240V Fridge while travelling?

Submitted: Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 11:54
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Has anyone used an inverter to power a 2 way fridge (240v/gas) while travelling? Have a caravan and would like to run the fridge if I can while driving.

Cheers
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 12:05

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 12:05
Hi Craig and EJ

Would you be looking at powering the inverter from your tug battery?

Think of the implications to first on the scene people and emergency service personnel in case of an accident when you have 240 v running in your caravan whilst travelling.

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: Nigel Migraine - Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 21:52

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 21:52
"Think of the implications to first on the scene people and emergency service personnel in case of an accident when you have 240 v running in your caravan whilst travelling."

Would you please explain to us what those implications may be and why you consider there to be significant electrical dangers (presumably?) from an isolated 12 volt to 240V converter?

I suspect you don't know so I'll point out that an isolated 240 volt (or any other isolated volt) system is not earth referenced.

You must be worried sick about the 40,000 volt ignition system present on all petrol vehicles.

NM
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 22:04

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 22:04
Well that's earth referenced!

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 04:50

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 04:50
Nigel, a small amount of water would make it well and truly earth referenced, and lethal.
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Follow Up By: Nigel Migraine - Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 20:32

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 20:32
“Nigel, a small amount of water would make it well and truly earth referenced, and lethal.”

Utter rubbish.

Trying to obtain any sort of usable electrical earth via a trickle of water on to the ground is close to impossible.

In addition; your fanciful speculation requires that only one side of the isolated inverter connects with your speculative water to the earth – should both sides connect the inverter output fuse/circuit breaker would blow, it is close to impossible to envisage such a situation occurring.

In (double) addition; you are now foretelling death and destruction based upon a multiplicity of events:

1 – an isolated inverter is used to power a fridge etc
2 – an traffic accident occurs
3 – a simultaneous fountain of water just happens to successfully earth only one side of said inverter
4 – a person happens to touch the other pole of this isolated inverter

That’s a greater level of happenstance that is considered for risk analysis of medical equipment used for invasive procedures.

What is it with this forum?

Why do so many people feel the need to blaze their names in lights on the internet by foretelling doom and destruction and instructing the rest of us in all the things they think we should not do?

Especially when they, clearly, have little to no technical knowledge of the subject matter upon which they waffle.

NM
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Follow Up By: craigandej - Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 21:22

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 21:22
Well said Nigel.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 01:02

Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 01:02
I'm have to somewhat agree with Nigel on this one. The actual risk of electrocution, or receiving any electric shock under the conditions proposed is most unlikely.

The risks of injury or death from other possibilities while travelling on the roads or tracks is much higher yet are tolerated without nearly as much concern.

I have seen some dreadful electrical hazards in my lifetime and am quite surprised that there are not more electrocutions reported. However, having a 230v inverter operating while travelling does not rate as one of those hazards.

And Nigel, I love that word "happenstance".

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 05:42

Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 05:42
Are you serious? it only takes 50ish milliamps to kill you. Water will conduct better than that.

Why don't you try it?

I'll assume no reply means you tried it.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 13:04

Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 13:04
Dear Mr Boobook,

This is the widow of Allan B writing this.

I am not sure just what my husband did but he got up from the computer muttering about inverters and took a jug of water out to the 4WD. The last thing I heard was an anguished groan. The paramedics said that it would have been quick! I now have a Troopy for sale and it is priced down as I think there is a problem with that inverter thingy....... its all black and smoking. The firemen said that it would be best if no-one touched the vehicle but I'm sure that it is safe because hubby looked after it and always knew what he was doing with the electrics. Well, most of the time!

Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 13:12

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 13:12
Hi Craigandej,

If you were using the batteries in the van and the 240 volt lead was kept to a minimum length then you might get away with it.

As motherhen says there is an issue with 240 volt power in the van in the event of a serious accident. The problem is magnified if the inverter is sited in the car. That is a NO NO as you then have a 240 volt lead travelling across the coupling and livening up both car and van in the event of an accident.

In all events converting 12 volts to 240 is a hiding to nothing as the losses make it heavy on batteries unless you are using it sparingly. A better solution is to aim to have everything that works off 12 volts only. As you will only be powering your frig off 12 volts when travelling it is not a difficult solution to run it off the car battery while driving. Use heavy cables if doing this.

