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Old 03-03-2021, 03:59 PM   #1
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replacing rv 2 way fridge with 12v

Has anyone ever done this. MY 2020 rockwood came with a 2 way, but now most the new rv's come with a 12v. they are the same size but wondering about wiring etc? id rather have a 12v.
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Old 03-03-2021, 04:17 PM   #2
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The "12v" fridge ties you to shorepower almost all the time unless you have a bank of batteries. The better, traditional LP/120v refrigerator works in any and all conditions. Think those power outages in Texas can't happen to you? I've been at campgrounds where the power constantly browned out and cut out on high summer temperatures. My refrigerator automatically switched to LP and the beer stayed cold and the ice cream brick hard in the freeze.

IF this existing refrigerator stops working and isn't economically repairable is the only time I'd even remotely start thinking about a second tier unit that only works on 12vDC.

Wiring is two wires, how difficult can that be. Ripping out the existing unit and fitting a replacement that was not designed to fit is probably the major issue.

Note these do not vent any heat outdoors. All the heat removed from the refrig interior goes into the cabin, just like your refrig at home.

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Old 03-03-2021, 07:22 PM   #3
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Based on the HUGE amount of bad 12v fridge posts I've seen here, over the past year, I would never have one. And I love my 2-way fridge.
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Old 03-03-2021, 07:50 PM   #4
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If most new RVs are coming with 12 volt refrigerators simply because they are less expensive to buy and install, and if it is mainly just more profitable for RV manufacturers, that is not a reason I would want one. But if you have a large solar panel system and can keep that baby running on boondock sun power, or if you always camp with good electric hookups, then it might make sense.

The main problem right now I see with the 12 volts refrigerators is poor reliability.
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Old 03-03-2021, 08:12 PM   #5
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If most new RVs are coming with 12 volt refrigerators simply because they are less expensive to buy and install, and if it is mainly just more profitable for RV manufacturers, that is not a reason I would want one. But if you have a large solar panel system and can keep that baby running on boondock sun power, or if you always camp with good electric hookups, then it might make sense.

The main problem right now I see with the 12 volts refrigerators is poor reliability.

i have done the research and it takes very low battery power to keep on running for any amount of time i would need it. 99.9% of my trips are hook up to power. even where it parks at my house it has a 30 amp plug. the reason the rv mfg are putting them in has nothing to do with money at first and had to do with lack of supply of the other fridges because a lot of the parts are from China and the virus killed production. i know this because i heard it directly from several mfg at Tampa. The least cost option for them is a residential fridge in most cases. i am sure there are some anomalies. the std dometic 2 way style are notorious for not cooling well and taking too long to cool of etc. my buddy who is a dealer has had many propane/elec fridges fail during the warranty and has yet to see a 12v do the same thing. i am not sure what brand 12v he is ordering in though. the only advantage to me for what i have is that i can leave it on during travel but most the time i cut the propane off anyway.
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Old 03-03-2021, 08:13 PM   #6
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Based on the HUGE amount of bad 12v fridge posts I've seen here, over the past year, I would never have one. And I love my 2-way fridge.

any specific brands?
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Old 03-03-2021, 08:18 PM   #7
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any specific brands?
The Furrion was the worse and apparently bad enough that FR stopped using Furrion products altogether. Seen quite a few bad Everchill 12v fridges also.
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Old 03-03-2021, 08:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by oldschoolhdmike View Post
i have done the research and it takes very low battery power to keep on running for any amount of time i would need it. 99.9% of my trips are hook up to power. even where it parks at my house it has a 30 amp plug. the reason the rv mfg are putting them in has nothing to do with money at first and had to do with lack of supply of the other fridges because a lot of the parts are from China and the virus killed production. i know this because i heard it directly from several mfg at Tampa. The least cost option for them is a residential fridge in most cases. i am sure there are some anomalies. the std dometic 2 way style are notorious for not cooling well and taking too long to cool of etc. my buddy who is a dealer has had many propane/elec fridges fail during the warranty and has yet to see a 12v do the same thing. i am not sure what brand 12v he is ordering in though. the only advantage to me for what i have is that i can leave it on during travel but most the time i cut the propane off anyway.
I've also done the research and all the 12vdc models are made in China, many by the same manufacturer with a different name tag applied.

