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Old 05-26-2024, 10:41 AM   #1
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Confusing Controls on Magic Chef 12V 10 c.f. Refrigerator.

Our new Flagstaff MicroLite 21FBRS came with the 12V Magic Chef 10 c.f. refrigerator (Model MCDCR10DSG). We've been on two camping trips so far and are happy with the way the fridge is working. However, I'm confused on the description and setting recommendations of the freezer and refrigerator controls in the manual.

The freezer control is a knob that goes from 1 (labeled Min) to 5 (labeled Max). Setting 3 in the freezer is labeled Optimum, and setting 4 has a larger dot on it than the other settings. The refrigerator control goes from 1 to 5 and is changed by pushing a SET button to advance through the numbers.

The manual recommends the following settings: Summer is 2 on both the freezer and fridge; Spring/Fall is 3 on both the freezer and fridge; Winter is 4 on the freezer and 3 on the fridge.

So my confusion is that the settings recommendations in the manual indicate that the lower numbers, where 1 is Min in the freezer, would be a colder setting, as in Min indicates the minimum (lowest) temperature obtainable. As in, Summer would require a lower operating temp than Winter. However, every other refrigerator I've owned has used Max to represent the maximum cooling you're going to get from the fridge.

I know I could get a thermometer and play the settings/data logging routine, but I am curious if anyone with this model fridge knows for sure how the controls really work. We are doing an overnight boondocking trip today to see how our 64AH/100RC battery with the 200W solar system sustains us for a night, which will really be a test of the draw the fridge makes on the battery. We'll leave with a fully charged battery and completely cooled fridge. When I think of it I'll measure how much the fridge draws when plugged into shore power via the Bluetooth app for my Watchdog surge EMS device. Thanks for any helpful information on this model refrigerator.
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Old 05-26-2024, 11:56 AM   #2
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The manual recommends the following settings: Summer is 2 on both the freezer and fridge; Spring/Fall is 3 on both the freezer and fridge; Winter is 4 on the freezer and 3 on the fridge.

So my confusion is that the settings recommendations in the manual indicate that the lower numbers, where 1 is Min in the freezer, would be a colder setting, as in Min indicates the minimum (lowest) temperature obtainable. As in, Summer would require a lower operating temp than Winter. However, every other refrigerator I've owned has used Max to represent the maximum cooling you're going to get from the fridge.
You can remove the back panel with the knob on it and see how it directs airflow. Some goes into the freezer and some is directed into the fresh food.
Most likely 1 is minimum coldest in the freezer and max air flow into the fresh food compartment. 5 is max coldness in the freezer and minimum airflow into the fresh food compartment.

More airflow into the fresh food side gets it colder quicker so the freezer will not get as cold. Less airflow into the fresh food side lets the freezer get colder since the volume of air going into the fresh food is less so it takes longer to shut it off.

Most likely not even noticeable though. Maybe a couple of degrees.

As in, Summer would require a lower operating temp than Winter.
I think too much is being read into that part of the manual. Do you reset your home refrigerator with the different seasons? Remember these manuals are translated and written by who knows who.
Outside temperature is not going to effect the temperature inside a closed refrigerator. Within temperature extremes, not talking about death valley here.

Set your freezer once you figure out the airflow to how hard you like your ice cream and how cold you like your drinks.

P.S. I don't think 64 AH will get you through the night if running more than the refrigerator. For me the heater and refrigerator on cold nights is about 75AH for me. Refrigerator and using an inverter is going to be up there too if having to run a fan.
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Old 05-27-2024, 11:21 AM   #3
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I still don't know if I'm 100% sure of the controls on the fridge, but I'm leaning toward the 5 setting being the "coldest" on the scale of 1 to 5, as others have suggested. For our test the freezer was left at the recommended 3 setting and I turned the fridge section to 4, hoping to get more cold air down there. Food was plenty cold and the ice was fine. I emailed Magic Chef for clarification but who knows if they'll reply. Tried once before and got nothing.

I am happy with the results of our one-night boondocking test. Once at the camp site we were totally on battery/solar power for the fridge, running the slide and awning motors, stab jacks and tongue jack. Also used some lights inside as needed (all LED) and of course the water pump as needed. It was mostly sunny the day we arrived so the solar was topping off the battery from about 2:30 to dusk. In the morning the battery read between 12.5 and 12.7V so that's good. And the few hours of morning sun we had continued to help keep the battery up. I did not use the inverter for anything, so that's a big help for battery life.
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Old 05-27-2024, 03:01 PM   #4
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I still don't know if I'm 100% sure of the controls on the fridge, but I'm leaning toward the 5 setting being the "coldest" on the scale of 1 to 5, as others have suggested. For our test the freezer was left at the recommended 3 setting and I turned the fridge section to 4, hoping to get more cold air down there. Food was plenty cold and the ice was fine. I emailed Magic Chef for clarification but who knows if they'll reply. Tried once before and got nothing.
FYI, the refrigerator buttons do not effect air flow. The freezer turn knob opens and closes an opening to the fresh food side and determines the amount of air that flow into the fresh food.

