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Old 04-20-2024, 08:51 AM   #1
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12VDC Compressor Fridge Data

I see a lot of people expressing concern about boondocking with a 12V-only compressor fridge, and lots of anecdotal comments that they draw too much current to be used boondocking, etc. So here's some real world measurement data for the unit that came in our 2023 RP-192.

Furrion model FCR08DCGTA
Total Volume: 8 cu. ft.
Rated Current: 11A
LED Lamp Power: 2W

This is a relatively large fridge with separate doors for fridge and freezer compartments. It's huge compared to the Dometic LP fridge we had in our Fleetwood pop-up years ago. The rated amperage is 11A, but in reality the unit draws 3.85A when the compressor is running. The LED with door open draws 0.1A, so even the 2W rating on the fridge label for the LED is conservative. Start up surge current for the compressor may be closer to 11A, but I haven't measured that and don't care - I'm only interested in average consumption over time. Measurements made using a battery shunt monitor.

I've run tests over numerous 24 hour periods during different weather. Our weather here in the WNC mountains is relatively cool, but the r-pod has been buttoned up with no ventilation during these tests, so ambient temps inside the RV got pretty high some days - higher than we would comfortably keep the inside during actual boondocking - we'd have windows open and the vent fan running normally.

24 hour consumption has ranged from a low of 18Ah during cold weather to a high of 61Ah during a particularly hot day (for here). Ambient temps inside the r-pod during the coldest day ranged from 40 to 60 degrees - outside temps dipped below freezing. During the hot day, outside high temp was 82 deg (hot for here - we're at 3600ft elevation) and inside temps ranged from 63 to 87 degrees. We'd normally have windows open before letting it get to 87 inside the RV, so this seems like a good worst-case test for us..

Ignoring the freezing weather results, average consumption for this fridge during moderate weather, while camping and maintaining a comfortable inside RV temperature, is about 55Ah per 24 hours. That equates to a duty cycle of around 59% for the compressor running. If you're boondocking in hot conditions and it's getting hot as hell inside your RV, worst case power consumption with the compressor running a 100% duty cycle would be 92Ah.

For our boondocking situation, we have 300Ah of Li battery, so that gives us 240Ah of usable capacity if we don't let the SoC go below 20%. If we have no charging source at all, the 55Ah average daily consumption gives us 4.4 days of boondocking with this fridge. In reality, we have a base current draw in the RV of 0.25A, or 6Ah per day. This is the power consumption from things like the CO detector, stereo while off/idle, and any other background electronics. So our real daily consumption with the fridge plus base current is 61Ah, giving us 3.9 days of boondocking. Of course we'll use more in practice for lights, stereo, TV, etc. And we have 600W of solar to keep things charged. This write-up is only to provide reference data for the compressor fridge use case.
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Old 04-20-2024, 10:25 AM   #2
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Good info. You have a LOT of battery.
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Old 04-20-2024, 11:59 AM   #3
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That falls in line with another member here who (using his bmv712) posted an average 80ah a day in moderate temps for his 10 cu. ft fridge. The use of an average number however can be challenging depending on ambient inside temps, and much more importantly, how often, and how long the door is opened, and if the mass inside is already at stabilized storage temperature. Any of those factors will greatly raise your consumption.

So if you have a family, and are opening/ closing the door, searching for food, etc, plan on at least a minimum of 100ah a day for general camping use. IMHO, this dictates 280ah lithium, and 600 watts of solar if you are out in the open, and ground deploy if in a woodsy area -like where we camp 90% of the time.

IMHO, the rv industry is selling the new consumer a bill of goods. With a single FLA battery, and a single 190 watt panel on the roof, you sill running your generator A LOT. And that brings me to my bigger gripe, everyone with an incessant need to run generators in the park, which is annoying and degrading the experience.

Bottom line, if you have the opportunity to order your own camper, consider strongly an absorption fridge. I am not a fan of 12 volt fridges. Plus, ahem, they are not 100% quiet.
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Old 04-20-2024, 12:15 PM   #4
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I am jealous of the greatly increased space in those units compared to my absorption fridge though. My fridge with a little freezer space inside the main fridge area is barely enough for just the two of us. Since most places we go have leccy, I'm thinking about bringing along my old dorm cube fridge on longer trips. Our usual 2 weeker on Outer Banks NC, we typically use a cooler also, but buying ice nearly every day gets expensive. And those stand alone ice makers would not be helpful with their little fast melting hollow ice nuggets.
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Old 04-20-2024, 12:29 PM   #5
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I agree that the 12V fridge is noisier than I'd like and unless plugged in all the time, the usual stock camper configurations won't keep them powered but the size and performance, are just worlds apart.
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Old 04-20-2024, 06:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJKris View Post
Good info. You have a LOT of battery.
I need all that battery to make coffee!

