Compressor fridges

Feb 6, 2013
80
50
18
Perth
#21
Thanks guys for all the input, it's going to be an expensive operation to set the caravan up from factory and then it's still a gamble as to whether the system will keep up. From what everyone has said, I think I'd be better off sticking to what's fitted standard. Plus the weight penalty is huge, especially on a single axle.
 

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
7,235
13,409
113
Cooloola Coast, QLD
www.expandasdownunder.com
#22
Yep that's right, but a roof mounted panel is less efficient than a portable. As someone who goes for weeks off grid I find my portable 120w will provide more juice than the roof 200w but I usually run the LRPS for the washing machine rarely to just charge batteries.....but then I don't have a compressor fridge....
Mate has 700plus amp of lithium with nearly as much in roof panel combined with a 3000 w invertor, but of overkill I thought.

Oh single axle does restrict things,
 

DRW

Well-Known Member
May 29, 2013
1,838
2,924
113
63
Beautiful Burrum Heads QLD
#23
I have 1 x 110Ah battery and 2 x 40W portable foldable panel and all I run is my car fridge, have never had any problem with the 3 way and usually have it set at 3 (1 - 6 on the dial) I keep drinks in the car fridge so the main fridge is kept closed a lot more, never had a problem with the 3 wayl in up to 48 degrees out side
 
Jan 21, 2018
31
55
18
Shailer park
#24
We are a power hungry family, we need juice for the occasional microwave via 2000 inverter, iPads , laptops etc for kids, tv, pedestal fans off the inverter during the day as it was hot ,we run 50 ltr waeco for drinks etc so only need to open the 3 way for meals. It's a 186 ltr model with the roof vent and camping on a farm over recent school holidays past Ipswich still got to mid 30's still had to be turned down to 3 to stop freezing in the fridge, and ice creams in the freezer were nice and hard.
Prob runs well as it's mounted on the awning shade side as well as only getting opened for meals and the odd snack. Waeco all day for drinks and water bottles is far better.

I used 2 x folding panels in parallel , 320 watts total 1 x 120 watt and 1 x 200 watt and they worked brilliantly togeather after the tips from here , and the batts 2 x 130 amp/hr on sunny days were in float mode by 11 am at the latest. Cloudy days saw a marked drop in performance but still managed to get to float by end of the day, just and was with the occasional sun burst between clouds. Would be a totally diff story if it was one of those rain event weeks.

One thing I love in our van , is the dedicated redarc 1240 bcdc charger, wired to 6 b&s to the draw bar Anderson plug. The solar plugs straight into it, and I have 2 leads made, one 4 mtr and 6 mtr in 6 mtr b&s cable with Anderson's on it. I can get my panels upto 10 mtrs from van if needed and stay camped in the shade whilst they are in direct sun. At 10 mtrs efficency is down by approx 10% but no biggy as plenty still gets to the redarc and we stay in shade.
Using no lead at the draw bar I was getting around 22-24 amps into the batts at 13.5 volts charge . So I was using approx 70-80 odd amps a day didn't take long to top up 3-5 hrs. Give or take . Only tested this out for the 30 mins late morning when the sun was shinning through a gap of the trees to our draw bar, I mostly ran the panels out with the 6 mtr lead to get full sun.

The beauty of the redarc, is if a quick top up is required, I can plug into car and it pushed out 43 amps, ( measured) at idle, I did this at night when we ran the microwave to assist the batts from the massive draw on them of approx 100 amps. With the redarc running the van batts only dropped to 12.5 from 12.8 when the microwave booted up for 5 /10 odd minutes. Microwave no redarc batts went from 12.8 down to 12.2, so the redarc was feeding nearly half the juice the microwave sucked up. We find the microwave handy as with doing lazy meals with the kids or just doing popcorn for them at night when they are playing on technology whilst I'm drinking beer around the campfire looking at the stars. Diff generation lol..... But we try and cook with gas and weber whenever possible.
I used to with the old van take our red power plant for top ups and microwave but now our car is the same thing and can be used in national parks as well with the redarc especially in rainforest type dark situations, I can chase the sun abit and then idle the car for say 1 hr at the end of the day if needed whilst the meals and showers are all getting sorted..
We were away for 9 nights and only had a few cloudy days so our solar needs were more than adequate with the 3 way fridge and waeco. But if we got low after say 3 or 4 days of bad cloud then I would just fire the redarc up for an hour or so.

