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Old 05-12-2016, 04:34 PM   #1
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To Residential Fridge, or Not To Residential Fridge?

Hello Everyone,

Getting very close to pulling the trigger on our very first 5th Wheel, and currently leaning toward two Chaparral models: the 371MBRB or the 372QBH. Any thoughts between these two?

Either way - we are going to have to choose between refrigerators and would would really appreciate some help from those who have been there.

I know that when you increase the size of the units, you lose some pantry space, so I've got that covered, but what about the rest of the story like propane vs. inverter, etc?

Let me know what you think when you have a minute.

Thanks,

Paul
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Old 05-12-2016, 04:55 PM   #2
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What type of camping do you typically do (ie, with or without hookups)?

Fulltime friends of mine (family of 6) switched to a residential fridge and no inverter. They generally move from RV park to RV park with hookups. They travel 6-8 hours per day and just minimize opening/closing of the fridge. They love it and have no interest going back to a 2-way fridge. He's even starting to look at extra battery + solar setup and still has no qualms about running a residential fridge.
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Old 05-12-2016, 05:02 PM   #3
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I have a 2012 Georgetown with a 4 door refrigerator that runs propane or AC when plugged into shore power and I'm glad I don't have a residential refrigerator.

1. When driving down the road its maintains temp while on propane.

2. When plugged in it works great on shore power.

3. I don't have to worry about my house batteries running down if I dry camp.

4. I don't have to worry if the invertor fails what do I do?

5. If you have a large family and plan on using your rig for long periods of time plugged in yes get the residential refrigerator. Yes the large residential is what you need.

5. If you dry camp or stay at National parks with no power you will run your batteries down quickly and will have to start your generator up for a long period of time to get them back up to handle the 1000 watt load.
This becomes a chore if you do a lot of dry camping.

If you are constantly rolling like me with 2 adults I love my propane refrigerator. Mine has many, many hours on both propane and electric and have not had any problems.


Now this is my opinion from 40 plus years of having many RVs but others may have other opinions.

Good luck
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Old 05-12-2016, 05:11 PM   #4
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Iggy makes sense.....

One small caveat. When pulling home new unit, hooked up halfway home at KOA. Took residential refrig about 25 minutes to get to 0 degrees in freezer and 40 in top unit. Pretty impressive.

Have not tried it going down road, obviously.
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Old 05-12-2016, 06:04 PM   #5
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The whole residential frig issue is a little complicated and the situation can be different for an RV vs a TT.

1. In an RV, as long as the engine is running you can run the fridge/inverter forever and will end up with as much charge as when you left since the alternator can charge the batteries and run the fridge at the same time. In a TT, the charge wire from the TV may not have enough capacity to overcome the inverter load of the fridge when on the road.

2. When on shore power there is no problem as the residential fridge will run just like it does in a house.

3. As others have said, a residential fridge will get down to temperature very rapidly, while an adsorption (LP/AC) unit takes a lot longer.

4. Big adsorption units can get flakey when the ambient temperature gets high and many have added supplemental fans and turn off their defrost cables to keep DC consumption low.

5. If you boondock, LP keeps the food cold while a residential fridge will need you to run a generator or have at least 400 watts of solar and sunshine to keep up. You can run a generator for a few hours per day to recharge your batteries.

6. If you spend most of your time in an RV park with shore power, you can drive for hours between RV parks and the fridge will stay fine as long as you don't constantly open the door. Remember that if you stop for lunch, if you run the genny for 45 minutes or an hour, the fridge will get back down to temperature in that time.

Bottom line, I have an RV and have a residential fridge where I use to have an adsorption unit. It does change my life a little, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
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Old 05-12-2016, 06:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ependydad View Post
What type of camping do you typically do (ie, with or without hookups)?

Fulltime friends of mine (family of 6) switched to a residential fridge and no inverter. They generally move from RV park to RV park with hookups. They travel 6-8 hours per day and just minimize opening/closing of the fridge. They love it and have no interest going back to a 2-way fridge. He's even starting to look at extra battery + solar setup and still has no qualms about running a residential fridge.

