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Old 06-04-2018, 07:39 AM   #1
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Default Shade for refrigerator...

My wife cobbled together a "sunscreen" for our Sprinter...and we used magnets to hold it in place... mixed results.. unfortunately 🤔🤔.

We were trying to deflect the sun and heat pounding on the driver's side... where the absorption refrigerator is...it works hard on summer days...

Aside from parking in the shade... not always possible....do you have any additional ideas ... besides getting a conventional refrigerator....we don't have enough battery power for this....

We're doing what we can... Normally, we cool down the unit at night and load cold stuff in the fridge before we take off on a trip...it does help a bit...

Seems like once we're on the road... the effect of the sun shining is reduced....

Have any of you tried to shield the side of the vent with any reflecting materials?
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Old 06-04-2018, 02:52 PM   #2
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You probably don't have any insulation in your walls behind your refrigerator. A video put out be Roadtrek a few years ago confirmed that any walls behind cabinets didn't get any insulation.
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Old 06-04-2018, 03:07 PM   #3
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.

Some people added a computer fan at the back to help to extract the heat.
You can find videos on youtube.
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Old 06-04-2018, 03:26 PM   #4
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I have two computer fans behind my compressor refrigerator and substantial insulation behind in the walls and ventilation at the baseboard inside and above over the refrigerator to the inside not outside. Still, it depends on the differential between the ambient air temperature inside the van. That problem occurs in temperatures above 90 degrees F. if you don't use air conditioning. If you use air conditioning and keep the van under 80 deg. it is not a problem. My experience is with outside ventilation and the placement of the vents absorption refrigerators were much harder to control the temperature and the varying capabilities of the 12vdc, 110vac and propane didn't help. Shade would help but the wall would still reflect the ambient air temperature.

The major problem we have traveling in the winter, fall and spring is the refrigerator dropping down to freezing when we like to sleep with the heating off down to any where above freezing temperatures inside the van.
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Old 06-04-2018, 03:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadtrek Adventuous RS1 View Post
My wife cobbled together a "sunscreen" for our Sprinter...and we used magnets to hold it in place... mixed results.. unfortunately 🤔🤔.

We were trying to deflect the sun and heat pounding on the driver's side... where the absorption refrigerator is...it works hard on summer days...

Have any of you tried to shield the side of the vent with any reflecting materials?
Can you show a picture?

I just setup a couple of 50w portable solar panels that I attach with Ram suction cups. The panels stand-off about 1.5-inches. I plan to try placing these over the sidewall of the fridge area to see how much it helps keeping the radiant heat off the wall. I will post results, but it may be a while.

I have done several mods: added insulation to the wall and setup the vent duct to Dometic specs as Roadtrek did not setup the venting properly. The biggest help was installing a vent fan at the exhaust vent. I had previously used a pancake fan in the center of the coils, but the fan at the exhaust vent worked so much better.

I setup the vent fan as shown here:

https://www.arprv.com/rv-fridge-slide-out.php
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Old 06-04-2018, 03:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQ View Post
.

Some people added a computer fan at the back to help to extract the heat.
You can find videos on youtube.
Yes. If you add such fans, consider using a thermistor-based fan controller. They are intended for inside computer and media cabinets and are very cheap. They are great because they modulate the fan speed based on immediate need and so tend to keep the fans extremely quiet. Readily available on eBay:

fan controller.jpg

I also use one to cool a cabinet in which I have a lot of electronics.
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Old 06-07-2018, 01:29 AM   #7
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From Amazon, you can get white Tyvek for about $4/yard. It is marketed to kite makers. When you park, put this on the OUTSIDE of the van where the fridge is. Hold it on with magnets or tape.

I once ran some tests at >100F. The Tyvek reduced the temperature of the covered surface by about 35.
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Old 06-07-2018, 04:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
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From Amazon, you can get white Tyvek for about $4/yard. It is marketed to kite makers. When you park, put this on the OUTSIDE of the van where the fridge is. Hold it on with magnets or tape.

