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Old 09-30-2020, 09:59 AM   #1
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12v fridge

I am considering buying a Rockwood Geo Pro. It has a large fridge but it is 12volt/110volt only. The Geo Pro has 190 watt solar panel on the roof.We will be dry camping more often than not and want to know if this will be an issue say at night keeping the fridge cold on battery alone??
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Old 09-30-2020, 12:15 PM   #2
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined us!

Have you checked to see if they might offer a LPG/AC version fridge as an option?

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 09-30-2020, 12:48 PM   #3
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You should find out what Brand/Model of fridge is being used and what it's AC/DC amp draws are.
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Old 09-30-2020, 01:27 PM   #4
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It should be obvious that a 12v compressor driven fridge uses more 12vdc power tan an LP gas fridge that only used 12v for control functions. How much more will depend on the brand and size of the 12v fridge, so you need to identify that. You also need to identify the size of the battery(s) used in the Rockwood Geo Pro. Without that data, any opinions are just guesses.


GE/Haier is making 12v fridges for RVs, as is Dometic and Furrion, plus there are 12v marine fridges available as well. Furion, for example, rates their 10 cu ft model at 11A peak and 1.08 KWH/day. That's about 90 AH @ 12v. However, that would be a huge fridge for a trailer the size of the Geo Pro.


From what I see on the Forest River website, only the Geo Pro 12RK is electric-only. Other Pro models seem to offer gas/electric fridges as standard equipment.
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Old 10-01-2020, 05:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
It should be obvious that a 12v compressor driven fridge uses more 12vdc power tan an LP gas fridge that only used 12v for control functions. How much more will depend on the brand and size of the 12v fridge, so you need to identify that. You also need to identify the size of the battery(s) used in the Rockwood Geo Pro. Without that data, any opinions are just guesses.


GE/Haier is making 12v fridges for RVs, as is Dometic and Furrion, plus there are 12v marine fridges available as well. Furion, for example, rates their 10 cu ft model at 11A peak and 1.08 KWH/day. That's about 90 AH @ 12v. However, that would be a huge fridge for a trailer the size of the Geo Pro.


From what I see on the Forest River website, only the Geo Pro 12RK is electric-only. Other Pro models seem to offer gas/electric fridges as standard equipment.
Thanks Gary, I'm attempting to gather that info now. This is a midseason upgrade to the geo pro G-20BHS
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Old 10-02-2020, 12:06 PM   #6
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I am considering buying a Rockwood Geo Pro. It has a large fridge but it is 12volt/110volt only. The Geo Pro has 190 watt solar panel on the roof.We will be dry camping more often than not and want to know if this will be an issue say at night keeping the fridge cold on battery alone??
Thanks to all who were kind enough to respond to my post, very helpful advise. I am currently chasing all the pertinent info to make my decision, thanks again.
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Old 10-04-2020, 03:12 PM   #7
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I full time with two 6V GC2 batteries (@230aH) and 470W solar and with 2 laptops, normal lighting, water pump usage and phone, tablet chargers, furnace running or fans, etc, I have discovered my electrical system could not handle anything else, especially a 12V compressor refrigerator unless I converted to lithium and upped my solar equipment. Of course I (obviously LOL) stay on the laptop too much but I'd never own a 12V compressor fridge unless I changed into the lamp-post to lamp-post style of camper that most of the new RV and camper mfgs are gambling is the category that you fall into and therefore they are also hoping your three day "buyer return window" (or whatever the time frame is in reality) has expired w here you can't return the coach with that 12V compressor fridge - and hopefully you won't realize in time what a mistake you made. Of course lithium and more solar is always an option for "boondockers" but that's often a 5 digit expense needed as an expansion project.

Upside is the 12V fridge will let you camp all day with the door half open (joke) like you do with your home fridge and recover instantly from too much activity and at the same time not cause worry too much about s a stream of hot beer stuffed into it every couple of hours but there is a price to pay for all that.

People have a hard enough time trying to keep these new 12V compressor fridge models operating while driving to their lamp-post, oops I mean camp site. You'll find expensive B2B chargers/converters or DC2DC or whatever they are calling them now to resolve this situation where the compressor fridge in the 5th wheel camper is pulling down the small DC wire run back there and thus depleting the camper battery before the owner even arrives at the destination. Fully contained motor home owners also sometimes have issues with keeping the 12V fridge cooling while driving down the road, especially if the batteries have run low at a previous stop and most of the alternator charging is already being taxed.

