Fridge trade out

Has anyone changed out a 12v 120 dc two way fridge for a three way fridge? 
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  • VernaVerna Posts: 5,491Administrator
    Which model and year of [email protected], please?
    Verna, Columbus, IN, 2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite white/red, towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost; [email protected] Administrator




  • TabfortwoTabfortwo Posts: 147Member
    I pulled it apart did some measurements and the only way to get a lp gas fridge is to go much smaller. I guess we're back to more solar. Also I finally found the solar controller in stalled be nucamp it's under the bed next to the alde unit. Not sure what they were thinking but that's gonna change. The only way to see the thing is to take the whole bed apart and stand on your head.
  • driftlessdriftless Posts: 133Member
    There is an app that you can down load to be able to monitor solar output and battery level.  Solar app is the app name.  Contact [email protected] ro get link and passcode.
    Happy Trails,
    Phil & Anita - Driftless: 2018 [email protected] 400/2015 Ford Explorer 

  • RovnBloodsRovnBloods Posts: 1Member
    edited July 2018
    Did you consider taking out the sliding drawer under the fridge to get more room?  We too are looking for alternatives for the fridge in our [email protected]
  • TabfortwoTabfortwo Posts: 147Member
    We did there is the wheel well under the fridge that will not alowa for this. But the new 2019 400 has an option for a larger fridge in the closet and removes the existing one. This will put two large drawers where the fridge was and one large drawer under the new fridge. I'm working with nucamp to figure out the logistics now.

  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 5,507Member
    This is interesting because we just had a big discussion on Saturday at the unofficial üCamp after party about why most of us (in the discussion) would trade our three way for the two way! Two is super efficient and reliable. The three way does not seem to get as cold and is not as reliable and the big battery (now batteries) on the 400 provides a lot of run time, even without solar.

    Jenn Grover | 2015 320 S | 2018 Jeep Grand WK2 | Nights in [email protected]: 211 | Pittsburgh

  • TabfortwoTabfortwo Posts: 147Member
    edited July 2018
    Unless you have direct sunlight for the entire daylight hours the fridge will only run for 2-3 days also you cant use anything else or it will drain them faster. 
    The areas that we camp In we are only able to get 3-4 hrs of indirect sunlight which is not nearly enough.
  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 5,507Member
    edited July 2018
    Tabfortwo said:
    Unless you have direct sunlight for the entire daylight hours the fridge will only run for 2-3 days also you cant use anything else or it will drain them faster. 
    The areas that we camp In we are only able to get 3-4 hrs of indirect sunlight which is not nearly enough.
    Travels with Delaney did a video showing where they got 4 days from the fridge and Alde without any solar. Another 400 owner posted that they ran the fridge on battery all weekend and the fan on high continuously, without solar, and still had 75% state of charge.


    Jenn Grover | 2015 320 S | 2018 Jeep Grand WK2 | Nights in [email protected]: 211 | Pittsburgh

  • TabfortwoTabfortwo Posts: 147Member
    There TV must have charged their battery in between locations.
  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 5,507Member
    Neither changed locations during the testing period. Have you had different results?

    Jenn Grover | 2015 320 S | 2018 Jeep Grand WK2 | Nights in [email protected]: 211 | Pittsburgh

  • TabfortwoTabfortwo Posts: 147Member
    If I set the fridge on 1.5-2 without solar it will last three days if we use lights pump and charge a phone at night maybe two days drops to 1/3. At that point hooked it to a generator fully charged lasted two more days. Bottom line if we are in full sun no problems stays fully charged.i would rather have a three way fridge and be able to camp anywhere. 
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Posts: 4,926Moderator
    Makes me wonder about the health of your big battery and/or the accuracy of the battery monitor.  Do you notice your frig cycling a lot?  Have you checked the voltage vs your monitor?
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
       
                                           
  • TabfortwoTabfortwo Posts: 147Member
    The fridge runs almost continually and that fan that blows all the hot air into the trailer. 
    I pulled the the solar monitor out from under the bed when we got back from our last trip so we could monitor it. Everything looks good voltage wise it's been setting with fridge on 4 only on battery and it's remains fully chargedwith solar. 
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Posts: 4,926Moderator
    Have you measured a true resting voltage?  Voltage under charge is typically artificially elevated.  I would try isolating the battery with the cut- off switch and check what it does over time.  If your battery is okay, is it possible the frig thermostat needs adjustment?  Shouldn’t the fan discharge hot air?  That could be contributing to the constant cycling.  
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
       
                                           
  • maddmikemaddmike Posts: 135Member
    Do you have the one battery or the two?
  • TabfortwoTabfortwo Posts: 147Member
    Working on the battery.
    Yes the fan blows directly on to the bed bad design for norcold and it doesnt help how hot it has been for the fridge


  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 5,507Member
    The three way sounds more appealing than it is. They can be very unreliable and even when they work, they do not keep up with the heat from a temperature perspective. They are difficult to repair and even more difficult to find a dealer who can actually fix them versus suggest you need an entirely new fridge. Lastly, they draw over 11ah on DC, which is the recommended more while traveling. A lot of modern TVs have trouble keeping up with that draw due to their smart battery power distribution. This catches up with you after a long day. I wish I had kept a total for the amount of groceries I have lost with the three way fridge.

