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Old 07-05-2018, 11:56 AM   #1
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Residential Fridge while traveling

Soon to be FT 5th wheel owner...have a general question on residential refridgerators and how best to keep them running in transit...
Do you need a battery bank and charging from TV in order to keep it running while traveling? We'll have many more then one day travels in our immediate future for work and was wondering the best way to approach it. Generator just doesnt seem off hand very practical IMHO. How do y'all handle this on a day to day?
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:03 PM   #2
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We have a 5er with a residential fridge. One, we never boondock overnight. Minimum 30 amp. That allows the batteries that supply the inverter to be fully charged. Two, while in transit, the inverter uses the batteries but as a backup to keep them charging, we plug in the 5er to the truck. We also run the generator running off propane for about an hour between stops.

Our fridge holds temps nicely while in transit. The downside is unless we add solar and about 2-4 more batteries, we have to have electrical. But then we donít care for boondocking. Just not us.
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:10 PM   #3
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Thanks southernlady,
how many batteries do you have currently 2?
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masdixdragon View Post
Thanks southernlady,
how many batteries do you have currently 2?
Yeap two.
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Old 07-05-2018, 02:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masdixdragon View Post
Soon to be FT 5th wheel owner...have a general question on residential refridgerators and how best to keep them running in transit...
Do you need a battery bank and charging from TV in order to keep it running while traveling? We'll have many more then one day travels in our immediate future for work and was wondering the best way to approach it. Generator just doesnt seem off hand very practical IMHO. How do y'all handle this on a day to day?
We have a 5er with a residential fridge. 4 6 volt batteries and the fridge is always cold. Longest drive so far 6 hours and the fridge was fine. Just use he inverter while traveling.
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Old 07-05-2018, 02:57 PM   #6
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We have 2 6volt batteries and a 1k watt inverter along with one 160 watt solar panel. We've traveled 9 hours during the day and never had the batteries go below 90%.
Initially we did not have the solar and still did not a problem on short trips. However, I never wanted to be caught in a major traffic jam, campground power outage, etc., and not have needed power. That being said, that would be in daylight the daylight hours.
August will be 4 years and the set-up works absolutely flawlessly.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:09 PM   #7
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We start our res. fridge up 3 days before travel stock some stuff then the day of travel add the rest to fridge unplug and hit the road.up to 12 hour days travel no problem.2 6 volt batteries and inverter.
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Old 07-07-2018, 01:33 AM   #8
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2 months ago I installed a Samsung RF18 fridge in my 40 foot fiver. I was fed up with a nevercold refer that, at best, barely worked. A month later I took a 6500 mile road trip. I have 4 6 volt golf cart batteries and an 80 amp convertor along with a 3500 watt modified sine wave inverter. When towing, I plugged my fridge into the msw inverter and used the standard umbilical cord to charge batteries in the fiver. After driving for 6 hours or so Iíd pull into a campground with full hookups (50 amp) and read the amperage being drawn by the convertor in the trailer to top off the batteries. Initially it would read about 12 amps and slowly, over 12 hours, would settle back down to about a 1/2 amp. This told me that my batteries were being drained further then I wanted given the 165 amp alternator and #12 stock wires feeding the charge circuit back to the 5er.

I decided to upsize my charging wires to see if I could get more current back to the batteries while driving. I ordered a new continuous duty charging relay and 75 feet of number 4 welding cable along with loom, heavy duty copper lugs, a large winch connector rated at 200amps, 2 #4wire gauge inline fuses along with 100 amp fuses, zip ties, tape, and brought along a hydraulic wire crimper along with tools of all kinds just in case this new fridge didnít work too well.

I mounted the relay on the firewall of the truck and ran a fused line between the output on the alternator to the relay and from the relay back to inside the bed of the truck all wrapped in loom to the winch connector that is mounted up high near the bed rails right next to the bed mounted drop cord plug. I also connected the other side of the winch connector to a secure ground on the rear frame of the truck and added a #4/0 ground from the neg battery terminal to the frame on the truck. I would add that welding wire, while more expensive then automotive wire, is very finely stranded, is easily sourced, and its outer insulation is rated oil resistant, making it perfect for this application. Then, I started on wiring the ground and positive leads in the trailer along with another fuse on the + lead from the trailer batteries to the other half of the winch connector. I also installed led lights on both the + leads in the connector so I could see at a glance that both lights are on indicating that both fuses are good.

Then, I drove another 7 hours pulling the trailer to the next stop with the winch connecter connected and my old umbilical in place. Wow, when I hooked up the campground power and looked at the amp meter it read 1/2 amp draw. This indicates that my batteries were almost fully charged and very little current from my convertor was necessary to top off my batteries. It would appear as if a #12 wire in your umbilical along with voltage loss across 40+ feet of 12 gauge wire is inadequately sized to really charge your batteries or even keep up with the amps drawn out of the trailer batteries by the fridge and inverter loss during travel. My advice is to upsize the battery charge lines on both the - and positive sides to charge your 5er batteries and look into how large your alternator is.

I now travel and not worry about charging my 5er batteries and I dearly love my new fridge. I now have cold ice cream, ice cubes and the msw inverter runs the fridge perfectly. That said, check with the manufacturer of the fridge you choose to determine what inverter you will need to run your new fridge. I lucked out and did not have to buy a pure sine wave inverter. The manufacturer agrees that it will run fine on a msw inverter but acknowledges that it may draw a little more current and perhaps emit more heat when running on a msw. Some other manufacturers also will not warranty their unit in a trailer. Samsung said both are ok. I will never go back to a nevercold refer and freezer. They are just not worth it unless you are intent on boondocking a lot. You will absolutely love your residential fridge, should you go that route. The new fridge, along with its related wiring, is probably the best improvement made to the quality of my life glamping. Paul R. Haller
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Old 07-07-2018, 06:12 AM   #9
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Great post Paul. Would love to see a pic of that 4/0 jumper.
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Old 07-07-2018, 06:50 AM   #10
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Anyone ever figure out how much solar wattage is needed to help the batteries out to feed the inverter to feed the Res. Refrigerator?

I have not done this yet but thinking my next rig will have the residential Refer.
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Old 07-07-2018, 06:57 AM   #11
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One more comment. Newer refrigerators have an automatic defrost cycle very hour. If you can figure out how to stop that auto defrost cycle while you are on battery your electrical consumption will go down dramatically
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Old 07-07-2018, 07:32 AM   #12
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When we had our 5er we have traveled a lot residential fridge with days of 10 hours and with two group 27 batteries without any problems. On one trip our inverter won't come online and we drove 7 hours without power to the fridge with an outside temp of 85 degrees with stuff in the freezer still frozen. Before hitting the road we turn the fridge to the coolest settings the night before and the day of travel we turn the settings back to where we normally have them. If you leave them at the coolest settings you will freeze the stuff in the fridge and ice cream so hard you can get out the container. There are thousands of people traveling down the road with residential fridges and not having any problems and I'm sure you won't either.
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Old 07-08-2018, 07:51 AM   #13
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We've boondocked 2 days while traveling in 90+ degree temps. Fridge never let us down. Just turn on inverter and your truck will keep RV batteries charged. I've even forgot to turn on the inverter for 8hrs and everything was still cold or frozen. The residential fridges are way more efficient than a standard RV fridge.
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Old 07-08-2018, 10:49 AM   #14
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Nice post Paul.

Good work. Increasing wire size to charge the coach batteries is never a bad thing.
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