It's a major mistake in my opinion for the industry to do away with the propane fridge, but the good news seems this keeps most new RVers stuck in a campground most of the time and therefore not contending for the same spots I am usually seeking out. I'd never buy a new coach anyway - let someone else work the bugs out.
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Old 10-05-2020, 11:04 AM   #8
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12volt fridge debacle

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Originally Posted by Don Juane View Post
I full time with two 6V GC2 batteries (@230aH) and 470W solar and with 2 laptops, normal lighting, water pump usage and phone, tablet chargers, furnace running or fans, etc, I have discovered my electrical system could not handle anything else, especially a 12V compressor refrigerator unless I converted to lithium and upped my solar equipment. Of course I (obviously LOL) stay on the laptop too much but I'd never own a 12V compressor fridge unless I changed into the lamp-post to lamp-post style of camper that most of the new RV and camper mfgs are gambling is the category that you fall into and therefore they are also hoping your three day "buyer return window" (or whatever the time frame is in reality) has expired w here you can't return the coach with that 12V compressor fridge - and hopefully you won't realize in time what a mistake you made. Of course lithium and more solar is always an option for "boondockers" but that's often a 5 digit expense needed as an expansion project.

Upside is the 12V fridge will let you camp all day with the door half open (joke) like you do with your home fridge and recover instantly from too much activity and at the same time not cause worry too much about s a stream of hot beer stuffed into it every couple of hours but there is a price to pay for all that.

People have a hard enough time trying to keep these new 12V compressor fridge models operating while driving to their lamp-post, oops I mean camp site. You'll find expensive B2B chargers/converters or DC2DC or whatever they are calling them now to resolve this situation where the compressor fridge in the 5th wheel camper is pulling down the small DC wire run back there and thus depleting the camper battery before the owner even arrives at the destination. Fully contained motor home owners also sometimes have issues with keeping the 12V fridge cooling while driving down the road, especially if the batteries have run low at a previous stop and most of the alternator charging is already being taxed.

It's a major mistake in my opinion for the industry to do away with the propane fridge, but the good news seems this keeps most new RVers stuck in a campground most of the time and therefore not contending for the same spots I am usually seeking out. I'd never buy a new coach anyway - let someone else work the bugs out.
Don, the more I look into this the more this becomes evident. I'm glad you put it plainly, I love boondocking and am going to abandon the whole 12v fridge idea. I really appreciate your input. Dave
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Old 10-05-2020, 11:30 AM   #9
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Our 200w solar would seem adequate for our 12v fridge. We can go for 24 hours without power and it stays cold. Obviously if we were using other electronics and power converters, the battery drain would require more solar.

Do your homework on RV fires. I might be igniting a long thread discussion but there is a camp that maintains that the largest cause of RV fires is the LP fridge. Again, Im satisfied with our setup so far and am still accumulating info and yet to decide on the risk vs benifits of the LP fridge.
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Old 10-05-2020, 12:15 PM   #10
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As a propane refrigerator owner since 1990 (various RV models), I've never heard of anyone's rig catching on fire from the refrigerator but that's not saying it doesn't happen. Normal maintenance of course is required and the slits in the combustion area rust up over time but everyone should be maintaining that just as well as changing oil etc. Normally it's just a matter of removing a 1/4" nut to take the plate off and inspect the form of the burner and if it has rusted or not. Most handy people can even resolve rust there by using a screw driver blade to rake away any rust and a wire brush will usually have it performing like new if it's showing any signs of rusting.

For my own setup 200W would indeed keep the batteries full but the downside is when there is not full sun and zero cloud cover and you are far from the equator the 200w would certainly be putting all your eggs in one basket and you'd be generating a lot on cloudy and rainy days. In Texas on sunny days, I'm at 100% power (e.g. traveling on battery monitor 55% to 100%) by 11-1PM with my 470w of solar. In the Pacific North West and on partly cloudy days that "full point" creeps to around 2PM or even 3PM. So one needs a little "wiggle room" as they say and I recommend more solar power for a dual golf cart battery setup even if the wisest of installers claim 200w will be fine.

Laptops are heavy hitters with some of them drawing about 100W, and I have two powered up a good portion of the day. You can address some of that power drain with 12V to 19V (adapters run usually 17V to 24V) buck converters or sold as "laptop chargers" these devices run at typically 400Hz instead of the lossy 60HZ that normal inverters use. You'll often see 95% efficiency out of them where the stock house inverter may only attain 80% efficiency.

