CARAVAN FRIDGE REPLACEMENT

Submitted: Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 17:02
ThreadID: 109890 Views:2527 Replies:5 FollowUps:13
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Can we get some feed back please.

We have to replace the Dometic fridge into our Coromal Princeton caravan.

We are trying to decide which would be the best way to go, stay with a new three way or change over to the Waco 240/12V.

We do more offroad travel and most of the time park up offroad.

Thanks all.
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Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 17:45

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 17:45
We went with a 12 volt only fridge in our van, a with the fridge compartment on the top and freezer under.

Reason for 12 volt only was if you are on power the batteries are getting charged anyway.

We do have 3 105 amp batteries and 3 130 watt solar panels and free or bush camp a lot.
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Follow Up By: joyhooper - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 13:02

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 13:02
Thanks Tony for your reply Like the idea of fridge top and freezer bottom have one like that at home Did not know that it was an option in caravan fridges. May I ask what brand / model of fridge you are using please They were offering me a Waco 175 l and I am not sure about the noise factor in that brand Joy
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 22:33

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 at 22:33
Hi Joy

I am a firm believer in using a 12 volt compressor fridge not a gas electric fridge. The former are power efficient and if you add solar panels, you have a self sufficient and silent power system for refrigeration, lights and pumps.

In our previous camper, we replaced the absorption fridge with a small 12/240 v fridge and ran it from one battery and a portable solar panel.

In changing fridges, the main thing to consider is can you get one of similar dimensions that won't mean major carpentry in the caravan to fit it. We were lucky that for our camper we found one that was identical in dimensions so it slotted straight in.

Motherhen

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Follow Up By: joyhooper - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 13:13

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 13:13
Hi Motherhen
Thanks for your comment and I have a Dometic 186l and they are suggesting a Waco 175L for the replacement which will fit into the same space Don't know much about what models are available but looking for a quiet unit to put in

Joy
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 13:24

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 13:24
Hi Joy

We have Vitrifrigo which is virtually silent, but in the previous camper we got an upright Engel which I used to turn off at night as it was alongside my bed and I could hear it at night. The Vitrifrigo has a Danfoss compressor and I think it is the same as Waeco use.

We can hear the Engel car fridge/freezer under the bed, but it is not enough to bother us at all.

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Reply By: Member - Geoff M (VIC) - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 10:19

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 10:19
Hi Joy,
Recently we changed our 3-way fridge to a 12V compressor type, and now wonder why we didn't do this earlier - the compressor fridge is just so much better.
But take caution when selecting a compressor fridge - some can be a bit noisy and may affect your sleep if the fridge is close to you bed.

Cheers, Geoff
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Follow Up By: joyhooper - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 13:16

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 13:16
Hi Geoff
Thanks for your input and did not consider the noise aspect so thanks for bringing that to my attention The Coromal rep was talking about a Waco 175L fried so I will have to address the noise factor Any recommendation you have in that area ????

Thanks Joy
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Follow Up By: Member - Geoff M (VIC) - Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014 at 13:05

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014 at 13:05
Hi Joy,
Not sure about the Waeco as I have no experience with them. We ended up installing a Nova Kool 90lt fridge (Ocean Solutions are the Australian distributer) on the recommendation of our supplier of our tray-top camper (Trayon).
We have some friends that have a similar sized Engel that I would consider noisy, but they don't seem to mind.

Cheers, Geoff
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Reply By: Athol W1 - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 10:41

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 10:41
Hi Joy
After having used both types of fridge in caravans over many years I would take the compressor fridge any day, and especially if you intend to travel in the summer months or at anytime in the northern parts of Australia.

The only drawback that I have found is the need for battery power. In my case we use 3 x 120ah AGM VRLA batteries coupled to 300 w solar panels. This will run the Vitrifrigo 2 door fridge, TV, Sat decoder, lights, water pump and a diesel heater overnight and maintain the batteries at better than 50%SOC (State Of Charge) on most days, on heavily overcast days I may have to provide some back up to this system (driving or generator) to maintain the batteries in good condition.

