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Old 05-03-2021, 03:54 PM   #1
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Magic Chef 12V Refrigerator

Hello, I have a 2021 Geo Pro 19FBS that comes with the 12 volt only fridge. I have not been able to get the fridge section lower than about 45 degrees. The unit does cycle on/off but it seems to me that it may be over heating and shutting down. I have the temp control at max but it still cycles off/on even though the inside temp is greater than 45 degrees. There are no visible vents in the cabinet where the fridge is installed so that's why I'm thinking it is an over temp problem. Any ideas or anyone else experiencing this issue?
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Old 05-16-2021, 06:10 PM   #2
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2021 Micro Lite 21ds Magic Chef Refrigerator Cycling

Have the exact problem you describe. In reading the manufacturers owners manual they say unit requires one inch minimum of clearance on all sides and back of refrigerator. There was 1/4 inch on sides and back flush against wall. This unit sheds heat through rear and I believe side walls. So insufficient spacing for heat to vent. Cabinet against refrigerator wall was very warm and unit cycling. Forest River did not do their engineering homework here. Additionally my unit was not fastened to the floor and only held in place by three 3" wood screws on a flange bottom of unit. Sudden stop or minor accident and unit could slide right out of opening it is in, unit in back of rig facing forward. They had no propane units at time of construction and offered 12vdc unit with solar package...I was ok with that. It is obvious the opening was built for a propane unit and they just pushed in 12vdc unit and did not care that vent space was not there. Don't mean to get wordy here so short stroke is be sure you have sufficient clearances. If not take back to dealer and make a big deal about it ask they correct. I do my own repair work, and do need this unit over the summer, and do not want it tied up for months. Simply removed a 1.5" trim piece on left side of unit slid it over then pulled it out 1" and refastened all. Now have sufficient vent clearance, can't tell any work was done and will test unit this week. If still an issue I will be forced back to dealer. Only other option would be to install a 12 volt cabinet cooling fan to move air in back of refrigerator, but not willing to go that far. The owners manual also states refrigerator not design to be enclosed in a recessed cabinet...go figure.
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Old 05-16-2021, 08:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by pg12572 View Post
Have the exact problem you describe. In reading the manufacturers owners manual they say unit requires one inch minimum of clearance on all sides and back of refrigerator. There was 1/4 inch on sides and back flush against wall. This unit sheds heat through rear and I believe side walls. So insufficient spacing for heat to vent. Cabinet against refrigerator wall was very warm and unit cycling. Forest River did not do their engineering homework here. Additionally my unit was not fastened to the floor and only held in place by three 3" wood screws on a flange bottom of unit. Sudden stop or minor accident and unit could slide right out of opening it is in, unit in back of rig facing forward. They had no propane units at time of construction and offered 12vdc unit with solar package...I was ok with that. It is obvious the opening was built for a propane unit and they just pushed in 12vdc unit and did not care that vent space was not there. Don't mean to get wordy here so short stroke is be sure you have sufficient clearances. If not take back to dealer and make a big deal about it ask they correct. I do my own repair work, and do need this unit over the summer, and do not want it tied up for months. Simply removed a 1.5" trim piece on left side of unit slid it over then pulled it out 1" and refastened all. Now have sufficient vent clearance, can't tell any work was done and will test unit this week. If still an issue I will be forced back to dealer. Only other option would be to install a 12 volt cabinet cooling fan to move air in back of refrigerator, but not willing to go that far. The owners manual also states refrigerator not design to be enclosed in a recessed cabinet...go figure.
I removed my fridge from the cabinet and it does appear that there are sufficient clearances in back and sides but it is a completely sealed space. They installed rubbers gaskets around the top and sides so very little air can move around it. The power cable is long enough so I ran the fridge for 2 days standing in open space right inside my trailer. Still the fridge temp gets no lower than 42-45 degrees and the unit still cycles off and on. So either these 12V fridges are incapable of cooling properly or there is a problem with the thermostat. My next step is to contact the fridge manufacturer...
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Old 06-10-2021, 07:58 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bergie60 View Post
I removed my fridge from the cabinet and it does appear that there are sufficient clearances in back and sides but it is a completely sealed space. They installed rubbers gaskets around the top and sides so very little air can move around it. The power cable is long enough so I ran the fridge for 2 days standing in open space right inside my trailer. Still the fridge temp gets no lower than 42-45 degrees and the unit still cycles off and on. So either these 12V fridges are incapable of cooling properly or there is a problem with the thermostat. My next step is to contact the fridge manufacturer...
Hi Bergie60,