The furnace also pulls a tremendous amount of energy in the winter when powering the blower motor, especially if your coach is designed with single pane windows and a bit leaky in the air department, showing its true colors in a stiff northern breeze. Slide outs and bad refrigerator installation jobs complicate that and create more air leaks. At 20-30F ambient I sometimes camp in this environment as well and here the furnace runs near continuously. I also often boondock up to about 94F outside (my own personal limit as what I call the point I'm not having fun any longer) and on those days I'm often pulling 15A or more with all my DC fans blowing, both exhaust on the roof, endless breeze, O2cool and USB fans all over the coach. So energy use as you have pointed out, varies dramatically among campers and outdoor ambient temperature will govern the rate of a lot of people's power usage.

But don't get me wrong, as an enthusiastic cook, I'd love to have a compressor fridge with that fast recovery time and quick freeze capability. But right now while living in my coach, I know I can comfortably walk away from my rig while taking a side journey and I know that my food will still be good even if I'm gone up to 3 weeks or more while it runs on propane. I also know that as long as I can get even a peep of sun, it will be enough to keep the batteries topped in my absence with only the draw of the frige control board. To match this confidence level using a compressor fridge, where I could be parked in an off area boondocking spot and then e.g. take a rafting trip for a week or two, I'll always know with propane I'll return to my food being OK, where I'd have to have a pretty hefty lithium and solar setup and be parked in areas that were prone to cloud cover, rain, etc.

Still I would imagine if you are just using the fridge to chill soda or beer, your world would not come to an end if you returned from a side excursion and found the battery flat. Still allowing the battery to go flat more than a couple of times pretty much wraps it up in the performance department and at that point a new one is almost always "in the cards".
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Old 10-06-2020, 07:42 AM   #11
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IMO Don Juane is overly pessimistic about the power needs of a 12v fridge but it is incontrovertible that a propane fridge is a lot easier on the battery bank. Smaller RVs in particular may make it difficult to install enough solar panels and batteries to make the use of a compressor fridge a carefree experience.
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Old 10-06-2020, 09:23 AM   #12
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A 12v danfoss compressor fridge under 5 cuft will use less power than a propane fridge once you include master propane solenoid draw. Not sure about the energy draw on danfoss fridges larger than 5 cuft. Propane fridges don't keep food cold when it's hot, don't keep food cold when it's cold, don't work at altitude, don't work on angles, frost over instantaneously, take 4 years to cool down, require two huge energy wasting holes in the side of your rig.....

Get a second solar panel and a real fridge. You'll never look back.
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Old 10-06-2020, 12:40 PM   #13
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I personally have double that solar and I'd be looking back ... way back if I lost my propane fridge, because it's cloudy days and not enough batteries that kill the electric fridge and not the lack of solar panels. True on cloudy days the 5A you may be getting out of near 500w of panels is a heck of a lot better than the 1-2A you'd be getting out of 200w when there is a huge cloud cover but the 5A is not going to keep all your needs satisfied and especially if it's hot outside and your fridge is cycling near full time. Still there is no way you could include enough batteries in one of these coaches unless you staked batteries floor to ceiling to match the run-time of a propane fridge before it depletes a tank of propane vs. when an all electric fridge would delete a battery bank during a cloudy or rainy period, which is simply the majority of time and something you have to live with if you are near the PNW.

Also if you don't full time you may not understand the concept of power budgeting. If you are into a 3-4 rain storm or when a hurricane has hit the coast even thousands of miles away, you may be looking at a week of rain. Now if you are simply budgeting power, maybe you pull out the oil lights or maybe you go to be early, or maybe you throw a few extra blankets on at night and run without the furnace, or maybe one of you uses a 5 hour tablet instead of the 100w laptop, but the short story here is you have a lot of wiggle room to "make do" with the energy you have. Add a compressor fridge and with no if, and's or but's about it, you run out of power and you end up with a large refrigerator of spoiled food when the power source dries up.

