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Old 10-03-2021, 06:29 AM   #1
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12 volt refrigerators in the 235 roo

Hello all, I'm a newbie to this and have a question about the 12 volt refrigerators on the 235 roo. How long can I run off grid with these. I have the solar panels. Also what ae the best batteries for this? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks All Stay safe.
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:04 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. You should ask this question under the sub forum for Roo campers. You will get better response and there are a lot of knowledgeable for here to help. Later RJD
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Old 10-03-2021, 09:36 AM   #3
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Our Spirit 1943RB came with a 12v Furrion, 100 w panel on the roof, 10amp PMW controller, then I had the batteries set up as 2-6v GC2 deep cycle (not marine deep cycle) batteries.

It worked well in June when at a site that had full sun after about 10 am. During the 4 night stay we didnít need to pull out the generator but had we not planned to head home the 5th day we would have. Our other electrical use was limited, expect 7 or so ours a night of my CPAP.

I know the 100w panel will not be enough for long time use in a shaded site or overcast day with out the use of the generator, so am in the planning/deciding stage of expanding the array and changing out to a MPPT controller. Iíll end up with 3-400w on the roof, may pull the existing panel off and use it as a portable with the existing controller. The first step I did this summer, installing a Victron BMV 712 battery monitor which I would highly recommend.
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Old 10-03-2021, 04:00 PM   #4
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Do you have the Roo already, or are you planning to add the panels you already own?
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Old 10-04-2021, 04:37 AM   #5
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Hi, we have one on order that has the solar panel 1900watt already. I want to here from people about the battery life when camping off grid running the refrigerators.
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Old 10-04-2021, 08:44 AM   #6
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I'm not sure why your question got moved to this section... that package is available on many Rockwood models and Forest River is installing that 12v fridge / solar / inverter option on many models. Questions raised by other owners will be relevant to your situation.

You'll find a number of threads in the solar / electrical section as well as the Rockwood Travel Trailer section, including this one that shares some real-world experience.

In short, the package is ok, but not great. The consensus seems to be:
  • the draw of the electric fridge can be more than the stock battery capacity over the course of a couple of days off-grid, especially if you're using other electrical items such as the water pump and lights
  • you'll need to be camping in nearly full sun to fully recharge and ensure enough battery capacity for a multi-day off-grid trip
  • it is recommended that you get two 6volt batteries instead of one 12v for extra capacity
  • don't let the dealer install cheap AGM batteries
  • lithium batteries might be better in the long run; might even be cheaper to get them from the start
  • consider upgrading to a second solar panel on the roof -- assuming that you have the GoPower system, it's easy to add a second 190 watt panel on the roof as there is an additional connector included
  • consider getting a portable solar panel / controller that connects to the side of the camper. Get a long extension cord so that you have a better chance of catching the sun
I'm sure there's more, but that's what I can think of off the top of my head and what I have learned in one year of Roo ownership. I'm sure others will tell me where I'm wrong and offer up some better advice!
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Old 10-04-2021, 08:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
battery life when camping off grid running the refrigerators.
asking this question is like two Ford F-150 owners comparing gas mileage without regard to one commutes in the city and the other lives on a mountain side...

You will vary greatly from east to west coast
shade or sun spot
time of year and ambient temps
how often you open the fridge
what your other electrical usage will be
the GROUP size and TYPE of battery installed

JUST FROM reading about 12 V fridge owners posts over the past year or two I don't think on average you will get more than a day, during fairly sunny conditions.

You could put in MORE BATTERY... but then need MORE charging capacity to be able to bring that battery back.

Mostly I have read that 12 V fridges are energy hogs...

FYI... I do not own a 12 V fridge so I am only relating what I have read on this forum.
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Old 10-05-2021, 12:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rsdata View Post
asking this question is like two Ford F-150 owners comparing gas mileage without regard to one commutes in the city and the other lives on a mountain side...

You will vary greatly from east to west coast
shade or sun spot
time of year and ambient temps
how often you open the fridge
what your other electrical usage will be
the GROUP size and TYPE of battery installed

JUST FROM reading about 12 V fridge owners posts over the past year or two I don't think on average you will get more than a day, during fairly sunny conditions.

You could put in MORE BATTERY... but then need MORE charging capacity to be able to bring that battery back.

Mostly I have read that 12 V fridges are energy hogs...

FYI... I do not own a 12 V fridge so I am only relating what I have read on this forum.
True they are energy hogs, but no where as bad as an absorption refrigerator on electric.

We did a solar install for friends while dry camping for the first time at beach with us in early August.

Mostly bright sun and they we not happy with just the 200 watts we first installed. By mid week we were putting an additional 100 up there, then two new golf cart batteries. Then they were fine. Seems like we measured the thing pulling 8-9 amps. I never say that cycle off but it may have during the cool of the night.
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Old 10-05-2021, 07:41 AM   #9
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I agree totally. What I was hoping for is that owners of the rockwood 25 roo with the 12 volt refrigerator and the 1900 watt solar panel would share their experiences with camping off the grid as it related the the batteries. I know that their are a lot of variables just looking for feedback.
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Old 10-06-2021, 07:41 AM   #10
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I have a Vibe with a 12 volt fridge. We put in lithium batteries with 280 amp hours and I wanted to know how long I could plan before they would be run down. I've done several studies and have come to trust that running the fridge, using the water pump, lights, occasional radio in mid 70's weather I use on AVERAGE 3.5 amps per hour. I monitored my usage on several trips and feel confident that I can rely on these results. Good luck finding what works for you. BTW we gave up on counting on any solar, we live in Michigan and don't have constant reliable sunshine, also most of our campsites are heavily treed. We also put in a DC to DC charger to make sure our batteries weren't run down after a 5 hour trip to the campsite.
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Old 10-21-2021, 12:09 PM   #11
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I have a 2022 23FK with the 12v refrigerator, 1 190w solar panel, and 2 6v trojan batteries. I can run my "at temp" refrigerator on batteries overnight without dipping below 60% on my batteries. But I typically dry camp only as a quick overnight and minimize use of any other electrical devices. I'm primarily traveling through the southwest and California, so get a lot of full sun.

