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Old 10-08-2013, 04:24 AM   #1
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Default Ice Maker instead of Fridge?

I don't' suppose this is feasible but what about using an icemaker instead of a a fridge?

It seems that the fridge is one thing you have to keep powered 24/7 if you hope to keep food fresh. But perhaps with various food choices you might not be so reliant on a fridge. At the same time I assume a cooler and a bag of ice here and there probably aren't going to cut it either. But what about using an ice maker?

The main thing I want out of a fridge is a cold drink. An ice maker could turn out a some cubes in minutes for that purpose. For keeping food fresh you could power if for a few hours and make a few pounds of ice for a cooler or ice box. I suppose the temps inside though would make this unworkable?

I reckon there's many ways to keep some meats and veg fresh without a fridge, perhaps through vacuum packing and such? I'm not really sure. Personally I don't need much in the way of dairy, but meats and salad greens would be important. I don't think I'd often camp very far away from a food source, so it's not like I'd need to pack enough food and keep it fresh for a week. It'd be a couple days at most, and that's where maybe an ice maker would suffice.

In the overnight trips I've done this year I've just thrown in a bag of ice in a cooler and that seems to last most of a night and day.
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Old 10-08-2013, 02:20 PM   #2
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Default Re: Ice Maker instead of Fridge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyllek
I don't' suppose this is feasible but what about using an icemaker instead of a a fridge?

It seems that the fridge is one thing you have to keep powered 24/7 if you hope to keep food fresh. But perhaps with various food choices you might not be so reliant on a fridge. At the same time I assume a cooler and a bag of ice here and there probably aren't going to cut it either. But what about using an ice maker?

The main thing I want out of a fridge is a cold drink. An ice maker could turn out a some cubes in minutes for that purpose. For keeping food fresh you could power if for a few hours and make a few pounds of ice for a cooler or ice box. I suppose the temps inside though would make this unworkable?

I reckon there's many ways to keep some meats and veg fresh without a fridge, perhaps through vacuum packing and such? I'm not really sure. Personally I don't need much in the way of dairy, but meats and salad greens would be important. I don't think I'd often camp very far away from a food source, so it's not like I'd need to pack enough food and keep it fresh for a week. It'd be a couple days at most, and that's where maybe an ice maker would suffice.

In the overnight trips I've done this year I've just thrown in a bag of ice in a cooler and that seems to last most of a night and day.
Interesting idea, although I think it would have to be a compressor style frig to work. The 3 ways seem to have trouble getting cold enough to be a frig sometimes, and take a long time to cool down. I don't think they would be able to make ice quickly. It could be a good way to "bank" cold during times when you have adequate power, plugged in or driving, for times when you don't, on batteries. Some frigs do that with coldplates to store cold mass and it seems to work well. A normal compressor frig pulls in the 2.5-5 amp (12v) range and runs 25-75% % of the time, so to make enough ice for equivalent cooling, and get ice quickly, you would probably need something that pulled 10-20 amps of 12 volt power, running less time, which is pretty doable. Easy when plugged in or driving, available on batteries, but not for long periods.

As you state, controlling the temp in an ice chest is not real easy, but if you don't have critical foods, it is no big deal. Tenters have been doing it for decades.
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Old 10-08-2013, 04:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: Ice Maker instead of Fridge?

Buying ice which is available just about everywhere is going to cost $2-$5 a day depending on the ambient temperature. Then you need a bulky ice chest and mostly sit on precious floor space and are mostly too tall to tuck under sofas and beds in most Bs. Your ice maker if a floor model will compete with your ice chest for floor space. I know some B vanners with ice makers but they use them primarily for their evening cocktails. As for ice chests, there are some like Yeti (saw them at Cabelas and expensive) that are so well insulated that they claim a 5 day shelf life for ice. I also saw a couple that were full timing in a B had a Yeti ice chest sitting outside the whole time the two days we were there when they were in the campground. I assumed they wanted it off the floor and out of the way when stopped.

We just traveled for a month with an extra ice chest because we hauled a couple of beer growlers to a B social for a beer tasting in the first week out. It was a pain to have around after that. I thought it was a decently insulated ice chest but in 90+ degree weather ice didn't last a day.
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Old 10-08-2013, 05:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: Ice Maker instead of Fridge?

Yikes! I just priced a Yeti cooler $250 for a 45 quart cooler, from Amazon.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: Ice Maker instead of Fridge?