Have you received any reply from the manufacturer or figured out how to fix the fridge cooling problem?
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Old 06-10-2021, 10:26 AM   #5
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My unit had no side clearance and only 1" in back. I fixed problem by installing a plywood deck that allowed me to pull fridge out 2 additional inches. Removed trim on one side and slid ref over to get 1" on each side. Installed a 12vdc fan that moved 65 cubic feel per minute on the other side in a cabinet. Ran the refrigerator in a 90+ degree unit in storage. 2 hours freezer at 2 degrees and refer below headed down was at 50. Quit there as ran out of time but confident problem solved.
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Old 06-10-2021, 12:27 PM   #6
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We have been very happy with the Magic Chef 12v fridge that came with our 2021 Flagstaff SuperLite 26RBWS. It gets down to temperature in about an hour after we turn it on, and it maintains 2 degrees in the freezer and 34 in the fridge when it's on the middle (3) position. I'm guessing you have a problem with your specific unit rather than a design/ventilation issue. The only quirk we've noticed is that is you turn if off by holding the power button down for 10 seconds, it goes into standby mode. After you turn the power to the camper off (like turning on the battery disconnect when in storage) the refrigerator will power back on to its cooling setting (rather than standby) when you restore power. It's not a problem for us, because we always plug into shore power when we have the camper in the driveway, but it might come as an unpleasant surprise if you're not aware that it works that way. Other than that, it's great, and we no longer have the issue with whether to run the fridge on propane when travelling, as we did with our prior camper with the elec/propane fridge. We specifically ordered our trailer with the 12v fridge, and we're glad we did.
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Old 07-30-2021, 10:01 AM   #7
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FWIW, the 4.3 cu ft Magic Chef 12V fridge draws 3-3.5A/hr from the battery being used. Absent solar augmentation, and if using a 80AH flooded or AGM source, one may draw down to 40 AH without harm to battery life. This equates to 11 hrs. From this it becomes apparent why solar recharging becomes imperative. If you use a $$$ LiFePO4 battery, 80% capacity is safe draw down. The no recharge runtime increases to 18 hrs, a 64% improvement.

