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Old 09-25-2016, 02:15 PM   #1
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Refrigerator question

Just purchased but have not taken delivery yet, of a 36', 08 SeaBreeze. One of the big selling points was the large fridge it has.
After the fact we discovered it has only electricity for the fridge and not gas.

Can someone tell me if this is typical for a Class A and if the solar power/inverter is usually sufficient to operate it? The salesman told us yes but I do not always want to believe salesmen....even though it is all after the fact.

Thank you in advance
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Old 09-25-2016, 03:03 PM   #2
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That's a tough question.

It's not typical but seems to be the wave of the future.

If you are going to travel to campgrounds with power and only boondock once in a while, you will love it's simplicity.

The inverter uses the house battery to run the fridge and the engine keeps the house batteries charged.

At the CG, the batteries are charged by the inverter, if it's a dual unit, or by the converter if you have separate components.

If your batteries are in good shape, an overnight without shore power or generator is easily doable.

If you plan on boondocking for multiple days, you will need to keep track of your battery state of charge.

Without knowing how large a battery bank you have, it's hard to judge when to recharge them.

You may have enough solar to recharge the batteries, every sunny day, but sometimes clouds and trees effect that. With a large bank, you can wait until the next day for solar charging. A small bank will require some generator time on the cloudy days.

With smart battery management, with solar and some generator running, you should be able to get along fine.

If not equipped, I recommend a battery monitor to give a good picture of your battery state of charge. The little bar graph, volt gauges, are a joke.
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:19 PM   #3
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Twin Boat pretty much summed it up. I will add that the new residential refrig's are very energy efficient compared to previous models. If my unit quits I would seriously consider go with the residential version.
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Old 09-26-2016, 06:19 AM   #4
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Red Jeep, it looks like your MH has a residential fridge. It's doubtful that was an option in an '08 Seabreeze, so the previous owner may have changed out the original RV refrigerator for a residential model. Twinboat summed up the operation of a residential refrigerator very well.

Having owned both types of refrigerators in our RVs, IMO a residential is superior in almost every way. It will be bigger inside for the same exterior volume, and it will cool much better and much more efficiently. It will probably make ice faster than you can use it, whereas an RV fridge will probably have trouble keeping up with even limited ice usage.

The only way a residential refrigerator may not work as well for you is if you do a lot of boondocking without electrical hookups. In that case, you may have to add another pair of 6V batteries to your battery bank, and then use solar power or your generator to charge the batteries.

BTW, I changed out the RV fridge in the MH we used to have for a residential. It ran very well on a 1000W inverter and one pair of 6V batteries. We also have a residential refrigerator in the 5th wheel we have now, which also does well on a 1000W inverter and one pair of 6V batteries. It should be noted, however, we did not boondock at all.
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Old 09-26-2016, 06:53 AM   #5
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After posting, something else came to mind.

Because a residential refrigerator was probable not standard, the inverter and solar system were most likely, also added on.

Hearing and reading how some DIYers install things, you may want an experenced RV or Marine electrical mechanic to look over the installation.

You just never know.
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Old 09-26-2016, 01:23 PM   #6
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It is hard to find new class A's with even a gas fridge option. Manufacturers claim customers are demanding residential units, but I think it is because all-electric fridges are so much cheaper and no lawsuits from fires. You need solar to keep it cold 24/7 or you will burn tons of fuel with the generator.
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Old 09-26-2016, 03:59 PM   #7
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It's obviously an aftermarket installation, since NRV did not offer a residential refrig. Like others have suggested, have a qualified technician, preferably not the dealer, check out the installation, and instruct you on the proper operation.

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Old 09-26-2016, 04:37 PM   #8
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when we were hunting for our full timing 5vr or coach back in early '14, we didn't even consider anything other than what we already had all our married lives - a regular(residential) fridge - wouldn't want a propane fridge if you gave it to me - but that's just us ... the size is more practical -
and yes, it's more and more of us...


any new/newer coach with a factory installed residential fridge will come with the needed required 110v inverter and batteries to power it - of course, just as in ANY rving scenerio, it depends on where you are, how you are powered, and what your needs are as to how you will get it power/keep it powered.

Ours has never been turned off in over 2 1/2 years, whether on shore power(duh!), on Generator, or inverter alone(of course, your AGS will power up your generator when you need to recharge the batteries, if you have an AGS).

Our propane tank, one that mounts into one of the forward bay areas, was only down to 1/3 level in two and half years - we mainly only use it for occasional cooking, and infrequent use of the furnace or water heater.
Most newer RVrs would rather not deal with propane, and the refilling requirements, though it's another discussion for older 'off gridders' who might see it's better potential when no shore power is available.
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:29 PM   #9
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Love our residential after having two previous coaches without. And we dry camp.

Recent thread here asking for regrets of moving to RR. Suggest to find and read.
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Old 09-27-2016, 10:05 AM   #10
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You need solar to keep it cold 24/7 or you will burn tons of fuel with the generator.
Tons? Even if you had to run the genset 4 hours/day to re-charge batteries, that would likely be only 1-2 gallons. Even my 7.5kw diesel genset uses only about 0.3 gal/hr to produce the small amount of power needed for that.
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Old 09-28-2016, 01:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by MisterT View Post
Most newer RVrs would rather not deal with propane, and the refilling requirements, though it's another discussion for older 'off gridders' who might see it's better potential when no shore power is available.
The first part of that statement is simply untrue, IMO, unless you are talking specifically about full-timers.
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:31 AM   #12
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I don't know if its "most" or just "a lot", but it's probably true that many new motorhome buyers expect the fridge to run "just like home", meaning on campground electric. More than a few are surprised to learn that the a/c or the power outlets don't work until they plug in somewhere (or turn the genset on).
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Old 09-29-2016, 10:12 AM   #13
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Agree--resid. fridges are becoming more and more popular--IMHO. We've had one for 14 years and its worked fine for us--though we don't do a lot of boon docking. The challenge with trying to maintain your 120V AC life-style off the grid is the need for quite a bit of panels, a good controller, more batteries and a good inverter--that adds up to a few$$$$$$. Remember, for most of us RVers who are accustom to 120volts, the fridge isn't the only thing running. I am just getting into solar on our coach but my gut feel is that 600 watts of solar and 600 amp/hrs of bat storage is about the minimum system needed to live comfortably "off the grid"....and you will still need a fair amount of genset time on cloudy days or after long, cold nights. Agree--newer fridges are probably much more efficient than my 14 year old unit but at a conversion rate of about 1 AC amp for every 100 DC watts, even a 1.5 amp AC fridge needs a fair amount of solar to keep it running 24/7......
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