This sorts us out for our 1-2 trips of upto 2 weeks unpowered a year, but if I had a compressor fridge in the van as well, I'd be getting more solar and still have a genny just in case.

Genny if I was going longer than couple of weeks, if I was going to do a big lap I'd have solar, small 1 kva genny stashed away for extended stays and good dc big charger.

I'm going to invest in 2 solar blankets to stash in the van for weight and extra capacity if needed on bad days and also just take one glass panel . Should give me 440 watts if needed especially now she wants more freezer space so getting a 40 ltr fridge as well for a extra freezer , so that's going to add another 40 odd amps of juice needed lol.

Someone needs to invent a can sized power source for us with some plutonium core like they put on space probes so we can run for years everything including air cons , just fit the family up in radioactive suits for the holidays :)
Cheers
 
Last edited:

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
611
613
93
Ferny Grove, Queensland
#25
Thanks guys for all the input, it's going to be an expensive operation to set the caravan up from factory and then it's still a gamble as to whether the system will keep up. From what everyone has said, I think I'd be better off sticking to what's fitted standard. Plus the weight penalty is huge, especially on a single axle.
Hi @GUlewis , the decision is still yours, but you are talking to a lot of experienced members who have had considerable experience in a lot of different conditions. All things are possible of course, but your main priority off grid for a few days is maintaining satisfactory refrigeration. That has to be always running properly. If necessary, you can always cut down on other electrical usages eg. no use of inverters (a big, big current users!!), no electric pumps, no television or radio, and you can have more romantic evenings with meals by candle light and go to bed early. Even so, you always have to be monitoring the battery storage situation and re-charging opportunities too, regardless of weather conditions. If that is your thing, then go for it as long as you understand the limitations of your system and the effect it may have on your off grid experience especially if charging conditions are inadequate.
IMHO, you should have at least 3 days' power reserve available and that is a lot of storage if compressor fridge alone is using 35 to 50 ah per day and there are other draws as well. The other issue is that you do not want to draw down batteries to less than 50% capacity too often, better to only use 30 to 40% max to get real life out of expensive storage batteries. Good luck with your new van which ever way you go.
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
611
613
93
Ferny Grove, Queensland
#26
We are a power hungry family, we need juice for the occasional microwave via 2000 inverter, iPads , laptops etc for kids, tv, pedestal fans off the inverter during the day as it was hot ,we run 50 ltr waeco for drinks etc so only need to open the 3 way for meals. It's a 186 ltr model with the roof vent and camping on a farm over recent school holidays past Ipswich still got to mid 30's still had to be turned down to 3 to stop freezing in the fridge, and ice creams in the freezer were nice and hard.
Prob runs well as it's mounted on the awning shade side as well as only getting opened for meals and the odd snack. Waeco all day for drinks and water bottles is far better.

I used 2 x folding panels in parallel , 320 watts total 1 x 120 watt and 1 x 200 watt and they worked brilliantly togeather after the tips from here , and the batts 2 x 130 amp/hr on sunny days were in float mode by 11 am at the latest. Cloudy days saw a marked drop in performance but still managed to get to float by end of the day, just and was with the occasional sun burst between clouds. Would be a totally diff story if it was one of those rain event weeks.