But seriously, if I had had this information before I did the battery upgrade I might have gone with 200Ah of Lithium. But when we bought this RV I was paranoid that we wouldn't be able to boondock at all with the 12V fridge, and my initial tests only reinforced that fear. The r-pod came with two 64Ah LA batteries and my initial fridge-life tests lasted less than a day. I received no training on the factory installed solar & inverter system (the dealer's tech didn't even know the unit had an inverter and it took him 30 minutes just to find it and show me where it was installed), and I was unaware the inverter was consuming more than 40Ah a day just sitting idle - more than half the usable capacity of the LA batteries. So after those first skewed results I calculated we needed 300Ah of battery at a minimum.
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Old 04-20-2024, 07:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Half Ton Heavy View Post
That falls in line with another member here who (using his bmv712) posted an average 80ah a day in moderate temps for his 10 cu. ft fridge. The use of an average number however can be challenging depending on ambient inside temps, and much more importantly, how often, and how long the door is opened, and if the mass inside is already at stabilized storage temperature. Any of those factors will greatly raise your consumption.

So if you have a family, and are opening/ closing the door, searching for food, etc, plan on at least a minimum of 100ah a day for general camping use. IMHO, this dictates 280ah lithium, and 600 watts of solar if you are out in the open, and ground deploy if in a woodsy area -like where we camp 90% of the time.

IMHO, the rv industry is selling the new consumer a bill of goods. With a single FLA battery, and a single 190 watt panel on the roof, you sill running your generator A LOT. And that brings me to my bigger gripe, everyone with an incessant need to run generators in the park, which is annoying and degrading the experience.

Bottom line, if you have the opportunity to order your own camper, consider strongly an absorption fridge. I am not a fan of 12 volt fridges. Plus, ahem, they are not 100% quiet.

Those are good points. My tests were a non-use scenario so the doors remained closed. But FWIW, during one day's test I added 10 lbs of still-warm smoked pork to the freezer. It was all frozen solid by the next day, and the usage results for that 24 hr period were not above normal - 39Ah consumed and the ambient temp inside the RV ranged from 48 to 82 deg. In normal usage we would start a trip fully charged and with the fridge fully loaded and cold/frozen. We are a family of two adults, so we don't need to worry about the open/close situation. In general we keep fairly good cooler discipline (if you've ever had to keep a dry ice box cold for three weeks while running a 21 day river trip through the Grand Canyon you know what I mean by "cooler discipline"). I think the best data point here for people to reference is the worst case situation - 92Ah is the most you'll ever see with this fridge. For us that still means 2.6 days of runtime with no charging. In full sun our 600W solar will produce 130~140Ah, so it replenishes more than enough to stay out indefinitely. Even when camping in shade or when overcast we'll get at least 40Ah. So considering the worst case fridge with worst case solar we're good for 4.6 days of boondocking.

Regarding the noise of the fridge, it doesn't bother me. It works so much better than the crappy LP units I've used in the past I'll gladly make the trade. It's much less noisy than the converter fan, the furnace, or the (for gods' sake) air conditioner.
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Old 04-20-2024, 07:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJKris View Post
I am jealous of the greatly increased space in those units compared to my absorption fridge though. My fridge with a little freezer space inside the main fridge area is barely enough for just the two of us. Since most places we go have leccy, I'm thinking about bringing along my old dorm cube fridge on longer trips. Our usual 2 weeker on Outer Banks NC, we typically use a cooler also, but buying ice nearly every day gets expensive. And those stand alone ice makers would not be helpful with their little fast melting hollow ice nuggets.

It sounds like I need to get some advice from you on Outer Banks locations.
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Old 04-20-2024, 07:26 PM   #9
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It sounds like I need to get some advice from you on Outer Banks locations.
Been going for 30 something years, PM me and I'll be happy to chat! The gem of NC.
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Old 04-20-2024, 07:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jlankford View Post
I need all that battery to make coffee!

But seriously, if I had had this information before I did the battery upgrade I might have gone with 200Ah of Lithium. But when we bought this RV I was paranoid that we wouldn't be able to boondock at all with the 12V fridge, and my initial tests only reinforced that fear. The r-pod came with two 64Ah LA batteries and my initial fridge-life tests lasted less than a day. I received no training on the factory installed solar & inverter system (the dealer's tech didn't even know the unit had an inverter and it took him 30 minutes just to find it and show me where it was installed), and I was unaware the inverter was consuming more than 40Ah a day just sitting idle - more than half the usable capacity of the LA batteries. So after those first skewed results I calculated we needed 300Ah of battery at a minimum.
Yeah, the inverter is very inefficient until you get above a certain percentage of the rated load. For example, for a 1000w inverter, until you are using at least 300w, it is seriously wasting power.
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Old 04-20-2024, 07:36 PM   #11
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very nice informative report that will be very useful to many.. Thanks for posting.
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Old 04-20-2024, 08:05 PM   #12
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With our Canon 12 volt 10ft fridge we can run what I would call indefinitely, specifically a 5 day test, with 350 watts of panels charging 250AH of very good quality AGM batteries. We have experienced about the same,maybe a bit less AH draw shown on a Victron shunt monitor. We experienced this during 5 days in good mid summer sun in New England with mid 80s days and 55ish nights.

