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Old 10-29-2015, 11:02 AM   #1
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Fridge cool down, etc

Finally going to take my new 2 me 2014 a122s on a real outing this weekend. (Tried one night.. just to test some things.) Anyway.. I have the camper hooked to shore power, at home.. I turned on the fridge (AC) last night. It will have about 36 hrs of cool down time before I pull out. I am wondering.. what setting do you guys put the fridge thermostat on? Mine has numbers, I think from 1 to 9. I put it around 6. The outside temps are pretty mild right now.. Daytime highs 65-70... lows around 50 or so. Does this sound like it will work?

I usually just put meat, mustard, mayo, sauces, etc in the fridge. I like my soda and beer under a mountain of ice in the cooler.
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Old 10-29-2015, 04:09 PM   #2
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I pre-cool my fridge at home (A122 stores in the garage) for 12-36 hours prior to trip. Fridge is on "9" during this time. While towing, I switch to DC, which seems to hold the temp but will not cool any further.

At arrival, I usually put fridge at "7" and monitor contents for freezing (true for propane or AC, although it reaches freezing faster on propane). If the weather is hot, I'll start at "9". After a day or two, I'm usually approaching freezing, and I dial it back 2 numbers.

One of these days....I'll install a remote temp monitor to have a better feel for how to regulate the fridge. And maybe even a computer fan to even out temps inside the fridge, and a computer fan on the outside to help it cool better and faster.

Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122
2008 Hyundai Entourage (minivan)
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:22 AM   #3
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Just back from a trip, used a wireless temp monitor and I can tell you that depending on the weather, that frig will vary hugely in reliability. Be very cautious about meats. Coldest spot is at bottom of frig and under fins. I was on shore power first night and had power failure, temp when up to 54. Switched to propane, set at 4-5 as recommended in manual, still varied as night temps down to 45, frig went to 21. I restocked ice in the cooler to be safer, very frustrating.
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Old 11-02-2015, 05:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by DobeFanatic View Post
Just back from a trip, used a wireless temp monitor and I can tell you that depending on the weather, that frig will vary hugely in reliability. Be very cautious about meats. Coldest spot is at bottom of frig and under fins. I was on shore power first night and had power failure, temp when up to 54. Switched to propane, set at 4-5 as recommended in manual, still varied as night temps down to 45, frig went to 21. I restocked ice in the cooler to be safer, very frustrating.
The more stuff in your fridge, and the less you open it, the more consistent the inside temps will be. Also, 5 is generally my minimum setting for the fridge. I typically start off at 7-8 when I first start the fridge, then back off a number on a daily basis as stuff starts to freeze inside. On hot days (80+) I'll start off at max cool until the temp gets down where I want it.

Having mostly camped in bear country in PUPs, I'm reluctant to store meat or any other food that is not sealed in the fridge. It goes in the cooler which goes in the bear box (if provided) or in the van. So the fridge has mostly beverage cans and similar - which is not a crisis if the fridge isn't doing well.

Now that I'm in Colorado (bears aren't as agressive with pop-ups as they are in California), I'm looking to mod the fridge to get consistently safe temps.

There are several mods you can do, which will increase the efficiency of the fridge, enabling it to better hold inside temps on a hot day.

The first is to improve the natural air flow through the back compartment coils with baffles. My plywood panel between the fridge and the sink was actually hot to the touch after running the fridge for 4 days, so I know I have stagnant air in the compartment. I'm using some Reflectix to line mine. The idea is to make a smooth path for airflow from the bottom grill to the top grill - airflow that goes through the cooling fins at the top back of the fridge and not everywhere else.

One fellow moved the fridge electrical controls to the bottom compartment because he felt they blocked airflow in the factory configuration. I may do the same because I also like having the electrical and gas controls accessed through the same grill.

Some folks go a step further and add computer fans to force better airflow through the grills and the cooling fins. I'm going to see how the baffles work before I add any extra 12V power consumption to the batteries.

A circulating 12V computer fan on the inside of the fridge will help even out the temps inside the fridge (and the fridge efficiency). I believe (with no data to support) that this ranks right up there with the baffles in improving the fridge.

just my thoughts and experiences
Fred W
present: 2014 Rockwood A122 a-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage (minivan)
camping Colorado and adjacent states on weekends

before: 2000 Coleman Westlake PUP
1993 Ford Explorer
camping Lake Tahoe 9 days at a time, occasional coastal CA
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Old 11-02-2015, 06:25 PM   #5
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I used a small fan in the frig to distribute the cool air, but the weather affected frig temp more than anything. 73 daytime, 40's at night. The wireless temp reader was reading one at bottom of frig, and one on top shelf. Bottom got down to 21, when top was in the 40's at times. Very unreliable in my mind for meats. I had food poisoning once while camping, never again. I use mostly canned goods, some eggs, bacon which does well in the cooler. Frig used for condiments, water, cheese. Overall, disappointed but I think if outside temps were more steady, 50-70's would be more dependable.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:15 PM   #6
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We live and for the most part camp in Florida - so cooling down the fridge has been an ongoing issue! One thing I do that really seems to help is to take a large ziplock storage container and freeze a combination of water and a quarter cup of salt. I think the size I use is three quarts (it's the large square one). I put it in the freezer in the house, then take it out to the camper when I turn the fridge on. It really helps to cool it down faster and keep the temp down. I leave it in the fridge while we camp too - it doesn't really take up too much room. I've been thinking about making a sort of removable awning out of a space blanket to use while we're in camp to keep the sun form warming it up.
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Old 11-05-2015, 11:40 AM   #7
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We live and for the most part camp in Florida - so cooling down the fridge has been an ongoing issue!
My method is to freeze half gallon milk jugs and pack them in the open spaces in the fridge. It keeps things cold on the road, moderates temperature swings form opening the fridge and provides a source of cold drinking water later in the trip.
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