Best truly efficient off grid fridge/freezer?

softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,620 ✭✭✭✭

Our fridge is likely to be our largest consumer of power when off grid. So I searched for something "ground breaking" and found an "item of interest." The walls are 3"-5" thick. Runs on 12 or 24 volt DC. Chest configuration so the cold air doesn't fall out every time the door is opened. Only one review to date. States very low energy usage but gave it four stars. Perhaps they were a tad disappointed in the interior space? Insulation occupies a large percentage of the unit. Costs $1300. Weighs 154 pounds. Offers 8 1/2 cu. ft. of storage space.

I'd guess this a good value for a certain niche. Headquarted in Germany and claiming a year 2000 start up date. If I was our host, I'd take a closer look at offering this unit. Their American headquarters are in Tucson, AZ. https://www.phocos.com/na/blog/portfolio/fr240/

https://www.amazon.com/Phocos-FR240MP-DC-Refrigerator-Freezer/dp/B017BXQY2G/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=inverter+refrigerator&qid=1551979607&rnid=2941120011&s=appliances&sr=1-5

First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries

Comments

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,011 ✭✭✭✭

    They currently sell a highly regarded(in solar circles) Sundanzer 8 cu Ft chest fridge/freezer(fridge or freezer dependent on the thermostat)If you look it up on Amazon, you will find 3 bad reviews I believe 2 out of the 3 are from people using them in a commercial environment. They have double seals and trying to open the doors rapidly stresses both the seals and the hinges, the things people complain about.

    https://www.solar-electric.com/sundanzer-dcr225-battery-powered-refrigerator.html

    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,011 ✭✭✭✭

    Where are you located? I think Florida, I know where there is one of these in Missouri from someone who used it at their hunting cabin. Reasonably priced. I think I still have the Phone #.

    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,620 ✭✭✭✭
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • terracoreterracore Registered Users Posts: 10 ✭✭
    edited May 20 #6
    A regular chest freezer (not a "frostless" model) converted into a refrigerator uses about 10% the power of an equivalent side-by-side upright fridge.  Modern "frostless" refrigerators use half their energy on the "frostless" feature and actually run a ~600 watt heater during the defrost cycles, which subsequently warm the cooled areas and require more refrigeration energy to keep the food cold. 

    So you can skip the expensive DC route and do what most off-griders do and buy a ~$200.00 chest freezer from Home Depot or Lowes or wherever and convert it into a refrigerator with a $30.00 product like this in less than 3 minutes:


    To answer the second part of your question about an "off grid freezer", we use a regular chest freezer from Home Depot.  It pulls about 89 watts and we set it at max cold which takes it down to about -8F.  It only runs during the day when the sun is out (we use a regular appliance timer).  It's never been warmer than about 12F when it kicks on again in the morning which is still 20 degrees below freezing.  As long as you keep it full it only has to run a few hours per day to keep everything frozen.  Occasionally if we kill a pig or something and dump a bunch of warm stuff into it, obviously we have to extend the run time if we're putting into the freezer in the evening etc.

    You can even get clever and put a jug of water to freeze into the chest freezer in the morning, and then put it into the converted "refrigerator chest freezer" in the evening, and store the sun's power thermally in the form of ice rather than trying to put the power into more expensive batteries.  The frozen jug will help keep the refrigerator cold without using electricity.  Then move the jug to the freezer in the morning when the sun is out, rinse and repeat, etc.

  • spacebassspacebass Registered Users Posts: 54 ✭✭
    edited October 17 #7
    Must buy an Inverter fridge freezer I live in Thailand I have a 14.2 cu ft LG inverter fridge freezer I have measured it twice over 24 hours at  1.1 and 1.2 kwh. The defrost cycle wattage is 161 watts.
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,620 ✭✭✭✭
    terracore said:
    A regular chest freezer (not a "frostless" model) converted into a refrigerator uses about 10% the power of an equivalent side-by-side upright fridge.  Modern "frostless" refrigerators use half their energy on the "frostless" feature and actually run a ~600 watt heater during the defrost cycles, which subsequently warm the cooled areas and require more refrigeration energy to keep the food cold. 

