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Old 08-25-2022, 08:47 AM   #21
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I love my 12v/propane fridge. I dread the day I have to choose between it and a full 12v fridge. I don't like change and I really don't want to add devices and batteries to keep on working.
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Old 08-25-2022, 09:02 PM   #22
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I love my Magic Chef 10cu ft 12v fridge. My Rockwood 5th wheeler came with 190w of solar, only just enough to power fridge and nothing else. I added an extra 800w. The 80ah battery was pulled straight out and I added 400ah of lithium batteries (8 x 200ah cells), more than enough for 3 days running everything, with no sun.e
Forest Rivers basic small solar panel and just as small battery are really only designed to keep the fridge running as you move from one rv park with power hookup to another rv park with power hookup.

It is completely useless for off grid camping. If you use a Cpap machine or even want to power your 12v fridge upgrade your solar and batteries. Fit as much solar on your roof as you possibly can and don't skimp on your batteries. It all comes down to money, space and weight. Plan a system that can be expanded on in the future. "Will Prowse" videos on Youtube is a good starting point, I spent many hours watching and rewatching his videos
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Old 08-26-2022, 06:38 AM   #23
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Forest Rivers basic small solar panel and just as small battery are really only designed to keep the fridge running as you move from one rv park with power hookup to another rv park with power hookup.

It is completely useless for off grid camping. If you use a Cpap machine or even want to power your 12v fridge upgrade your solar and batteries. Fit as much solar on your roof as you possibly can and don't skimp on your batteries. It all comes down to money, space and weight. Plan a system that can be expanded on in the future. "Will Prowse" videos on Youtube is a good starting point, I spent many hours watching and rewatching his videos
I think what you meant to say is that Forest River's basic small solar panel and just as small battery are designed to let sales people blatantly mislead customers about how amazingly off-grid capable these rigs are, regardless of power demands.
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Old 08-26-2022, 01:14 PM   #24
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We are contemplating a new camper also and seems like the movement away from gas/electric absorption to 12V compressor refrigerators is the clear trend. We camp off grid 10+ days so I have been running these same numbers. I ran into a guy with a FS Microlite who had 4x100W solar panels and 2x100AH lithium batteries and said he ran his 12V refer off grid for extended stays no problem.

I am too cheap for lithiums so my plan is to try 2x6V FLA GC2s from Costco which are rated 210AH. Combined with the stock 12V (about 70AH) that would give me 280AH total or 140AH usable at 50% DOD which should be enough for 24 hours without charging. We typically are off grid only in the heart of summer which means long days and lots of sun (usually too much sun in fact) so I may try 300W of panels and I can always add on another panel later. I put my panels on a 30ft cable and ground mount them on a stand so they can get away from shade if needed and be at the correct tilt. I carry a generator to run the a/c so I can always charge from that in event we have multiple cloudy days.
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Old 08-26-2022, 01:58 PM   #25
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We are contemplating a new camper also and seems like the movement away from gas/electric absorption to 12V compressor refrigerators is the clear trend. We camp off grid 10+ days so I have been running these same numbers. I ran into a guy with a FS Microlite who had 4x100W solar panels and 2x100AH lithium batteries and said he ran his 12V refer off grid for extended stays no problem.

I am too cheap for lithiums so my plan is to try 2x6V FLA GC2s from Costco which are rated 210AH. Combined with the stock 12V (about 70AH) that would give me 280AH total or 140AH usable at 50% DOD which should be enough for 24 hours without charging. We typically are off grid only in the heart of summer which means long days and lots of sun (usually too much sun in fact) so I may try 300W of panels and I can always add on another panel later. I put my panels on a 30ft cable and ground mount them on a stand so they can get away from shade if needed and be at the correct tilt. I carry a generator to run the a/c so I can always charge from that in event we have multiple cloudy days.
I would suggest against combing two 6 V batteries with one 12 V battery into one bank. They will have different impedances and will charge differently. Combining them into one bank could be disastrous.
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Old 08-26-2022, 05:10 PM   #26
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The West version of the Surveyorís (the ones built in Oregon) come with a 2 way fridge. But you pretty much have to get one from a dealer from Colorado westward.
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Old 08-29-2022, 06:21 PM   #27
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Your car or truck should charge your rv battery when towing so just run your tow vehicle a bit while boondocking.
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Old 08-29-2022, 06:56 PM   #28
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Your car or truck should charge your rv battery when towing so just run your tow vehicle a bit while boondocking.
That is one of the most inefficient method of charging the batteries. Not only is it slow but the exhaust and inefficient use of vehicle fuel are negatives. A inverter generator would charge quicker and be be more fuel efficient.
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Old 08-29-2022, 07:11 PM   #29
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I ran into a guy with a FS Microlite who had 4x100W solar panels and 2x100AH lithium batteries and said he ran his 12V refer off grid for extended stays no problem.

