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Old 04-20-2013, 04:46 PM   #1
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Refrigerators and Rooftops

Okay folks, stupid questions to follow.

Refrigerators. I have had a 5th wheel with a regular RV refrigerator for 4 years. It works great - but takes several hours to get cool. We are looking at ordering a new 5th wheel. If I get one with a residential refrigerator, do they get cool more quickly?

Rooftops. Our current RV has a rubber roof. We have an opportunity to buy one with a fiberglass roof. How much better are they and why?

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:24 PM   #2
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Perfect roof, etc.

If anybody makes a perfect roof I haven't heard of it. There's been some posts about the one the folks who make Rhino Liners make. When my rubber roof goes kaput that's what I'll probably get.

Aluminum expands & contracts and the joints eventually leak. Had one.

Fiberglass is subject to UV damage, cracks, bubbles, and delamination. Had one.

So far the two RV's we've had with rubber roofs have been the most reliable. They do require maintenance. And watch out for low hanging branches.

I have one of the infamous 1201LRIM refers. It cools down to 34F in less than 12 hours. No complaints. I don't like running a generator often so a residential is out of the question. My DW has really good ears and the compressor running in a residential refer would drive her nuts.
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:29 PM   #3
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Even with a residential refrigerator, it will take several hours to cool down. Then you cannot operate while on the road and no 120 volts is available unless you have an inverter and a large battery bank to run the electric frig.

Ken
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:29 PM   #4
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I have looked at the Trilogy 5th wheel. It has a residential refer and a fiberglass roof.

From what I have read the fiberglass roof is the way to go. So I give thumbs up to the fiberglass roof.

Residential Refigerator - if you are not going to do a lot of boondocking this is also a thumbs up item. I do not think it will cool down much quicker. An RV type refer running on propane cools down ok.
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Old 04-23-2013, 12:30 PM   #5
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IMHO a residential frig is the way to go now - hasn't always been that way. You can get a new residential frig that is very efficient for less than a RV frig.

If you do get a residential frig it's probably best to have 4 batteries - preferrably 6-volt batteries as they have a higher capacity than 12-volt batts. However, I know of several people who don't run their frig when they are traveling and the frig doesn't warm up much. Especially if you are on the road for only 4 to 6 hours between campgrounds.

Our full-time rig will definitely have a res. frig. with 4 batteries, and at minimum a 2000 watt inverter.

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Old 04-24-2013, 07:46 AM   #6
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Only part timers and never boondock but the Samsung RF197 in our Excel cools down quickly and stays there, unlike the Norcold 1200 we had in our motorhome. We only have two 6 volt batteries but it runs fine on an all day drive off the 1500 watt dedicated inverter. Based on its amperage draw it would run 8 to 9 hours continuously off the two batteries but doubt it is running more than half the time so we have plenty of capacity for a full day's drive. The Samsung is very rv friendly as it has a very low start up and run amp requirements. Also, I read on their website that it converts the current to 12 volt so it will run fine off the cheaper modified sine wave inverters.

Had all the different versions of roofs and they all have their up and downsides. Currently have the rubber and it is fine.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:56 AM   #7
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I've had motorhomes with rubber and fiberglass roofs. I'd never own another one with a rubber roof.

My previous motorhome had a rubber roof and required an extraordinary amount of maintenance to keep it in good shape. I was up on the top of that thing at least every other month scrubbing and sealing. If you let them go, they chalk up and that stuff runs all over the sides of your rig. My rubber roof was pretty durable though. I didn't have any problems with rips or tears.

My current fiberglass roof has been very low maintenance. I wash it about every three months and apply a light coating of Protect-All once a year. The fiberglass has been very durable as well. No problems so far.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:19 AM   #8
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I have had both types of roofs, rubber on my Airstream Landyacht and fiberglass on my current Monaco Windsor. The rubber roof took more maintenance than the fiberglass. Now I just power wash the fiberglass a few times a year and put a coat of Mop-N-Glo on it to reduce the white streaks from the fiberglass oxidizing in the sun.

Regarding the refrigerator, it's really a personal choice and opinion as to which one is better. From my experience the residential fridge will cool down much faster than any RV absorption fridge. It's simply a matter of physics. It's far more efficient to cool food down with cold air blowing into the compartment versus attempting to remove heat from the food through Heat Absorption and Heat Transfer. How many homes do you know of that have an absorption fridge in it other than the Amish community?

