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Old 10-22-2020, 07:20 PM   #21
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When I first saw the FR product, I really had doubts about how welled effective it would be. It seemed to me, that with all the electrics on board, the stock sonar panels and battery were woefully underpowered to support any off grid stay. Live and learn.
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Old 10-22-2020, 07:40 PM   #22
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.........

There are solutions, just curious, are you sure your fridge can't run on propane, I personally never saw a 12v.only fridge and I have been camping for 40 years of my life.
Better get used to it. Seems like all the manufacturers are going to 12 volt only. Residential and 12 volt refrigerators have one thing in common...they are much cheaper than dual mode fridges.

The dual mode models are much more suited for RVs and they have become very reliable over the years. FR and others donít seem to care about anything except the bottom line.
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Old 10-22-2020, 08:11 PM   #23
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I have a new Arctic Wolf 29LBH that came with the stock 50 W solar panel to charge the batteries for the 12 V DC refrigerator. Does anyone know if I can add an additional 100 watt panel, or replace the existing 50 watt without having to upgrade the charger control?
I would think you need to ask this question, in the Cherokee sub-forum. Not the General Community Discussion section.
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Old 10-22-2020, 08:23 PM   #24
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I have a new Arctic Wolf 29LBH that came with the stock 50 W solar panel to charge the batteries for the 12 V DC refrigerator. Does anyone know if I can add an additional 100 watt panel, or replace the existing 50 watt without having to upgrade the charger control?
The charge controller they installed is worth about $10. Seriously. Your issue will be the wiring size and getting a decent charge controllerto go with added panels. I have an Alpha Wolf 23Rd-L that came with the same setup. I just figured the 50watt panel and charge controller were a marketing gimmick. It will however keep your battery trickle charged in storage.

I really like the 12 volt fridge, they put an Everchill in and it works great. It uses about 55 amp hours a day in 70-75 degree weather. I have 2 T105 golf cart batteries with 225 amp hours. Without charging that gives me about 2 days of fridge time.

I am adding 600 watts in Renogy panels (bought on Amazon for $500) and a Victron Charge controller. I also carry in the truck bed the 100 amp deep cycle battery The dealer installed, just As a back up.

I expect next summer I will find out if itís enough. I honestly think the answer will be adding Lithium batteries since the lead acid batteries just donít absorb charge very fast. I also believe I need Iíll need about twice the capacity of storage than the pair of Trojans.

Iíve modeled this stuff in a spreadsheet but real world experience is what counts. I know a lot of folks love their propane fridges. I donít want the risk, they are the leading cause of RV fires. They also donít cool quickly or as cold, my 12 fridge runs 0 degrees in the freezer, makes ice fast and holds loads of food.
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Old 10-22-2020, 08:28 PM   #25
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There are solutions, just curious, are you sure your fridge can't run on propane, I personally never saw a 12v.only fridge and I have been camping for 40 years of my life.
This discussion is about 12 volt compressor refrigerators, which are totally different from the 12 volt/propane absorption refrigerators that you're used to. There is no way to run a 12 volt compressor refrigerator directly off of propane.
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Old 10-22-2020, 08:50 PM   #26
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This discussion is about 12 volt compressor refrigerators, which are totally different from the 12 volt/propane absorption refrigerators that you're used to. There is no way to run a 12 volt compressor refrigerator directly off of propane.
The dual source (propane and 120 VAC) do not use 12 volt for cooling. Its only used for control circuits.
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Old 10-22-2020, 09:20 PM   #27
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You dont mention whats using 12v in addition to the fridge. Also how big is your fridge and whats the amps?
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Old 10-22-2020, 10:12 PM   #28
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Our 1985 Bayliner 2550 boat came with a 12V / 120V fridge. We don't use shore power ever and running a fridge on 12V kills batteries (went on Bayliner forum to learn that), propane is NEVER an option on a boat due to Coast Guard approval. Ripped it out and got a high quality cooler with way more capacity. RV`s can use propane refrigerators and work very well, why would there ever be a 12V fridge for boondocking over one or two days. Trust me, if RV`a were built to Coast Guard specs they would be way better built.
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Old 10-22-2020, 10:47 PM   #29
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Thanks for all the info and feedback. It's sad that the industry seems to be letting a large segment of its market down with this setup.

Typical green energy push that in the long run is more costly, less effective, and uses more fossil fuels than the old school more effective ways in the long run.

Hopefully the toy hauler segment still uses combo fridges. For us it's not a deal breaker, just an annoyance we didn't anticipate. live and learn!
I feel for you, being new to the RV world you probably didnít give the 12v reefer a second thought. That reefer would be the first thing I would upgrade if I was you. Your battery would be the second thing (along with a quality battery monitor). The third would be the converter depending upon what you currently have. Many threads on here regarding these topics. If upgrading the reefer is not plausible then #2 and #3 become paramount.