so I may try 300W of panels and I can always add on another panel later. I put my panels on a 30ft cable and ground mount them on a stand so they can get away from shade if needed and be at the correct tilt. I carry a generator to run the a/c so I can always charge from that in event we have multiple cloudy days.
I'd skip the 6v. You really don't want to mix 12v and 6v. Change to one or the other and add same type batteries.
That guy didn't have any problems because he could discharge those lithium batteries pretty low and not damage the batteries. That's going to be a problem with standard batteries.

Solar panels mounted on a stand and adjustable is a good idea. Also, when you're running the ac off the generator, the converter will charge the batteries.
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Old 08-29-2022, 08:33 PM   #30
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I'm going to get a bunch of crap for this post but I can't help but give my .02. The majority of new RV purchases are made buy those that take their camper from one electric power source campsite to another. These campers expect to have the creature comforts of home like air conditioning and cold beverages, a comfortable bed to sleep in all while watching TV and browsing the interwebs. The 12V compressor fridge fits this bill perfectly. It cools more efficiently, it requires less moving parts and costs roughly the same to replace as the old tech (an absorption fridge) all while requiring less holes in our RV walls. It's a no brainer why manufacturers are installing these types of appliances in new RV's, these type of refrigerators are what the consumer wants/expects.

Why in the world are those of you that want to camp off grid expect to have cold beer, frozen ice cream and all the creature comforts of home in an area that has no power grid? If you want those comforts then you have a couple of choices. Either deal with a loud generator and feed it the fuel it requires or spend a bunch of money on solar and batteries.

I spent 25 years of my life primitive camping in a tent and if I wanted cold beverages then I put that six pack in the cold creek water and secured it with a large rock. Drinking water came from said creek. I enjoyed ice cream and cold produce by utilizing multiple ice coolers and dry ice. I slept in a sleeping bag on top of egg crate foam and cooked my meals on the open flame of the camp fire in a cast iron pan. That is the real definition of boondocking!

Today at my age I want the creature comforts of home in my RV and don't expect any of this without plugging into shore power or having a loud generator supplying my RV with the power needed to have those comforts.

Propane fridges are like flip phones, we can get a weeks worth of phone calls on this device without a charge but that smartphone sure as hell can do a lot more but requires 5 x the juice, just like a 12v compressor fridge. I will never go back to an absorption fridge because it's inferior to the 12v fridge and I enjoy the advantages of this power hungry fridge much more than the older tech. I'm sure the majority of the US campgrounds that can accommodate an RV camper are not in a climate that does not require A/C in the summer months.
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Old 08-29-2022, 08:57 PM   #31
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Thanks again guys! This is what my brain was telling me. We camp in the Adirondacks (upstate NY) and solar conditions are not always optimal. I'll be in search of another RV unit with a more appropriate fridge. I appreciate your input!
I also camp in the Adirondacks... If you use the NYS campgrounds, there will likely be no electric hookups, and the best campgrounds are loaded with trees (you might as well forget about solar). I like my absorption fridge and it's worked well in my Roo. I use 2 type 27 lead-acid batteries, and have a pretty quiet little Champion inverter dual-fuel generator, which I use during "Generator Hours" in the campground. No problems at all, and I always go for 2 solid weeks.