One thing I love in our van , is the dedicated redarc 1240 bcdc charger, wired to 6 b&s to the draw bar Anderson plug. The solar plugs straight into it, and I have 2 leads made, one 4 mtr and 6 mtr in 6 mtr b&s cable with Anderson's on it. I can get my panels upto 10 mtrs from van if needed and stay camped in the shade whilst they are in direct sun. At 10 mtrs efficency is down by approx 10% but no biggy as plenty still gets to the redarc and we stay in shade.
Using no lead at the draw bar I was getting around 22-24 amps into the batts at 13.5 volts charge . So I was using approx 70-80 odd amps a day didn't take long to top up 3-5 hrs. Give or take . Only tested this out for the 30 mins late morning when the sun was shinning through a gap of the trees to our draw bar, I mostly ran the panels out with the 6 mtr lead to get full sun.

The beauty of the redarc, is if a quick top up is required, I can plug into car and it pushed out 43 amps, ( measured) at idle, I did this at night when we ran the microwave to assist the batts from the massive draw on them of approx 100 amps. With the redarc running the van batts only dropped to 12.5 from 12.8 when the microwave booted up for 5 /10 odd minutes. Microwave no redarc batts went from 12.8 down to 12.2, so the redarc was feeding nearly half the juice the microwave sucked up. We find the microwave handy as with doing lazy meals with the kids or just doing popcorn for them at night when they are playing on technology whilst I'm drinking beer around the campfire looking at the stars. Diff generation lol..... But we try and cook with gas and weber whenever possible.
I used to with the old van take our red power plant for top ups and microwave but now our car is the same thing and can be used in national parks as well with the redarc especially in rainforest type dark situations, I can chase the sun abit and then idle the car for say 1 hr at the end of the day if needed whilst the meals and showers are all getting sorted..
We were away for 9 nights and only had a few cloudy days so our solar needs were more than adequate with the 3 way fridge and waeco. But if we got low after say 3 or 4 days of bad cloud then I would just fire the redarc up for an hour or so.

This sorts us out for our 1-2 trips of upto 2 weeks unpowered a year, but if I had a compressor fridge in the van as well, I'd be getting more solar and still have a genny just in case.

Genny if I was going longer than couple of weeks, if I was going to do a big lap I'd have solar, small 1 kva genny stashed away for extended stays and good dc big charger.

I'm going to invest in 2 solar blankets to stash in the van for weight and extra capacity if needed on bad days and also just take one glass panel . Should give me 440 watts if needed especially now she wants more freezer space so getting a 40 ltr fridge as well for a extra freezer , so that's going to add another 40 odd amps of juice needed lol.

Someone needs to invent a can sized power source for us with some plutonium core like they put on space probes so we can run for years everything including air cons , just fit the family up in radioactive suits for the holidays :)
Cheers
@Coldspace , being an electrician, you certainly have most of the possible problems covered. Nothing like having triple redundancy - if you have the money and space to store it whilst out and about. My situation is much more limited, but suits me well in all conditions too and meets my requirements. Cheers
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
611
613
93
Ferny Grove, Queensland
#27
My experience with three ways is their performance is a little poor in warm to hot weather. I do use a thermometer, so I monitor it all the time. Thought next time I'll give a compressor fridge a go. But I guess either fridge is only as good as its installer. I upgraded the 12v wiring on my current one as they only used what looked like 4mm twin core, the cooling performance improved plus I gain an extra 1.5v at the fridge. Don't want to fit the compressor fridge and then regretting it.
@GUlewis , in regard to above on 3 way fridges, agreed. But you can always improve efficiency with a few simple mods as seen on this forum. You have already done something similar by upgrading the 12 volt wiring for your fridge. For only a few dollars and a bit of time, you never know how much better your 3 way fridge may operate with proper insulation around it and air direction at rear with assistance with fans there too.
 
Likes: millers

mikerezny

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2016
781
1,402
93
65
Mount Waverley, VIC
#28
Hi @GUlewis,
IMHO, there is no perfect solution to the problem of refrigeration when off grid.

