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Old 05-11-2013, 09:22 AM   #1
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Fridge running on 12v power while in storage... solar?

Our trailer is parked in storage all summer at the camp ground and taken to a site every two weeks. As we'd like to leave the fridge running on 12v power (no power in storage area) and the house batt certainly won't hold for two weeks, I was thinking a solar panal would be the order of the day. Assuming stock house battery, I think 85amp hr, fridge running just on 12v, no gas.. and fantom power from detectors, radio etc. How large a panal would one need to install? Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:11 AM   #2
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Solar would need to be 300+ watts. Plus an 85 amp-hour battery would not survive the night with that kind of a load. The cheapest method to run the refrigeration without shore power is propane. You will still need 12V for the control board but that is a small draw.
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Old 05-11-2013, 03:55 PM   #3
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Old 05-11-2013, 06:50 PM   #4
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hmmm well then. lol

so let's step back a bit.

5.5 cubic foot Norcold, Gas/12 Volt fridge.

Norcold saying 2amp draw.

How much propane would one use say per day of use?

we can figure out the solar if the propane won't kill the bank.

Costco propane is about $15 for a 30lb tank. I'd not mind buying a second tank and rotating every two weeks.... if that is sufficient.

If that would work.. then how much solar/battery would one need?
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Old 05-11-2013, 06:59 PM   #5
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Is it safe to keep your fridge running on propane while in storage? I also store mine at a campground and go down about once or twice a month in the summer. I hate the wait for the fridge to get cold.
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Old 05-11-2013, 07:07 PM   #6
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In this case, "storage" is a fenced in parking lot. Honestly, if I have to get into more/bigger battery .. it's just not worth it for me. We don't boondock. It's just to be able to keep the beer cold and the hamburgers frozen and save dragging them back and forth each time.
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:47 PM   #7
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You will be surprised at how little propane your refrigerator uses. A bigger problem would be the sensors in the trailer. They will draw down a battery in just a few days. I would disconnect the sensors, (pull the fuses) and then use the propane part of your refrigerator. Don't forget to reinstall the fuses when you use the trailer.
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Old 05-12-2013, 04:59 AM   #8
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dddire, you did not state what camper you have but I will bet your refrigerator will not run on 12V alone. It is most likely a 2-way. 110V and gas. I could be wrong. If you could run off of 12V alone on solar power the cost would be prohibitive. $1000+ for solar panels large enough and probably another $500 in batteries with enough capacity to do this. I have not done detailed research on these costs. These are just guesstimates. But it will be high.

A 20# bottle of propane would run the refrigerator for several months. You might consider 20 watts of solar to keep the battery up while it maintains the radio, propane detector and the refrigerator control board.
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:05 AM   #9
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BTW, that 2 amp draw you saw is for 120V. Translate that to 12 volts power and it becomes 20 amps. So that would kill your 85 amp-hour battery in less than 4 hours. But, as I previously stated, I don't think your refrigerator will run on 12V alone.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:17 AM   #10
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will your storage facility allow it to be running (LP flame) while stored? Alot of the ones around here the TT are piled in so tight the is barely enough room to walk between them. I was just thinking from a CYA insurance standpoint from the storage owners prospective.
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