DC Refrigerators for RV's

Hi Folks, anyone here running an AC/DC compressor fridge in an RV? We are looking at storing our RV near where we camp, and the current LPG/110 absorption unit really needs a day to cool down. Since we have 400W of solar, I am thinking of increasing from 2 to 4 GC2's and running a 12VDC fridge (or a 110VAC el-cheap-o Home depot fridge on a Pure sine inverter) so we can just leave it on all the time, running on the batteries and solar while stored. Seems simple enough?

I had a 1977 motorhome with an old Norcold with the old sawfuji swing motor compressor, and it cooled so-so and ran all weekend on two GC2's with no solar. It was nearly 40 years old, so yeah, it cooled, but not great. The new Norcolds have Danfoss compressors. Reviews on west marine (most are there) are mixed...

My current 2009 vintage Dometic LPG/110V is a POS and has already popped at thermal fuse.

I'm trying to decide if it is worth buying the $1200 Norcold (or vitrifrigo or Isotherm) or just getting the $300 el cheapo 110V and a good inverter for the same money...


  • Mountain DonMountain Don Solar Expert Posts: 494 ✭✭✭
    We have a Truckfridge TF-130 (approx 4.2 cu ft) in a cargo trailer conversion. We run it off two GC-2's with ease. Two days in summer is no problem. It uses the Danfoss compressor on 12 or 24 volts DC. We've had it a year and a half. I much prefer it over the propane fueled absorption fridges. This runs at angle you care to park on. I added an extra 2" of foam insulation on the bottom, top, two sides and rear wall (except for where the compressor sits... see pictures on link) . The door has a pretty good latch. So far no solar, but that will be remedied this fall sometime. For now the batteries receive some charge whenever we drag it down the road behind the tow vehicle, at home or in a campground when connected to the grid, or quite often we use the Honda inverter generator and a tweaked Iota charger for a couple of hours as needed.
    Northern NM, 624 watts PV, The Kid CC, GC-2 batteries @ 24 VDC, Outback VFX3524M
  • ZoNiEZoNiE Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭
    Hi Don, thanks. I have been looking at the TF's myself. Thinking of the 130 and maybe a freezer drawer underneath... If DW wants more freezer than the 130 has.
  • soylentgreensoylentgreen Solar Expert Posts: 106 ✭✭
    I have a Vitrifrigo C60i (upgraded from a Norcold 3163) and am very happy with it. Although the old 3-way fridges are clever designs, the new DC Danfoss compressors are pretty much better in almost every way. I used to spend a lot of time worrying about my Norcold, and had a lot of spoiled food. Very glad I upgraded. I think if you get a reputable brand (Norcold, TruckFridge, Vitrifrigo...) most of them use the Danfoss compressors, so really you can just shop on price,size,features,dimensions.
  • zonebluezoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,218 ✭✭✭✭
    DC fridge are great. Ok they are pricy, but its a small market. One poster here reportedly had one drawing only 250Wh/day. Ours is an older 24v danfoss/ vitrofigo, that uses 600Wh/d.

    Mobile applications, you get to add space to the usual cost/functionality/reliability matrix. I dont know if you can get inverter fridges in small form factor?
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,

  • ShadowcatcherShadowcatcher Solar Expert Posts: 228 ✭✭✭
    We have a WAECO/Dometic with a Danfos compressor we power with our 185W solar panel. Others use an Engel which use a swing compressor http://http//www.engelcoolers.com/acdc/fridge-freezers/portable-top-loading-models Both use about the same amount of current.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,198 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I have not looked in a few years but then there was nothing better than the German Stecca 12/24 V freezer/ refrigerator.
    I have friend who has a 100 mile drive to Costco. He runs the unit in his truck off 12V and then runs it in his offgrid home at 24V.

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
    E-mail [email protected]

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