I have opted to double solar on my '21 E-pro 19FBS from 190W to 390W. This combination will satisfy real-time demand on a clear day. A DIYer can do this for half the price of a LiFePO4 battery, or ~$250 inclusive of cabling, MC4 connectors & high grade, low sag caulk. There is no argument that operating cost of the 12V fridge w/solar is lower than AC/propane combo units. The best solution depends on how you plan to camp.While my TT is only 1 mo old, we are completely happy with its' performance. There is nothing inherently worse about 12V vs AC refrigerstors. Brand reliability is another matter, but not relevant to the details outlinef above. Happy Camping to All!
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Old 07-30-2021, 06:05 PM   #8
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Some great posts here, both positive and negative. I ordered my 5th wheeler with the 12v option, however I am planning on upgrading to 400ah lithium and plenty of solar. The van should arrive mid August, so just doing lots of reading and seeing what other users are experiencing in the real world
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Old 08-23-2021, 07:21 AM   #9
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So, was your problem solved? My same fridge began getting warm. I shut it off by turning temperature to zero and pulled fuse then put back in and set temp to 7. Freezer got to 2 and fridge to 47 then it all got warm again. I pulled fuse and set temp to 0 overnight. This morning after putting fuse back in and set thermostat to 7 I still got nothing. Power is on as i have light. I will call somebody today but my guess is motherboard. Leaving on trip today, guess I'll be cooler camping again.
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Old 08-23-2021, 04:27 PM   #10
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So, was your problem solved? My same fridge began getting warm. I shut it off by turning temperature to zero and pulled fuse then put back in and set temp to 7. Freezer got to 2 and fridge to 47 then it all got warm again. I pulled fuse and set temp to 0 overnight. This morning after putting fuse back in and set thermostat to 7 I still got nothing. Power is on as i have light. I will call somebody today but my guess is motherboard. Leaving on trip today, guess I'll be cooler camping again.
No...still not resolved but I did take the camper to the nearest FR service dept last week. They tested the fridge and determined that it was not cooling properly as I described. They are supposed to be getting authorization from FR warranty dept and then ordering a new unit to install. I'll keep you posted but I might take a few months. Good luck with getting fridge issues resolved.
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Old 08-24-2021, 06:48 AM   #11
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I have found solution to mine. My fridge/freezer began to cool again in the sunny day yesterday as i was traveling inexplicably. However, when i got to my campsite with some clouds lights flickered abit despite shore power and fridge was warming a bit. Checked my solar panel in camper and it showed 3% battery. Likewise, victron showed 10.8v. I put a voltmeter on battery it confirmed this reading. In hindsight historically battery voltage fluctuated low at times with known good batteries. Battery fluids good. Decided to look at electric panel. My buddy tapped each fuse with screwdriver and 40a battery fuse sparked. It was not installed properly since purchased. One spade was in fuse holder and other on top thus making poor connection. Examining it you could see how spades were off set. I therefore was not getting shore power and battery only getting power off solar. With limited power there was not enough juice to run fridge unless i had full sun to give me a power boost. With fuse set correctly shore power kicked in, battery got full charge and fridge is running like a champ. Again, in hind site signs were all there, intermittent fridge, fluctuating voltage and flickering lights.
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Old 08-24-2021, 06:05 PM   #12
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Clarification, i got shore power but couldn't charge. Fixing fuse got battery charging.
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Old 08-26-2021, 07:33 PM   #13
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We have been very happy with the Magic Chef 12v fridge that came with our 2021 Flagstaff SuperLite 26RBWS. It gets down to temperature in about an hour after we turn it on, and it maintains 2 degrees in the freezer and 34 in the fridge when it's on the middle (3) position. I'm guessing you have a problem with your specific unit rather than a design/ventilation issue. The only quirk we've noticed is that is you turn if off by holding the power button down for 10 seconds, it goes into standby mode. After you turn the power to the camper off (like turning on the battery disconnect when in storage) the refrigerator will power back on to its cooling setting (rather than standby) when you restore power. It's not a problem for us, because we always plug into shore power when we have the camper in the driveway, but it might come as an unpleasant surprise if you're not aware that it works that way. Other than that, it's great, and we no longer have the issue with whether to run the fridge on propane when travelling, as we did with our prior camper with the elec/propane fridge. We specifically ordered our trailer with the 12v fridge, and we're glad we did.
Looked at a Travel Trailer with a MagicChef 10.7 cubic feet, 12 volt refrigerator. Unit comes with a large solar panel on the roof and seems like a pretty good setup. It also comes with a pair of Deep Cycle Batteries. Opinions?

