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Old 01-15-2022, 09:18 AM   #1
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12v or Absorption?

So here is a question somewhat taylored to this forum: I want to offer up this question out about 12v compressor refrigerators. I'm going to post this on other forums too, so your "forum tramps"(like me)may see this spread around some other pages. Not interested in thoughts regarding space savings, preferance due to fear of propane gas or performance of a 12v vs. propane fridge. Taking all those criteria out, we are left with why or why not. Having said all that this is the base of the question: I keep seeing people use the words "boon docking" and "12v compressor fridges" in the same sentance as though there is an advantage to having a 12v fridge while boon docking. I believe that an absorption fridge is the best boon docking choice because propane nearly lasts forever(at least a month) compared to 12v fridges that are dependent on recharging the battery bank daily. When responding...........not interested in anything other than energy sustainability while boon docking. I also am not interested in peoples opinions on performance between the two as I've never had any issue with any absorption fridge keeping things cool event in 110 degree temps. Just energy sustainability while boon docking.

Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2022, 09:29 AM   #2
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12v or Absorption?

The absorption fridge still requires 12v power to work. That is usually the limiting factor, not how long the propane lasts.

With that said, usually the rigs with newer 12v refrigerators have larger battery banks and possibly even solar power. With lithium batteries and enough solar the power is nearly infinite.

So it boils down to your power source. Small batteries and no solar = advantage absorption. Lots of batteries (maybe solar too) = advantage compressor fridge.
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Old 01-15-2022, 02:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage465 View Post
So here is a question somewhat taylored to this forum: I want to offer up this question out about 12v compressor refrigerators. I'm going to post this on other forums too, so your "forum tramps"(like me)may see this spread around some other pages. Not interested in thoughts regarding space savings, preferance due to fear of propane gas or performance of a 12v vs. propane fridge. Taking all those criteria out, we are left with why or why not. Having said all that this is the base of the question: I keep seeing people use the words "boon docking" and "12v compressor fridges" in the same sentance as though there is an advantage to having a 12v fridge while boon docking. I believe that an absorption fridge is the best boon docking choice because propane nearly lasts forever(at least a month) compared to 12v fridges that are dependent on recharging the battery bank daily. When responding...........not interested in anything other than energy sustainability while boon docking. I also am not interested in peoples opinions on performance between the two as I've never had any issue with any absorption fridge keeping things cool event in 110 degree temps. Just energy sustainability while boon docking.

Thanks!
There's an awful lot you're "not interested" in...
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Old 01-15-2022, 02:05 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Vintage465 View Post
So here is a question somewhat taylored to this forum: I want to offer up this question out about 12v compressor refrigerators. I'm going to post this on other forums too, so your "forum tramps"(like me)may see this spread around some other pages. Not interested in thoughts regarding space savings, preferance due to fear of propane gas or performance of a 12v vs. propane fridge. Taking all those criteria out, we are left with why or why not. Having said all that this is the base of the question: I keep seeing people use the words "boon docking" and "12v compressor fridges" in the same sentance as though there is an advantage to having a 12v fridge while boon docking. I believe that an absorption fridge is the best boon docking choice because propane nearly lasts forever(at least a month) compared to 12v fridges that are dependent on recharging the battery bank daily. When responding...........not interested in anything other than energy sustainability while boon docking. I also am not interested in peoples opinions on performance between the two as I've never had any issue with any absorption fridge keeping things cool event in 110 degree temps. Just energy sustainability while boon docking.

Thanks!
Seems to me your mind is already made up....stick with absorption.
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Old 01-15-2022, 02:47 PM   #5
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You're right - if you discount all the positives of a compressor fridge and all the negatives of an absorption then the absorption is the clear winner.
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Old 01-15-2022, 02:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by pasdad1 View Post
The absorption fridge still requires 12v power to work. That is usually the limiting factor, not how long the propane lasts.

With that said, usually the rigs with newer 12v refrigerators have larger battery banks and possibly even solar power. With lithium batteries and enough solar the power is nearly infinite.

So it boils down to your power source. Small batteries and no solar = advantage absorption. Lots of batteries (maybe solar too) = advantage compressor fridge.
That says it all Pasdad. Letís call this a wrap.
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Old 01-15-2022, 03:49 PM   #7
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Along similar lines, has anyone checked to see how much 12v energy is used in the course of time (say a day or week). Since neither one runs all the time, I would be interested in seeing real world numbers for AH of use, preferably under similar ambient conditions.

I've never had an absorption fridge. My MH had 12/120v electric. My current trailer has a 12v electric. My trailer on order has an absorption unit. The MH went from pole to pole or while running down the road when used. The current TT hasn't been used to boondock as yet. With the small lead acid battery it has, it won't last long. The trailer on order is coming with 510 watts of solar on the roof & I'm thinking of 400 AH of Lithium batteries.