If you want good life from your batteries then the closer that they are maintained to a full charge the longer that they will last. Minimum SOC at 80% plus could see 10 years from a good AGM battery whereas constant SOC cycling down to 20% may see battery life as little as 12 months or less from the same batteries.

Another benefit is that the 9kg gas bottle now lasts about 10 weeks (cooking and water heater) compared to around 18 days when free camping, moving most days with the fridge on 12v, and using the gas fridge whilst stopped.

Hope this helps and see you on the road.
Regards
Athol
AnswerID: 540676

Follow Up By: joyhooper - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 13:22

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 13:22
Hi Athol

Thanks for you very informative reply to our little quest I still have to address the solar power set up but your information was very helpful to have I have never heard of the Vitrifrigo brand as I was offered a Waco 175L unit as it fits in the same space where i have the Dometic 186L unit and was not too aware of other models I need to do my home work a little more as some one mentioned the noise factor as well so I would like to know if your fried is a quiet unit and I will look into other brand before I make a final choice
Really appreciate you input
Thanks Joy
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Follow Up By: Athol W1 - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 17:14

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 17:14
Joy
Our Vitirfrigo is fitted about 1 metre from the foot of our bed and is virtually silent. On a very quiet night I sometimes hear the fan operating.( there is a fan of approx. 100mm dia that cools the condenser and only works when the compressor is operating).

In a previous van we had 3 way Dometic fridge fail and I replaced it with a Waeco, which was about 1 metre from my head when in bed, and the compressor noise was, I found, objectionable in the dead of the night.

Having used both the Waeco and Vitrifrigo units I would not hesitate to recommend the Vitrifrigo for your consideration. IMHO a far better and more efficient unit.

Hope this helps.
Regards
Athol
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Follow Up By: joyhooper - Friday, Oct 24, 2014 at 13:37

Friday, Oct 24, 2014 at 13:37
Thanks Athol Will take your advice
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Reply By: Travelling - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 16:00

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 16:00
What model Dometic fridge do you currently have?

The size of sensibility of a compressor fridge is a maximum 160L. If you go over a 160L you will be like every Kedron and Bushtracker owner the first thing they do when they pull up is pull out the generator and start it up.
Once you go over 160L compressor fridge it becomes a real chore to keep the power up to the fridge in winter.
AnswerID: 540686

Follow Up By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 18:11

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 at 18:11
Don't agree with you there, our Novacool fridge is well over 160 lt and very rarely run out of battery power. Its only after 3-4 days of very overcast weather that we need to run the genny.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 01:19

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 01:19
I have yet to see a Kedron or Bushtracker caravanner use a generator for his fridge Travelling, and we have travelled in company with those with larger compressor fridges than ours.

While our fridge is only 130 litres, we use a 30 litre Engel under the bed as a freezer, and we have adequate power for all our needs, even in cloudy or wet weather. Solar panels are not as efficient in the hot tropics, but are adequate for running our fridge and freezer, lights and pumps, electrical needs such as computers, and fan on hot evenings.

Joy has not said what size the fridge they are replacing is, but it will be easier for them to choose on the same dimensions. Regardless of power generated, a large fridge is not necessary for most of us when caravanning, and 160 litres should be as big as needed, unless they travel with a number of children.



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Follow Up By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 07:13

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 07:13
Motherhen we travel without kids and have a 206 lt fridge and find it a very good size. Not too big cause you don't have to fill it.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 09:21

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 09:21
Hi Tony

Your 3 plus 3 solar set up gives you plenty of power for it? We have 4 plus 4 and could probably power a freezer room LOL.
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Follow Up By: joyhooper - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 13:32

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 13:32
Hi Travelling

Thanks for your comment Must admit that I am a bit against the use of generators unless in desperate situation and very rarely use mine
I have / had a Dometic 186L at the moment I think a 4062 model and have been advised that a Waco 175 model will fit into the same space Have not done too much home work on the models yet but rang around a bit to caravan places for some ideas dont want to change the inside of the caravan unless absolutely necessary so will go for something that will fit into the same space Still need to look into how much solar power I need to place on the roof if I go for the 12 V compressor type and also the noise factor of different models

Thanks Joy
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