Are you still feeling good about the purchase?
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Old 08-27-2021, 07:04 AM   #14
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These EverChill/Cannon/Magic Chef 12v refers (all the same manufacturer) should cool like the dickens. Glad you took it in for warranty work. These 12v compressor refers don't need much side clearance for side cooling, as the compressor and heat dissipators are at the bottom and rear.
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Old 08-27-2021, 07:07 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Adogbmw View Post
I have found solution to mine. My fridge/freezer began to cool again in the sunny day yesterday as i was traveling inexplicably. However, when i got to my campsite with some clouds lights flickered abit despite shore power and fridge was warming a bit. Checked my solar panel in camper and it showed 3% battery. Likewise, victron showed 10.8v. I put a voltmeter on battery it confirmed this reading. In hindsight historically battery voltage fluctuated low at times with known good batteries. Battery fluids good. Decided to look at electric panel. My buddy tapped each fuse with screwdriver and 40a battery fuse sparked. It was not installed properly since purchased. One spade was in fuse holder and other on top thus making poor connection. Examining it you could see how spades were off set. I therefore was not getting shore power and battery only getting power off solar. With limited power there was not enough juice to run fridge unless i had full sun to give me a power boost. With fuse set correctly shore power kicked in, battery got full charge and fridge is running like a champ. Again, in hind site signs were all there, intermittent fridge, fluctuating voltage and flickering lights.
Glad to hear you resolved the issues.
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Old 08-27-2021, 07:31 AM   #16
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. It also comes with a pair of Deep Cycle Batteries. Opinions?

?
Are the batteries true Deep Cycle Batteries or dual purpose marine deep cycle batteries?
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Old 08-27-2021, 11:34 AM   #17
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I still feel this is a quality trailer. fridge was diagnosable in my case. Only a few minor issues otherwise. However, i believe two 6v golf cart batteries at a minimum. Ideally you should have lithium. More solar also is better. I have 105 on side in addition to the 190 on top.
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Old 08-29-2021, 08:23 AM   #18
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Funny you should ask. We seem to be having some kind of issue with 12v fridge now. It's keeping things cold, but the temperature on the top shelf is 10 degrees lower than the temperature at the bottom. That seems to defy the law of physics with cold air sinking, but I've checked it with different thermometers. The freezer is staying cold, but we have to keep the fridge set very cold to keep the overall temperature acceptable. So water bottles on the top shelf freeze, while the temp on the bottom shelf is in the upper 30s -- still acceptable, but it doesn't seem right. Still doing my research to see if there is an air circulation fan that might not be working, but official information on the web about the Magic Chef brand is scarce. I'm just about to post on the forum to ask for thoughts. Despite this issue, the fridge is a vast improvement over the gas/elec fridge we had in our previous camper. Good luck with your purchase.
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Old 08-29-2021, 08:53 AM   #19
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Funny you should ask. We seem to be having some kind of issue with 12v fridge now. It's keeping things cold, but the temperature on the top shelf is 10 degrees lower than the temperature at the bottom. That seems to defy the law of physics with cold air sinking, but I've checked it with different thermometers. The freezer is staying cold, but we have to keep the fridge set very cold to keep the overall temperature acceptable. So water bottles on the top shelf freeze, while the temp on the bottom shelf is in the upper 30s -- still acceptable, but it doesn't seem right. Still doing my research to see if there is an air circulation fan that might not be working, but official information on the web about the Magic Chef brand is scarce. I'm just about to post on the forum to ask for thoughts. Despite this issue, the fridge is a vast improvement over the gas/elec fridge we had in our previous camper. Good luck with your purchase.
Have not read this whole thread but the Valterra fan below works great for weeks at a time I am on my 2nd fan in 15 years of part time rving. Uses 2 D cell batteries which last me more than 1 season.

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Old 09-10-2021, 03:32 PM   #20
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FWIW - applies to a few topics on this one thread.

GEO PRO 19BH. 5 camping days since took ownership in late July. Magic Chef 12v fridge is erratic while cooling. Cools rapidly to 35ish and then goes back up to 40s where it usually hovers.

This week had to pull the oven (which is over the fridge) out to fix a miswire on the solar panel/charger. In the process, determined I have many inches of rear clearance behind the MC fridge. Yay.

Vertical wire bundle has a large cutout above fridge area to one side. Installed a 12v muffin fan in that “chase” to vent hot air from the fridge compartment rear which then pushes /vents through the oven bracket vents.

Got the cold air distrib fan as recommended by last poster.

Will eval the fridge this weekend.
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