A factor to remember when loading up on batteries is the impact on hitch weight. The Roos tend to be hw heavy. The 23FK hw is 720 lbs dry. The primary cargo hold is in the front too. So fully loaded, my hitch weight is in the range of 900+ lbs. That puts a huge dent in the cargo capacity of the tow vehicle (depending on the vehicle).

If I change my boondocking pattern, I am considering a portable power station over a generator. In the future, California will be banning generators, so I'm thinking of adding more solar and a power station battery system that can be moved to the rear of my rig or left behind when not boondocking.
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Old 10-21-2021, 12:53 PM   #12
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STRONG recco for LiFePo reinstalled inside the coach to (1) reduce overall weight, (2) get a better performing battery bank, and (3) get that weight off your tongue.

We use the old battery box location for stabilizer touchdown pads and a couple of blocks of wood for the tonguejack.

See my post in your other thread for rationale on a solar/electrical setup that's boondocking (and CA) friendly.
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Old 10-21-2021, 04:59 PM   #13
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STRONG recco for LiFePo reinstalled inside the coach to (1) reduce overall weight, (2) get a better performing battery bank, and (3) get that weight off your tongue.

We use the old battery box location for stabilizer touchdown pads and a couple of blocks of wood for the tonguejack.

See my post in your other thread for rationale on a solar/electrical setup that's boondocking (and CA) friendly.
Can you share some additional details about where you located your batteries? A user with a different Rockwood model posted about moving his inside beside the converter, close to the refrigerator. This could potentially work in my Roo, but interested in what you've done.
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Old 10-21-2021, 07:50 PM   #14
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Can you share some additional details about where you located your batteries?
Sure. In the 235S, the factory 1kW inverter is in the passthrough space in the front of the coach. I replaced that with a 3.5kW inverter, and then put the charge controller and the (2) 300aH LiFePo batteries in the same space. together, they do take up quite a bit of room, but I located them centrally and low. I have wire shelving to mount ABOVE them, to separate the system from anything I'd like to store on top. I still have a foor or two of clear usable space on either side, so the (2) front passthrough doors have useable space.

IF I WAS GOING TO DO IT AGAIN, I'd think REAL HARD about putting the batteries in the spaces under the dinette seats and behind the existing drawers (even to the point of shortening or deleting one of the drawers. That would get all that additional weight off the tongue and over the wheels (so, not tail heavy), and in a user accessible space, but not one that I needed to get at regularly. Depending on configuration, Rockwood built Roo's with a door to access that space from the outside of the slide, so there's the possibility of cutting some additional external access there if you'd like.

Hope this helps!
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Old 10-21-2021, 08:42 PM   #15
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Very helpful, thanks. Did your Roo come with the factory solar package? If so, did you move the existing solar controller, or replace it with a new one in the front pass-through?

And is your converter compatible with the LiFePo batteries? I have a WFCO WF-8955 converter in my 2021 Roo and from what I can gather, my converter is meant only for LA/AGM batteries and would need to be replaced if I were to do something similar.
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Old 10-25-2021, 08:57 AM   #16
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yes, my 235S came with thefactory 190w solar kit (which is the GoPower Overlander). I kept the one 190w panel, added 4 additional 195w panels to the roof. I bypassed/replaced the existing solar controller with a 80a mppt charge controller, however, the existing controller would feed LiFePo. New one is up front in the pass through next to the battery bank.

MY converter is still the stock converter unit (which has three mode charging: 13.2 VDC range “float” mode, 13.6 VDC range “absorption” mode, and 14.4 VDC range “bulk” charge mode). Also added a 30a automatic transfer switch behind the converter for when I'm inverting.

Looks like WFCO has some options if your particular LiFePo setup isn't supported, but this seems in spec.
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Old 10-25-2021, 11:42 AM   #17
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Very interesting, thanks. Not sure if you have the same WFCO converter as I do, but my read of the manual says nothing specific about LiFePo compatibility. I might just go ahead and make the switch in the off-season and then swap out the converter if necessary.
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Old 10-26-2021, 04:15 PM   #18
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WF-8955PEC here, RC. Model number listed on the panel itself.
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Old 10-26-2021, 04:58 PM   #19
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Simple question. Difficult answer.

You have to identify batteries, converter, solar etc. and manage your resources. With your battery to learn what does what.

Recently we were required to use both my cpap and furnace. Temps as low as the upper 20ís.

We have 210 available amps. On a normal day with no electric fridge and the cpap we use up to 100 amps of power per day boondocking. Nearly double that on 30 degree nights.

We can go two days without issues normally. Have to run the generator sort of daily with the furnace.

Electric fridges cause you to run the generator daily. Or fill the roof with panels.

A 100 watt solar panel on its best day produces 25 amps to the battery. You will likely use over 100 amps daily. Weather dependent.
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Old 10-26-2021, 05:11 PM   #20
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WF-8955PEC here, RC. Model number listed on the panel itself.
Thanks, same as mine. Good to know that it seems to be compatible with LiFePo batteries even if not officially supported.
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