Guys here are probably sick of hearing about it but I bought a small fridge /freezer that I use almost exclusively for ice,popsicles etc... It is a dc powered compressor style and cost about $350 delivered which I think is a great dealuntil you factor in the $240 for solar panel with controller and 2 more AGM for anther $200. It will make ice in 100 plus degrees. My you tube link is here at Dometic cf 18 cool /freeze review on next page of general discussion.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: Ice Maker instead of Fridge?

I really don't understand the whole power system for RV, but it's time to learn! I take it DC is of course electric, but it's like running something through and inverter off the generator or the engine? Or it is refer to being 12v? or both?

I would think that if you are running your hot water, shower, stove, heater, bbq and fridge all off propane wouldn't you go through a lot incredibly quickly? The advantage of propane is not running a loud generator and not putting extra hours on the motors, is that correct? Or is there a big fuel cost advantage too?

I was thinking about if it is possible run without propane entirely? Can you affordably heat and cool with just the generator, or is propane really preferred? I suppose just battery power would mean some large storage batteries! But fridge and cooking could be electric, and hot water.

In the UK every individual shower in most homes has a just cold water supply and an instant heater on the wall. Meanwhile, much of south america makes use of instant heat shower heads; pretty scary when you see how some of them are wired up!

Separate question: do you have to fill up fuel for the generator separately, or does it run off the gas tank in most of the Class B's?
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: Ice Maker instead of Fridge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyllek
I really don't understand the whole power system for RV, but it's time to learn! I take it DC is of course electric, but it's like running something through and inverter off the generator or the engine? Or it is refer to being 12v? or both?

I would think that if you are running your hot water, shower, stove, heater, bbq and fridge all off propane wouldn't you go through a lot incredibly quickly? The advantage of propane is not running a loud generator and not putting extra hours on the motors, is that correct? Or is there a big fuel cost advantage too?
These are just my comments and opinions based on some personal experience. YMMV.
I have a propane furnace, fridge, water heater, cook top. I only really use the furnace and fridge on propane with any regularity, the water heater now and then, and I haven't used more than a few gallons over 5 years. My usage probably isn't typical, because I tour more than camp, but overall, I don't think those appliances use very much. I've never got below 2/3 tank on any one trip, even with fairly regular use over up to 3 weeks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyllek
I was thinking about if it is possible run without propane entirely? Can you affordably heat and cool with just the generator, or is propane really preferred? I suppose just battery power would mean some large storage batteries! But fridge and cooking could be electric, and hot water.
You could, if you paid for campsites with hookups, which isn't always that frugal a way to get electricity, but if you carry a small electric heater, you could do OK without propane. Propane, I believe is the best and least expensive solution to most heating and cooling requirements. Except, possibly, the compressor fridge some folks prefer, coupled with some solar panels and equipment, because it could be run off of solar, but that can be expensive to install, and defeats the savings to some extent. So, it's probably just a personal preference issue, at the end of the day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyllek
In the UK every individual shower in most homes has a just cold water supply and an instant heater on the wall. Meanwhile, much of south america makes use of instant heat shower heads; pretty scary when you see how some of them are wired up!
There are RV sized "on demand" water heating systems available, but I don't know if anyone on this forum has one, or has ever considered one. The more typical 6 gallon tanks seem to be the more common and popular choice. They can be run by propane, electric, or both.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyllek
Separate question: do you have to fill up fuel for the generator separately, or does it run off the gas tank in most of the Class B's?
Usually, a gas powered chassis will have a gas generator which shares fuel out of the chassis fuel tank. Diesel powered chassis, can have either a propane powered generator, or a diesel powered generator.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Ice Maker instead of Fridge?

Well done Mike. I would add this answer to question of DC (direct current) electricity is derived from the batteries,alternator and converter which when plugged in to 110 AC (alternating,house current) ,converts it to DC to run your lighting,fans,furnace,water heater ignition,refridgerator circuit board. Roof air and microwave or basically anything plugged into a standard home type outlet will run off generator ,campsite electrical post or by an inverter that changes DC 12 volt battery power to 110 AC power.
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Ice Maker instead of Fridge?

Thanks Stan. For adding that AC/DC 101 as it pertains to RV power systems.
I guess I skirted those points and the generator questions to compare electric versus propane. Not everyone has a generator, or uses their generator as a regular power generation device, which is what they are.
I have a gas generator in my Roadtrek, but it's a noisy, last resort, way to generate 110-120V AC power, which is what it does. As you say, you could run just about any house type appliance with your generator.

As an added thought, on our last trip to the Gaspe, we used our fridge on propane overnight when stopped to do what Kelly wants to do, and it was able to freeze the 500ml water bottles we placed in the upper (freezer) enclosed shelf of our 2002 Dometic 3-way fridge. I admit, it surprised me. The fridge was set on propane, at cooling level 4. While driving, we usually switch it to DC power, same cooling setting.
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ice Maker instead of Fridge?

