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Old 04-22-2010, 12:15 PM   #1
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Refrigerator / Inverter

I have a Norcold four door refrigerator/freezer which pulls 3.85 amps when running. Is it conceivable to run this refrigerator off the inverter when traveling and boondocking for short periods? The second plug in the fridge area is hot off of the inverter, I guess to keep the ice maker working.

I have a 2000watt Magnum inverter and four 2200 interstate 6 volt batteries. Would the fridge itself run that down very quickly??

I also have two of the Amsolar 100watt solar panels to help charge the batteries.
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:42 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepsrule View Post
I have a Norcold four door refrigerator/freezer which pulls 3.85 amps when running. Is it conceivable to run this refrigerator off the inverter when traveling and boondocking for short periods? The second plug in the fridge area is hot off of the inverter, I guess to keep the ice maker working.

I have a 2000watt Magnum inverter and four 2200 interstate 6 volt batteries. Would the fridge itself run that down very quickly??

I also have two of the Amsolar 100watt solar panels to help charge the batteries.
My 4 door fridge runs off lp gas & 12 v dc so the inverter doesn't matter...is your Norcold 120v ac?
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:27 AM   #3
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Yes it runs off of 120v or gas.
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Old 04-23-2010, 08:02 AM   #4
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I don't know why you don't want to run your fridge off propane, but your solar should be able to handle it and I think you have the battery capacity if you want to do it that way.
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Old 04-23-2010, 09:18 AM   #5
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It might be a little of a strain on your system especially when boondocking, but it's definitely doable. I've installed a 500W inverter in my coach mainly so that I can run my refrigerator while on the road. Eliminates the propane use and forgetting to shut everything down when buying gas. My fridge doesn't draw as much as your 4 dr. model, but I don't have the battery bank you do either. At 3.85 A you'll be drawing approx. 40 amps from the batteries when the fridge is cooling. Obviously less when it's not. Since it doesn't cool all the time and cycles based on a lot of variables, it's hard to say what your average load would be.

My fridge didn't have a 12VDC option, so I installed a 120 VAC relay that switches between shore power and inverter power. The presence of shore power activates the relay and passes the shore power to the fridge. Normally, I just leave the fridge power control set to AC. While on the road the inverter powers the fridge and coach alternator and the batteries easily keep up with the demand. When we stop someplace, I just turn off the inverter and fridge unless we've at a site, then the shore power takes over. If there is no shore power, I just go to LP since I don't have gobs of battery. My charge relay in the coach died a while back and I didn't discover it until trying to dry camp for the night. Fridge killed by house batteries after running all day. Had to jump start the genset to get a charge into them.

Bottom line is that I'd give it a try. Just keep an eye on your house battery levels first couple of times out.
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Old 04-23-2010, 09:46 AM   #6
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You can do it but remember that 3.5 Amps at 120 volts translates to about 35 amps at battery voltage.

That's a major hunk of your vehicle alternator capacity.

GM alternators (The kind used on Workhorse) chassis cost hundreds of dollars.. I don't know the price on Ford Alternators. Do you really want to put that much ADDITIONAL load on the alternator?
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Old 04-23-2010, 04:28 PM   #7
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You can do it but remember that 3.5 Amps at 120 volts translates to about 35 amps at battery voltage.

That's a major hunk of your vehicle alternator capacity.

GM alternators (The kind used on Workhorse) chassis cost hundreds of dollars.. I don't know the price on Ford Alternators. Do you really want to put that much ADDITIONAL load on the alternator?
Load on the alternator is a good point. I was looking at running the fridge while on the road so as not to have propane burning while traveling.
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Old 04-23-2010, 04:53 PM   #8
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Your alternator "should" already be sized to keep your batteries charged while you drive. That means that it is likely already a pretty heavy duty alternator but you will want to check to verify. If you start with charged batteries and a cold fridge you should have no problems at all keeping the batteries charged. You can always run the generator when you arrive if your batteries are not fully topped off or switch to propane if the sun is shining and let the sun do some of the work.
I have been running my household GE Profile refer (electric only) for over 10 years without issue. We have lots of battery and a strong alternator so I have never seen my battery voltage drop while driving.
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Old 04-25-2010, 06:10 AM   #9
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I have an 02 diesel pusher and have the frige wired into inverter so I can use 120v to run frige when traveling and for boondocking for up to 10 days.

Other add-ons are 3 120 watt solar panels , 8 interstare 2500 , 6 volt batteries a 3000 watt prosine inverter and I also put a 200 amp alternator on engine. I hate propane, only use it for cooking.

Hope this helps.

Aime--- ajbjrvers
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Old 04-25-2010, 02:53 PM   #10
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Someone just got done doing an analysis of that very question with watt meters and such so he could tell just how much power his fridge used.

I will say this,, I do not think 2 100 watt panels is enough. 4 might be or 2 600 watt panels.

The fridge draws around 350 watts running, more or less, starting power is only slightly higher since it's a resistor, not a motor. power factor is one or so close to it we might as well call it one (you get one watt per volt-amp)

Regular refrigerators draw hundreds of watts and even more volt-amps.

The one thing I do question.. If this is in an RV and you expect the alternator to charge the batteries as you drive. 3.5 amps at 120 volt is around 35 amps at 12 volt and that is one big hunk of alternator capacity on alternators 200 amps and down. Last time I priced a GM 100 amp alternator the price was hundreds of dollars.
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Old 04-25-2010, 09:43 PM   #11
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I have an 02 diesel pusher and have the frige wired into inverter so I can use 120v to run frige when traveling and for boondocking for up to 10 days.

Other add-ons are 3 120 watt solar panels , 8 interstare 2500 , 6 volt batteries a 3000 watt prosine inverter and I also put a 200 amp alternator on engine. I hate propane, only use it for cooking.

Hope this helps.

Aime--- ajbjrvers
I don't mind the propane, but was looking for ways to refrain from using it mainly while driving.
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:22 AM   #12
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My Class C coach has a 135 amp alternator, so an intermittent load to augment and top off the coach batteries shouldn't be that much of a strain since it's not powering anything else except the engine electronics. I monitor the alternator output with my ScanGuage and based on what I see, the fridge doesn't pull power that often anyway.
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:31 AM   #13
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Jeepsrule:

We also do not use propane while driving (turn it off at the tank), and run the fridge on inverter (with kids, keeping toe door closed all day is not an option!). We've done this with both our motorized coaches, we did have to replace the alternator on the old one at 100,000 miles because the bearings wore out.

We find that the 30A extra load while the fridge is running is not a problem, except when we forget to switch to LP when we stop (when we don't have electric).

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Old 04-26-2010, 08:36 AM   #14
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I have done this on two occasions, but the Norcold uses too much current to keep the batteries charged when driving so I switched back to propane.
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