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Old 01-06-2022, 02:34 PM   #1
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Thoughts on the 12V fridges for long hauls?

We bought a 2021 Wolf Pup 16FQ travel trailer this past December and promptly put it in storage for the rest of the winter season, so haven't had a chance to try anything out other than in our driveway for a day.

The trailer is equipped with a 10 cu ft Furrion 12 V fridge and a 50 watt solar roof panel. My son is planning a trip in this trailer from Ontario to British Columbia and back this coming August to October, likely driving 6 - 10 hours per day.

Can anyone tell us if there will be issues with the fridge/freezer staying cold while travelling these lengths of time? They will be storing their Australian Shepherd's raw food in the freezer and need it to stay frozen. They will be staying at provincial parks mostly, but also some overnight boondocking at Flying J's in some cases.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated since the 12 volt fridge is new to us.

Thanks!
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Old 01-06-2022, 02:59 PM   #2
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Absolutely not, those fridges draw at most 5-6 amps when running and don't run all the time. The tow vehicle will easily provide that power and more while towing to keep the batteries topped up and even charge them. The freezer on my 12v fridge is very cold and doesn't have any issues keeping things frozen
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Old 01-06-2022, 03:52 PM   #3
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What he ^ said. I have the 12-volt 10.7 cu.ft. refrigerator and it's far and away better than any absorption unit I've ever owned or seen. I'd never go back to an absorption fridge.
That's my opinion.
I'd recommend having a pair of true deep cycle batteries, not necessarily lithium iron phosphate batteries, but big wet-cell (not AGM) batteries. A night of boondocking can discharge a pair of batteries if you need to use the furnace, so install the highest amp-hour batteries you can afford.
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Old 01-06-2022, 03:59 PM   #4
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That 50w solar panel is way too little. You're going to need to beef up the solar system.
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Old 01-06-2022, 04:27 PM   #5
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That 50w solar panel is way too little. You're going to need to beef up the solar system.
Hey, happy new year!
Ya, I was thinking the same thing about the solar panel. A couple more 50w panels sure wouldn't hurt, and they're affordable. A small inverter/generator would maybe be handy too.
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Old 01-06-2022, 04:38 PM   #6
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If he's going to be boondocking, he might have a problem. If he's camping in the woods or it's raining, the solar is going to have trouble maintaining minimum battery charge. It's not the long haul that's going to cause a problem, it's maintaining battery charge over a long period of time as he travels. Remember, other things are using that battery power too. The furnace fans will kill a battery overnight.
If it were my dog and I wanted to make certain the food would stay frozen, I'd have a backup method. They make refrigerator/freezers that plug into car cigarette lighters/power ports during the day, coolers that will keep ice cold for 7 days, and most campgrounds sell bags of ice you can use to keep the freezer cold or he could carry an additional battery.
You certainly don't want a sick Australian Shepherd.
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Old 01-07-2022, 01:53 PM   #7
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I disagree Bikendan. I have towed for 9 hours with that 50w solar panel and my truck battery. Freezer contents still frozen solid when I arrived at my destination. For boondocking which I do not care to do, no the 50w will not last long but as for getting you from point A to point B this type refrigerator and setup is great.
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Old 01-07-2022, 01:54 PM   #8
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Ours has the same 12V Furrion, it came with a 100W panel on the roof, I then had it set up with 2-6v Golf Cart batteries, true deep cycle that provide 220 AH of capacity (half usable before charging in most situations). It worked well on a 4 day dry camp without needing a recharge, the campsite was full sun after about 10 am (this was mid June last year). I plan to increase the array and the solar charger will be changed to a larger MPPT controller this spring, more to have a larger capacity of charging when out on grey days or shaded sites.