Here is a link to one such "superior" 12vdc model. https://www.forestriverforums.com/forums/f113/ever-chill-refrigerator-wd-282fwdc-stopped-cooling-195770-2.html#post2510686
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Old 03-03-2021, 08:23 PM   #9
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LP gas capable is my vote. The fridge in my Geo Pro G17RK was awesome (3-way). It was small, but I had to turn the digital thermostat down on it to keep the fridge section from freezing. On LP gas, did not have to worry about keeping it fed with 12v. Of course, connected to shore power it was AC (auto) mode.
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Old 03-03-2021, 08:51 PM   #10
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This is not an endorsement but here is a YouTube by "Mortons on the Move", who converted their existing refrigerator to 12V using a kit from JC Refrigeration.

https://youtu.be/Yte1V3CkDrw?t=0
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Old 03-03-2021, 11:05 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by oldschoolhdmike View Post
i have done the research and it takes very low battery power to keep on running for any amount of time i would need it. 99.9% of my trips are hook up to power. even where it parks at my house it has a 30 amp plug. the reason the rv mfg are putting them in has nothing to do with money at first and had to do with lack of supply of the other fridges because a lot of the parts are from China and the virus killed production. i know this because i heard it directly from several mfg at Tampa. The least cost option for them is a residential fridge in most cases. i am sure there are some anomalies. the std dometic 2 way style are notorious for not cooling well and taking too long to cool of etc. my buddy who is a dealer has had many propane/elec fridges fail during the warranty and has yet to see a 12v do the same thing. i am not sure what brand 12v he is ordering in though. the only advantage to me for what i have is that i can leave it on during travel but most the time i cut the propane off anyway.
I have to disagree with the claim that the migration to 12 volt refrigerators had anything to do with the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Forester/ Sunseeker class C line, Forest River manufacturing switched over from propane/AC absorption refrigerators to installing 12 volt DC compressor refrigerators around September 2019, before the pandemic was a pandemic. The switchover was apparently already in the works long before anyone even heard of the novel coronavirus.

Secondly, my Dometic 2-way refrigerator cools so dang well I’m having trouble with food freezing in the refrigerator. I may need to to get an adjustable thermistor to reduce the cooling. Keeping the propane/AC refrigerator cold enough is definitely not a problem for me. Propane use on the 2-way while traveling is so low it’s hardly noticeable.

All that being said, whoever wants a 12 volt refrigerator for whatever reasons should definitely go get one. Like I said earlier in the thread, if reliable access to AC shore power is good, the 12 volt refrigerator is a viable option.
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Old 03-04-2021, 03:49 PM   #12
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This is my 2˘ on gas absorption vs compressor:
1. The compressor refrigeration is less expensive to produce
2. The compressor cools much faster
3. The compressor does NOT have to be level to work
4. The gas absorption is more expensive than the compressor to produce
5. The gas absorption refrigerator required quite a bit of insulation to keep cool
6. The gas absorption HAS TO BE LEVEL, usually within 1°, 1/2° is better
7. The gas absorption unit takes about 12 hours to completely cool the unit
8. The compressor unit takes about 4 hours to completely cool the unit.

My Dometic DM2652 quit working about 6 months ago. I discovered that the gas was leaking mainly due to my lack of completely leveling my trailer.
I did a LOT of research and finally decided to go with the Dometic DMC4101 variable-speed compressor 12V refrigerator. A couple of reasons:
1. It was less expensive than the DM2652 by about $300, depending on the dealer I purchased it from.
2. The 2652 is 6.0 cubic feet and the 4101 is 10.7 cubic feet, almost DOUBLE the size AND it fits IN THE SAME HOLE as the 2652. That was sort of a no-brainer for me.
3. The 2652 required a minimum of 1° of leveling to work effectively and in some of the remote locations that I boondock in it was extremely time consuming to make that work.
4. The 4101 could be off as much as 30°, YES 30° you read it right, and it would still very effectively cool the refrigerator. The 4101 design was originally designed in Germany for use in boats. Moving boats are never level on the water as they move up and down constantly. Gas absorption did not effectively cool the unit so they ended up using the variable-speed compressor system.
5. Regarding power consumption: at start-up my 12V system takes about 13 amps to start, then it drops down to about 3 amps for about 3 - 4 hours. Once it's cool it takes about 0.5 amps every 15 minutes or so, depending on how often we open the refrigerator door. I run my entire travel trailer on 2 - Trojan L16 batteries along with 2 - 175 watt solar panels. I have never run out of power.