The refrigerator buttons are for the temperature that the compressor turns off. It will turn off and on at the same temperatures regardless of how much airflow volume is directed into it. Less air coming in it will take longer for the fresh food to get cold enough to shut off the compressor. Compressor stays on longer so the freezer gets colder.

At least on my Everchill is how it works and I doubt very much if yours has an actual freezer thermostat. Some residential refrigerators will.
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Old 05-28-2024, 06:51 AM   #5
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Dave, thanks for the additional info. Your description makes sense for how the control knob in the freezer affects the refrigerator temp and how the button setting in the refrigerator is actually setting the overall cooling. Next trip I'll try turning the freezer down one setting to get more cold air into the fridge area and bumping the button setting up by one to see if I get more cooling overall. The freezer comes down really fast, it's the fridge area that seems to lag behind. I think it's common with these Magic Chef / Everchill 12V units based on what I'm reading in other threads on the Forum. Live and learn. Thanks again for the helpful comments.
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Old 05-29-2024, 07:13 AM   #6
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An update on this .... I contacted Magic Chef with a question on the controls and they said that this fridge is a "licensed product via Forest River" and I have to contact FR with any questions. It came with a Magic Chef manual. What a bunch of BS. Another example of pass the buck in the RV industry.
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Old 05-29-2024, 08:15 AM   #7
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I don't even see a manual listed for this model either at the Forest River site. Was just curious about it.

https://www.forestriverinc.com/Owners/Component-Manuals

Just for fun while I was thinking about it I opened my fresh food door to warm things up a bit to get my refrigerator running. Wanted to see what my temperature at the back wall of the freezer inside the vent slots is using an infrared thermometer. Not a fan of them but I do have one.

Took maybe 10-15 minutes but I am reading -20F which is what I was expecting, or there about.

Initially was staying at around zero which is not cold enough to keep a freezer at zero and the fresh food side cold enough. Need the colder temp with the volume to get the fresh food side down to kick off the thermostat. Every time I opened the freezer door for a temp check just makes it take longer to get a correct reading.

I keep both my compartments fairly full to help in keeping the temps stable.
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Old 06-11-2024, 04:53 PM   #8
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Hi there. Thanks for your post. We are trying to figure out what the best setting is for normal use not boondocking. We are in Texas. Our temps are running in the 90's.
We set the freezer on 3 optimal and the fresh food compartment is on 4. It seem like it automatically put it on 4.
Will this work? Thanks.
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Old 06-12-2024, 08:22 AM   #9
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Will, I can't guess what a good setting would be for you in TX with temps in the 90's. I have only used our fridge up here in NY where the temps have only reached the low to mid 80's on one day (while in use). If you find that the recommended settings of 2 in both freezer and fridge section aren't cold enough (from the manual and Forest River for "summer" settings), I would try a setting of 2 in the freezer and 4 in the fridge. I am still skeptical that the manual has these settings reversed for colder temps in the fridge. Let me know which works best. Good luck.
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Old 06-12-2024, 09:08 AM   #10
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TBH, I think the translators messed up when writing the manual as somebody here suggested. I had problems on 2 out of 2 camping trips. Freezer at 3("optimal") and any setting on fridge and fridge went to 54F in about 3-4 days. Took it back to my dealer who couldn't duplicate the issue (go figure!). I brought it home and per the dealer's recommendation, I bought 2 digital thermometers and sent them pics daily. It was better but not good enough. They then suggested I put at least 2 gallons of water in the fridge. That helped but still not enough. They filed a claim w/FR. Dealer called back and said they recommended putting freezer at 2 and fridge at 4. It seems to have improved but I haven't camped with it yet. I laughed that no instructions in the manual suggested those settings.
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Old 06-12-2024, 12:58 PM   #11
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dwilli1 - it was your post about the freezer at 2 and fridge at 4 settings that made me suggest that to tortuga. As a matter of fact, I have a sticky note with those settings in my camper now for the next time we take it out. I'm betting, like you, that the manual has the control settings explained bass ackwards.
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Old 07-03-2024, 09:43 PM   #12
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Possible fix tfor the warm Magic Chief 12v

So after 4 days on the road our fridge started to smell rotten. I found a youtube video from Rockwood RV with a simple fix. Cut some extra duct vent holes to increase cold airflow to the fresh food area. I just did the mod a couple hours ago so far it seems to be getting and staying colder.

Here's the link

https://youtu.be/9m5vbPJBJ0E?si=rqajhemqdG3Eu2US
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Old 07-04-2024, 06:56 AM   #13
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Aguninc, the fix you found via YouTube is a good one. It has been discussed in other threads in the Forum. I think you'll find it helps to cool the refrigerator section quite a lot.
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Old 07-06-2024, 12:27 PM   #14
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It has helped a lot. The temp is now avg 36. If you do the mod make sure you clean out all the foam insulation from the duct to get the cold air to come out.
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