Not really sure how much camping we'll do either way.

Thanks for the info!


Fat guy seeking a Ram 3500 Megacab and a 5th wheel to tow behind it.
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Old 05-12-2016, 06:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iggy View Post
I have a 2012 Georgetown with a 4 door refrigerator that runs propane or AC when plugged into shore power and I'm glad I don't have a residential refrigerator.

1. When driving down the road its maintains temp while on propane.

2. When plugged in it works great on shore power.

3. I don't have to worry about my house batteries running down if I dry camp.

4. I don't have to worry if the invertor fails what do I do?

5. If you have a large family and plan on using your rig for long periods of time plugged in yes get the residential refrigerator. Yes the large residential is what you need.

5. If you dry camp or stay at National parks with no power you will run your batteries down quickly and will have to start your generator up for a long period of time to get them back up to handle the 1000 watt load.
This becomes a chore if you do a lot of dry camping.

If you are constantly rolling like me with 2 adults I love my propane refrigerator. Mine has many, many hours on both propane and electric and have not had any problems.


Now this is my opinion from 40 plus years of having many RVs but others may have other opinions.

Good luck

Thank you for the insight!


Fat guy seeking a Ram 3500 Megacab and a 5th wheel to tow behind it.
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Old 05-12-2016, 06:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ScottBrownstein View Post
The whole residential frig issue is a little complicated and the situation can be different for an RV vs a TT.



1. In an RV, as long as the engine is running you can run the fridge/inverter forever and will end up with as much charge as when you left since the alternator can charge the batteries and run the fridge at the same time. In a TT, the charge wire from the TV may not have enough capacity to overcome the inverter load of the fridge when on the road.



2. When on shore power there is no problem as the residential fridge will run just like it does in a house.



3. As others have said, a residential fridge will get down to temperature very rapidly, while an adsorption (LP/AC) unit takes a lot longer.



4. Big adsorption units can get flakey when the ambient temperature gets high and many have added supplemental fans and turn off their defrost cables to keep DC consumption low.



5. If you boondock, LP keeps the food cold while a residential fridge will need you to run a generator or have at least 400 watts of solar and sunshine to keep up. You can run a generator for a few hours per day to recharge your batteries.



6. If you spend most of your time in an RV park with shore power, you can drive for hours between RV parks and the fridge will stay fine as long as you don't constantly open the door. Remember that if you stop for lunch, if you run the genny for 45 minutes or an hour, the fridge will get back down to temperature in that time.



Bottom line, I have an RV and have a residential fridge where I use to have an adsorption unit. It does change my life a little, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Bottom line, you like your residential fridge. Thank You!


Fat guy seeking a Ram 3500 Megacab and a 5th wheel to tow behind it.
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Old 05-12-2016, 07:24 PM   #9
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I have had a 12v/gas unit in my earlier RV's and now a residential unit in my 33IK... My observations..

1) heavier than Dometic, probably but so are 5th wheels
2) can use on 120v or 12v (via a "good inverter")
3) have used one battery with no issues ( i do not typically dry camp)
4) always use while traveling, not sure why I would not? TV charging battery. Also no question about operating fridge with gas while traveling or going thru some tunnels with my fridge on.
5) more capacity than gas/120v unit
6) gets cold fast, do not have to worry about turning on way ahead of use and then making sure all the food I put in is already cold or frozen.
7) does not ice up or constantly drain water outside
8) I can stand in front of the open door and wonder what I want without worrying about letting all the cold out :
9) I can have my vanilla ice cream that is actually frozen

I think the biggest trade off is how you camp. If you do a lot of dry camping then a residential is probably not your best choice but if not, you will love the residential unit imho...
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Old 05-12-2016, 07:26 PM   #10
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I got a residential fridge in my 5er and love the space but kind of wish I wouldn't have. My camper sits at a seasonal campsite and we camp there every weekend. We have an inverter and two batteries that are dual purpose marine deep cell batteries (came with camper). If the campground looses power during the week I don't know how long the power is out for so I don't know if the food left there is good or bad.


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