Seeking Advice on Operating a Dometic Portable Fridge

Hello, everyone!

I have a Dometic RC-1180 3-way fridge on layby and there are a couple of things I would like to know before I get it. I have never posted here before, but have visited quite a number of times and found the ExplorOz forum an invaluable source of information, so I am sure someone here can help me. Firstly, what kind of regulator do I need? I know there are at least two kinds of fitting (POL and 3/8 inch), but what about pressure? Camping stores seem to sell one standard type of regulator with one of two fittings; will these do the job or am I going to have to go hunt for some specialist item? The other thing I’m wondering about is where to put fridge at my campsite. I figure I could put it on a decent fridge stand under the awning of my Turbo Tent. I already have a side panel but with a front panel and some clever positioning of the tent I could keep the fridge under cover, shaded from the sun, and reasonably dry. This seems the logical thing to do, but is there a better way to do things?

Cheers, Eric Praline
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Reply By: Member - Bigred13 - Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 21:02

Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 21:02
Normally a POL fitting off gas bottle ,IMHO why go for a 3 way absorption fridge when you can get a 95 litre made in Aust for $1300 compressor fridge Fridge and freezer or all fridge or all freezer 12 or 24 Volt .
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Follow Up By: Eric Praline - Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 21:24

Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 21:24
I agree, a compressor fridge would perform better, but I can't drive so the Dometic suits my needs best. Well, that, and I like the simplicity of absorbtion refridgeration. So a POL fitting, huh? Okay, thanks.
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Follow Up By: Eric Praline - Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 21:26

Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 21:26
Edit: By "can't drive" I meant I don't have access to 12V power... not having a car, you see.
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 22:14

Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 22:14
HI Eric
I can understand your choice of the absortion fridge
It suits your situation
.
Compressor fridges need two things:
A fair sized battery & a means of keeping the charge up to it
Most when used as a fridge will draw from 30to 60+Amphrs per day
AS a deep freezer anywhere from60<to120Aphrs per day[ in very hot weather ,
They can only be considered ifyou have ample solar panels for charging, Or use MAINS power


YOu will need to select a cool shady place with a bit of breeze if possible
If possible turn the fridge so the breeze blows into the vents for cooling
It must be reasonably level, in fact the more level the better, I suggest you use a bulleye level for that purpose.

Are you going to use POL fitting gas bottles or smaller bottles?
I think you may find the fridge gas linthey standard regulator fitted to
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 22:21

Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 22:21
Hi Eric
Ooops accidently hit the send button
I think you will find the fridge gas line will take a Standard gas regulator, the line & fitting for the gas bottle will depend on if you use small gas bottles or normal Barby/ van type bottles.


PeterQ
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Follow Up By: Eric Praline - Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 22:53

Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 22:53
Well that's a relief, I was hoping that this would be the case. I'm planning on using a 9 kg cylinder, so I won't have to buy gas too often.
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Follow Up By: Member - Norm & Lisa - Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 08:10

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 08:10
I thought the gas fitting came with the fridge as part of the included accessories along with the 12v fitting. The 240v is permanently attached. As previously stated keep it level (a must) and don't put it too close to the side of your tent as they get hot. Also keep it well ventilated and out of the rain. If it is too windy and the pilot light is exposed to the wind it will blow out. Check with the mob you are buying it from as to what is included. If the gas connector is not included, all parts are easily available and the manual that comes with the fridge should tell you the correct fitting required. Otherwise google Dometic RC1180 and you will find heaps of info.
Everyday is a holiday
Norm & Lisa

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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 09:48

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 09:48
Eric,

I'm with Norm here, be very wary of how much wind there is, when you set up camp. While these fridges need plenty of ventilation to work efficiently, they are extremely susceptible to blustery and high wind situations.

While set up in your tent, you may still need to place something around the burner area, to break up any direct wind gusts. From some comments on the forum previously, you should get many weeks out of a 9kg cylinder.

Bob

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Reply By: Member - sdr00y (Beecroft,NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 11:11

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 11:11
Level, level and level! Buy yourself a string line level so you can ensure the fridge is level.

Maybe some small door wedges to level the fridge.

Keep in the shade as much as possible.

Fill up at the fridge with warm things at night, that way they get all night to cool without you opening it up.

