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Old 09-19-2021, 07:00 PM   #1
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Solar & 12V refrigerator

Hi everyone I was wondering if anyone has a Roo with the 12 Volt refrigerator and solar package.
I just had our new 2022 Roo 235S on our first shakedown camping trip. It has the Magic Chef 12 volt refrigerator, 2 lead acid deep cycle batteries and two 190 watt solar panels.
To say I'm disappointed in the performance of the setup would be an understatement. The batteries go pretty much dead overnight and I had to run a generator for several hours twice a day just to keep the batteries up enough to keep the fridge running. Only used the water pump and minimal lights at night.
Does anyone else have the same setup? How does it work out for you?
Just thinking that maybe I'm doing something wrong or missing something.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-20-2021, 03:54 AM   #2
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What size batteries do you have. I have the Magic Chef 12v fridge and plan to have 400ah lithium batteries and as much solar as will fit on the roof
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Old 09-20-2021, 04:21 AM   #3
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What size batteries do you have. I have the Magic Chef 12v fridge and plan to have 400ah lithium batteries and as much solar as will fit on the roof
Probably has two cheap 12v dual-purpose marine batteries, supplied by the dealer
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Old 09-20-2021, 07:37 AM   #4
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Switch to a Lithium battery, you will be much happier with the performance.
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Old 09-20-2021, 08:16 AM   #5
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2 lead acid deep cycle batteries and two 190 watt solar panels.
lead acid batteries you did not specify which they were like brand and model as batteries vary greatly...

how much sun were you in? unless you are in full sun those solar panels could be underpowered to bring life back to the batteries

chances are you will need more battery power... most people at a minimum use two 6 volt golf cart batteries and many who go without power have upgraded to lithium
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Old 09-20-2021, 08:31 AM   #6
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You should be doing better than you are according to this thread:
https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...ml#post2636082
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Old 09-20-2021, 01:49 PM   #7
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Well it really doesn't matter much how cheap the batteries are...that only affects life cycles. Any NEW battery will provide just as many amp hours as any GREAT new battery to begin with...which means you have somewhere between 75 and 105 amp hours to use with a pair of 12V factory batteries before you need to recharge them.

380 watts of solar panels should average about 100 AMP HOURS of input to your batteries each day if UNSHADED and SUNNY.
My guess is that you are drawing down your batteries way more than you should, not getting a full dose of sunlight and not running your genny long enough to make up the difference. BUT I can't prove that...
What you NEED NOW is a Victron or Trimetric shunt based battery monitor to tell you EXACTLY the state of your battery and charging amps and usage amps and how long you need to keep charging and when you can stop etc. About $150


Your batteries may NOW be on their last legs so plug em in overnight to put a full charge on them THEN disconnect the negative wire for 24 hours. Come back and take a VOLTAGE measurement at the battery terminals. Anything over 12.6V means they are likely just fine anything below 12.4 means you've got some loss of capacity...anything under 12.2 means they are likely toast once you put a load on them.
Good luck!
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Old 09-20-2021, 04:21 PM   #8
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Sorry to hear your experience, great trailer! By any chance, did you have the inverter on?

Note: The "dorm" fridge in the outdoor kitchen is 110, and only comes on with the inverter (or shore power).

The typical solar package is a single 195w panel, a solar controller/charger, and a 1kw inverter. You must have ordered your Roo with an additional 195W panel.

I upped my solar to 1kw on the roof, 600ah of LiFePo and a 3500w inverter, and boondock with a sense of freedom.
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Old 09-20-2021, 04:41 PM   #9
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Sorry to hear your experience, great trailer! By any chance, did you have the inverter on?

Note: The "dorm" fridge in the outdoor kitchen is 110, and only comes on with the inverter (or shore power).

The typical solar package is a single 195w panel, a solar controller/charger, and a 1kw inverter. You must have ordered your Roo with an additional 195W panel.

I upped my solar to 1kw on the roof, 600ah of LiFePo and a 3500w inverter, and boondock with a sense of freedom.
X2 on the inverter: we have 2-190W panels and I was really disappointed our first 2 days camping. The batteries were drawing down much faster than I was expecting.Realized the inverter was turned on and apparently sending the power to the outdoor refrigerator. Turned off the inverter and haven't had issues since. Haven't had need for the inverter, since we are only using 110 appliances when hooked to shore power. We are very happy with the stock solar package so far. Keeps the 12v refrigerator cold and the lights running. If we need AC or heater, i hook up the generator. I'll start looking at some of the changes others have suggested down the road, but not seeing any reason to rush in to it for now.
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Old 09-20-2021, 04:48 PM   #10
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Turned off the inverter and haven't had issues since.
Inverting is a REALLY costly way to make 110, will eat up those batteries for sure!
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Old 09-20-2021, 05:04 PM   #11
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What you NEED NOW is a Victron or Trimetric shunt based battery monitor to tell you EXACTLY the state of your battery and charging amps and usage amps and how long you need to keep charging and when you can stop etc. About $150
Or a $60 alternative:

Click image for larger version

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ID:	263120
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Old 09-20-2021, 05:57 PM   #12
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If the dealers published what it would cost to run a "residential" refrigerator folks would scream. So instead they don't mention these do not work in a camper without massive amounts of battery power or being connected to shore power all the time. These refrigerators are dirt simple to install, just plug into an inverter powered outlet or to 12v if they don't need inversion. No LP gas connection, exhaust stack, or venting needed.

Another liability of these refrigerators it they dump mass amounts of heat into the camper interior, just like in your kitchen at home. There's a reason all those refrigerators were on the front porch in the South before air conditioning became affordable.

-- Chuck
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Old 09-20-2021, 07:14 PM   #13
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If the dealers published what it would cost to run a "residential" refrigerator folks would scream. So instead they don't mention these do not work in a camper without massive amounts of battery power or being connected to shore power all the time. These refrigerators are dirt simple to install, just plug into an inverter powered outlet or to 12v if they don't need inversion. No LP gas connection, exhaust stack, or venting needed.

Another liability of these refrigerators it they dump mass amounts of heat into the camper interior, just like in your kitchen at home. There's a reason all those refrigerators were on the front porch in the South before air conditioning became affordable.

-- Chuck
They do cool down quick. I turn the fridge inverter on when I pick up the camper from storage. By the time I get home 25 minutes later, it is pretty cold. By the time we load up, it is fully cooled.

If anyone is interested, my residential fridge draws 50A when the compressor starts for about 1/2 second. Then settles in @ 12A while cooling. Once cool, it draws 2A. Best thing you can do is minimize opening the fridge. Also helps a lot to take a bag of ice out of the freezer at night and put it in the fridge. Then swap it back during the day.
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Old 09-20-2021, 10:00 PM   #14
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Or a $60 alternative:

Attachment 263120

Care to provide a link? Everything under 100 bucks I've looked with a shunt fails to calculate peukarts constants effects into it's operation making it completely unsuited for accurate measurement of many parameters AND guaranteed to misrepresent capacity over time. I'd be interested in seeing the specs on your alternative or a link to the mfr.
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