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Old 06-26-2022, 06:17 AM   #1
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Hate the 12 v frig trend

Against my inner voice I bought a unit with a 12 v frig even though Iím often in campgrounds without hookups. I installed double 75 AH AGMís and invested in 200 watt portable solar. But that damn thing is an energy hog!

It burns through those batteries overnight, 12.2 volts early morning. Does that seem right? I donít have a generator yet but our first trip will be in a ďgenerator free zoneĒ anyway.

I really hate this thing and wish I could have my propane frig back! Do they just expect everyone to have a generator now?
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Old 06-26-2022, 06:24 AM   #2
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Ooops, it’s a 10 cf Everchill.
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Old 06-26-2022, 08:36 AM   #3
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I do not have one, but I boondock a fair amount. Being in Minnesota we camp in dense woods alot, so solar would not be super helpful.

We're looking at new campers next year. The one I really do not want is JCommand/brmpo.
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Old 06-26-2022, 08:46 AM   #4
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I do not have one, but I boondock a fair amount. Being in Minnesota we camp in dense woods alot, so solar would not be super helpful.

We're looking at new campers next year. The one I really do not want is JCommand/brmpo.
We have a 2022 Eagle 321rsts... with the new JCommand. If you watch the videos and learn how to wake it back up and what not it's a breeze. We've had no issues SO FAR I was worried at first but really do like it. If you do end up with one, be sure it has the buttons at the bottom. Due to the electronic component shortage some units don't have those hardware buttons and from what I understand it sucks without them...
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Old 06-26-2022, 08:55 AM   #5
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Against my inner voice I bought a unit with a 12 v frig even though I’m often in campgrounds without hookups. I installed double 75 AH AGM’s and invested in 200 watt portable solar. But that damn thing is an energy hog!

It burns through those batteries overnight, 12.2 volts early morning. Does that seem right? I don’t have a generator yet but our first trip will be in a “generator free zone” anyway.

I really hate this thing and wish I could have my propane frig back! Do they just expect everyone to have a generator now?
I did a quick check for the specs and your fridge should draw ~2.5 amps. So with that in mind and for easy math, if it runs 20 out of 24 hours, (likely less) then that would be about 50a per day out of your batteries (so 1.5 days should equal half the batteries capacity and a good stopping point for discharging them further). If you can't run the generator and for the future use, I would consider adding more solar and more battery capacity. Perhaps double what you have now. Or swap out the fridge for one that can run on propane. ~CA
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Old 06-26-2022, 09:08 AM   #6
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We have a traditional gas/120v fridge. It's working ok after we added some fans and fixed the ducting behind the unit. I really want a 12v to get better cooling, especially freezing. We are never unplugged from either the truck or shore power for more than a half hour or so. I can understand how it would eat up battery power when disconnected.
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Old 06-26-2022, 09:56 AM   #7
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Get yourself one of these Victron Energy SmartShunt 500 amp Battery Monitor (Bluetooth) and you can see
1) how much you're using at the moment
2) how long your batteries will last using the current drain.
It's bluetooth so you display this critical information on your phone anytime. You need to tell it what kind of batteries you have and your total AmpHours. It helps you keep your batteries from over-draining too. It wires in-line of your negative battery cable... so it takes only a few minutes to install.




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Old 06-26-2022, 10:51 AM   #8
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For Maine camping that we do , its all in forest. Solar is not helpful for us.
We just have a 12 v refrigerator that runs on electric
We freeze ice bottles during generator hours and then at night turn off the refrigerator and put the ice bottles in the fridge Works if you don't use the freezer and the night time temps are cool..
I agree.. not a well thought out unit at all for those of us in the most forested State in the US.
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Old 06-26-2022, 05:35 PM   #9
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Kim, I’m surprised that you have a 12v frig only with all your boondocking!

The Victron looks like a nice little unit and a bit pricey. I’m just frustrated with all my additional spending because I couldn’t get an electric/propane frig.

I had the solar panels hooked up today with some pretty good sun and didn’t gain a tenth of a volt in the batteries all day. Frig seems to run almost full time. Wouldn’t have made it through the night so I had to plug it in. I was down to 12.0 volts by supper. ( at home right now trying to learn and get familiar).
As far as I’m concerned this rig is completely unusable to anyone who wants to camp without hookups. Very disappointing.
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Old 06-26-2022, 06:00 PM   #10
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I’m guessing something isn’t right with my frig. The world wouldn’t be switching to 12 volt if it didn’t work better than mine. I have to have a full charge when going to bed because the voltage drops so much overnight. And then solar during the day will keep it steady at 12.0 - 12.2 but that won’t get it through the night.

Bottom line: a 12 volt refrigerator cannot be used without a generator or shore power. Period. There should be a warning label! :-)
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Old 06-26-2022, 06:45 PM   #11
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Agree but we look at it like a reeeeallly
expensive Yeti cooler
And do have a Honda generator
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Old 06-26-2022, 08:11 PM   #12
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I'm very new to the world of 12 volt refrigerators (1 and 1/2 days) but I specifically looked for one after 5 prior absorption units.