The thing to remember with inverters is that there are efficiency losses when converting 12 volts to 240 and when converting from 240 back to 12 volts, or any other voltage for that matter, there are losses again. That is why I say you are on a hiding to nothing,

Stick with 12 volts, safer in the long run.

Cheers, Bruce.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 14:22

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 14:22
Caravan batteries would be inadequate for the job with a unless a large bank powered by an outside source such as solar.

Our solution was to replace the two way fridge with a compressor fridge, and charge a battery from a portable solar panel when we stopped.

The link function here is not working at present but craignadej may gain useful information about power needs from Collyn River's articles such as http://www.caravanandmotorhomebooks.com/articles/fridges_one.htm

Mh
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Follow Up By: craigandej - Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 15:40

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 15:40
To clarify, this is only while driving. I have dual batteries in the troopy with solar input and Redarc charger also. The van will have the inverter fitted along with a 3rd battery connected via anderson plug. The fridge draws 115 Watts on 240v (no 12volt) so power supply while driving is not a problem. Have an Engel in the vehicle also, am not looking to change the caravan fridge at all. Its an old van for holidays along the coast with 2 kids under 3. Once stopped we will run gas.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 15:46

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 15:46
Next question then Craingandej

Will you be driving long days in hot climates? With young children and going to coastal holidays, probably not. Just leave the fridge off whilst travelling and while the fridge is not being opened and full it should maintain the a reasonable temperature.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 16:06

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 16:06
Craig,
I see you have the dual batteries in the vehicle. I assume from this you are pondering running a lead across the coupling and down the drawer bar to the van frig.

Personally I would not even dream of it. Too risky in the event of an accident.
Last thing we want is for some poor person whose job it is to fish us out of a damaged vehicle being electrocuted by or wrong doing. When the rescue squad roll up to an accident they are not looking for any 240 volt hazards within the vehicle and so are at extreme risk.

Not a good idea mate. Even if you set it up from the van batteries there is still a risk to someone else in the event of an accident.

As Motherhen says, just leave the door closed on the frig between stops and put the gas on when you stop even for just a half hour at morning tea time.
This is what we do also and it works fine for us.

We run a couple of 110 amp hour batteries in the van and a solar unit fitted to the roof of the van and it works brilliantly well.

Hope you sort it out OK and hope to see you on the road Craig.
Cheers, Bruce.



I just bought a 200 watt X 12 volt solar panel of ebay for $265 so the price is falling all the time. This will replace the current 80 watt panel on the van.


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Reply By: SCUBADOO - Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 16:28

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 16:28
I have successfully run a 60L 110W freezer as a fridge in my motorhome for the last six years.
It operates perfectly from my 500W pure sine wave inverter.
The inverter is JUST big enough to start the compressor and you may require a higher wattage one for your fridge. Starting surge currents are high.

I did originally experiment with a modified square wave 100W inverter and was very disappointed with the results. The motor did not run smoothly at all.

FWIW The freezer runs quieter than my 12V 80L Engel.

Keep the DC leads to your battery very short.

For the disbelievers.
Typical performance here in NZ @2-4°C internal cabinet.
Mistral 60L Freezer 11A @ 11% (correct) duty cycle.
Engel 80L 3.4A @ 36% duty cycle.

They can do the maths. (-;



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Follow Up By: SCUBADOO - Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 16:30

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 16:30
Try:
modified square wave 1000W inverter.
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Follow Up By: craigandej - Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 18:53

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 18:53
Thanks Scubadoo, glad someone read the thread properly, will look into a pure sine wave inverter, rather than modified. Inverter will be right beside 3rd battery in caravan as stated, with appropriate cabling. Vehicle with Redarc charger and solar input will power all 12v batteries via anderson plug on drawbar.

Cheers.
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Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 20:13

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 at 20:13
Hi Craig. Why not power the inverter with 12v from the tow vehicle through a relay powered from the ignition switch. Ign on, 12v to inverter, 240v inverter on. Any mishaps,ign,12v,and inverter all go off together. Would make it safe and practical. Cheers,Bob.
AnswerID: 493812

Reply By: dbish - Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 16:31

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 16:31
Dont see a problem. I used to run my fridge of an inverter while traveling, sometimes ran a genny on the Aframe of the van to run fridge while traveling. Eventualy I could afford a Waeco upright fridge & solar. In hot weather a houshold fridge doesnt hold the cold very well, certainly not when travelling all day. Not every one can afford the ideal setup when starting.
AnswerID: 493863

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