As someone else said, Lithium batteries and solar are two more hobbies, which I don't want or have time (and $$$) for. Save yourself some headaches and money, and just go for an absorption fridge, a little generator and regular batteries. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-30-2022, 08:48 PM   #32
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Thanks I will look into this. Last night was horrible with the new battery. 9:30pm we're at 13.2V. I have the 12v fridge running, and her CPAP. I unplug the shore power and by midnight 2.5hrs, her machine is off and she had to plug back into shore power. This is a brand new Lithium-ion battery. I'm glad I am able to do this driveway testing but i'm hating the results. My buddy told me to kill the breaker on the converter. I haven't done this yet may try it tonight.
13.2 is only 70% charge on a lithium battery 14.4 is 100% charged
If you didn't change your converter to a Lithium converter you will only get a 70 to 60% charge on your Lithium battery

Get yourself an inverter gen and you can camp as long as you like
water and black & grey tanks will be your problem then
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Old 08-30-2022, 09:24 PM   #33
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I'd skip the 6v. You really don't want to mix 12v and 6v. Change to one or the other and add same type batteries.
That guy didn't have any problems because he could discharge those lithium batteries pretty low and not damage the batteries. That's going to be a problem with standard batteries.

Solar panels mounted on a stand and adjustable is a good idea. Also, when you're running the ac off the generator, the converter will charge the batteries.
I hear ya that in a perfect world all of the batteries would be identical. From a practical standpoint, batteries of the same type/chemistry and voltage but different capacities can be connected in parallel so long as care is taken to match the voltages prior to connecting. (Of course, the voltages should be matched before connecting in parallel even if the batteries are in fact identical.) On the other hand, batteries in series should be identical because otherwise they will not split the voltage evenly. So a matched set of 2x6V in series will still be 6 FLA cells in series and act the same as a single large 12V FLA battery that happens to be in one case. It's a cheap enough experiment that I'm willing to try it and I'll post up my results, although it may not be until spring.

My portable generator is small and will start my a/c as long as there is NO other load on it including battery charging, so in my current camper (with gas absorption fridge) when I am off grid I keep the batteries charged with solar (pretty easy) and turn off the converter breaker when running the a/c on generator. If I needed to charge batteries from the generator (because of higher demand of a 12V fridge) then I would just do it during cooler parts of the day when a/c is off.
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Old 08-30-2022, 09:25 PM   #34
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I assume you set the fridge up properly.

Full. Bottles of frozen water, gallons. The fridge is pre chilled! Temps are not real hot?

Where did your 120 ac come from. Inverters using your cpap will use likely 200% of its rated value. Because of the inverter. Because it is actually a dc device thus again using more power. Assume the humidifier is off?

Assuming the battery was fully charged.

A 100 amp lithium battery should under many conditions make the night.

No lights outside.

The converter turned off or disconnected. Not optional.
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Old 08-31-2022, 07:35 AM   #35
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I hear ya that in a perfect world all of the batteries would be identical. From a practical standpoint, batteries of the same type/chemistry and voltage but different capacities can be connected in parallel so long as care is taken to match the voltages prior to connecting. (Of course, the voltages should be matched before connecting in parallel even if the batteries are in fact identical.) On the other hand, batteries in series should be identical because otherwise they will not split the voltage evenly. So a matched set of 2x6V in series will still be 6 FLA cells in series and act the same as a single large 12V FLA battery that happens to be in one case. It's a cheap enough experiment that I'm willing to try it and I'll post up my results, although it may not be until spring.
I actually think it could end up being an expensive experiment. More expensive than just buying 4 of the Costco GC2 batteries from the beginning if you need more capacity. It really is not a good idea to add different types of batteries together in one bank, whether parallel or series. Sure, you might get away with it, but you may be shortening the life of your new batteries in the process.

If you really don't want the cost and/or weight of four GC2 batteries, you could set up two different battery banks with a bank 1/bank 2 switch. That would be much better than combining them into one bank.

