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12-volt freezer in tow vehicle?


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Greetings to all.  We are picking up our brand new LE2 in April. We are newbies and have much to learn. One of our biggest concerns is refrigeration. We've rented RVs in the past and it seems that the fridges on these (abused) rentals are inconsistent at best .  Questions:

1.  Will the fridge keep food cold while driving down the road?

2. Is it worth the investment of a 12-volt fridge/freezer to keep in the truck? If so, what brand to you recommend?

 

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Keith & Jill Burnett | 2022 LE2  #1071 | 2021 Toyota Tundra

Atlanta GA

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1 - yes.  If your intent is to run the fridge/freezer on 12 volt while driving down the road then it would be prudent to plan to NOT open the door of the fridge thereby preventing cold air from escaping.  My ice-cream stays hard! 

2 - Maybe.  This depends on how much food and/or use you plan to give the existing fridge.  I'd plan on not getting a separate unit until you actually see what your usage is.

Congrats on the April pickup!  Hopefully we'll have a chance to meet at the Rally in May if you plan on being there.

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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We have never had trouble running the fridge with 12 volt while driving. The alternator has always been able to keep the batteries topped off. When we get our Ollie in September, we will not have the alternator charging the battery bank. However, we are planning on getting the solar package and I don't foresee any issues. 

We have carried an ARB fridge for years. Our fridge in the camper has always been on the small size. We like to cook and have ice cold beer. I am sure we take more food with us than the average camper! We have powered our ARB Element in the back of the T.V. with 2 batteries hooked to the alternator. They have been OK for a day or two. I did worry about draining the batteries. So, we recently upgraded to 200 Ah lithium batteries and  added an MPPT charge controller with portable solar panels. No worries now!

Good Luck!

Kirk

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Kirk and Carrie Peterson

Twin Falls, Idaho

2018 Ram 3500, 8 foot bed with overland conversion.

Elite 2 before the end of 2022!

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Our experience is with the older Dometic 3-way fridge.  We’ve never had an issue with food staying cold or frozen while traveling on propane.  Size-wise there is enough room for food for the two of us.  Someone with the new refrigerator model should have a better answer.  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

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A compressor fridge like my medium ARB unit works great, but it uses around 60 amp hours daily, and it also provides continual “amp anxiety”. With marginal solar when the days are short or grey, it makes me constantly worry about recharging the batteries. I am much happier and laid back if I just leave the fridge at home. If I had a larger solar array, I would be more likely to bring it along. It operates off the alternator when moving, and off the trailer batteries when stopped.

I hate the older three way fridge for a number of reasons, but I do have to admit it works well enough and doesn’t drain the batteries if you tow with it set to propane. I would rather use those truck amps to recharge the trailer batteries than operate the fridge….. it is a very heavy draw when set to 12 volts.

John Davies

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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We have an ARB 63 Compressor Fridge in our Truck.
It's been bulletproof so far.
We use it for any trips over 2 weeks to extend storage of vegetables, dairy and beverages.


We've just returned from a 6 month road trip and found that was a great companion for the fridge in the Oliver.

Here's some data showing the current draw on various ARB fridges and how many hours various size batteries would last.

For my ARB 63, I've put in 2- 100AH batteries in the back of my truck that are charged by a Redarc DC/DC charger.

In our recent trip, we never had the batteries drop below their 50% point even after 4 days of use off grid.

My plan for longer term boon docking is to add solar onto the roof and have it connect to the MPPT input on the Redarc.


516627091_ScreenShot2022-03-10at2_05_19PM.thumb.png.31cc4d0fbaee460b418ab187c3e942c2.png

 

For more on our installation see the pix.

Redarc DC/DC Charger for Dual 100AH AGM's

Above: REDARC DC/DC charger keeps the 2 - 100AH AGM's full charged while driving.

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Dual 100AH AGM's are the current power source for our ARB Fridge.

pdint_2_image_46281.15719636048322.jpg.028ddc5f0edb71484002fb2b94953ca1.jpg

 

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2019 Elite II (Hull 505 - Galway Girl - August 7, 2019 Delivery) 
Tow Vehicle: 2021 F350 King Ranch, FX4, MaxTow Package, 10 Speed, 3.55 Rear Axle
Batteries Upgrade: Dual 315GTX Lithionics Lithiums - 630AH Total
Inverter/Charger: Xantrex 2000Pro 

BLOG:  https://4-ever-hitched.com

Amazon Oliver Outfitters Guide:  https://amzn.to/2mAAgPO

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We have a small Iceco 12v and used it a lot in our Airstream, but our Ollie Elite II frig/frzr seems big enough if we are near services.  When boondocking in remote areas, we do use the Iceco as a freezer only. 

Charlie.

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Arizona | 2020 Oliver Elite II Twin bed Hull #617 | 2021 Ram 1500 e-Hemi 4x4

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I admire your lithium and solar system update and have used many your ideas for the design of my system.  I thank you for all the time you invested on the system design, as well as the detailed report of the entire process.  Likewise for the truck bed electrical installation.  All quality gear for sure.  For those with covered beds that don't have stuff moving in the bed on paved roads the above will work perfectly.

