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Old 05-15-2018, 08:22 AM   #1
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Question Why not simply a one-way 110V fridge?

After reading many posts here detailing shortcoming of various makes, I am now contemplating building a campervan. After buying a van, I would have to buy lots of RV stuff.

Checking into refrigerators, I was stunned to see that a 2-way fridge cost 3X what a standard fridge cost at my local appliance store. ($250 for a 110V office sized fridge, $750 for a Dometic that runs on 12V & 110V). What is the downside of simply running a fridge on the inverter?

I can think of a couple negatives. (1) It may consume more power since I would always have the inverter turned on as well as inverter efficiency losses. (2) The inverter may make an annoying hum. (3) I would need to buy a higher capacity inverter.

On the plus side, besides much lower cost I would have a wider selection of high efficiency choices and easier service.
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:37 AM   #2
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There have been quite a few "dorm frig" conversions done over the years on various forums, with varying success.


Aside from needing the inverter running all the time, the 110v only frigs tend to be very much less efficient than the Danfoss compressor frigs that are DC native, so power use is quite high. Not as high as a 3 way frig on DC, but higher than a good DC native compressor frig.


There are also concerns about durability of units not designed to be bounced down the road. Some people have had problems with early failures and others have not, so not really a good history to go by on that.


I think you don't see many complaints about the 12v compressor frigs. It is the 3 way absorption frigs that have lots of shortcomings and problems. As long as the venting is done well, the compressor frigs have done very well, I think.


If a person were to be on shore power most of the time, a pure 110v frig would likely be just fine.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:57 AM   #3
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My RV has the NovaKool 6.8 CF compressor two door refrigerator/freezer. It can run on 110v or 12v but is set up to run on 12v all the time.
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Old 05-15-2018, 01:09 PM   #4
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Your question relates to your tolerance for failures.

My own tolerance for rig-related failures is extremely low. I am self-employed and my husband is full-time employed (not retired, limited time off) and I drive from Houston to northeastern Nova Scotia every year (due to time constraints, my husband flies at least one of the two ways). If I have a mission-critical failure on that trip, then the entire trip may end up scuttled and I wouldn't get another chance to do the trip until the following year. Therefore we invest very heavily in high-quality upgrades for the van, including an $1,100 Vitrifrigo marine-grade fridge which has the Danfoss compressor mentioned above.

In contrast, someone who is traveling more casually and who has time to spare and who can afford system failures... maybe they would want to roll the dice with a cheap dorm fridge.
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Old 05-15-2018, 02:13 PM   #5
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I will join the chorus in favor of a Danfoss-based native 12vdc unit. They are quiet, effective, reliable and very energy-efficient. Well worth the cost, IMO.

BTW: They aren't really "2-way". They all run on native 12VDC. The ones that can also run on 120VAC simply have a built-in power converter and are thus less efficient on 120VAC. There is no advantage to running on 120VAC in a van even when plugged into shore power, assuming your van has an adequate converter/charger.
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Old 05-15-2018, 03:17 PM   #6
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It also depends on what size fridge works for you and whether you need a freezer section. Many van campers get by with a chest fridge running on 12v and while they are more expensive than a dorm fridge they are less expensive than a larger built in fridge and the good ones with a decent compressor are very reliable and efficient.
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Old 05-15-2018, 04:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
... They all run on native 12VDC. The ones that can also run on 120VAC simply have a built-in power converter and are thus less efficient on 120VAC. There is no advantage to running on 120VAC in a van even when plugged into shore power, assuming your van has an adequate converter/charger.
Correct. Ours has a loose AC electrical plug dangling off the back of it, a plug that is not inserted into the adjacent outlet. There's no point, even if we are on shore power.
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Old 05-15-2018, 04:06 PM   #8
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.

Some Class A and travel trailers use household fridge.

But I don't think those RV have as much shakes and vibrations as a Class B.
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Old 05-15-2018, 04:06 PM   #9
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Add us to that also. When I ordered ours, I got the 12v only version.


I do think that if I were doing a DIY or a major renovation I would look at using one or maybe two rollout chest frigs. They are more efficient than the door type and likely would also be more convenient as long as they roll out well.
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Old 05-15-2018, 04:37 PM   #10
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For the OP,
I have a $120 3.5 cuft freezer chest, 120v, 95w. For $20 I installed a temp controller that turns the inverter on and off, maintains 32-40, uses about 1.5 amps during the on cycle.
2x100 panels, 2xGC2 FLA, no external charger.
Parked on a semi shaded driveway.
Poorly ventilated cargo van, internal temp 75-95
Been running for 2 weeks, no problems.
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