Anyone with relatively accurate measurements?
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Old 01-15-2022, 04:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage465 View Post
So here is a question somewhat taylored to this forum: I want to offer up this question out about 12v compressor refrigerators. I'm going to post this on other forums too, so your "forum tramps"(like me)may see this spread around some other pages. Not interested in thoughts regarding space savings, preferance due to fear of propane gas or performance of a 12v vs. propane fridge. Taking all those criteria out, we are left with why or why not. Having said all that this is the base of the question: I keep seeing people use the words "boon docking" and "12v compressor fridges" in the same sentance as though there is an advantage to having a 12v fridge while boon docking. I believe that an absorption fridge is the best boon docking choice because propane nearly lasts forever(at least a month) compared to 12v fridges that are dependent on recharging the battery bank daily. When responding...........not interested in anything other than energy sustainability while boon docking. I also am not interested in peoples opinions on performance between the two as I've never had any issue with any absorption fridge keeping things cool event in 110 degree temps. Just energy sustainability while boon docking.

Thanks!
Sounds like you already have all the answers....good luck!
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Old 01-15-2022, 05:11 PM   #9
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I mostly boondock. I've considered a 12v fridge to replace my Norcold absorption one, but the added solar and battery $$ I'd have to add on top of the unit itself makes it seem like a waste to me. I have grown my solar/battery capacity to match what I need. A 12v fridge would just upend that calc, and I can't see a great reason for it.

Maybe if I feared having propane on a rig, it would make the difference, but my stove and furnace are propane anyway.

And my ice cream stays hard now.
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Old 01-15-2022, 05:16 PM   #10
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I'm in the how much solar/battery do you have camp. If you have quite a bit of solar & batteries 12V may be the way to go. If you don't I'd go with absorption. Good luck.
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Old 01-15-2022, 05:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by 4everlooking View Post
Along similar lines, has anyone checked to see how much 12v energy is used in the course of time (say a day or week). Since neither one runs all the time, I would be interested in seeing real world numbers for AH of use, preferably under similar ambient conditions.

I've never had an absorption fridge. My MH had 12/120v electric. My current trailer has a 12v electric. My trailer on order has an absorption unit. The MH went from pole to pole or while running down the road when used. The current TT hasn't been used to boondock as yet. With the small lead acid battery it has, it won't last long. The trailer on order is coming with 510 watts of solar on the roof & I'm thinking of 400 AH of Lithium batteries.

Anyone with relatively accurate measurements?
I think my measurements are pretty accurate. Dometic 12vdc compressor fridge. All done over 24hr periods with no other loads, and with some thermal mass (frozen foods) in freezer. 30 ah/day @ 65F ambient. 50 ah/day @ 80F ambient. Slightly more @90F ambient. Measured with Victron smart shunt. Numbers go up a bit if sidewall exposed to direct intense sunlight. These numbers have borne out over the past year with 50 camping days, about 40% boondocking. More frozen and cold thermal mass reduces compressor run time. Putting warm stuff in increases run time. I only have 170ah of LiFePo4 and 110w of solar, and our setup is working out pretty well for us.
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Old 01-15-2022, 11:06 PM   #12
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We have the standard Norcold, which does have its 'moods' when it shuts off for no apparent reason, but all in all it works fine. With 300 watts of solar and 80 lbs of propane we could easily boondock for 2 weeks. Our black tanks are our limiting factor.
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Old 01-16-2022, 04:42 AM   #13
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I think my measurements are pretty accurate. Dometic 12vdc compressor fridge. All done over 24hr periods with no other loads, and with some thermal mass (frozen foods) in freezer. 30 ah/day @ 65F ambient. 50 ah/day @ 80F ambient. Slightly more @90F ambient. Measured with Victron smart shunt. Numbers go up a bit if sidewall exposed to direct intense sunlight. These numbers have borne out over the past year with 50 camping days, about 40% boondocking. More frozen and cold thermal mass reduces compressor run time. Putting warm stuff in increases run time. I only have 170ah of LiFePo4 and 110w of solar, and our setup is working out pretty well for us.
Thanks for the numbers. Good info to have. When the 20+ yr old 12/120v refer on my MH went out I replaced it with a new 120v residential. It kept the food colder, quicker and the wife loved the glass shelves better than the wire ones. I almost wish I had the option to choose in the build process which one I wanted, but that ain't gonna happen.
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Old 01-16-2022, 05:16 AM   #14
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Stick with your absorption fridge for boondocking since all you want is information and opinions on is energy sustainability. (I.E.- Battery usage) Yes an absorption fridge uses a lot less battery power than a 12v does.

For everybody else; with a proper set up then a 12v fridge is not much of a problem for boondocking. I.E.- Small generator to change batteries, solar power, bigger or better batteries.
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