But for those using fire roads in mountains or running across unpaved rough roads, stuff in the bed does not always stay put.  For this group, a modification of the above layout would be beneficial to provide protection to the exposed components.  My suggestion would be:

  • Add standoffs to move the carpeted board out from the truck cargo bed wall just enough to mount the thicker electrical in the recess under the cargo tie-down area.
  • Layout the the electrical components on the back side of the carpeted board taking advantage of the bed vertical ribs and voids.  
  • Raise the carpeted board up an inch to allow for cooling air to flow up and out of the created electrical cavity.
  • Use a SS continuous hinge on the carpeted board (On the left side) allow the carpeted board to swing out for service.  Attach the right side with removeable hardware for service.
  • Run the appliance electrical under the carpeted board to power up your loads.
  • For those with open beds, a rain shield would also be beneficial.

The cargo load side would then be a clean board with carpet , and all the electrical  components well protected from cargo by that board.

    

 

 

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Tug:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Trailer Tow, FX-4, 4X4, Rear Locker

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Geronimo-John:

Fantastic improvement ideas!

After having lived with it for 6 months on the road, many of the things you suggested were in the back of my mind.

Based on your ideas, I think I'll "rework" that area in the bed to make safer, more rugged and cleaner.

I also want to put some shelving in the front of the bed for better storage, tie downs and control of items in the truck bed.
There was far too much stuff moving for my taste on the 6 month road trip.

Once I finish the next phase I'll repost the re-design of the electrical, and the new storage upgrades.

Again, thanks for the inspiration to improve the design for safer off road use.

Craig

 

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2019 Elite II (Hull 505 - Galway Girl - August 7, 2019 Delivery) 
Tow Vehicle: 2021 F350 King Ranch, FX4, MaxTow Package, 10 Speed, 3.55 Rear Axle
Batteries Upgrade: Dual 315GTX Lithionics Lithiums - 630AH Total
Inverter/Charger: Xantrex 2000Pro 

BLOG:  https://4-ever-hitched.com

Amazon Oliver Outfitters Guide:  https://amzn.to/2mAAgPO

ALAZCAFLGAIDILINKSKYLAMIMNMSMOMTNENMNCOR

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Based on great feedback, I've made a change to the way our fridge wiring is hooked up.

After some reflection and trial an error I completed the project to bullet-proof and protect the wiring that is part of my truck bed 12V system.

1) Moved all the loose wiring onto the back side of the mounting board where it can't get snagged by items in the truck bed.
2) On the back side, I tied down the longer wires with wire clamps.  
3) Added standoffs behind the board to allow some space for the components moved to that side.
4) Ran the main 12V wires to the bottom edge of the bed securing them under the bedbug.
5) Did the same for the 12V wires running over to the ARB Fridge connector.
6) I left the Redarc visible on the front of the board so I can see indicator LED's and where it has good airflow.

The unit flips out with the removal of 2 mounting screws if I need to do any service.

Here's a before and after shot.

206002500_beforeafter.jpg.8e0cfd1c178b24e46946300880be1a3c.jpg

Thanks again to Geronimo John for the inspiration to ruggedize and clean up.

Tomorrow I'll put a shelf across the top of the area to keep anything from dropping down into the space behind the mounting board.M

My next project to build some shelving in the front of the truck for our various gear boxes.

Craig  

Hull 505 

 

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2019 Elite II (Hull 505 - Galway Girl - August 7, 2019 Delivery) 
Tow Vehicle: 2021 F350 King Ranch, FX4, MaxTow Package, 10 Speed, 3.55 Rear Axle
Batteries Upgrade: Dual 315GTX Lithionics Lithiums - 630AH Total
Inverter/Charger: Xantrex 2000Pro 

BLOG:  https://4-ever-hitched.com

Amazon Oliver Outfitters Guide:  https://amzn.to/2mAAgPO

ALAZCAFLGAIDILINKSKYLAMIMNMSMOMTNENMNCOR

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Wow Craig that's quite an improvement.

Roger on being able to see the LED's for the Dc to Dc unit.

I snagged a recommendation for tiedown from  John D when he did his Battleborn Battery upgrade.  Here is his recommended tiedowns.  I have used them and like them as well.  One note of caution:  No matter how many you think you will need, you'll wish you have more of these.  In my case, for sheet metal attachments for the eye straps, I used blind flange nuts/Revnuts.  1/4"-20 works well for general fastening.  And there is a huge number of bolt heads to choose from at HD/Lowes/Ace.  It is nice having the install tool, but for 30 years I just used a grade 8 bolt, nuts and washers to crush the Rivnuts.

GJ

 

image.png.2d7d651aebdc39af6c0dcb70216f62bd.png

 

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Tug:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Trailer Tow, FX-4, 4X4, Rear Locker

ALAZARCACOIDKSKYLAMSNENVNMNCOKORTNTXUTVA

 

 

 

 

 

 

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