Note for the below: I use a wireless double thermometer at home and always take it in whatever RV, so had it with me for this trip.


Yesterday I set the thermostat to full cold and drove westward (meaning sun on the back where the refrigerator is) for 3 hours in temps between 68 and 99. Arrived home and the temps were 34 in the refrigerator and -12 in the freezer.

Try that in an absorption fridge!
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Old 06-26-2022, 09:01 PM   #13
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Thanks Don, but for my purposes, a propane fridge is superior. I can run it for many days on a 20 lb tank. But my dual 75 ah AGMs are only good for about 12 hours. That’s a big problem for my camping style— half the time, no shore power. Gonna have to buy a generator. And solar panels. And bigger batteries. And….

This thread was mostly intended to find out if others are having the same poor fridge performance leading to these other unexpected headaches and expense.
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Old 06-26-2022, 11:01 PM   #14
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Can't ever argue with more battery power. I'll be going to a pair of 100AH lithiums shortly and probably another 190W solar panel. My thing was that over the years I've had multiple absorption failures requiring major repairs. I've only personally seen one refrigerator fire, but it is also the only RV fire I've personally witnessed!
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Old 06-26-2022, 11:23 PM   #15
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We have a traditional gas / 120 volt fridge. My neighbor down the road with an E-pro has a Magic Chef 12 volt fridge. She has two lead acid batteries, and two solar panels on the roof which I believe are each 190 watt Go Power panels. She can last several days running her fridge, as long as she's in a decently sunny site.

I'm in the other camp, and that my next fridge will probably be 12 volt. Your performance seems to be less than what most get. I upgrade my electrical system anyway, I'd probably just add an additional battery to my current setup if I had a 12 volt fridge. Right now I have a single 100 amp hour lithium battery, 390 watts of solar connected to an MPPT charger.

I really liked that 12 volt fridges are not picky about being level. My driveway and street are at a steep slope. It's very challenging for me to level my trailer in order to run the fridge to cool it down prior to a trip.
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Old 06-27-2022, 03:04 AM   #16
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There is only one answer.
Location location location
We don't get temps in the 90's We dont have sun usually in CG's and State Parks have no utilities
We get fog and clouds more than other States
The point is that one size fits all is a loser for some of us.
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Old 06-27-2022, 06:56 AM   #17
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I'd like the 12v fridge b/c I'm never unhooked from power. I don't boondock or go anywhere there aren't full hookups. So I'm in the opposite boat as the OP, but I completely understand the angst given the use case.
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Old 06-27-2022, 07:49 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by DBSBorg View Post
Thanks Don, but for my purposes, a propane fridge is superior. I can run it for many days on a 20 lb tank. But my dual 75 ah AGMs are only good for about 12 hours. Thatís a big problem for my camping styleó half the time, no shore power. Gonna have to buy a generator. And solar panels. And bigger batteries. AndÖ.

This thread was mostly intended to find out if others are having the same poor fridge performance leading to these other unexpected headaches and expense.
Just thinking about the batteries, if you have 75ah batteries (12v in parallel I am guessing), and that will give you 50% of draw down, so 75ah. Is there a reason that you didn't go with 2x6v @ 235ah each which would give you 117.5ah at 50% drain? (for the power guys is that logic correct?)
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Old 06-27-2022, 09:20 AM   #19
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I did a quick check for the specs and your fridge should draw ~2.5 amps. So with that in mind and for easy math, if it runs 20 out of 24 hours, (likely less) then that would be about 50a per day out of your batteries (so 1.5 days should equal half the batteries capacity and a good stopping point for discharging them further). If you can't run the generator and for the future use, I would consider adding more solar and more battery capacity. Perhaps double what you have now. Or swap out the fridge for one that can run on propane. ~CA
Most all 12VDV refrigerators I've seen average around a 5A draw regardless of specifications. In the Summer I believe (and have seen) much greater than a 50A draw per day.

Of course it depends on ambient conditions, number of door opening, etc., but I have a friend who has seen closer to 80A per day fairly consistently per his Victron BMV-712 and that was in an ambient range of 55-85F over a week.
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Old 06-27-2022, 09:28 AM   #20
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Most all 12VDV refrigerators I've seen average around a 5A draw regardless of specifications. In the Summer I believe (and have seen) much greater than a 50A draw per day.

Of course it depends on ambient conditions, number of door opening, etc., but I have a friend who has seen closer to 80A per day fairly consistently per his Victron BMV-712 and that was in an ambient range of 55-85F over a week.

Interesting, so you are saying the that 12v fridges require twice as much power than their specifications would otherwise indicate? For me, that is reason enough not to have one. Thanks, ~CA
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