Thursday, December 1, 2022


Power requirement for a residential style fridge



Here’s a question from a reader of about boondocking. 

Hi Bob,
In the latest newsletter you talked about boondocking and charging your batteries. We have a residential refrigerator in our 2016 Holiday Rambler Vacationer. It is not a three-way. How do I keep the fridge going while boondocking without harming the batteries? —Judy and Mark 

Hi Judy and Mark,
There is not an easy solution to your question. It is all relevant to how much power you use, just like sizing a solar system.

Solar panels charge your batteries from the sun

The residential style refrigerators (compared to the 3-way 120v/12v/propane RV refrigerator) have loads of space, will stay cooler under any conditions, and you don’t have to worry about an always-lit propane flame or a cutout for a vent in the RV sidewall. But all those advantages of a residential fridge make it a power hog —and if you’re not plugged in (i.e., when boondocking) you need lots of battery capacity to keep it working.

Also, if you are using solar power to keep your batteries charged and you have a couple of days boondocking with cloud cover or rain you will need reserve capacity as well. This is not a boondocking killer since all boondockers deal with sizing their battery and electrical charging capacity to fit their usage, which as you know could vary widely among RVers.

My suggestion would be to carefully analyze and log all the appliances, lights, etc., that you use boondocking and how many hours you use them each day. Then go online and use a power sizing calculator or visit a solar company that specializes in RV systems, such as AM Solar in Springfield, Ore. Then you can determine how big a solar system and how much battery capacity you need.  

Read more about boondocking at my blog.
Check out my Kindle e-books about boondocking at Amazon.

Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) .



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L j sine
5 years ago

I favor mortuary parking lots..Nobody bothers you there. AND never try to stay in a bank lot on a Fri night…Unless u want a lot of attention each time there is a officer shift change …Grin…Am single over 65 female and have never been bothered..Me. my 4# guard dog and …The 9 mm under my pillow…Jo
PS if I had to pay to park I would have to give up gas AND eating ..

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