Where does the idea that camper fridges don't cook well come from?

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by tcanthonyii, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. kstephens

    kstephens Member

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    Mine does a good job on AC with a fan. But, I try to add only chilled stuff in there and I throw in a gallon milk jug that I have filled with water and frozen while it is cooling to help out. It seems to get about 5-10 degrees cooler on propane.

    On a couple spur of the moment trips to local campgrounds, I have not pre-chilled it, and add some things that are not chilled to begin with it can take two days to get to a good temp.
     
  2. 94-D2

    94-D2 Happy Campin'

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    I have a Dometic RM8400. It is a large fridge with a convertable freezer compartment. It has two cooling fins inside and is completely electronic. The rear of the fridge is large to accommodate the size and thus not very well enclosed. I have the hardest time keeping this thing cool. In humid temps above 90, I'm in danger of food going bad. I can get it cooled off to about 32 degrees in the best conditions but it is difficult to manage. I place remote wireless temp sensors in to keep it monitored and they have an alarm setting for max. The rear has the shroud and duel fans operated by a 112 degree thermo switch and a manual override switch both inside the pup and out. I've closed up all gaps, insulated and installed an exhaust pipe on the chimney to vent directly out of the compartment. It is better but I still have no confidence in it. Never had any problems with the fridge in my previous pup. I'm considering looking for a 12V magnetic compressor fridge (like my portable ARB) that can be conventionally installed.


    Power consumption can be managed by solar. 110v A/C is out of the question for me as we do at least half our camping dry or boondocking.
     
  3. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Being unable to trust a 'fridge makes it really useful only for dry storage. That was one of the reasOne we thought we might stick with coolers.
    I don't remember the model numbers of our Dometic, which is a 2-way. The biggest thing with ours is a tendency to need many ignition attempts at altitude. Apparently the LP pressure blows out the flame as soon as it starts. It has been behaving better this summer, for some unknown reason. We were camped at about 9500' for the Colorado Rally, and noticed it started the repeated "snapping" when the temps got cold during the night.
    (According to Dometic, having the LP pressure adjusted would help, but no explanation of what that would do when we head down in altitude. The stove and furnace do fine, the water heater usually does, unless it is very windy, when it might snap a couple of extra time.)
     
  4. Fixitup

    Fixitup Active Member

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    I have also wondered why all the fuss. We had an 05 Fleetwood Victory w/ the 3 way. Never had issues. I did install a computer fan on outside coils. Did the same on our NTU 07 Niagara, and it has the small freezer. I have always switched over to battery when under tow and never have issues. I did install a wireless therm. It its good piece off mind to see actual temp. We put all cold foods in camper for transport. I have as much trust in it as I have w/ my home fridge.
     
  5. swordfish

    swordfish Well-Known Member

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    A dozen of eggs were all cooked by the time we got to the camp site.
     
  6. webhannet

    webhannet Member

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    A reminder - the cold source in these units is usually at the top of the interior. Cold is supposed to be circulated within the box. People tend to pack too much inside the box, and the air can't recirculate - even with a fan. There MUST BE channels for the cold air to circulate well inside the box. Having the bottom of the box filled with food and bottles won't leave enough open area.

    Having the outside fins of the fridge in the shade - even from an umbrella - helps it to cool. Another quick-fix is to rig a small "sail" to the lower outside opening may provide enough extra fin cooling. It would be easy to put snaps at the four corners of the lower ooutside opening and to fashion a snap-on sail to catch prevailing breezes, directing into the cooling fins. Just sayin.
     
  7. GA Judy

    GA Judy Active Member

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    We had a site with direct south/southeast for most of the day which heated up the street side most of the day, and that's where our fridge and large window faced. After stringing a mylar "blanket" (tissue paper thin) across the side of our camper, it cut down the heat by at least 10 degrees while leaving the sides open to allow a good airflow. We kept the curtains closed on that side as well since it actually was parked parallel to the main drive. (White Oak Creek CG, AL) It took the "pressure" off the cooling features of the fridge and our food/drinks were well within safe temps and the ice cubes stayed frozen. When done camping, we folded the blanket into a sandwich baggie and packed it in a drawer.
     
  8. bldmtnrider

    bldmtnrider Member

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    I'm noticing a trend here, everyone who is raving about how well their fridge works seems to be from lower elevations.

    Does anyone that regularly camps above ~5-7K elevation also have a fridge that works well?

    My fridge is pretty much worthless. At 70-80 degrees outside the best I can get out of it is about 45-50 degrees. I've given it a good cleaning and made sure it was level but it is still worthless. I still need to do the vent mod but from what I have read that seems to be good for ~5 degree drop which still doesn't get the fridge into the food safe range. Needless to say mine is used for dry food storage.

    That said at home (5K elevation) on shore power it will get down to about 38 degrees pretty quickly, but I can't seem to get anywhere close to that on propane (elevations range from 4.5K in Moab to 10K in Colorado).
     
  9. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

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    LOL you're supposed to actually run the fridge.
     
  10. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    @bldmtnrider
    We live at 6K' and often camp higher, I think White Star 2 weeks ago was at about 9500'. The 'fridge cools very well at all altitudes, even in hot weather. It has been in the upper 90s on a couple of trips the year (hitting 100+ if the TT is closed up) and our 'fridge part has been consistently in the upper 30s to about 42. Freezer tend to run in the upper teens to mid-20s.
    The biggest thing with our is the ignition problem once we are above about 7500'. It starts, just can take 20 or so "snaps" to do so. (I find myself counting it I hear it start.) Apparently the only negative about this is that the points (or whatever they may be) may wear out sooner rather than later. Since the refrigerator works well, we'll cope.
    It's a 2-way 'fridge, so we run it on power at home and when we have hook-ups (seldom). We do leave the LP tanks one now, after having a power outage and it not being able to automatically switch to LP. That is the we've seen the "check" light come on.
     

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