    The pump is a decent size drain on your battery. One thing I do to preserve water, and in your case it would preserve water, is use a good Chapin 48 oz hand pump spray bottle for things like rinsing the sink, rinsing toothbrush, even washing dishes. It would be interesting for you to do a trip where you keep track of what power resources you use and for how long. 

    Jenn Grover | 2015 320 S | 2018 Jeep Grand WK2 | Nights in [email protected]: 211 | Pittsburgh

  • TabfortwoTabfortwo Posts: 147Member
    We've had many large trailers with 3way fridges and have never had a problem. None of them had norcold always dometic not sure if that makes any difference. 
    As I said sense the last trip I put the solar controller out where it can be monitored and eliminated all the fantom draws. Doing a two week trip the first of August well wee how it goes.
  • jgram2jgram2 Posts: 1,466Member
    Ours is a simple style of camping. We don’t travel with the fridge on, never boondocked for more than 2 days, love the fridge on propane and haven’t lost any foodstuffs to a warm fridge. We have no solar. We do carry a cooler with ice for cold beverages, but the eggs, salad, bread, meat and mayo have survived in the fridge. As in everything, your personal preferences dictate how you outfit your camper.
    John, Judi, Guinness & OD in PDX
    [email protected]@t 2015 S Max Outback, ‘18 V6 4Runner 


  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 5,507Member
    Tabfortwo said:
    We've had many large trailers with 3way fridges and have never had a problem. None of them had norcold always dometic not sure if that makes any difference. 
    As I said sense the last trip I put the solar controller out where it can be monitored and eliminated all the fantom draws. Doing a two week trip the first of August well wee how it goes.
    Then I can see why the three way seems appealing. The three way fridges in large trailers are quite different and designed to be run on LP while in transit. The smaller one of the [email protected] is not designed for this. If the LP blows out (which does happen, and it is not unusual) the igniter keeps clicking until you either relight or turn off, so there is a good chance you will experience problems with the igniter down the road. Lastly, the interwebs are filled with the debate about the safety of driving with an open flame. I have no intention of rehashing that arguement, here.

    I used an ARB fridge in my TV on my last trip to keep my foods that could spoil and a Goal Zero Yeti battery. I had issues with my solar cable,so I also used the Yeti to top off the [email protected] I also freeze a couple of Nalgene bottles and put them in the Norcold beforr I left. They helped keep the temp of the fridge down and gave me some nice cold water from home to drink down the road.

    Jenn Grover | 2015 320 S | 2018 Jeep Grand WK2 | Nights in [email protected]: 211 | Pittsburgh

  • skwheeskwhee Posts: 244Member

    @Tabfortwo

    As owners of a 2018 [email protected] 400 built in May 2017 that we have used for more than 200 nights, we have been thrilled with the 12V Norcold refrigerator. It has been exceedingly reliable and holds a week's worth of groceries without difficulty. In our unit the vent is above the front of the refrigerator and not vented directly onto the bed. We have not experienced the continual cycling nor hot air blowing into the cabin as you have described. It makes us wonder if you need to have your refrigerator checked out.

    We opted to not go with the rooftop solar but rather with 160W of portable monocrystalline panels so that we could camp in the shade and still be able to capture nearby full sun as well as to move the panels throughout the day to maximize collection. With that we should be able to be off grid indefinitely unless we are in deep dark woods without sunny spots nearby. We do carry a generator but hope to use it rarely and are looking forward to really putting it to the test later this summer.

    As you assess your power usage, remember that the Alde needs to be on propane when you are off-grid. On electric it draws 18amps. 

    @jkjenn has done a great job of highlighting some of the issues with propane refrigeration in tiny trailers. We do not have personal experience with it but have had many a conversation with owners who do, and it seems many of them carries a cooler or a 12V chest refrigerator for their perishable food. Some use the propane fridge in the [email protected] for non-perishables, others use it for a pantry cupboard. And there is the issue of the significant heat that is generated by the ammonia absorption technology of the 3way refrigerator, a lot more than what you are experiencing with your current equipment. And there is the need for two more penetrations into your side wall and exhaust fans to get rid of the heat.