Thanks all! I'm starting to grasp it.

Thinking it might be possible to run without propane; what about the opposite? Can you run with primarily propane? Do any class B's have propane ACs?

I am worried about noise. When I was in the Class B's at the Hershey show the AC units were really loud. But I guess that's with the generators also running? I'm not sure, maybe they were hooked up and really it'd be twice as noisy! When I was all the way back in the back sitting, like where you would sleep, it was actually quieter as the AC was above and facing forward. But with the generator running under you I can't imagine it'd be that peacful! During the day I can handle most dry warm temps with just a breeze/fans, but I have trouble sleeping when temps are above 70! Hopefully I can get used to it, or I'd have to have the AC running all night!

As far as the cooler, instead of the floor I was thinking about using it as the fridge, and installing it in the same place. It may be feasible, but sometimes I'll probably want a real fridge. I have seen these 12v coolers that use and induction heat and fan and a couple videos at least show users to be happy with them. No ice I'm sure, but it could a cooler setup with a backup plan.
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Old 10-11-2013, 04:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: Ice Maker instead of Fridge?

There is no such thing as a propane A/C. I would guess a Danhard A/C that isn't mounted right above the beds would be quieter than the usual rooftop unit, although the Danhards will be twice the cost.

If noise is an issue, I wonder about doing a "redneck A/C". This would require a propane freezer, and gel freezer packs or bottles of water. One would have one set of these always in the freezer, while a second set is placed in front of a quiet fan. This isn't something that would cool down a rig in the desert, but it can help somewhat to lower temperatures.
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:30 PM   #12
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Default Re: Ice Maker instead of Fridge?

Maybe we should have a "B RV Electric" topic. I could use some brushing up on my electrical knowledge, particularly when it comes to RV electrical systems. I'm probably qualified to bring some people who haven't worked with electricity half way to where they should be, but I sure don't know all the ins and outs of electricity. But here is what I know:

1) The subject isn't trivial, but some questions ARE trivial.

2) There are two main systems in most RV's 110V AC (Alternating Current) and 12V DC (Direct Current).

3) You can change the power from one of the systems into the other buy using either a "converter" (turns AC into DC) or an "inverter" (turns DC into AC).

4) There is a TON of power stored in a gallon of any of the petrolium products: gasoline, propane, or diesel. That power can be converted into AC or DC using a generator. A generator is usually specific to one petrolium product, in other words, you usually can't use a diesel generator and power it with gasoline, or propane. I have seen a few strange engines that run off of both gasoline and propane gas, and theoritically they could be used to generate electricity, but I've never heard of it before.

5) It gets really confusing when you start converting Amp-Hours into Kilowatt Hours into horsepower into volts. Each mean a different thing and sometimes stuff is left out when someone talks about one of these things. (For instance when someone says a battery has so many Amp-Hours, they often leave out how many volts the battery has because a 6 Volt battery with 500 amp hours is the same size as a 12 Volt battery with 250 amp hous.

O.K., so with #5 I'm starting to get into an area that I'm not entirely sure of.

This is a subject I'm interested in, so I think I'll start another thread and duplicate this post to start it out.

If it catches wind it'll be great. If others aren't interested, I guess we will find that out as well.

..............Rocky
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:22 PM   #13
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Default Re: Ice Maker instead of Fridge?

Thanks Rok for the explanation, and all the responders. Stan, I somehow missed your dometic review video. I understand the need ofr ice!
Quote:
Originally Posted by stanw909
Guys here are probably sick of hearing about it but I bought a small fridge /freezer that I use almost exclusively for ice,popsicles etc... It is a dc powered compressor style and cost about $350 delivered which I think is a great dealuntil you factor in the $240 for solar panel with controller and 2 more AGM for anther $200. It will make ice in 100 plus degrees. My you tube link is here at Dometic cf 18 cool /freeze review on next page of general discussion.
I've come accross two products that seem interesting. With the idea of an 'electic' blanket helping people not to run a whole house heater all night, I wondered about the same ideal for cooling. I'm not sure how much power it uses, but this Chilipad Cooling Mattress Pad on Amazon seems to be pretty well rated. It's not cheap! But it may be a lower energy way to keep cool at night.

On that same note, and much cheaper, I found another product that is quite popular and well rated, also called, ironically, the Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad. I searched the reviews and found people were using them to help get to sleep! I actually ordered one and I have it sitting here, but it's cold I have yet to open it!
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