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Old 04-09-2005, 06:44 PM   #1
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I'm looking for anyone who has actually used a residential refrigerator in an RV while dry camping. I have received various replies but no one who has actually said the usage was good or bad. I'd like to know when the genset kicks in? How may hours with 6 - 6 volt batteries?

2004 40FDTS
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Old 04-09-2005, 06:44 PM   #2
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I'm looking for anyone who has actually used a residential refrigerator in an RV while dry camping. I have received various replies but no one who has actually said the usage was good or bad. I'd like to know when the genset kicks in? How may hours with 6 - 6 volt batteries?

2004 40FDTS
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Old 04-10-2005, 07:29 AM   #3
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Tom, are you running the refrig from an inverter of just off the generator? Since you are a refrig/AC tech, you should have some idea how long a refrigeraor compressor runs during a day. It is easy enough to calculate the power usage when running and see how much battery reserve you will need. I think you wil find a typical home refrigerator will pull a fair amount of power during the day.

The amount of time your refrig compressor will run depends on a couple of things which is hard to predict. One is the temperature of the surroundings and the second is how much time the refrig will spend open. Another item to consider is how large and how energy efficient the refrigerator will be.

Everyone I know that dry camps uses a conventional absorption refrigerator in the propane mode for dry camping. I think you will need to just set it up in the driveway and see how well it works.
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Old 04-10-2005, 05:09 PM   #4
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I'll second TXiceman's advice. You can calculate the electrical loads based on estimated usage or just try it out and see.

As I recall, you haven't ordered the coach yet, so you probably cannot try it "live" unless you have a similar battery bank and inverter at home and a fridge you can hook to it.

The only people I know who have compressor-type fridges in their Rv also have electric stoves and water heaters. They seldom go anywhere that doesn't have a 50A hook-up and if they do they run the genset continuously. Usually run it while driving too.

By the way, will this rig have a full sine wave inverter to go with those 6 batteries? I doubt if the compressor will be happy on a modified sine inverter.
Gary Brinck
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Old 04-19-2005, 08:41 PM   #5
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You can boondock forever IF you have way to sufficiently recharge your battery bank. It all depends on how much effort you want to put into it.

Think of a battery bank as a fuel tank, with electricity being your fuel. If you had a car with a 10 gallon fuel tank and you got 10 miles to a gallon, you could go 100 miles before you had to fill the tank again. If you had a 20 gallon tank, you could go 200 miles. Same thing with your battery bank. You just have to replace the amps you use, and the bigger your battery bank (fuel tank) the longer you can go before you have to refill it.

We have a residential fridge in our bus conversion and just came off a 4 1/2 month dry camping stint. Last year we dry camped 7 months straight.

We have three 8D AGM (glass-mat) batteries (225 amp hours each), an Onan 5500 watt generator, and three 100 watt solar panels. We live the same way dry camping that we do when we are hooked up in an RV park. Last winter while dry camped we published three issues of our RV newspaper, I wrote and published a book, we got up every morning and turned on our internet dish and I worked online most of every day. We also built and installed cabinets in our bus conversion, using power saws and other power tools. Most days we ran our generator between 2 and 3 hours a day, depending on how much sunshine we had to make the solar panels work.

A good quality household stule refrigerator is not terrible on power use. We know many people that have them in bus conversions and dry camp a lot.

For info on our bus conversion, including our battery bank, refrigerator, etc., go to our website at and click the link to Bus Conversion Project.

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Old 04-19-2005, 09:39 PM   #6
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.....I run the generator/or plug in- at noon for an hour -when I get up and make hot water for a shower and run the freezer for about an hour....that's enough till nite when I do the same thing again....Insulation is the real key to refrigeration and the hot water issue.....I make 20 gallons of hot water[104d.] and the freezer holds in the cold because it is a top loader not a front loader....therefore everytime I take out something all the cold doesn't run out and hot air doesn't go in.....When I shower I only use hot water- I don't mix the two. I use a cut off showerhead which is really a dish rinser from a sink-just enough to get wet and rinse off......the chicks use more because of the hair issue....maybe 10 gallons at most.....but all three of us can shower and wash hair-me I don't have that much hair so it is maybe an extra pint of water.....geofkaye
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Old 06-30-2005, 08:35 AM   #7
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This is a refrigerator question but not one related to a residential fridge.

I recently bought an RV from a friend who told me that an RV repair person told him that RV fridges should be left running, even during non-RV use.

Any comments? I have another RV (Bigfoot truck camper) where I have left the fridge not running for as long as 6 months...but never had any problems.

Again, is it preferable that RV fridges be left running (on AC shore power I suppose.

Thanks, Hemi
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Old 06-30-2005, 12:08 PM   #8
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I guess I am the exception, I have an Amana 19.9 cuft residential refer that came in my Alpine Avalanche. I have a gas stove/oven and gas/electric water heater. The MH came with 4 6 volt batteries with a total capacity of 450 amp hours. When the batteries are in good condition, I can run the refer for at least 24 hours before the auto genset start kicks it on.

Right now, I am only getting about 70 to 100 amp hours before the batteries are run down. This is not a refer problem rather it is due to poor battery handling at the dealership.
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Old 07-01-2005, 07:19 PM   #9
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Hey Tom:
No mystery. I have an 03 Alpine tha came with a house reefer. It is an Amana two door with auto defrost and ice maker. What a wonderful thing. I have had 5 other motorhomes with the gas/absorbsion type reefer. They are not nearly as user friendly. Yes it is best to have an autostart generator. Yes it does nesesetate a large bank of batteries with a 2000 watt inverter. But what a great difference. No iced up coils and this reefer cools down fast. and the freezer portion freezes fast including ice cubes. With a full charge in the batteries the reefer will run about 24 hours without using the generator.
Ross Starkenburg
2017 Newmar Dutch Star 4369. Spartan chassis w/full disc brakes. 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee toad
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