I once ran some tests at >100F. The Tyvek reduced the temperature of the covered surface by about 35.
Love that idea. That is thinking outside the box for sure.
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Old 06-07-2018, 06:59 PM   #9
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I wonder if you would get even better results with Dupont's Tyvek ThermaWrap blanket? Not only would it reflect but would have insulation properties of a claimed R-5. You could hem the edges and put magnets in it.

ThermaWrap

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Old 06-07-2018, 07:03 PM   #10
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I have a pancake fan in my electric cabinet and replaced the factory fan in my Isotherm with extremely quiet fan https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
AC infinity has many options of fans and controllers available on Amazon - https://www.acinfinity.com/quiet-cabinet-fans/
I used this one for my electric cabinet. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 06-08-2018, 12:26 PM   #11
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Your (our) biggest enemy is incident radiation. You could make a device that is similar to my side shroud, which I made to cover my black-masked tinted windows which are huge heat-accumulators, but your device could instead be made to extend over the fridge area, leaving a gap for ventilation to occur. This is similar to the Tyvek idea. Fabrication instructions for my device are here.



Anecdotal P.S. --

It's the mean season here in the deep south. My Kenmore Elite house refrigerator is currently disabled and so my husband and I are relying on our Dometic RM2351 which is operating in our garage (we took it out of our van when we upgraded to a Vitrifrigo marine fridge). Well, our attached, partially-insulated garage is holding steady at about 94 degrees these days, which is taxing the ammonia system of that little fridge. It will hold in the 30's, but just barely. The other day I took my heat sensor and went all around the fridge looking for possible weak points that I could manually insulate. I couldn't find any.

Some Class B owners go to great lengths to add insulation directly to their fridges, but I'm not sure how much good that does over and above what these fridges already come with. The greater issue is its compartment, and preventing heat from getting into it in the first place. When I posted this pic below on a different forum, another southerner noted that he had recently measured the interior of his van's fridge compartment at 120 degrees while it was in direct sun. Lovely.

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Old 06-08-2018, 03:54 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=InterBlog;74320]Your (our) biggest enemy is incident radiation. You could make a device that is similar to my side shroud, which I made to cover my black-masked tinted windows which are huge heat-accumulators, but your device could instead be made to extend over the fridge area, leaving a gap for ventilation to occur. This is similar to the Tyvek idea. Fabrication instructions for my device are here.

How do you attach the large sunshield and how well does it handle high winds?
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Old 06-08-2018, 05:30 PM   #13
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The sun on the frig side has been a problem for nearly everyone. It is another one of those things that may make an absorption frig better, or maybe not, if addressed, but absorption frigs don't really get good.

The most common I have seen is to make a little awning out of curtain rods and fabric and stick it on the metal body to shade the frig area.

Roadtrek tends to do a terrible job of baffling the airflow at the rear of the frig, so that can be improved, but you have to pull the frig. At the same time you can insulate the outer van wall. You can also do a stick on fan(s) blowing in the inlet grille from the outside, as long as you block the non fan area to prevent looping.

There are mixed results adding fans, due to the odd configuration and airflow paths, which make it hard to get air where it is needed.

We know that a compressor frig is not in the plan right now, but keep it in mind as you make changes, as the money may be better spent toward a frig change in a while. We have been in 90*+ heat for days with the frig in the sun a lot, and it has held steady at mid 30's degrees using the slowest compressor speed, so the amount of difference is truly huge.
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Old 06-08-2018, 11:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
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...

How do you attach the large sunshield and how well does it handle high winds?
Neodymium magnets. Those details are in the blog post I linked, complete with instructions on how to fold such a thing in an orderly fashion so that it doesn't degenerate into a neodymium nightmare.

I don't know how it handles high winds. If I'm dealing with high winds, I probably don't have an incident radiation problem because there's more air cooling going on. I have tested it on Gulf of Mexico beaches where winds are not necessarily "high" - more like a very stiff breeze, but it is an unrelenting onshore flow, if that's the kind of wind you mean. It does fine.
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