So... more storage in the same hole... faster cooling... no need to "exactly" level... low power consumption... and less expensive.
Oh... and I had to run ONE 10 gauge positive wire to the compressor. I put a fuse in-line just in case.

I am VERY happy with my decision to go 12V instead of simply replacing my gas absorption unit.
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Old 03-04-2021, 04:41 PM   #13
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An RV just isn’t an RV without a two-way refrigerator.

Having to rely on lots of electricity to keep a refrigerator cold in an RV just doesn’t make sense.

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Old 03-04-2021, 04:54 PM   #14
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Wire size

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck_S View Post
The "12v" fridge ties you to shorepower almost all the time unless you have a bank of batteries. The better, traditional LP/120v refrigerator works in any and all conditions. Think those power outages in Texas can't happen to you? I've been at campgrounds where the power constantly browned out and cut out on high summer temperatures. My refrigerator automatically switched to LP and the beer stayed cold and the ice cream brick hard in the freeze.

IF this existing refrigerator stops working and isn't economically repairable is the only time I'd even remotely start thinking about a second tier unit that only works on 12vDC.

Wiring is two wires, how difficult can that be. Ripping out the existing unit and fitting a replacement that was not designed to fit is probably the major issue.

Note these do not vent any heat outdoors. All the heat removed from the refrig interior goes into the cabin, just like your refrig at home.

-- Chuck
Maybe need heavier wires to power the 12v compressor wires than the ones that simply power the controller board on a conventional refrigerator. IIRC the compressor can draw about 7 amps continuous during initial cooldown.
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Old 03-04-2021, 05:06 PM   #15
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From what I've read on this and other forums I wouldn't swap out my LP/120V fridge for a 12V but sure do wish it was a 3 way.
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Old 03-04-2021, 05:20 PM   #16
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I have a Dometic three-way power - AC, DC and LP Gas I use LP 90% of the time AC most other times. I love the fact that I can use any one of the 3 choices!!!
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Old 03-04-2021, 05:29 PM   #17
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We replaced our 2-way dometic frig about a year ago after it died. We replaced it with a Everchill wd-127fdc 12v as it was about half the price of a new 2way. We have not boondocked with it yet but do plan to this spring. I tested it with my amp clamp and draws around 10 amps momentarily on startup and 4-5 amps after. So far we are happy with it. Time will be the real judge.
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Old 03-04-2021, 11:41 PM   #18
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My 2 cents on 12v vs. 2 way, 3 way refers.

My 2018 2504s came equipped with a 6.2 cf Dometic 2 way fridge which worked fine except in hot weather, it then struggled to keep things cold. In fact, the freezer would never reach the recommended 0 degrees, and the refer never got down to 37 degrees during hot weather trips. It usually hovered between 38-40. Another factor was the 6.2 cf vs 10 cf capacity, We would take a couple of grandkids with us on trips and it seemed as though we were always shopping for groceries as a 6.2 cf refer just doesn't hold a lot. And growing boys can eat. I researched different 12v refers and went with the 10 cf Everchill. It took a minor amount of reworking the opening but the refer fits nicely. I have 880 watts of solar charging 2 12v lipo batteries and with the minor amperage draw the refer uses I never worry about draining down the batteries. Plus, I carry a back-up 3500 watt generator, just in case. So far, so good. Great thing is having preferential choices in refers, 2 way, 3 way or 12v.
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Old 03-05-2021, 12:15 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by oldschoolhdmike View Post
Has anyone ever done this. MY 2020 rockwood came with a 2 way, but now most the new rv's come with a 12v. they are the same size but wondering about wiring etc? id rather have a 12v.
I'm curious.... Why do you want to replace a one year old refrigerator with a new 12v?
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Old 03-05-2021, 08:26 AM   #20
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My 2018 2504s came equipped with a 6.2 cf Dometic 2 way fridge which worked fine except in hot weather, it then struggled to keep things cold.
I assume you relied on 120vAC (which is much less effective)? These are LP refrigerators with an auxiliary electrical heat source.

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