I boondock exclusively and in the summer months I can go 4 to 5 days on batteries alone. For longer stays or for when the weather turns cold, like lately, I use a 100w solar panel or a generator to supplement. Good luck!
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Old 10-23-2020, 05:42 AM   #30
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solar that works .. 12v/propane frig

thought some would like an update on our factory solar setup .... just got back from six ( 6 ) days of dry camping, NO water, sewer or electric ... camped in a field at a gun range .. we used our Champion generator each morning for about 15 minutes to run the microwave, while we ate, did not need the A/C and did not watch TV and did not need the furnace .... the 265W solar did the rest for us even though we had overcast sky most days mixed with late afternoon showers, we would see the solar controller begin to show charge shortly after sun rise ... indicated voltage never dropped below morning lows of 12.2V and pre-dusk highs around 13.5V ... we have two ( 2 ) group 24 deep cycle batteries ... just the wife and me, i turn off the lights for her since she does not know how a switch works when she leaves a room . ... VERY happy with this factory system on our Adrenaline 27KB ... read the whole story here ...
https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...kb-209512.html
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Old 10-23-2020, 07:51 AM   #31
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Check out the other threads about the Furrion junk they put in these things. Bring lots of gas for your generator and hope for tolerant neighbors!
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Old 10-23-2020, 08:04 AM   #32
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if RV`a were built to Coast Guard specs they would be way better built.
If RVs were built to any form of enforceable code or standard, they would be way better built.

The way I see things, it seems that Dynamax is the only RV builder out there that really cares about building a quality product, but I think their codes are their own. They put all other RV builders to shame.

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Old 10-23-2020, 08:25 AM   #33
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Thanks for all the info and feedback. It's sad that the industry seems to be letting a large segment of its market down with this setup.

Typical green energy push that in the long run is more costly, less effective, and uses more fossil fuels than the old school more effective ways in the long run.

Hopefully the toy hauler segment still uses combo fridges. For us it's not a deal breaker, just an annoyance we didn't anticipate. live and learn!
This isn't a green energy push, though it sounds like you have an axe to grind in this department. It's simple economics. 12 V only fridges are cheaper to build and install, and thus they can sell their campers cheaper and/or with a higher profit margin. They do the bare minimum to make it look like they thought of everything by adding on a piddly solar setup that couldn't hope to keep up with the demands of the fridge. They know that the vast, vast majority of buyers will never boondock, and thus they get very little pushback. It has nothing to do with them pushing green energy.

And if we're on the subject of solar, they absolutely use less fossil fuels and are cheaper than generators (and nearly any form of energy nowadays) over their lifetimes. There really is very little debate on this with today's much lower prices. Maybe 20 years ago, not so much.

I have a Grey wolf with 10 C.F. 12 volt only Furrion fridge. It's a bit noisy and is a major power hog, but other than that I've been very happy with its cooling capabilities. The stock setup was woefully inadequate to power this thing. What I did was buy two 400 watt residential panels for a total solar array of 800 W and replaced the 75 amp hour stock setup with four six volt GC2 batteries ($89 each at Sam's Club) for a total battery bank of 430 Ah (215 usable). This makes me nearly completely self reliant without having to use the generator. The only exception to this is A/C and using the microwave or my wife's hair dryer. I will be fixing most of these issues over the winter by installing an inverter and automatic transfer switch.

I also second (third, fourth) the suggestion to get a shunt battery monitor. I didn't realize just how off my onboard voltmeter was until I got one.

My cost to make this work for me was:
Batteries: $360
Panels: $500
60 amp MPPT controller: $300
Mounts, dicor, etc.: $80
Wiring and breakers: $150
Installation: $0
Total cost: $1390

This was the cost to make my 12 volt fridge a non-issue and still be able to be complete power hogs while dry camping without a care in the world. We literally do not try to conserve any energy while camping because we're very comfortable knowing we've got a good battery bank supply and ample solar to replenish it. We'll watch as much TV as we like, don't worry about lights, leave fans running, etc.

It's complete B.S. that we have to spend money on upgrading things from the factory to keep these fridges running, but in the end, if I had to choose, I'd get another 12 V only fridge for the extra room with the knowledge that I'd have to spend a chunk of money later to make it work.

I'd rather have lithium than lead acid, but the vastly increased costs weren't worth it to me, and it the cheap lead acid batteries do everything I need them to. Plus, I don't have to worry about charging them when below freezing.
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Old 10-23-2020, 08:25 AM   #34
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If RVs were built to any form of enforceable code or standard, they would be way better built.

The way I see things, it seems that Dynamax is the only RV builder out there that really cares about building a quality product, but I think their codes are their own. They put all other RV builders to shame.

Bruce
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Old 10-23-2020, 08:26 AM   #35
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Built to CG specs? Might be better. And they would cost 5 times as much.

Someone somewhere out there will build an RV to your specs. It will cost far more and have fewer problems, though not none.

Don’t like the quality? Don’t buy it.
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Old 10-23-2020, 09:10 AM   #36
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Don't forget about Air$tream.
From what Iíve read, even Airstream is cutting corners these days. Dynamax seems to be the only company continually striving to make things better and not cutting corners. Dynamax listens to their customers. They give the customers what they want and they use their customersí input to improve their product. They seem to know what the customers want before the customers do, anyways, so there is one great big group of extremely satisfied RV owners out there ó the Dynamax crowd.

