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