Here's a question/answer article on it, including using a switch with two different battery banks:

https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electric...ries-together/
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Old 08-31-2022, 10:39 AM   #36
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Do you plan on camping for the next 10 years or more
If yes spend the money and get lithium battery or batteries
If no spend the money and get lithium battery or batteries, you won't have to do Maintenace on them
I did the solar, lithium and still ended up buying an inverter generator
With the money I spent on solar adding 500 watts. I could have bought 270 gallons of gas at 5.00 per gallon more when gas was cheaper
If I had it to do over, I would have saved a lot of money and not did the solar
Also, if you up grade your camper, you can move your lithium batteries to the new one. Saving you costs on your upgrade.
If you buy an inverter generator spend the extra money and get one with remote start it really makes it nice to get up or go to bed and not have to go outside and shut down or start the generator.
Any way just my experience with what I did.
Also, you won't have to clean your solar panels every month
I have to get up on a ladder every month with a Swiffer and clean the solar panels when camping to get good output from them.
Something to think about is solar does not play well with shade so you will not be able to set camper up in shade unless you buy portable solar panels then you have to move them to chase the sun
Don' be stupid like me, be smart get a good remote start inverter generator that will run your a/c when needed and charge your batteries
With my setup the only thing I have to worry about is the black or grey tanks getting full or fresh water other than that I can set there for months with power to spare.
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Old 08-31-2022, 11:08 PM   #37
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Notwithstanding all of the solar and battery possibilities, the great thing about running an absorption fridge on propane is you really don't even have to think about it for weeks. Sure saves a lot of grief watching electrical inflows and outflows, let alone the hassle and cost of building a system (granted there are other benefits of increased electrical supply). I am not looking forward to my next purchase for which apparently it will be much more difficult to find an absorption option.
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Old 09-01-2022, 09:11 AM   #38
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Notwithstanding all of the solar and battery possibilities, the great thing about running an absorption fridge on propane is you really don't even have to think about it for weeks. Sure saves a lot of grief watching electrical inflows and outflows, let alone the hassle and cost of building a system (granted there are other benefits of increased electrical supply). I am not looking forward to my next purchase for which apparently it will be much more difficult to find an absorption option.
JArry when we were looking at the camper, we have now I asked about absorption fridge. Too have one installed the cost would be $2500 for fridge and installation. I just figured that I had $2500 to work with to make my residential fridge work for me. Absorption is starting to be a thing of the past because of cost most RVs are getting installed with 12v or residential fridges because of cost. I will agree absorption is the best way to go boon docking but is getting harder to find. With two 100-amp lithium batteries and champion 3500-watt inverter remote start generator I have no limit how long I can stay other than fresh water and black and grey tanks filling up and food and gas. I can go 4 days on batteries running fridge and lights and tv. 2 days when running fridge tv and heater. After that I have to run generator. But I only have run it 4-6 hours to charge batteries up full that is another thing I like about lithium batteries to get a full charge on LA batteries you need to run gen for 8 to 12 hours to get 100% charge
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Old 09-01-2022, 10:30 AM   #39
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Notwithstanding all of the solar and battery possibilities, the great thing about running an absorption fridge on propane is you really don't even have to think about it for weeks. Sure saves a lot of grief watching electrical inflows and outflows, let alone the hassle and cost of building a system (granted there are other benefits of increased electrical supply). I am not looking forward to my next purchase for which apparently it will be much more difficult to find an absorption option.
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Old 09-06-2022, 10:54 AM   #40
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I agree with Doanshop, get a nice inverter generator, Honda, or folks rave about Champion at half the price and be almost unlimited where or how you want to camp. Most you can hardly hear run.

I get it with solar and lithium batteries for those living in the Western states. But if the OP is like my DW and I and likes to camp in forested areas, like Upstate NY, the very expensive solar/battery option really gets minimalized.

Though not apples to apples we have a 20-cube residential fridge in our rig backed up by 4 6V GC2 batteries and a 2000-watt inverter and a 6000-watt generator. Love the setup. No problem overnighting at Walmarts and we have gone as long as five days without shore power with running the genset in the AM and again late evening to recharge the batteries.
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