    Here's an excellent article comparing and contrasting the two forms of RV refrigeration:

    http://www.truckcamperadventure.com/2016/02/the-danfoss-compessor-refrigerator-pros-cons-and-a-few-tips/

    Replacing your 12V with a 3way would require some significant cabinetry and plumbing revision in addition to the cost of the equipment. Would you consider adding portable solar to your system as an alternative to a refrigerator change out? It may be much less expensive and present fewer problems down the road.

    Hope this helps.

    Steve and Karen Cullowhee, North Carolina 2008 Ford F150 --2018 [email protected] 400
  • WannaBeMiniWannaBeMini Posts: 13Member
    We have a late 2018 400 with the two way frig.  I leave it on all the time, set between 2 and 3, even when parked in our driveway.  We have the roof solar, and I have a Victron BMV 700 battery monitor.  I have found the following.  Our frig does not continuously run, but cycles as I would expect, even when temps are high.  At home, we are not plugged on shore power, and over a 24 hour period, our battery drain is around 27 amps (batteries show 90%) due to frig and any residual draws.  I do have switches on the radio and tv, so no draw from those.  The solar usually has the batteries up to 100% by 11 am.  We have dual 6 volt batteries.  The frig draws just under 5 ah when cycling.  It also cools really well.  On our first trip out, I didn't realize that the freezer compartment door was not clipped shut, and we had a bunch of stuff on the top shelf freeze!  Though it is a little small, we couldn't be happier with our 2 way.
    Pat, Steve, Rowdy & Shadow
    2018 [email protected] 400 - "[email protected] [email protected]"
  • TabfortwoTabfortwo Posts: 147Member
    Mine will stay charged if I'm in full sun but we never camp in full sun. So I ordered a 200w suitcase solar panel that will get us by until nucamp lays out the plan for the new fridge at the end of the summer.
  • wernickewernicke Posts: 3Member
    I went for an ARB, put it in the back of my car and use the fridge as storage as someone else on the forum suggested (verna maybe?).  No more noise from the fridge (2008 dutchman), and it actually works.  I use shore power but it requires such low voltage I wonder if it might work with just solar panels.  Anyway I'm happy with it.  Bought it at REI during their 20% off sale.  They have an amazing guaranty.
  • JohnDanielsCPAJohnDanielsCPA Posts: 221Member
    I bought my ARB at REI during their 20% sale as well, and it has worked swimingly.  It has had no problem keeping up with a 120 watt panel attached to my battery.  I was at Arches National Park in May for a week without hookups and with my solar panel, and I departed with my battery at 12.5 volts.  I would think, unless I had a few days of heavy overcast, I could probably stay out almost indefinitely with this setup.  I originally bought a 200 watt panel, but found it to be overkill for my energy usage.  The 120 watt seems to have hit the sweet spot between energy generation and DC output.
    2017 [email protected] Max S
    2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
  • Denny16Denny16 Posts: 60Member
    edited February 13
    I know this is an old discussion, but still has some good current info to a new TaB owner.  I was amazed at how different TabforTwo’s experiences with his TaB 400 had been.  Did he ever get this issue resolved?

    TabforTwo said, “I pulled the the solar monitor out from under the bed when we got back from our last trip so we could monitor it.” 

    What controller do you have?  The factory controller is a Victron BlueTab, that does not have a display, only three LEDs to show rate of charge.  The display is a smart phone application you download on your phone and it gives you all the data from anywhere around the trailer. 
    No need to get down on your knees to see what the charge rate is.  The app also gives yiu more dats, including history of what previously was going on.   That said, this only shows the charging info on the battery, not the actual battery drain or load.

    The only accurate way to monitor the battery is with an actual battery monitor, like the Victron BMV series (see: https://www.victronenergy.com/battery-monitors ). This gives you actual data on battery load and condition, and also works with the phone application.  The actual meter can be located anywhere you want for convenient viewing.  I,plan to mount it on the panel by the door of the TaB 400 where the other monitor/control panels are located.
    cheers
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Posts: 1,094Member
    He could have wanted to use a multimeter directly to the controller to look at state of charge and incoming voltage from the panel. 
    2017 Outback
    Towed by 2014 Touareg TDi
  • mrericmreric Posts: 144Member
    you can also invest in lithium,   battleborn is not the only one anymore, there is a few other brands  in the $500-600.     a new 3 ways will cost about $1000   plus modifications.   for about $1500 you can get a pretty entry level solar and lithium ...
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