If you opt for a three-way fridge you will have to ensure the fridge is installed correctly, fans installed if not already fitted, and shade cloth on the off-side to keep the sun off. The main problem is keeping the fridge cool on very hot days. Reducing opening the doors during the heat of the day, and refilling the fridge at night fall can help a lot. Many take a small Waeco compressor fridge to help out over summer. This option would be my preferred choice before going down the path of replacing the existing three-way with a compressor fridge. The extra advantage is that I would have 2 fridges in the event that one stops working for whatever reason.

If you opt for a compressor fridge, you will have much-improved fridge performance in summer over a three-way. The issue here is that you will be spending extra money on solar, batteries, and a generator. This will also eat ito your vans valuable load allowance. You will also have to be constantly aware of power usage, battery State of Charge, and solar panel output. Any mistakes and you may have a fridge full of rotten food and possibly damaged batteries. An extra consideration is that for roof top solar, you will need to park the van for good sun. This can be at odds with wanting a nice shady, cool spot during summer. A good shady spot is good for both occupants and a three-way fridge!
A portable panel can help out significantly. No matter what, you may be spending significant time chasing the sun, or, on cloudy days, firing up the generator to feed the fridge.

I stuck with the standard 3-way on our Penguin to keep it simple and evaluate the performance. First summer was tricky on hot days since I hadn't got up to speed with all the tricks that others on this forum well know. Second summer, fridge was easy to keep at 6C or under. We have never had to throw anything out. Gas usage on our 90l Dometic is an average of 22 nights per 9kg gas bottle. It is impossible to correctly install the 90l fridge in a camper trailer such as the Penguin. The 90 l is only rated as sub-tropical. Larger Dometic fridges may be rated as Tropical and in higher vans, the top exhaust vent can be located correctly for better performance. The larger fridge are now commonly fitted with one or two fans as standard.

So, for now, until there is a major improvement in compressor fridges and or energy generation / storage I will stick to the 3-way.

Just to complicate matters, you might want to take a look at the Samsung range of domestic inverter fridges. Many rate them very highly. More efficient and much less expensive than the compressor fridges made for the van industry.

cheers
Mike
 
Jan 21, 2018
31
55
18
Shailer park
#29
I'm very happy with the 186 ltr 3 way fridge that has the tropical roof ontop. Works a lot better than the old 150 ltr in our older van.

Where we camp at a family members farm we like setting up under some bushy trees so love portable panels, but they are bulky when we would need 3 of them when we get the 40 ltr freezer and 50 ltr fridge for under the awning so prob going to buy 2 of those kings 120 blankets to drape over the car windscreen and on the ground for patchy days with the glass panel. Should be enough for 2 weeks.

Shorter stays, just leave the glass at home and take the blankets.

I was looking at those 100 watt thin flexible ones, as they look like I can store them under my daughters mattress flat and they only 1.5 mm thick and 2 kgs and under 150 bucks . Might be worth and option , for back up grunt.

Our 3 way doesn't have fan assist at the rear as it has the tropical roof vent which helps heaps . The larger compressor fridges also make some noise in the van so that can be annoying to some people.

Cheers
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
611
613
93
Ferny Grove, Queensland
#30
Hi @GUlewis,
IMHO, there is no perfect solution to the problem of refrigeration when off grid.

If you opt for a three-way fridge you will have to ensure the fridge is installed correctly, fans installed if not already fitted, and shade cloth on the off-side to keep the sun off. The main problem is keeping the fridge cool on very hot days. Reducing opening the doors during the heat of the day, and refilling the fridge at night fall can help a lot. Many take a small Waeco compressor fridge to help out over summer. This option would be my preferred choice before going down the path of replacing the existing three-way with a compressor fridge. The extra advantage is that I would have 2 fridges in the event that one stops working for whatever reason.