If Forest River was to study Dynamax and the way they do things, then implement the same methods of building RVs and supporting their customers across their entire line of RVs, they would cause every other RV manufacturer to either keep up or shut down.

I wouldnít think twice about spending a few thousand more dollars on a Forest River RV if they were all built with the same quality and provided the same customer service as Dynamax.

Unfortunately, I am not in a financial position to own a Dynamax ó neither are most of us, but Iím sure I could find a way to come up with a few thousand more dollars to buy an RV if I knew it was built ďThe Dynamax WayĒ.

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Old 10-23-2020, 10:10 AM   #37
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I think you've gotten a great amount of solid information. Don't get too frustrated, there is so much new technology that boondoocking on solar is quite doable. Or far less use of the genny to charge the batteries when a system is built to your exact needs.

My 3rd travel trailer is on order, and intentionally with a 12v fridge w 190w of solar (Rockwood UL 2608). I don't expect perfection, especially since it's going to dump out of the dealer with a Lead-Acid battery.

My thoughts as echoed by others:
- Know your real power consumption, ie get a better power management solution to see what's really going on.
- The installed charge controller is most likely an el cheapo single stage. This may be one reason your genny ran so much to charge. Look at replacements and possibly one that is programmable for LA, AGM and Li to give you flexibility in the future.

(these are my 2 first serious changes when mine comes in)

What's the CCA of your existing battery at 32deg? Take the CCA divide by 7.25 and that's the total AmpHrs. Now multiple by .5 (as LA should not be used below 50%) and that's your usable. I know the 530 CCA battery the dealer wants to drop on the front of mine will only give me 36 AmpHr with this formula.

I don't know the exact model of my fridge, but the RecPro (as an example) is 7Amp to start and 1 Amp to run so my single cheap battery is, at best, not worth a weekend - just for the fridge! (and yes I'm using very gross math).

Once you know your consumption, now look at your needs. You may find that getting a better charge controller and 2 6v batteries fit your needs. You may find that getting a couple of portable solar cells can keep you 'topped off' or you may find that a Lithium battery is a better value. All depends upon your needs and what you can grow in to.

On my order, the 12v fridge was an uplift cost. The dealer was quite happy in keeping the 'tried and true' LP/120 absorption fridge for $0.

Best,

/Jeff
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:42 AM   #38
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If Forest River was to study Dynamax and the way they do things, then implement the same methods of building RVs and supporting their customers across their entire line of RVs, they would cause every other RV manufacturer to either keep up or shut down.

Bruce

I'm not familiar with the Dynamax models, but they are a division of Forest River that appear to be targeting higher budget buyers, so I'm sure they (FR) know how Dynamax does things. The "best" isn't always necessary and there needs to be something for every budget, but great customer service is indeed something they all need to share.
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Old 10-23-2020, 11:19 AM   #39
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just the wife and me, i turn off the lights for her since she does not know how a switch works when she leaves a room.
Hmmm...I think most wives are programmed for turning on only. I continually go behind my wife turning off lights!
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Old 10-23-2020, 11:30 AM   #40
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If it comes from the factory with 1-2 panel ... its enough to keep the battery from going dead between uses.. nothing more. think cheap controllers, panels, and wire. Some are better then others but it's for show and marketing on 98% of RV out there.

Dealers install the cheapest battery options to them. 2 6v will have more capacity AH then your typical 2 12V.

Most Manufacturers install small Converter/Chargers so when your on generator your not really putting that much energy back into your batteries. They plan for you to be on shore power most of the time and the battery is just to get you from home to campground.

Most RV have simple level monitors that provide pretty meaningless info.

When you plug the generator in does the motor take a strain at all? strain = pitch sound, revving up slightly. or does is sounds basically the same? IF you turn the AC on does it change at all?


Reading your story and the length of time on generator I suspect a few things might be happening without you knowing it.

When your charging from the generator, more than likely your solar charger will stop, your charger may also see the solar charging voltage level and also fall into a trickle charge mode. WHY because 1 device is artificially showing a higher voltage then reality and most chargers change charging rate depending on voltage. Yes your solar maybe causing more harm than good, especially if your electronics are smartish but blind to the reality of 2 charging sources.

So I would do some testing with partial drained batteries. Test what your Converter/Charger outputs, then with solar only and then both on at the same time. 1 with solar on then plugging in shore, and 1 with shore on then turning solar on. You may find shutting down solar the best option when on gen - shore power.

I would also find out how many amps your invert is capable of supplying. 10-20 30 amps sound great but some inverters can do 80+ amps, progressivedyn.com and if your batteries are really that low in the AM from the fridge then you need some real amps to charge with, time is not your friend when your on generator.

Your story reads like you never really getting much of a charge as you always losing, even with long run times.

When I say test I mean with a clamp on amp meter, and or a real battery monitor such as a victron battery monitor with a shunt on the battery. you really need real numbers and info, what came from RV company is just a simple voltage test that means little with batteries. I can gave you 2 9 volt batteries and show you 17-18 volts but it wont run the fridge 5 min due to amp draw. Or I can show you 13V on 2 6v batteries and you can run it all day long.
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