Additionally, ff someone is using an unmodified electric propane valve they have other more serious problems than refrigeration power requirements and they had better have an extra 100aH of Lithium just to operate the propane valve if they are using stock equipment which comes with one of these ridiculous "features". For coaches with electric propane valves I recommend adding a special circuit that delivers a lot of current (normal amount) up front to pull the valve open and then switches to and idle current as the "hold current" which is much less amperage. (Some I've even read have found ways to use a magnet to hold the valve open with no electric current but I actually don't support that because the same group that came up with that brainchild might sue me if I said it was a good idea to bypass it.) If I bought a new coach, this would be one thing that might somehow either disappear or in another way resolve itself on my own rig in trade for a manual model, even if I had to crawl under the rig to manually shut it off. I'd actually probably just weld a long rod on the cutoff valve by the tank and run that rod to the side or out the back where it could be manually operated, but that is only what I personally would do.

Actually - with the advent of that propane valve, it was clear that coach mfgs were dismissing boondockers long before they tossed the propane fridge out for the electric one. Follow the money is the best explanation on that.

*** For the commenters saying I'm pessimistic - let's talk about you for a moment instead - are you a dealer or work for one? Because it sounds like you are over-optimistic. The truth about me if anyone is interested is that I've been living for 4 years full-time in my coach and I know exactly what my battery daily drain is and there's no way with 2 GC2s I could personally support an all electric refrigerator. And even if I somehow made it each day without going below 50% on my battery bank, I just don't want to go to bed every night with a knot in my stomach having to worry that it's the day I don't make it and I will thus lose a fridge full of food. I travel with high dollar steaks, rack of lamp, and lots of gourmet items because I don't believe being on the road means I have to compromise in the quality of the food I eat. So I don't want to come back to a loss of $300+ just because my inadequate power supply pooped out because it clouded up outside.

Also all you have to do is read and find how dissatisfied former propane fridge boondockers are with these new standard equipment all electric fridges. Simply do your research and always seek info from a group where money is not to be made from pushing the all electric or egos are not to be tarnished from someone having to admit their 100K+ investment is not meeting their needs and the non-propane fridge was a mistake they made.

*** Also talking about a 5 cu foot refrigerator - might be easier and more economical and depending on how much camping you do to eliminate the fridge all together and just buy ice for your ice chest. They sell ice on every corner these days. As someone who loves a good meal in my today's permanent home, I would not call a 5 cu foot cold box a refrigerator but that's just me.

Otherwise don't anyone get too involved trying to examine my motives or flaws in my personality or philosophy. I speak only the truth as I have experienced it and that seems or has always seemed to best reason to oppose the information I present. The reason that the propane fridge is no longer included on coaches is the entire profile of installation costs to accommodate a gas fridge including equipment, stringent regulations on mobile gas appliances and other hidden costs with continuing to provide a propane fridge is a significant amount more costly than providing instead an all electric fridge. And these coach mfgs will follow the lead of anyone who jumps to a new technology if it saves them all a lot of money, as that's the name of the game.

**** Now back to speaking of all the trouble to level a coach if you have a propane fridge:. If you are sleeping on the kind of levels and angles that will cause your propane fridge to fail, you are truly not enjoying your coach for what it has to offer. To tolerate the kind of sleeping angles that would cause a propane fridge to fail would be a very, very uncomfortable night of sleep. Simply buy some plastic stack able levelers and drive up on them. Throw in a $2 level and set it on the floor behind the driver's seat and level up the coach when you park. (No matter what kind of fridge you have, everyone who wants a comfortable night of sleep does this). Shouldn't take more than 5 minutes at any stop. You'll rest a lot easier in addition to having your propane fridge operate properly. Otherwise if you travel with a spouse or kids, please let me know how often you park at angles that make the fridge fail and with that info, let me how long the family member or loved one continues to travel with you.
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Old 10-06-2020, 02:03 PM   #14
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I personally have double that solar and I'd be looking back ... way back if I lost my propane fridge, because it's cloudy days and not enough batteries that kill the electric fridge and not the lack of solar panels. True on cloudy days the 5A you may be getting out of near 500w of panels is a heck of a lot better than the 1-2A you'd be getting out of 200w when there is a huge cloud cover but the 5A is not going to keep all your needs satisfied and especially if it's hot outside and your fridge is cycling near full time. Still there is no way you could include enough batteries in one of these coaches unless you staked batteries floor to ceiling to match the run-time of a propane fridge before it depletes a tank of propane vs. when an all electric fridge would delete a battery bank during a cloudy or rainy period, which is simply the majority of time and something you have to live with if you are near the PNW.