If you opt for a compressor fridge, you will have much-improved fridge performance in summer over a three-way. The issue here is that you will be spending extra money on solar, batteries, and a generator. This will also eat ito your vans valuable load allowance. You will also have to be constantly aware of power usage, battery State of Charge, and solar panel output. Any mistakes and you may have a fridge full of rotten food and possibly damaged batteries. An extra consideration is that for roof top solar, you will need to park the van for good sun. This can be at odds with wanting a nice shady, cool spot during summer. A good shady spot is good for both occupants and a three-way fridge!
A portable panel can help out significantly. No matter what, you may be spending significant time chasing the sun, or, on cloudy days, firing up the generator to feed the fridge.

I stuck with the standard 3-way on our Penguin to keep it simple and evaluate the performance. First summer was tricky on hot days since I hadn't got up to speed with all the tricks that others on this forum well know. Second summer, fridge was easy to keep at 6C or under. We have never had to throw anything out. Gas usage on our 90l Dometic is an average of 22 nights per 9kg gas bottle. It is impossible to correctly install the 90l fridge in a camper trailer such as the Penguin. The 90 l is only rated as sub-tropical. Larger Dometic fridges may be rated as Tropical and in higher vans, the top exhaust vent can be located correctly for better performance. The larger fridge are now commonly fitted with one or two fans as standard.

So, for now, until there is a major improvement in compressor fridges and or energy generation / storage I will stick to the 3-way.

Just to complicate matters, you might want to take a look at the Samsung range of domestic inverter fridges. Many rate them very highly. More efficient and much less expensive than the compressor fridges made for the van industry.

cheers
Mike
@mikerezny , a very good summation on the whole issue indeed - pros and cons!!! Good to hear from you again. Any ideas on my PM??
 
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Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
611
613
93
Ferny Grove, Queensland
#32
Hi @Boots in Action,
I haven't forgotten. Just need to get confirmation, rejection of a leave without pay request to work out a travel plan.

We have been away working at Cobden for BlazeAid for the past two weeks with no internet access (actually a bonus).

cheers
Mike
Off topic I know @mikerezny , but I thought you had hung up your boots and retired but good to see you still do voluntary work.
Watch for my full report on tranny temps for my recent trip. Just getting figures together, but will have to start a new thread as not much good under your heading of "how to raise rear of Falcon". Cheers
 
Jan 21, 2018
31
55
18
Shailer park
#33
Gulewis,

Reading your original post again, for the type of free camping your looking at you will be fine. As there is a thing called deminishing capacity or something like that.

You should be fine for upto 5 days if there is some sun around, even patchy days, as you leave home with full 220 amps, arrive and setup. First day you consume say 80 amps if carefull not sure on the consumption of the fridge your looking at but say its 50 aday and 30 amps for lights, pump , limited tv etcthe solar puts in 50 amps, 3 x 120 ontop , ( 2 hrs at 15 -20 odd amps charging, rest of the day 20 amps total , in between clouds and maybe rain shower etc , lying flat performance drops 20% minimum compared to angled at sun )your batts will drop to 190 capacity. Next day similar, now down to 160, next day similar , down to 130, day 4 if similar you may be creeping down to the magic 50% minimum mark of those 2 batts. If this continues day 4 to 5 you may need to start looking at dc charger boost or generator.

So as you can see, your batts are going down each day towards the 50% level but the solar is slowing the decline! giving you the extra few days you need after day 2-3.

If you get a nice full sunny day on say day 3 or 4 while your away, your solar may run at 15-20 amps for 5 hrs or so , this would get you back upto to the start again and away you go.

So for what your looking at, 3 panels up top , 2 batts and compressor fridge you prob will will fine for 3-5 days or almost indefinitely if it's nice and clear sunny weather which unfortunately no one can predict.

Next , if you decide to head off for this 5 day trip and the weather is going to be really cloudy and long rain days, then you will run into problems after 2-3 days unless you have another power source.

