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Old 03-25-2015, 10:11 AM   #1
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Residential fridge?

What are the advantages of a residential fridge?
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Old 03-25-2015, 10:17 AM   #2
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Cold beer, hard ice ream, more room, less propane, absorption cooling unit going out, need I go on?
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:21 AM   #3
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Peace of mind of not having to worry about having a fridge fire!!
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:34 AM   #4
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Gas absorption cooling requires that the fridge be level to work. That's a not a given as you drive down the road, not to mention they generally don't work well on 12V so you'd need to run it on propane as you travel. Long term, the residential fridge also gets a nod for a self-defrosting freezer. The only advantage a gas absorption refrig has in that it requires zero electricity to operate and use very little propane. That allows long term boondocking.

Based on my experience with them, I'd avoid them if possible. I wish RV manufacturers would offer the smaller 12V DC/120V AC compressor fridges as options. There are plenty of them of all sizes in the marine industry, and it doesn't take much solar power to keep up with their energy usage.
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:55 AM   #5
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All of the above.
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Old 03-25-2015, 12:32 PM   #6
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Advantage - Lower price for replacement. Leveling isn't as finicky as the LP frig, but this isn't a big deal.

Disadvantage - need 110 volts AC. My LP frig will run for months and months and months on a tank of LP.

Your lifestyle will dictate. If your always within a couple hours of an AC outlet (shore or genny) then it would probably be OK.
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Old 03-25-2015, 12:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cwsqbm View Post
Gas absorption cooling requires that the fridge be level to work. That's a not a given as you drive down the road, not to mention they generally don't work well on 12V so you'd need to run it on propane as you travel. Long term, the residential fridge also gets a nod for a self-defrosting freezer. The only advantage a gas absorption refrig has in that it requires zero electricity to operate and use very little propane. That allows long term boondocking.

Based on my experience with them, I'd avoid them if possible. I wish RV manufacturers would offer the smaller 12V DC/120V AC compressor fridges as options. There are plenty of them of all sizes in the marine industry, and it doesn't take much solar power to keep up with their energy usage.
Not true as they do require 12V to run the electronics, it's not much but is is far more than zero.
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Old 03-25-2015, 12:45 PM   #8
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Peace of mind of not having to worry about having a fridge fire!!
I never worried about it in my over 50 years of RV'ing.
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Old 03-25-2015, 12:57 PM   #9
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All of the above. The first thing I did when we got our coach was to ditch the Not-So-Cold so we could sleep at night.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:12 PM   #10
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FWIW We will not buy a unit with a residential fridge. Period. It takes an extra set of batteries just for the fridge to do an overnight. The gas one's work well enough that I see no advantage and a lot of disadvantages to using a residential refer and needing to supply that much electric when we like to go a lot of places that do not have electric available.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:15 PM   #11
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Not true as they do require 12V to run the electronics, it's not much but is is far more than zero.
The ones I owned had manual controls and didn't need any electricity to run. Today, its more likely to be found that way on the smaller 2-way refrigerators.
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Old 03-25-2015, 05:22 PM   #12
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Peace of mind of not having to worry about having a fridge fire!!
I have owned various RVs and boats, all with various sizes and models of absorption refrigerators. I never missed any sleep having to "worry" about a fridge fire.

If you have ever actually seen the "fire" required by an absorption refrigerator, you would know that it's not much more than a candle flame in size. And, the tiny flame is completely shrouded by sheet steel to contain the minimal amount of heat upward.

I really like absorption refrigerators, because they are virtually noiseless. And, I have never had any problems with them, (as he knocks on the nearest piece of wood). The only disadvantage is having to defrost. There are large units. Hard ice cream and plenty of ice has never been a problem.

A residential refrigerator is also nice, (I do like their size, automatic ice makers, and not having to defrost), but they require extensively more infrastructure in order to allow for boondocking. More batteries, a solar panel setup is the way to go.... necessitating a charge controller, pure sine wave inverter, dedicated circuit, and that's just to keep it running for more than a few hours without hookups. They also generally require some method of locking the door(s), and careful thought to food and beverage placement, (as they were not designed to be installed a mobile environment).
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Old 03-25-2015, 09:47 PM   #13
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All of the fridge fires I have read/heard about started when hooked up to electricity, and not when using propane. The four door Norcold 1200 seems to have the most trouble. Some say the older units were less fire prone. When fires happen and a civil suit ensues, apparently there is an agreement not to discuss any aspect of the fire. So its pretty difficult to come up with numbers in order to gauge just how concerned a Norcold 1200 owner should be. Its not like a car where NHTSA keeps statistics. Our Norcold 1200 was never very good at keeping things cold and would from time to time warm up. We had the black box installed as well as a halon system with the suggested 155F trigger. We saw the aftermath of a Norcold fire and then met the couple and spoke with them about it. We changed over to a Samsung 197 and really like it. Much bigger, much colder, no fire worry. We seldom spend nights without electricity, and when we do it is followed by a full day driving, so the batteries recharge via alternator. If its hot we can run the generator all night for air conditioning--but the price of diesel makes it about cheaper to go to a Passport America Campground. I never sleep as well at a Walmart, anyway. The 4 six volt batteries can run the Samsung all night without dropping below the dread 50% charge where the batteries' ability to charge can be damaged. If you dry camp lots, then absent the 4 coach batteries and a generator with auto start settings to avoid the 50% discharge, you are probably better off with a gas absorption fridge. Yes, there are folks who manage quite well and even have banks of solar chargers, but that is not me. We had to turn the temperature UP in the freezer section because the ice cream was too hard, especially with the ice maker turned on. When our fridge at home goes, we will replace it with a Samsung French door with bottom freezer as we have in the coach. Samsung actually replied to my email concerning using an MSW inverter (as opposed to pure sine wave) and they wrote that as long as the power was within their stated range, a modified sine wave inverter was fine. I admit I am a worry wort, but I sleep better without that worthless Norcold.
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Old 03-25-2015, 09:53 PM   #14
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The ones I owned had manual controls and didn't need any electricity to run. Today, its more likely to be found that way on the smaller 2-way refrigerators.
When I first started RV'ing we had to find ice blocks in AZ and TX in the middle of summer!
And yes older ones did not require even 12 V but they're a dinosaur now.
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