13
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I think we're all in the ballpark, and good advice from everyone - this is probably a good consideration for someone who has a short 'layover' period, without external power, and wants 'not' to have to unload the fridge for the next trip, which might only be in several days... etc.
It's probably not going to be the 'normal' for anyone, long term at least, but it does offer some insight to what the 'search watts' is capable of. I was quite surprised that it worked with the fridge, at least mine, but now I understand more about it. The fridge has a 'mechanical' thermostat, basically a circular metal band that is manufactured to expand/contract to exacting temperatures. The expansion(warmth), causing it to make 'contact' with the compressor control, closing the loop and 'asking' for 120v power.
The microwave though, was more of a head scratcher, totally digital. 'How' could the microwave 'asks' for power when it is effectively 'unplugged' when the Inverter is in 'search' mode? But, the reality is that the Inverter is 'still' on, just in a very low wattage 'search' mode, still sending out low wattage power, 'looking' for circuitry that needs it to activate digital devices. So the microwave is receiving enough 'power' to accept the user's input to 'start', which then activates the Inverter to full 'ON' for 120v power, running the microwave.

Yes, the batteries and the solar are the long-term controllers of whether the search watts feature can perform over the long haul, but the idea is very interesting, and does add to how 'dry camping' or 'storage' might work differently for some in various unique scenarios.
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