If you really want compressor fridge, get those panels and 2 batts. Should be fine for most situations for the time frames your looking at. Not 2 weeks like we do unless nice clear weather.

And once you get your van delivered, fit a good 40 amp dc charger in it, wire to draw bar with rated cable, and have either another folding panel or blanket that you can pull out and use this to chase the sun or little patches of it, and if you get behind still at day 3-4, plug into car and idle for one hr and throw 40 amps back into them. This will get you through to home at day 5. You most likely won't need the car but it's nice to know you got it as back up.
Also of you decide to up camp at day 4-5 and shift to another free camp the dc charger is going to boost the batts up quickly whilst the solar ontop adds as well.

Or buy small generator , but going for large compressor fridge you deff want at least one other charging source besides solar. Just for that piece of mind. But if you are only looking at short stays then what your looking at from factory should be a good starting point and you could always add something later down the track.

The good thing with the redarc or similar dc dc chargers is they only weigh something like half kg. and no fuel to carry except your tow car which you would already have anyway. I think but could be wrong, the redarc makes the biggest capacity at 40 amps, but will require heavy cable both in the van and cars Anderson plug to provide good current,I see 43 amps out of mine, plus the added benefit of a true mppt charger in one.
So what your looking at from original post going on the situation of deminishing capacity, should be ok for 3-5 days with some sun thrown in here and there...

Cheers
 
Last edited:

mikerezny

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2016
781
1,402
93
65
Mount Waverley, VIC
#34
Hi @GUlewis,
oops, I forgot to mention in my previous post that in making the decision to initially accept the standard three-way fridge, was that I was somewhat obsessed with initial and ongoing costs.

Initial costs were somewhere around $2,000 extra for the 2-way: fridge upgrade, one extra battery roof-top solar/controller, portable solar/controller, and generator.

I estimated the ongoing costs for the 3-way to be 5 gas bottles per year: so $75 per year.
For the 2-way, I assumed having to replace the batteries every 5 years at $400 each, about $160 per year.

cheers
Mike
 
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Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
611
613
93
Ferny Grove, Queensland
#35
If you get a nice full sunny day on say day 3 or 4 while your away, your solar may run at 15-20 amps for 5 hrs or so , this would get you back upto to the start again and away you go.
Hi @Coldspace , I think that working on getting these figures would be rather optimistic IMHO. Continuous generation of that magnitude, for a period of 5 hours with roof top panels in fixed position is unlikely and a real gamble. And as you said, flat panels not angled to the sun all the time suffer a 20%? reduction in output, not to mention losses due to heat build up. From my own experiences off grid with 380w of portable panels in series that I can move around as necessary together with the more efficient MPPT controller harvesting/converting all sunlight (and excess voltage) to max current, I have never been able to generate anywhere near that amount (maybe my batteries were not low enough???) and I would certainly not work on that scenario if my fridge needed power from batteries. But then I could be wrong!! But actual field operation often finds errors in theory!
 
Likes: Coldspace
Feb 6, 2013
80
50
18
Perth
#36
Thanks everyone, certainly some good advice there. Think I will go with the three way, try the fan trick and even ask the builder about a roof vent instead of the two on the wall. From what I've read from this post I don't think I'm going to have enough solar available to recharge the two batteries and run two fridges at the same time. With around 400kg payload on the single axle, it doesn't leave a lot in reserve.
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
611
613
93
Ferny Grove, Queensland
#37
Thanks everyone, certainly some good advice there. Think I will go with the three way, try the fan trick and even ask the builder about a roof vent instead of the two on the wall. From what I've read from this post I don't think I'm going to have enough solar available to recharge the two batteries and run two fridges at the same time. With around 400kg payload on the single axle, it doesn't leave a lot in reserve.
Hello again @GUlewis, the roof vent instead of the two side panels may give you a more "chimney effect draw" of air up and away from the top condenser fins, but I do not know too much about them at all - only what I have read on this forum. But is the extra expense worth it??