One warning, while it's stored, pull the fridge door off, then open the back of the fridge at the bottom as you would to get access to it's compressor. Double check all the electrical connections, many of ours were not tight, the main ground literally fell in the techs hands. Yes, we had a problem that needed checked out and this was the reason for the problem. Once all were tightened, it has worked very well since.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-07-2022, 02:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Reverse_snowbird View Post
If he's going to be boondocking, he might have a problem. If he's camping in the woods or it's raining, the solar is going to have trouble maintaining minimum battery charge. It's not the long haul that's going to cause a problem, it's maintaining battery charge over a long period of time as he travels. Remember, other things are using that battery power too. The furnace fans will kill a battery overnight.
If it were my dog and I wanted to make certain the food would stay frozen, I'd have a backup method. They make refrigerator/freezers that plug into car cigarette lighters/power ports during the day, coolers that will keep ice cold for 7 days, and most campgrounds sell bags of ice you can use to keep the freezer cold or he could carry an additional battery.
You certainly don't want a sick Australian Shepherd.
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likely driving 6 - 10 hours per day.
If the OP is driving 6-10 hours a day, that doesn't leave a lot of time where the vehicle isn't charging the batteries.

Example, my Grand Cherokee with charge up to 23amps while towing right through the 7 pin harness, as the batteries charge up the current drops, but even going with 10 amps, 6 hours of driving is 60 amps.....10 hours is nearly 100amps If the OP is camping overnight and then continuing driving it's unlikely he will deplete the batteries enough that they won't be recharged the next day driving.
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Old 01-07-2022, 02:31 PM   #10
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I disagree Bikendan. I have towed for 9 hours with that 50w solar panel and my truck battery. Freezer contents still frozen solid when I arrived at my destination. For boondocking which I do not care to do, no the 50w will not last long but as for getting you from point A to point B this type refrigerator and setup is great.
I was referring to 50w of solar not being enough if dry camping or boondocking.
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Old 01-07-2022, 06:36 PM   #11
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No Need To Worry

We have the same refrigerator in our Alpha Wolf. Took a two week trip cross country this past summer with no issues. Drove 7-10 hours per day for at least 7 days of the two weeks with no issues with the fridge. Sometimes in 110F temperatures while driving. The tow vehicle will keep it running smoothly and when they shut the truck off for stops and breaks, the battery in the camper will be more than enough.
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Old 01-07-2022, 07:55 PM   #12
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What he ^ said.
I'd recommend having a pair of true deep cycle batteries, not necessarily lithium iron phosphate batteries, but big wet-cell (not AGM) batteries. A night of boondocking can discharge a pair of batteries if you need to use the furnace, so install the highest amp-hour batteries you can afford.
I don't have a 12V fridge but do have a question about your "(not AGM)" advice for if I ever get a rig with a 12V fridge. What's behind that? Thanks!
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Old 01-07-2022, 08:36 PM   #13
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You need a battery monitor and generator.

More batteries likely. I would want over 200 ah. Or a 100 ah lithium.

I would presume he will boondock as much as possible. Save the daily campground fees.

That solar panel on its best day will produce 13 ah. The truck will typically provide a few ah per hour. Depends. Some do better. Most do not.
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Old 01-07-2022, 11:07 PM   #14
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I don't have a 12V fridge but do have a question about your "(not AGM)" advice for if I ever get a rig with a 12V fridge. What's behind that? Thanks!
Sorry for the delay in replying.
I prefer wet cell batteries over absorbed glass mat batteries because the AGM batteries are "starved", meaning the electrolyte is completely absorbed in the mat. They (in my opinion ) don't have the amp-hour capacity of flooded lead acid as you'd typically find in golf cart batteries or a true deep cycle marine battery.
On the subject of the 12-volt fridge, ours consumes 3.5-4.5 amps when on a cooling cycle which is about 4-5 minutes long, four cycles per hour at night. We have 380 watts of glass on the roof with an mppt charge controller and a 300 a-h lifepo4 battery.With this setup we seldom plug into shorepower in the parks we stay at.
I'm a big fan of having plenty of battery capacity. For the trip they have planned I suggest that the OP have his son buy a pair (or four) of Trojan T-125 golf cart batteries for the trip if the camper currently has just one 12-volt battery.
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Old 01-07-2022, 11:45 PM   #15
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Thoughts on the 12V fridges for long hauls?