Just my opinion but I will never own another RV that has a RV absorption fridge in it EVER. The residential fridges are a more uniform and stable method for keeping food cold or frozen.

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Old 04-25-2013, 04:13 PM   #9
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jfyi. check the insulation in the roof area of that Trigoly. I was impressed with it until I checked this. This is either 1.5 or 2" of insulation only. Deal breaker for me.
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:35 PM   #10
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jfyi. check the insulation in the roof area of that Trigoly. I was impressed with it until I checked this. This is either 1.5 or 2" of insulation only. Deal breaker for me.
Yes I have discovered a few to many things that are deal breakers for me. No option for oven and I really don't like the stationary gas tank. Read a review of a factory tour somewhere on a blog that made me think twice too. We have decided on Mobile Suites. The only question I still don't know about is the unit a residential refrigerator has no inverter so is that a big deal?
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:45 PM   #11
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So thanks for all the insights and answers everyone. We have narrowed down to a Mobile Suites. It comes with a residential refrigerator but has no inverter that is listed. Is this unusual? Does that mean it will only run when plugged in to electricity? Sorry for the dumb question but our current 5er has a standard RV refrigerator that runs on gas or AC.
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:48 PM   #12
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[QUOTE="

Regarding the refrigerator, it's really a personal choice and opinion as to which one is better. From my experience the residential fridge will cool down much faster than any RV absorption fridge. It's simply a matter of physics. It's far more efficient to cool food down with cold air blowing into the compartment versus attempting to remove heat from the food through Heat Absorption and Heat Transfer. How many homes do you know of that have an absorption fridge in it other than the Amish community?

Just my opinion but I will never own another RV that has a RV absorption fridge in it EVER. The residential fridges are a more uniform and stable method for keeping food cold or frozen.

Dr4Film ----- Richard[/QUOTE]

That really helps to know the physics behind the refrigerator! Thx Richard!
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docnprincess View Post
Yes I have discovered a few to many things that are deal breakers for me. No option for oven and I really don't like the stationary gas tank. Read a review of a factory tour somewhere on a blog that made me think twice too. We have decided on Mobile Suites. The only question I still don't know about is the unit a residential refrigerator has no inverter so is that a big deal?
I'm not sure why it would not have an inverter, at least one dedicated to the fridge. I guess if you are only going to travel for the day and then get to hook-ups it would be okay as long as you don't open it much. Depending on the fridge it may or may not run off a modified sine wave inverter, which is quite a bit cheaper than pure sine wave inverters. Pure sine waves deliver power much more like you have at home and will run most anything. I think I would insist on a dedicated inverter of some type for the fridge so you don't have to worry about it.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:40 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by docnprincess View Post
So thanks for all the insights and answers everyone. We have narrowed down to a Mobile Suites. It comes with a residential refrigerator but has no inverter that is listed. Is this unusual?
Very much so, if that is true.

Quote:

Does that mean it will only run when plugged in to electricity? Sorry for the dumb question but our current 5er has a standard RV refrigerator that runs on gas or AC.
Yes, that's exactly what it means. To me, a residential is ok if the below exists:

1.) You at least have an inverter to operate the fridge while driving. Then all the rest of the time you have shore power. (Yes you can run the genny any time you want the fridge to run).

2.) You don't travel far between having shore power. In those cases with the fridge plenty cold, you can get by without an inverter.

3.) You do not stay where shore power is not available, for the exception of an overnight stay with an inverter and a large battery bank (at least 480AH). And of course you can decide to run the genny if needed.

Since you are acustom to having the flexibility of a propane/AC, you really need to evaluate how you will use this new rig.

A res fridge has more room inside and they are more dependable, but they certainly have their limitations. It really boils down to how you are going to use your rig. From what I've read on here, many switch to res from the Norcolds, which are no doubt junk.

My old Dometic fridge (now 15 years old) performs perfectly. Set at (2), max (5) the freezer stays at -10 and the fridge at 32. I have made a few cheap mods to it. In our particular camping style, a res fridge would be a PITA. Again however, it depends on your rig, it's capabilities and your camping style.
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