Now @Drover (that member knows a lot and has a considerable experience in fixing up the areas behind fridges!! - sorry @Drover , not p.....g in your pocket again!!), but he has said plenty on this forum on how he had to improve flow at back of fridge because Jayco had done a lousy job of not sealing off areas, and deflecting the hot air out of the top vent above fridge. Not only his van, but others he has been involved with. I too have seen this on friend's Eco Tourer - just open space and not even any insulation and no deflector sheet for cool air from below to go through the condenser fins !! Have a read on previous posts.

My own experience with my little Penguin , I found that although the sides of fridge were sealed well and tight fit, the open space above cooling fins and under bench was just open space - just what you don't need around fridge, and causing the flat preparation surface above to become quite hot. A good example of poor (sorry NONE!!) deflection of hot air OUT the top vent by lack of workmanship by Jayco!! Fixed both situations by gluing reflective insulation sheets to cupboard sides where I could, and making a proper curved deflector plate at the top to direct hot air out into the vent. Used aluminium sheeting to do this as it is flexible and easy to make a tight fit behind back of fridge at the top behind fins, and out just under the top of upper vent, so all air from below now goes out!!. Result, no more heat on top bench space and better airflow of expelling hot air with fan assistance. Better fridge operation also. Something to think about if looking to save money so you can use it elsewhere. I think I included a picture on that post some time ago. Will see if I can find it.
 
Likes: Drover
Feb 6, 2013
80
50
18
Perth
#39
Hello again @GUlewis, the roof vent instead of the two side panels may give you a more "chimney effect draw" of air up and away from the top condenser fins, but I do not know too much about them at all - only what I have read on this forum. But is the extra expense worth it??

Now @Drover (that member knows a lot and has a considerable experience in fixing up the areas behind fridges!! - sorry @Drover , not p.....g in your pocket again!!), but he has said plenty on this forum on how he had to improve flow at back of fridge because Jayco had done a lousy job of not sealing off areas, and deflecting the hot air out of the top vent above fridge. Not only his van, but others he has been involved with. I too have seen this on friend's Eco Tourer - just open space and not even any insulation and no deflector sheet for cool air from below to go through the condenser fins !! Have a read on previous posts.

My own experience with my little Penguin , I found that although the sides of fridge were sealed well and tight fit, the open space above cooling fins and under bench was just open space - just what you don't need around fridge, and causing the flat preparation surface above to become quite hot. A good example of poor (sorry NONE!!) deflection of hot air OUT the top vent by lack of workmanship by Jayco!! Fixed both situations by gluing reflective insulation sheets to cupboard sides where I could, and making a proper curved deflector plate at the top to direct hot air out into the vent. Used aluminium sheeting to do this as it is flexible and easy to make a tight fit behind back of fridge at the top behind fins, and out just under the top of upper vent, so all air from below now goes out!!. Result, no more heat on top bench space and better airflow of expelling hot air with fan assistance. Better fridge operation also. Something to think about if looking to save money so you can use it elsewhere. I think I included a picture on that post some time ago. Will see if I can find it.
Thanks for that, my current jayco does have a couple of inches worth of cavity above the top fridge vent so not good if your relying on warm air escaping the top vent and drawing cooler air from below. If I was to keep this caravan I'd install the fans and fit some insulation or a thin gal sheet to direct the air out better.
 
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Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
611
613
93
Ferny Grove, Queensland
#40
This is amazing advice and knowledge being shared here. Shame I only understand half of it!

Very interested about the part of the portable panels though.
Hang in there @1DayIll , all is not lost. Fellow members on this forum - @bigcol and @Crusty181 have said the same thing, but have taken on board that which they believe will suit their situation and are now able to pass on their own experiences to others. I will try to put up some comparisons on different solar panels, portable and fixed as well as the newer folding type. All have their pros and cons and technology is constantly improving, so nothing stays the same. Stay tuned.
What part about portable panels interested you??
 
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