Also if you don't full time you may not understand the concept of power budgeting. If you are into a 3-4 rain storm or when a hurricane has hit the coast even thousands of miles away, you may be looking at a week of rain. Now if you are simply budgeting power, maybe you pull out the oil lights or maybe you go to be early, or maybe you throw a few extra blankets on at night and run without the furnace, or maybe one of you uses a 5 hour tablet instead of the 100w laptop, but the short story here is you have a lot of wiggle room to "make do" with the energy you have. Add a compressor fridge and with no if, and's or but's about it, you run out of power and you end up with a large refrigerator of spoiled food when the power source dries up.

Additionally, ff someone is using an unmodified electric propane valve they have other more serious problems than refrigeration power requirements and they had better have an extra 100aH of Lithium just to operate the propane valve if they are using stock equipment which comes with one of these ridiculous "features". For coaches with electric propane valves I recommend adding a special circuit that delivers a lot of current (normal amount) up front to pull the valve open and then switches to and idle current as the "hold current" which is much less amperage. (Some I've even read have found ways to use a magnet to hold the valve open with no electric current but I actually don't support that because the same group that came up with that brainchild might sue me if I said it was a good idea to bypass it.) If I bought a new coach, this would be one thing that might somehow either disappear or in another way resolve itself on my own rig in trade for a manual model, even if I had to crawl under the rig to manually shut it off. I'd actually probably just weld a long rod on the cutoff valve by the tank and run that rod to the side or out the back where it could be manually operated, but that is only what I personally would do.

Actually - with the advent of that propane valve, it was clear that coach mfgs were dismissing boondockers long before they tossed the propane fridge out for the electric one. Follow the money is the best explanation on that.

*** For the commenters saying I'm pessimistic - let's talk about you for a moment instead - are you a dealer or work for one? Because it sounds like you are over-optimistic. The truth about me if anyone is interested is that I've been living for 4 years full-time in my coach and I know exactly what my battery daily drain is and there's no way with 2 GC2s I could personally support an all electric refrigerator. And even if I somehow made it each day without going below 50% on my battery bank, I just don't want to go to bed every night with a knot in my stomach having to worry that it's the day I don't make it and I will thus lose a fridge full of food. I travel with high dollar steaks, rack of lamp, and lots of gourmet items because I don't believe being on the road means I have to compromise in the quality of the food I eat. So I don't want to come back to a loss of $300+ just because my inadequate power supply pooped out because it clouded up outside.

Also all you have to do is read and find how dissatisfied former propane fridge boondockers are with these new standard equipment all electric fridges. Simply do your research and always seek info from a group where money is not to be made from pushing the all electric or egos are not to be tarnished from someone having to admit their 100K+ investment is not meeting their needs and the non-propane fridge was a mistake they made.

*** Also talking about a 5 cu foot refrigerator - might be easier and more economical and depending on how much camping you do to eliminate the fridge all together and just buy ice for your ice chest. They sell ice on every corner these days. As someone who loves a good meal in my today's permanent home, I would not call a 5 cu foot cold box a refrigerator but that's just me.

Otherwise don't anyone get too involved trying to examine my motives or flaws in my personality or philosophy. I speak only the truth as I have experienced it and that seems or has always seemed to best reason to oppose the information I present. The reason that the propane fridge is no longer included on coaches is the entire profile of installation costs to accommodate a gas fridge including equipment, stringent regulations on mobile gas appliances and other hidden costs with continuing to provide a propane fridge is a significant amount more costly than providing instead an all electric fridge. And these coach mfgs will follow the lead of anyone who jumps to a new technology if it saves them all a lot of money, as that's the name of the game.

**** Now back to speaking of all the trouble to level a coach if you have a propane fridge:. If you are sleeping on the kind of levels and angles that will cause your propane fridge to fail, you are truly not enjoying your coach for what it has to offer. To tolerate the kind of sleeping angles that would cause a propane fridge to fail would be a very, very uncomfortable night of sleep. Simply buy some plastic stack able levelers and drive up on them. Throw in a $2 level and set it on the floor behind the driver's seat and level up the coach when you park. (No matter what kind of fridge you have, everyone who wants a comfortable night of sleep does this). Shouldn't take more than 5 minutes at any stop. You'll rest a lot easier in addition to having your propane fridge operate properly. Otherwise if you travel with a spouse or kids, please let me know how often you park at angles that make the fridge fail and with that info, let me how long the family member or loved one continues to travel with you.
Wow, lots to think about, it's getting hard to find a new coach with a propane fridge and I really don't want to go 12v, going to have to start scouring the used market
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