Not sure of a fridge stand? But maybe a piece of ply to sit the fridge on. The fridge should not sit directly on sand or dirt but needs an air gap under it. On a 6 week trip mine worked faultlessly until I sat the fridge on sand when leveling it up. The sand touching the base of the fridge allowed the coolness to leak from the fridge into the ground below. It was quite an eye opener for me. For 3 days I could not understand why the fridge was under performing till pack up day when I lifted the fridge. The sand was cold and noticeably moist under the fridge. Next stop was fine so it was the lack of an air gap that was the problem.

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Follow Up By: Eric Praline - Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 11:27

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 11:27
What an interesting idea. Would I put the ply on the ground, followed by the door wedges and the fridge or the fridge on the ply with the door wedges underneath?
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 17:03

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 17:03
Hi Eric
I have not actually seen that model, but it is quite likely that it has ventilation grills on the BOTTOM[,in the burner /condenser section]
That area needs GOOD air flow
Like All fridges the better the insulation the more efficient they are That includes bottom, sides & top ,BUT do not ostruct any ventilation slots or vents
The comment about strong winds blowing out the flame are valid

PeterQ
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Follow Up By: Eric Praline - Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 17:51

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 17:51
I was actually asking how you set up your fridge on plywood and door wedges. After thinking about it I realized you meant the plywood goes on the ground and the wedges on top, under the fridge.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 18:18

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 18:18
For performance, it doesn't matter which way you do it, as long as the end result is a level fridge.

From past experience I think it is easier to give the fridge a flat base to sit on, then level the base with wedges, stones, sticks whatever comes to hand. Better and more stable than jamming those under the fridge.

Cheers

FrankP

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Follow Up By: Tony F8 - Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 18:56

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 18:56
All the above is correct, on gas they are a very good fridge/ freezer. The end flap of a beer carton cut 2 inches down the face pf the carton and covered in alfoil makes a good internal flap for the freezer, so every time you open the lid, your not opening the freezer if that makes sense. The 2 inch peice should fit down beside the divider and the end flap covers the freezer section. Used a rc1180 years ago and found this works a treat, also a good excuse to buy another carton when that flap wears out.
And as stated, being level is most important.
I would also suggest rather than 1 x 9kg, 2 x 4.5kg's, that way when you run out of one 4.5 you can hook up the second, knowing that you have ample time to get the empty filled. You should get 2 weeks out of a 4.5kg bottle.
Cheers.
Tony F8
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Follow Up By: Eric Praline - Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 19:40

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 19:40
Hi, Tony. I've been thinking of making a cover for the freezer section, I'll give your suggestion a go. I'm planning on getting some baskets made for the fridge, these should make it possible to create something that just slots into place (like the freezer section lids you see on some Engels). Alas, I'm not much of a beer drinker anymore. I don't suppose a Johnny Walker box would work instead? :)
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Follow Up By: Tony F8 - Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 21:50

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 21:50
I'm sure a johnny box will do, I only came across the the carton end by accident, but as I said it worked a treat in the 1180 on our first trip round oz in 97, I think it's more the principal than the material which should be applied. I've used a similar set up in the engel till we got a 27lt as a freezer.
Cheers.
Tony F8.
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Follow Up By: Eric Praline - Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 21:56

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 21:56
Okay. Should I glue the al-foil to the cardboard or just wrap it around?
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Follow Up By: Tony F8 - Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014 at 12:29

Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014 at 12:29
Eric, just cover the cardboard neatly and usually a bit of sticky tape will do the job. It's not a permanent thing, but cheap and easy to replace at the drop of a hat.
Cheers.
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Reply By: Eric Praline - Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 20:42

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 20:42
Oldtrack123, I seem to have mistaken your post for a reply from sdr00y. My apologies, sir. I didn't realize my error until just now.
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Follow Up By: Member - sdr00y (Beecroft,NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 22:04

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 22:04
That's ok Eric. No problem.

The fridge should have something akin to a foot, maybe a rubber stopper or something underneath, for the fridge to sit on to allow the air gap. I would see if you can level the board with the wedges then sit the fridge on the level board.

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Follow Up By: Eric Praline - Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 22:07

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at 22:07
Ah, okay, now I understand. Thanks for clearing that up.
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Reply By: SDG - Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014 at 22:06

Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014 at 22:06
I use to sit my fridge on an old milk crate. Kept off the ground, circulation all around, and when not used for fridge, holds all the odds and ends of camping.
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Reply By: Grizzle - Sunday, Dec 21, 2014 at 09:29

Sunday, Dec 21, 2014 at 09:29
I used to sit mine on a piece of wood to level in up then put it in a pop up toilet tent. Sit the gas bottle outside. If it is dry you can take the top off the toilet tent for air flow. Worked really well.

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