    So you can skip the expensive DC route and do what most off-griders do and buy a ~$200.00 chest freezer from Home Depot or Lowes or wherever and convert it into a refrigerator with a $30.00 product like this in less than 3 minutes:


    To answer the second part of your question about an "off grid freezer", we use a regular chest freezer from Home Depot.  It pulls about 89 watts and we set it at max cold which takes it down to about -8F.  It only runs during the day when the sun is out (we use a regular appliance timer).  It's never been warmer than about 12F when it kicks on again in the morning which is still 20 degrees below freezing.  As long as you keep it full it only has to run a few hours per day to keep everything frozen.  Occasionally if we kill a pig or something and dump a bunch of warm stuff into it, obviously we have to extend the run time if we're putting into the freezer in the evening etc.

    You can even get clever and put a jug of water to freeze into the chest freezer in the morning, and then put it into the converted "refrigerator chest freezer" in the evening, and store the sun's power thermally in the form of ice rather than trying to put the power into more expensive batteries.  The frozen jug will help keep the refrigerator cold without using electricity.  Then move the jug to the freezer in the morning when the sun is out, rinse and repeat, etc.

    I would absolutely do that if strapped for battery power. Batteries are good and I am still quite tempted. Put the Kill-a-watt meter on my large chest freezer - it does very, very good compared to the fridge. I like to give it a week or so - then I will post results if I remember. 

    Seems you would get a lot of frost on your food fluctuating from -8F to 8F on a daily basis. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,620 ✭✭✭✭
    Hopefully the defrost cycle would never turn on when the freezer is being run over 32F. 

    It wouldn't surprise me if more high end fridge/freezers had more active defrost cycles and consumed more energy as a result. People that buy high end fridges are likely not too worried about defrost cycle energy usage - they want pretty food. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,639 admin
    Neil, a former moderator here did a test on a fridge/freezer with a kWH meter--And after disabling the defrost cycle, found that after ~24 hours, the evaporator started to freeze up and average daily energy consumption started to increase.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • 706jim706jim Solar Expert Posts: 259 ✭✭✭
    Back when solar panels cost more than $5/watt, the power consumption of an electric fridge made them impractical for off grid living. Now with panels so much more affordable, I think any decent modern fridge should run just fine off of solar unless you only have 300 watts of panels. Mine has that defrost cycle and power consumption with a 2400 watt system has not been a problem.
    Island cottage solar system with 2400 watts of panels, 1kw facing southeast 1kw facing southwest 400watt ancient Arco's facing south.Trace DR1524 MSW inverter, Trace C40 PWM controller 8 Trojan L16's. Insignia 11.5 cubic foot electric fridge. My 27th year.
  • fratermusfratermus Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    Vandwellers commonly use 200w of panel to power a compressor fridge and incidentals.  I run a tiny 15L Alpicool that pulls 12A every 24hrs. I admit this wouldn't be a great fit for folks traveling with families.  :-)
    2017 Promaster 159" DIY camper
    570W mono / 220AH GC
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 548 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 19 #13
    BB. said:
    Neil, a former moderator here did a test on a fridge/freezer with a kWH meter--And after disabling the defrost cycle, found that after ~24 hours, the evaporator started to freeze up and average daily energy consumption started to increase.

    -Bill

    Good input, Bill.
    Marc
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,771 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Probably saved someone from ruining a load of food.

    The best refrigerator for offgrid is a power system designed to run it.
    This is pretty basic, I would think.....
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,620 ✭✭✭✭
    My great big chest freezer used just 2.6 kWH in six days. Keeping the food at 0F. It is also frost free.

    Sorry - cant find a brand name on it. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,422 ✭✭✭✭
    No name BFFFF?  :o

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,620 ✭✭✭✭
    No name BFFFF?  :o
    It is likely covered by the stack of plywood leaning against a corner. I am constantly moving large stuff around it seems. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
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