Thursday, September 29, 2022


RV Electricity – What residential refrigerator do you have?

Dear Readers,
As I write in my guest essay in the RV Travel Newsletter, one of my projects for 2019 is a study of the number of solar panels and batteries needed to run a residential-style refrigerator in your RV while dry camping, without using a generator. While propane/electric refrigerators have been the norm in RVs for decades, in the last few years it’s become popular for RV manufacturers to install full-size residential refrigerators.

This is great for food storage, but means that you either need outside 120-volt power via a campsite pedestal or generator, or you have to add solar panels and batteries to your RV if you want to live “off the grid” while keeping your residential refrigerator running. My plan is to set up a full solar/battery/refrigerator system and meter it for a month or so while monitoring sunlight and weather conditions. That should give me some real-world data that I can use to predict what’s needed to work for you.

I’ve already spoken to several RV gear manufacturers about this proposed experiment, and they’re very enthusiastic about being part of it and will send me all the products I need. I love a good experiment!

Solar panels with appropriate inverter/chargers are already on their way to my shop. Plus the battery manufacturers are stepping up and sending me a number of Lithium, AGM and standard Lead-Acid cell technologies.

Already promised is an 8-cubic-foot, marine-grade refrigerator from Vitrifrigo with a 12-volt Danfoss swing compressor. This technology is electrically way more efficient than a standard residential 120-volt rotary compressor. Plus this refrigerator is built for the marine industry and designed for vibration, something that might be a problem for a residential refrigerator compressor and copper coolant pipes designed to sit in your non-moving home.

The only thing missing from a full experiment is a standard residential refrigerator similar to what you might already be using in your RV. That’s where you come in. No, I don’t need to borrow your refrigerator – I need to know what brand and model refrigerator is most commonly used in the latest RVs. Then I’ll ask the refrigerator manufacturer to send me a donor unit for the test.

Here’s how you can help. In the comments section below, simply tell me which RV you have and what brand, model and cubic-foot residential refrigerator was installed by the factory. I don’t need info on propane/electric units right now since that’s not part of this particular test. I’ll take if from there and get an appropriate residential refrigerator to complete the experiment.

Thanks for your help. Let the trials begin….


Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40+ years in the industry. Visit for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.




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10 months ago

We have a 2021 Thor Challenger 37FH with a Whirlpool WRS321SDHZ05… we currently have 4 sealed 6-volt batteries and 480 watts of solar on the roof… we will find out very quickly if this is enough or not.

3 years ago

I just installed a 2019 Magic Chef 10.0 cu ft. Model Number HMDR1000BE. I purchased it from Home Depot 3 weeks ago. I do not run it through my RV inverter. Refrigerator has a dedicated power cord to the electric meter. Freezer on top. Frig on bottom. I love it.

James Mccleary
3 years ago
Reply to  Amy

Amy. I installed the Vissani 9.9 cu ft. in my Sprinter van 3 yrs. ago and it’s still doing great .I have the Xantrex 1kw psw inverter 300 watts solar , 200 amp batts LA . This frig uses R 600 which is propane. Before install I partialy incased the compressor in foam so it could not move. Model # HVDR1040 W

3 years ago

2018 Winnebago View 24D came with Norcold 7 cu foot compressor – DE0061. Also came with
200 watts of solar, 1000 watt inverter and runs off of 2 6 volt golf cart batteries. Originally came with
2 12 volt batteries but not enough amps so replaced with 6 volt – much better!

Boon dock a lot and as long as we have sun works perfectly!

Some new owners had a bad thermostat and had problems, once replaced ran fine!

Robert Coleman
3 years ago

2019 Fleetwood Flair 29M:
I have a Whirlpool model#WRT111SFDM04( freezer on top) , 2x170w solar panels, 2- 6vlt Lifeline AGM Batteries and a Giandel 4000/8000W inverter. Not sure of cu.ft., as it didn’t specify on the sticker inside fridge.

Robert Coleman
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Coleman

My Whirlpool WRR111SFDM04 is 11 cu.ft. According to Whirlpools website.

Bill Downey
3 years ago

My refrigerator is a Whirlpool model WRT111SFDMC1 I’m unsure as to the cubic feet I’m guessing about 20cuft . It is installed in a 35ft Thor Miramar 34.3

Robert Coleman
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

Mike, all of this refrigerator info just came to my email( RVTRAVEL). It’s 7 months old. Why so long on emails/important info and what’s the current status on your testing as of today-06-15-2019?
Thank you!

3 years ago

I work for a RV dealer and I see mostly Whirlpool ans Samsung, I put a Whirlpool in my 5th wheel.

Jim Tibbles
3 years ago

We have a 2012 Winnebago Journey diesel 36m with a 20 ft whirlpool refrigerator model
mfi 2067AES9. Absolutely no problems.