After discovering the bulkhead adjacent to the fridge to be running over 100 degrees all the time I reduced duty cycle from 60% to 40% by cutting vent holes in the top and bottom of the cabinet to give it a little air flow.

I probably should have bought lithium batteries when I spent big money on Mastervolt telecom style AGMs but I’m not sorry yet.
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Old 04-20-2024, 08:16 PM   #13
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After discovering the bulkhead adjacent to the fridge to be running over 100 degrees all the time I reduced duty cycle from 60% to 40% by cutting vent holes in the top and bottom of the cabinet to give it a little air flow.

Good info, thanks. I will look at that. Did you cut vents to the outside, or inside the RV?
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Old 04-20-2024, 08:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlankford View Post
I see a lot of people expressing concern about boondocking with a 12V-only compressor fridge, and lots of anecdotal comments that they draw too much current to be used boondocking, etc. So here's some real world measurement data for the unit that came in our 2023 RP-192.

Furrion model FCR08DCGTA
Total Volume: 8 cu. ft.
Rated Current: 11A
LED Lamp Power: 2W
.
.
.

That rated current of 11 amps is on startup and max cooling setting. Your findings pretty closely match the specs from the manual. The takeaway from the manual for me was to carry a minimum of 200 ah and expect the need to charge up occasionally. In hot (90 degree) weather a 100ah battery is consumed in 31 hours.
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Old 04-20-2024, 09:38 PM   #15
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Good info, thanks. I will look at that. Did you cut vents to the outside, or inside the RV?
3/4 inch holes on the top and bottom margin boards. Inside. 4 on top and 4 on both. Stained the now exposed chip board to match the cabinets
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Old 04-21-2024, 06:31 AM   #16
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The above figures are pretty consistent with my experiences...
Fridge uses about 5 amps when running and only running 50% of the time
got 60 hours usage at home in driveway from a 200ah battery system. (not really camping test)

Love the 12v compressor ,the FREEZER is the best..... try sticking a turkey in an absorption freezer

Last week while actually Camping using , slides in/out, stabilizers , lights etc etc ...
overnight with no solar production + using the furnace and 12v fridge saw around 30% (66ah) of the 200ah consumed.

Solar I have 2 x 370w panels.... while driving or camped near Toledo Ohio... the solar replaced that 60a consumption easily by 2pm.

Factory installs ..... they now provide on average, a small 200w panel.
most likely this would be ok in perfect world 5 hours x 200w / 12v = 80a

BUT because it is laying flat and not always producing the MAX 200w
I would suggest people get at minimum of 400w (OR MORE) of panels.


PS... if you getting Factory solar + an upgrade panel
be aware the it will not be the greatest install
Have seen pictures of panels right next to air conditioners or Antennas etc prone to shading, Plus the solar controller will be a PWM

You can do a much better and cheaper job yourself or have a friend install it for you.. took me just under one day to install
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Old 04-21-2024, 12:27 PM   #17
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3/4 inch holes on the top and bottom margin boards. Inside. 4 on top and 4 on both. Stained the now exposed chip board to match the cabinets
Good job, and it worked for you! I just added a hardwired circulation fan to my absorption fridge and heat exhaust fans behind exterior wall vent grates. Hopefully this summer I'll discover it paid off. That fridge always struggles in HOT weather.
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Old 04-21-2024, 08:35 PM   #18
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Your numbers are pretty close to our camper's 11 cubic foot Magic Chef refrigerator. We bought two 100 ah lifepo4 batteries when we bought the camper in 2021 and they performed admirably, even when running the furnace and the tank heaters.
I'm in the "you can't ever have too much battery" club, so our current 800 ah lifepo4 capacity gives us a lot of flexibility.
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Old 04-21-2024, 09:26 PM   #19
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My own very un-scientific test had me filling the freezer and refer with frozen and pre chilled food. brought the refer to operating temp on shore power, and then left it for 4 days just on battery and solar.
I have around 75 watts of solar, and a Group 27 battery. after 4 days with no other power draws the battery was still over 12v. the temp was in the high 80's and the TT was parked in full sun.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that pre chilling is what helped most. DR
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Old 04-22-2024, 07:50 AM   #20
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I like my 12v fridge. It has pros and cons. All listed in this thread and other threads.

I can boondock easily with it… after I installed 600w on the roof of my 2023 3010DS and upgrading to 200amp LifePro batteries. I put another 200 watts on the ground to start collecting the sun before the rooftop panels kick in.

We left Bryce Canyon NP yesterday after 3 days. With partly cloudy days and some trees the batteries were at 100% by midafternoon each day. No generator needed :-) it was cold at night, around 32deg, so the furnace was running too. Today we’re at North Klondike campground near Aches NP boondocking for 5 days. No trees so I’m expecting to have my batteries at 100% by noon.

One tip I’d add is, if the temperature outside is below say 75deg I regularly turn off the fridge at night to reduce its noise for my DW to sleep better. In the morning after 8 hours the fridge is still around 40deg and the freezer is maybe 10deg instead in 0deg. On hotter days I’ll turn the fridge thermostat to it’s barely cool setting. Saves battery overnight and fridge is still plenty cold in the morning.
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