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12v only vs 12/120 compressor fridge


C&MCurrie

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In the near future I am going to swap out the Norcold 3 way fridge with a compressor fridge. The model I’m looking at comes in both 12/120 and 12v only configurations. Any reason to choose one over the other?  Seems like the 12v only model would be a logical choice since the converter would supply the 12v when on shore power. 

2021 Legacy Elite I , Hull #765

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3.0 Diesel 

Navarre, Fl

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6 hours ago, C&MCurrie said:

 Seems like the 12v only model would be a logical choice since the converter would supply the 12v when on shore power. 

I don't follow your logic.

Are you using the term "converter" to refer to your inverter?  When boondocking, my Xantrex inverter supplies 120V power, inverted from the 12V power supplied by my battery bank.  When connected to shore power, my battery bank, not my inverter, supplies all 12V power in the trailer.  But, my Xantrex inverter/charger recharges the 12V batteries when connected to shore power.  And, when connected to shore power, my inverter supplies 120V power to the trailer in "bypass" mode, i.e., "bypassing" the inverter altogether.

Since our Norcold runs on either 120V AC or 12V DC power, our Oliver trailer is wired for both.  The logical choice for me would be a 120V/12V model, since the wiring should already be in place, and we could run the fridge on 120 when connected to shore power.

Any other views from you engineer types on the forum?

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Central Idaho

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We looked into the dc only when we were swapping the 3way to a 12v Secop (formerly Danfoss) compressor fridge. I thought it would be fine, as the unit runs on 12v, and the 110 plug in steps down to 12v, anyway. Many boats use 12v only. 

We wound up finding a deal on a truckfridge tf130 , dual power,  120 and 12v, and the outlet was already there, anyway. 

What brand are you looking at?

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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I’m looking at the Vitrifrigo C115i.  I agree with you that the 110 steps down to 12v anyway and that the 12v only model would be fine. Just was wondering if there would be a scenario where having the two way 110/12 would be beneficial. I’ll probably just go with the 2 way since both units cost the same anyway. Probably overthinking it, but thought I’d get some input from more knowledgeable folks. 

2021 Legacy Elite I , Hull #765

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3.0 Diesel 

Navarre, Fl

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If the price is similar or same, I'd just go with the dual power. 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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Another - it depends.

If you normally camp "plugged into shore power" then a 120 volt unit makes sense.  And, vise versa if you use 12 volts most of the time.

The reasoning is that if you mostly "convert" 12 volt to 120 volt then there is a built in loss of energy by doing that conversion.  Conversely, if you invert 120 volt to 12 volt you have an energy loss during the inversion.

Obviously, if you tend to do a bit of both then a dual unit would be the ticket.

Bill

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2023 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing, Max Payload, 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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True, @topgun2, since we usually camp without hookups, made no difference to us, but...

Also, if 12v system ever went down, 110 can be plugged in and you'd not lose all your food. 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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12 hours ago, C&MCurrie said:

The model I’m looking at comes in both 12/120 and 12v only configurations. Any reason to choose one over the other?

For a critical element of your camping support gear, having a refrigerator that can run from 12 or 120 volts gives you twice the onions when electrical weirdness happens. 

I like having a back-up plan so, any refrigerator I get to replace our Dometic "Fire Starter" boiling ammonia HazMat unit will need to have two power options.  I like options.  

GJ 

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As far as I know, you'll be the first with a vitrofrigio replacement in an Ollie.  Interesting choice. Very common brand in the boating world, but not common in rv's. I do like the bigger freezer. Is that what drew you, or do you have vitrofrigio experience in a boat, @C&MCurrie?

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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I have no experience with the Vitrifrigo brand but, yes, a bigger freezer was a requirement as well as physical dimensions that will allow us to get it into the camper without major hassle. It appears to be a well made unit and is priced a little lower than it’s competitors. 

2021 Legacy Elite I , Hull #765

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3.0 Diesel 

Navarre, Fl

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I would not switch from a 3 way to 2 way fridge unless you have a large lithium battery setup.  Sometimes you can’t find a sunny camping location to feed the solar.  For extra food capacity necessary for longer trips I would consider a portable cooler set to freezer mode. For the health of the lithium it might be nice to run the fridge on 120v and bring the SOC of the batteries off the stops when using shore power. 

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We've had a 12v secop (previously danfoss) compressor fridge for several years now in our Ollie. We don't have lithium, but we recognize that much of our solar power (400 fixed, 200 portable) goes to the fridge, and I monitor accordingly,  and we use few other electrical appliances. It does get tricky in cold weather, using the furnace, and shorter sun days. The Honda 1000 generator comes into play more often, then. 

We have 2 x 105 ah agm batteries, in our Elite. So, yes, it's a necessity to monitor the battery level carefully, as we rarely have full hookups. 

Our Elite tray holds (barely) two groups 31 agm batteries, so lithium upgrade may be in the future, when they die. More usable Ah per cubic foot, for sure. It won't be a "large" install, though. We don't "need" more than 200 ah, lithium, could luxuriate in 300, and don't have much room anyway, unless we stole some space somewhere inside,  other than the battery tray. Which we might be inclined to do. 

 

 

 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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18 hours ago, Geronimo John said:

a refrigerator that can run from 12 or 120 volts gives you twice the onions when electrical weirdness happens. 

We'll, that's pretty cool. We're always short of onions. 😁

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

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I installed a NovaKool fridge about five years ago and went with the 12/120 volt option. I figured that while boondocking and traveling I would use the 12 volt option and while connected to shore power I would use the 120 volt option. The fridge chooses either 12 volts or 120 volts automatically whichever one is available. The 12/120 fridge was over $200 more expensive than the 12 volt option. Some time ago we were at a campground that experienced several extreme power surges and even with the Oliver installed surge protector, the compressor control unit was still damaged. Fortunately I was able to use the 12 volt option until I could buy a replacement controller. About a week later we were on the coast and could easily get a new control unit (these fridges are used on many larger boats and probably can get a replacement controller at a semi truck repair shop) and it only took about a half hour to replace the controller. I still bought the 12/120 control unit but now typically only use the 12 volt option by turning the 120 volt breaker off in the trailer power distribution panel. I haven’t had any issues with using 12 volts only all of the time. Having said that, having the option of using either 12 volts or 120 volts gives you more flexibility. Especially if you have lithium batteries I think you would be fine either way. 

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2017 Elite II, Hull #208

2019 Chevy HD 2500 Duramax

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