John Koenig
3 years ago

Hi Mike, I have a 2015 Dynamax DX3-37RB that has, as OEM equipment, a 22 cubic foot Frigidaire three door refrigerator (Model # LGHB2867PFLA S/N 4A64915456. I bought the DX3 new in May, 2014. After the third winterizing, this unit developed a tiny leak in one of the water supply/ice maker hoses when I dewinterized it. At the 2017 FROG Rally, I was told by a Dynamax manager that my use of RV antifreeze had weakened the hose. I had tried just using compressed air but, I was concerned that ALL the water had not been blown out (hence the additional step of using RV antifreeze). By the way, the water filter inside the fridge REMOVES the pink colorant!). Dynamax was unable to look at the fridge at the FROG Rally and, asked if I could stop at the factory after the rally. I agreed and, after waiting a couple of days at the factory, Greg and Marty (the “Repair Department”) got to my DX3. I suggested they get a “platform” that the fridge could be pulled out onto (the fridge is 9″+ off the floor). A platform was made and, after pulling the fridge out of its’ enclosure, they opened the valve that supplied water to the fridge. A tiny (but steady) stream of water made the leak’s location obvious. The factory had NO repair parts. One of the Dynamax crew drove to the nearest Menards for parts. The section with the hole was cut out and replaced. When the water was turned back on, there was a SECOND leak! Back to Menards. The fridge leaked returned again in 2018. This time, a different employee (who was obviously untrained and clueless about fridge repair) attacked the problem. He wound up shutting off water to my lower ice maker and, the water on the door was no longer chilled but, failede to find the leak. I offered to BUY a new refrigerator. Boy, you’d think I had asked for body parts. I left the factory after a Dynamax manager chided me for “taking up residence” in one of their RV parking spots. My Super-C was apparently designed by Shemp & Curly Joe and, was built by Moe, Larry and Curly. The manager who chided me online (Bryan Clemmens) had, years earlier (after I complained online) that my rig was built by Moe, Larry and Curly, posted “I fired those guys”! What he DIDN’T do, was to get my rig back to the factory for a PROPER Quality Control Inspection (I expect he knew how many problems would be found and, he didn’t want to deal with them). They had my money I had an RV; I should just shut up, go away was the impression I left with. By the way; documentation for the 2015 model year was VERY poor. I had BEGGED Matt Swihart (Service Manager back then) for instructions as how to properly winterize all the residential appliances in my rig. Matt told me repeatedly that said information was online. I found winterizing instructions for RV appliances but NOT for residential ones. My request to Matt for a HYPERLINK was never answered.

PS: I would be VERY interested in attending your seminars. I look forward to meeting you in person!
John Koenig

Steve Shields
3 years ago

We have a 2015 Fleetwood Expedition, 38K, that came with a Whirlpool, 19 Cu. Ft. side by side refrigerator. I do not have the model number. It failed last January, but we couldn’t get anyone to work on it. RV dealerships and repair services wouldn’t because it was a residential refrigerator. Appliance repair services wouldn’t touch it because it was in an RV. We were on a trip, so we had it replaced by Classic Coach Works in Florida. They suggested Samsung, but we chose another Whirlpool, model WRF560SEYM05, which could be delivered faster and more cheaply through the local Lowe’s. So far so good with it, and the wife is pleased with its features. The coach came with six flooded cell batteries and a pure sine wave inverter. I try not to test it, but if necessary the batteries will power the refrigerator for more than 24 hours if the doors are kept closed and other battery drains are minimized.

Steve Shields
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Shields

Sorry, it was not a side by side refrigerator, but was a freezer on top model. I believe the model number was WRT359SFYM.

Manie Ellis
3 years ago

Thanks for taking on this research project! We have a 2018 Tiffin Allegro Open Road 32 SA. The residential refrigerator is Maytag MRT118FFFM01. It also has ice maker. It’s designed to work off my inverter but the inverter needs to be replaced. I am considering getting 3 solar panels but not sure yet. I look forward to your research and survey results.

Terrence Griffin
3 years ago

We have a 2017 Forrest River Riverstone with a 20 cubic LG fridge.

Roy Brody
3 years ago

I have a Samsung Model RT18M6213SG in a New Horizons 36ft Summit

Lynwood Brawn
3 years ago

I have a 2010 Winnebago Adventurer 35Z that was retrofitted by the previous owner with a Samsung RF197ACRS.

3 years ago

2018 Newmar Ventana LE – we have the manufacturer option:
Whirlpool 19.7 Refrigerator, 2000 Watt Pure Sine Inverter & Six 6-Volt Batteries and 22 gal. Propane Tank (std with propane refrig would have been 4 batteries and 32 gal propane)
Whirlpool Model no. WRF560SEYM05

3 years ago

2019 Winnebago Outlook. Came with a Danby 7.3 cu.ft. refrigerator, model # DPF073C1BSLDD.

John King
3 years ago

Hi Mike,

We have a 2017 Coachmen Chapparl 5th wheel; model # 391QSMB. It came factory equipped with a Hisense 15.8 cubic foot, residential refrigerator.
Model # BCD-376WYB/HC1 (EXH1).

Deb Matthews
3 years ago

2017 Thor Palazzo 33.3 with a Whirlpool model Wrt518szfm00. Really appreciate what you’re doing!

3 years ago

Whirlpool GI0FSAXVY011 in a 2014 Winnebago Tour coach.

James Beirlein
3 years ago

2018 Montana 3731FL, Samsung 18 cu ft; RF18HFENBSR. I find it curious that Samsung voids warrenty and advises against RV installation at the same time they are supplying them to Keystone. Not sure if my dealer knows of this since he sold me a warrenty for life that includes all the appliances. Time will tell.

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