Look here, same question was asked a week ago. Basically what it comes down to is your standard of living/RV’ing. If you go camping outdoors to stay indoors of your RV, you will need a larger battery bank.

https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...ge-244912.html
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Old 01-08-2022, 01:37 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by 18LT View Post
Sorry for the delay in replying.
I prefer wet cell batteries over absorbed glass mat batteries because the AGM batteries are "starved", meaning the electrolyte is completely absorbed in the mat. They (in my opinion ) don't have the amp-hour capacity of flooded lead acid as you'd typically find in golf cart batteries or a true deep cycle marine battery.
On the subject of the 12-volt fridge, ours consumes 3.5-4.5 amps when on a cooling cycle which is about 4-5 minutes long, four cycles per hour at night. We have 380 watts of glass on the roof with an mppt charge controller and a 300 a-h lifepo4 battery.With this setup we seldom plug into shorepower in the parks we stay at.
I'm a big fan of having plenty of battery capacity. For the trip they have planned I suggest that the OP have his son buy a pair (or four) of Trojan T-125 golf cart batteries for the trip if the camper currently has just one 12-volt battery.
Seriously? Is this common? That's a 21 foot single-axle trailer with a payload of 913lbs. Those four batteries are 264lbs (29% of payload), and all on the tongue. Plus whatever support structure that you need to keep them there - another 35lbs? Call it 300lbs even, of just batteries?

I must be crazy because that sounds like serious overkill to my inexperienced ear. I would probably throw a 2,000 watt generator in the bed of the truck before I did something like that. The Predator 2000 is $120 less than those 4 batteries, and is more than 200lbs lighter.
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Old 01-08-2022, 07:43 AM   #17
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Ok. Install two 100-ah lithium iron phosphate batteries, replace the 50 watt panel with two 190-watt panels and install an mppt charge controller.
Or, as someone else suggested, buy a portable 12-volt freezer like an Alpicool for dedicated safe storage of his pup's food. They don't require much power and they are inexpensive when compared to panels, batteries and charge controllers.
Having been parents of special-needs dogs for 35+ years, some of which required refrigerated or frozen medication, my wife and I take pet care very seriously. As such, sometimes I forget things like cargo carrying capacity. My mistake.
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Old 01-08-2022, 10:53 AM   #18
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Thoughts on the 12V fridges for long hauls?

We have a 2021 Grey Wolf 23MK with a 12v refrigerator. On all of our long trips we took in 2021. The refrigerator stayed very cold and the freezer kept everything frozen. Our trailer does have that little 50 or 100 watt solar panel on the roof and I have two batteries. But also our truck charges the battery while driving. So that is an added bonus as I don’t have to rely solely on battery and solar power to keep our refrigerator contents icy cold.

Even while we drove to Wyoming from Chicago (4 day drive for us) with no hook ups our refrigerator stayed icy cold just using battery power at night and the truck charging the trailer while driving.

The refrigerator performed flawless when I had two 12v batteries. I changed over to two 6volt batteries and it performed flawlessly.
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Old 01-10-2022, 07:21 PM   #19
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Splice in another 300w solar panel to your 50w cable on the roof. Add a larger pwm controller. You can tape the semi flexible panels to the roof with roofing tape. Never seen that fail.
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Old 01-10-2022, 08:10 PM   #20
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If it doesn’t say Engel…….

I have had numerous campers and sailboats over the last 50odd years and can say quite emphatically ALL r/v and so called marine fridges are, in comparison to an Engel, garbage.

My Engel will run off 12vdc or 110vac and you can plug them in at the same time. If the 110 goes out it automatically switches over to 12v and back when 110 is restored.

Turned up to high it will freeze a gallon jug of water hard as a brick over night and only draw 3.4 amps doing it.

Coleman and such are a joke too.
My Engel lived in my sailboat on the Texas coast for years. Cabin temp would be around 100° and my beer would be a lovely 30°.

Yes they cost a chunk more than Dometic or the like but mine is now 19yrs old and with the exception of the last year it has been running 24/7 without a hint of a problem. The cost I’m sure is why they aren’t in R/Vs.
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